In addition to round-the-clock drinking, barbecuing, and restaurant-hopping in search of free and cheap eats, holiday weekends also mean last-minute safety briefs. A tradition all its own, a safety brief is a three- to five-minute preemptive ass-chewing, where an exhausted-looking platoon commander or sergeant begs his troops not to act like savages over the long weekend: “Don’t drink and drive, don’t drink and surf, don’t drink and skydive — if you do skydive, bring a parachute. If you do get too drunk, call (number of the poor schmuck on duty). If you see me at the bar, don’t talk to me. I hate you all.”
On March 22, 2009, Cpl. Michael W. Ouellette, 28, was leading his squad on a foot patrol in the Now Zad district of northern Helmand province, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated beneath his feet.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph DiGirolamo
It’s been just over three years since I left the Marines and while I don’t regret my decision to leave, I’ve come to realize that there are aspects of my military service that I miss. I served from 2008–2012 as a combat correspondent, and during my time in I spent two deployments in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines.