Thursday, November 10, 2011

Birthday tales from the USMC

It’s 10 November again and time to wish a happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps.  This seems like a good occasion to recount some interesting and bizarre memories of marine life:
#10 – A passerby hippie shaking his head saying “Oh man, good luck!” as I was preparing to board a bus with several other recruits in South Carolina en route to boot camp at Parris Island.
#9 – Learning new words and terms:  CSMO = Collect (your) Shit (and) Move Out, Marine-proof = a device that is not able to be broken or operated incorrectly, Bulkhead = wall,   Head = toilet,  Shitter = more specific part of the toilet area,  Grape = head (on a body),  Dick-skinners = hands,  Marine Recruit = a subhuman existence, Hog board = barracks photo board of girlfriends in various poses, Drop-kick maintenance = banging a PRC-77 field radio to make it work,  “Drink water” = the most common first aid to cure anything short of a severed head,  Light green = Caucasian marine, Dark green = African-American marine,  Quarterdeck = exercise for punishment area, Alcohol related incident = the most common phrase muttered by an angry first sergeant,  Liberty is secured = not able to go into town for the weekend.
#8 – Discovering there is a reason to open field meal packs – as ordered – just one food packet at a time.  I ignored this order in the field and opened everything to have a nice varied meal, only to immediately hear the “move out” order.  I was left with open food spilling everywhere.
#7 –  Being welcomed at a large, rocking hotel party in Palm Springs, California, by a bunch of strangers once they found out that we were U.S. Marines.  And, being turned away from entering a bar in Okinawa because we were U.S. Marines.
#6 – Sitting at a reggae bar in Okinawa with a young lady when two ‘tough guy’ marines came in and wanted to fight. These two ‘tough guys’ bragged about beating an Okinawan civilian and a few others on their rampage that evening.  They then informed me that I was next on their assault list.  Not wanting to - but not having much choice – I rose from my bar stool to defend myself.  At that instant, a frantic Okinawan man with two local police officers entered the bar pointing and shouting at the two marines.  I watched as the two jar head thugs were arrested, and then I observed – with drink in hand standing outside – as one of them was beaten by the police after he violently resisted being taken to jail.
#5 – Running in group formation on the morning after a holiday past a chow hall with the smell of frying bacon in the air.  One marine in front began to vomit and a domino effect followed with about 15 “hurlers” stopped shortly after on the side of the road.
#4 – Watching a Highway Patrolman write a speeding ticket to me after I presented my USMC identification in effort to get out of being given a citation. (this often worked) He smiled and said, “Yep, I was in the army.”
#3 – Wading in knee-deep flood water while playing billiards, listening to Bob Marley music and hearing parts of the building blowing away at our barracks in Okinawa – about a half-mile from the beach – as a typhoon was making landfall.

#2 – Being taken injured and bleeding into a nearby strip club after I had a motorcycle accident in Okinawa. I was shoved into a booth and given first-aid by several topless dancer girls who stopped their shows when they saw me being helped in.  Thanks to Cajun marine, J. Campbell, for being so popular with those ladies to have convinced them to ‘save’ me.

#1 - Hearing the“click, click, click”of attaching bayonets around me after the injured, heavily medicated radio operator back at base ordered our squad out in the thick forest of Okinawa to “fix bayonets and attack” the marine unit from another battalion that was trying to harass us.  The “fix bayonets” order was quickly countered by the late Gunnery Sergeant Keyes  who helped us avoid a friendly force blood bath when he shouted back over the radio for our squad to “stand down!”


  1. Was the reggae club the Kaya Hut, Luna?


  2. You bet it was the Kaya Hut! All best, M. Luna