These Photos Perfectly Sum Up The Phrase ‘Embracing The Suck’

U.S. Marine Cpl. Sean Trabert, a Buffalo, New York native, carries two packs during a hike at Sekiyama, Japan, during exercise Forest Light on March 15, 2017.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra

Military life can be a lot of things: rewarding, empowering, life-changing. It can also be shitty, exhausting, wet, dry, hot, cold, sticky, slimy, extremely dangerous, exhausting, filled with small paychecks, huge debt, brutal training, and a whole bunch of other crap — which is where phrases like “embrace the suck” get their true meaning. There’s a certain kind of pride that comes with always being able to win the “who has it worst” contest, which is what embracing the suck is all about.

In mid-March, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment took part in Forest Light March as part of a bilateral training exercise meant to strengthen their partnership with the Japanese military. That’s just a nice way of saying that they went through a brutal ass-kicking hump in the snow in Sekiyama, Japan.

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Based on the photos, some of these guys embodied the time honored military tradition of “sucking it the fuck up,” while others still have a ways to go.

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Brett Tate changes out of his wet clothes to keep warm at Sekiyama, Japan, during exercise Forest Light on March 15, 2017.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Brett Tate gives exactly zero fucks, shit, just look at the field ‘stash. Utterly unphased by the cold, as if he’s just enjoying a day on the beach, he has fully embraced all that sucks — stripping down in frigid weather and bearing his “Mom” and moto tattoos for all the world to see. It’s a practiced art form, and takes a while to master. Clearly.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Kedjejian , a Los Angeles, California native, tries to warm up his hands after a hike at Sekiyama, Japan, during exercise Forest Light om March 14, 2017.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra

Meanwhile, Lance Cpl. Christopher Kedjejian is having a miserable time, almost like he just realized his recruiter lied to him. Or he just spent the last 20 miles trekking through four feet of snow in zero-degree weather asking himself why he didn’t listen when his father told him to go to college instead of joining the Marines. He might just have an easier time if he remembered to put his gloves on.

In any case, these two are still having a better day than the lieutenant, who looks like he’s lost again.

A U.S. Marine posts security at Sekiyama, Japan, during exercise Forest Light on March 15, 2017.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra

Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.

The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.

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Arizona Army National Guard soldiers with the 160th and 159th Financial Management Support Detachments qualify with the M249 squad automatic weapon at the Florence Military Reservation firing range on March 8, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Laura Bauer)

The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."

That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.

When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.

"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.

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According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.

"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."

Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."

Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."

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If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.

The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.

But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.

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As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.

And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.

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