Thursday, October 18, 2007

So the news stories from parts northern of the Marine Corps run high school reminded me of a few Marines and a parade.

Best part of the reports for me is the few folks out there that get their tighty whites in a wad about the military in schools, and they're just talking about a few recruiters on a medium to large sized university campus. I wish I could see their faces when 'Marine Corps' & 'High School' are used in the same sentence. Now that would be priceless. But maybe that's just me...

I actually knew a few Marines who attended a military type high school. Up to that point, I wasn't even aware that there was anything out there more than the JROTC programs. One of the guys had some pretty good stories from his time there, and while they weren't quite to the caliber (or occasional depravity) of a good sea or war story, some of the tales were pretty funny. He lamented the intrusion of regulation that was creeping into his old school, but unnecessary regulation and discipline can be perceived as very different things when it comes to the kiddos, depending on one's age perspective.

Except for me, of course, I knew everything. (Har!!)

So one year a bunch of us had either not escaped from the Gunny fast enough or had gotten caught doing something relatively minor and had been voluntold for parade duty. Honestly though, parade and funeral details never really bothered me, save for a few times. It was always a pleasure to speak with ye Olde Corps vets, and equally so to render final honors.

Rendering honors for Marines that one knows personally is a duty & honor, but it gets old. Real old, real quick.

Veterans Day parades were interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, they were usually held in the mornings after an evening of liberty. It was quite funny the number of times that you would see Marines show up to the parade muster location with coffee, dark shades, pounding headaches, and low, quiet tones.

Those mornings when I was feeling the after-effects of a rather vigorous night, not so much.

Older (former) Marines would wander up on occasion with some words of wisdom, or even more appreciated, a few cups of coffee. Once out of the Corps, the former Marines might vary quite a bit in their appearance, with different sizes of guts, length of hair, styles of clothes & whatnot, but they all seemed to have that same gleam in their eye and a few salty stories of their own, once they got warmed up. I'm afraid we got more than one former Marine in trouble with their spousal unit upon their return, because a slip of the tongue is real easy to do when hanging out with Marines.

So this one parade that we did we arrived to notice that our place in the parade just happened to be located right up against a platoon from a Marine high school. It was interesting to note that their dress blues uniform were for the most part, exactly like ours. There were no combat action ribbons on their uniforms but if I remember correctly, not too many of us had ours yet, either. So the ribbons were different, and they had a school-related patch on one shoulder. Enough to make some of us do a double take, especially those that always commented on the state of the 'young punks' that seemed to join the beloved Corps, year after year.

The Commanders of the high school platoons reminded me of Scout Troop leaders. Some were vets themselves, others struck me as filling more of a chaperon kind of billet, meaning that they were probably parents of one of the lads. No uniforms worn nor military experience, but a healthy concern for the kiddos and an interest in most things military. It was one of those gentlemen that came over to our platoon where we were staged, trying not to pass out or toss (too many) cookies, to strike up a conversation with our Staff Sergeant.

GENT: Hey dude, how's it going?

SSGT: [somewhat growling] Good morning, Sir.

Apparently the good man though we were from another school.

GENT: Sun sure is bright this morning, iddn't?

SSGT: *sigh*

The Staff Sergeant was probably regretting his recent promise to clean up his act...

GENT: So, y'all gonna be spinnin' dem rifles 'round, 'n such?

SSGT: F... uh, no Sir, we're not. We might do a little s...omething here and there, but nothing too fancy.

GENT: Say now, what school'r ya from?

Yup, definitely thought we were kiddos. This should be interesting...

SSGT: School? ... ... We're from the School of Hard Knocks.

I would have preferred an answer more along the lines of the University of S&M, California, but the Staff Sergeant's response did the trick. The guy paused, glanced down at the conspicuous lack of school patches on our platoons' shoulders, and shortly thereafter retreated to his own platoon.


Karla (threadbndr) said...

The Marine!Goth had 4 yrs of JROTC in HS. The SMiC is a retired Warrant Officer, and former PI DI. "Gunner" keeps those kids in LINE (LOL).

When the local USMCReserve unit was deployed, the cadets took over the funeral and parade details. They may just be 'devil pups', but a lot of them have the heart already. Class of 515 kids in JC's senior year, 97 of them cadets. 27 enlisted (assorted services) and 19 going on to the real deal ROTC in college or to a service academy (2 appointments).

Needless to say, here in Kansas, we do NOT have an issue with the military in the schools. AF and Army JROTC at the other two High Schools in our district, by the way.

It irritates me no end that the moonbats and politicos of that stripe talk about our young enlisted personnel as if they are the dregs instead of the best of the best.

Chris in SE TX said...

I don't comment on every story you post, but rest assured, I enjoy each and every one of them. Keep them comming!

Unlike SOME, cough, cough,... (LawDog)... cough...

You (so far) keep posting great stories and don't leave us hanging
...cough... (PinkGorilla) ... cough...

Murphy said...

karla: 'Devil Pups'. Hadn't heard that one in a while! Good to hear that some kiddos are being brought up right...

Chris: Glad to hear, I think everybody is waiting for that one...