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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Well, my plan for GMAT domination is falling apart before it ever had the chance to get off the ground.  Saturday is fast approaching, and the idea had been to take off work Thursday and Friday, drive to Ontario, rent a cheap hotel with no TV, lock myself in with a case of Red Bull and cram-out until Saturday AM.  Basically, my college/sniper school plan.

However, the Marine Corps, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that our barracks need a 24 hour roving security detail (maybe the Taliban followed us home?), and has decided to give me a 4 hour time slot in the middle of Friday...and middle of Saturday.  This, even though I have submitted a formal request for Thursday and Friday off, noting that I was taking the GMAT on Saturday.

But it doesn't end there.  Not only does my Friday duty conflict with my efforts to cram quantitative data sufficiency problems, it conflicts with our Battalion's memorial service for the 21 men we lost on deployment this year.  Just found out about that one.  Now its one thing to pull me off my plans for duty, its a whole other animal to expect me to walk around the barracks during that memorial service.  I would gladly have altered my plans for that service, I would not miss it for the world.  

To expect me, or any other Marine from 2/7, to be on duty during that memorial service is a slap in the face.  I know there are plenty of Marines on this base who have never sniffed a combat zone, who have never seen a buddy shot, who are perfectly capable of handling the 'security' situation.

All that being said, I will attend the memorial service in the face of any consequences, and I'm going to completely dominate the GMAT, regardless of the Marine Corps' efforts to hinder it.  Additionally, Joe and I have decided that we need to drink one beer for every point I score on the GMAT, and one shot for every fallen brother...in Joe's words, "time to tap the strategic reserve."  (I may scale that 1:1 ratio back slightly)


  1. Speaking as a former USMC grunt, I think you're missing an angle on the chicken**it garrison duty thing.

    Everyone knows Marine grunts are heart breakers and life takers. What most folk miscomprehend is that grunts are also, inherently, conniving and manipulating bastages when it comes to ducking the rock painting aspects of life in our Corps.

    You've got to have some cherries that've been assigned to your outfit since you got back. It's duties such as you are now confronted with needing to avoid that such men exist.

    Make a deal. You're an NCO, for jiminy sakes! Make it a deal that can't be refused.

    But, if you can't deal your way out of the idiocy, then do what your heart tells you is the proper thing.

    The USMC can be a rigid monster when it comes to prosecuting for "good order and discipline". But it is also an organization that carries a special love and respect for those of its own who do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

    An example: A buddy of mine ditched a duty such as what you describe. He was an NCO and yeah, he got his Article 15. He lost a stripe. He got grounded. He got his allowance taken away. And a few months after that was over, he got selected for Warrant Officer School.

    You're a good Marine. The sort that has made our USMC a force to be feared and respected the world over. Do what you gotta do and take what comes from it with your head held high and your spine unbowed.

    That's our way.

    Semper Fi.

  2. Oh, and I forgot to add:

    On the 1:1 ration ratio. You may want to approach it as an extended operation. A battle of attrition sort of thing. You don't have to do it all in one sitting. If you're gonna give respect to some, give it to all. Just take the time you need to do it right.

    Semper Fi.

  3. On last thing.

    If, by chance, you do get grounded by Article 15 prior to your Operation Remembrance...

    You could consider enlisting the rest of your unit in assisting in the operation.

    All grunt units have their esprit from battle accomplishments. But what can turn a unit into legendary status is in its ability to circumvent garrison rules in a conspiracy. Especially when that conspiracy is for the purposes of honoring those lost in battle.

    That's another thing about grunts. Rule Breakers. As long as it's done successfully and for proper motivations, it's a good thing. In a way, it's some of the better E&E training a unit can put itself through.

    Grunts = Breakers. Hearts, enemy, rules, it's all good.

  4. You're a smart guy - I'm sure it will all work out.

  5. Just reschedule, you know how to roll with the punches by now...