People always seem surprised to learn that I am a Marine (I do not use "ex-" because once a Marine always a Marine). Well, they should be. My drill instructor showed me what he thought of my Marineness when he told me to stay back in the barracks when our training platoon at Parris Island (Platoon 348, SIR!!) competed for the award for the best marching platoon in our company. They won without me. In my own defense I have one bad leg that is 20-30% weaker than the other and it may have looked bad when I marched. Once I got out of boot camp my military attitude did not improve. I spent the next 3 years counting down the days (I started counting at 879 days), reading, playing poker, and playing golf when I wasn't involved in assignments that took me to Puerto Rico and the Mediterranean. Reading and playing golf are not typical Marine activities. I was the chief clerk (MOS 0141) of Fox Battery 2nd Battalion 10th Marine Regiment 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
It was a terrible come down in boot camp to be left in the barracks with several injured marchers because at one point I was a Squad Leader and led the 80 men in our platoon during training. My undisguised unwillingness to be an enforcer for the drill instructors eventually led to me be demoted to the ranks. Nevertheless I am proud that I served for 3 years and got out as Corporal E-4. The Marine Corps is a pretty exclusive club. Although I did not have some of what it took to be a "good" Marine I had enough other qualities to survive for 3 years and can proudly claim membership in that club. Semper Fi.
So when articles pop up about 7 Marines being sent into Liberia to help with peacekeeping efforts and the leader of the country announces his resignation soon thereafter, I puff up a little. Seven Marines were enough to force Charles Taylor to finally pack up and leave!! Oh yeah, we bad.
Those of you interested in what the Marines are actually doing in Iraq can go here to get a different perspective than what the New York Times lies about daily (heads-up from WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web 8/12/2003. The NY Times, Taranto reports, ran a correction.). The media does not publish these stories. Reading several of these makes me proud of the people we have over there helping the Iraqis rebuild their country.