Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Marine Corps boot camp is renowned for turning young men and women from civilians into Marines. It is rightfully known as the most rigorous recruit training in the US military, but for some drill instructors, it just wasn't tough enough.
The Washington Post recently obtained documents detailing incidents wherein over 20 Marines have been disciplined for misconduct just at MCRD San Diego, one of two recruit depots, since 2017. That year is relevant, because Marine recruit training was supposed to be reset after the 2016 suicide death of Pvt. Raheel Siddiqui, who killed himself after being viciously hazed, which included racial and ethnic slurs and being put in an industrial clothes dryer.
A Soldier holds an American flag prior to the start of an oath of citizenship ceremony in the General George Patton Museum's Abrams Auditorium at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2018. (U.S. Army/ Eric Pilgrim)
Looking at many veterans' attitudes, especially online, you see a lot of complaining about the many failings of civilians. Most of those complaints come under the aegis of "slimy" or "nasty."
The best version of this is, "I worked so much harder than everyone else they fired me for making everyone else look bad."
Let's clarify. No one has ever been fired for doing too good of a job. You were fired for being an insufferable asshole to your coworkers, not because of your groundbreaking excellence in the world of pest control.
Sometimes it's civilians causing the "civil-military divide." But let's be honest, often, or even usually, it's veterans belittling civilians. You never hear a civilian saying,"I can't stand all these freaking nasty veterans around here!"
On February 19, 1999, the world changed forever. Office Space came out. It wasn't a box office sensation. It only made $12 million. But the VHS (the what?), DVD, and all the different streaming versions of it would change workplaces forever.
Oddly enough, one of the workplaces that Office Space perfectly captures is the military. Whether it's on a movie screen in a base theater or a laptop in troop berthing, service members have seen themselves in Office Space for 20 years now.
A movie meant to mock the daily drudgery of office drones also captured the lives of everyone from admin clerks to grunts to pilots.
At the beginning of 2017, the U.S. Army changed regulations to allow Sikh soldiers to grow beards under a religious exemption to male grooming standards. The surprise decision naturally inspired some service members to wonder, “If a small group can get an exception to the rules and grow beards because of their deeply held religious beliefs, why can’t I grow one because I think it looks badass?”