Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Marine recruiters are some of the most professional, hard-working Marines out there. Mine were great, but then again the whole process was pretty easy. They did have a few non-recruiter Marines working there that were pretty upfront about the whole boot camp process, but by then I was already in, if not already completely signed up. This post is not about the hard chargers in the recruiters fold, but what happens after the one rotten apple gets the gullible kid to sign on the dotted line. Enjoy.

Most Marines that I know have heard one or two stories about unscrupulous recruiters. Those that were really pushing the hard sell, or tweaking the truth. You can't really fault them for being thorough in their job, but when they do lie, it makes for some interesting stories. One of the best ones that I have heard of, from another Marine, is the one about the Asian kid who showed up to boot camp with the bag full of advanced mathematics book, and a very broken command of English. Turns out he is there for a math camp, not Marine boot camp. 'Welcome to the Corps, Wakahiri...'

A few of my own stories might beat that one, we shall see...

Very shortly after being dropped to our DIs, one recruit decided that he had experienced enough. With full intensity, he assumed the position of attention (PoA), and sounded off to the DI that he wanted to take advantage of the 'switch service' option of his contract.

Insert the movie sound of the record being scratched as it is taken off the player, cut all background noise. The pin hangs suspended two inches above the floor, afraid to go any farther...

The DI, instead of literally killing the recruit on the spot, inquired politely (for a DI), what in the hell the recruit was talking about. The recruit elaborated (dug his own grave deeper) to the effect that his recruiter had made very clear to him that he could attend Marine Corps boot camp for up to 2 weeks. If, anytime in that initial 2 week, he determined that perhaps the Marines were not for him, all he had to do was notify his chain of command, and he could switch over to the Navy, no problem. This was reasoned as an attempt to find the best fit in the service for the individual. It sounded to me like the recruiter had a way with words to convince a shaky kid. Back to the story

The combination laughter/shrieks from the demons that run Hell (DIs) was something that I will remember for the rest of my life. The DIs probably could not believe it.

Me, I was relieved.

Remember how I mentioned that I had volun'told', violating one of the cardinal laws of boot camp? This gullible recruit had just wiped the memory of my name from all DIs' minds for the immediate future. They had a new play toy. For three looong months.

He was screwed.

The other not-so-honorable mention was a kid who was positive, as positive as one can be, that he had a guaranteed slot in the Marine Band. Not just a base band, but the one that plays for the president. One night, the DI was instructing us on how to report our physical condition during evening inspection. Among many other bits of information, we had to sound off with our name, MOS, and the fact that we did or did not have any physical maladies to report at that time. The DI would then visually inspect us (a la Gunny Hartman in Full Metal Jacket "Toe jam!...Trim those nails!..." you get the picture)

This guys first mistake was in deciding that it would be a good idea to question the DI about his MOS. This immediately drew the DI to a distance of about 1/1000 of an inch away from the recruit, screaming almost incoherently about everything regarding the recruits mental function or lack thereof. I have to give the kid credit, he was able to somewhat coherently explain to the Drill Instructor his belief that he had been guaranteed a band position, and he wasn't sure why he was classified as 0300.

For those not in the know, 0300 signifies infantry.

He was really screwed.

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