First things first, in case you didn’t know, the US Marine Corps was born 234 years ago today (10 Nov) in a place called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, PA.
Needless to say, today serves as a second birthday for all Marines (past and present) and a time that we honor and reflect back on “our time in the Corps”
And as I looked back on my time today, I started thinking about how on earth I became a marine.
It was 1982 and I was a young punk getting ready to graduate high school in Washington, DC with no clear direction as to where I wanted to go in life. I’d thought about college, but there wasn’t enough money in the family to send me and my grades at the time clearly weren’t college material.
As luck would have it, I started thinking about the military since it seemed like the best thing for someone not going to college, but still needed to get out of their neighborhood and the bad stuff going on in it.
I’d like to say that I joined the Marine Corps because of some deeper reason than I liked the uniform, but that’s why I joined. I wanted the dress blue uniform.
So, after talking to a recruiter and taking the test, I was all set to enlist.
Suddenly, I got scared at the last moment and changed my mind. All those stories about how tough boot camp would be and how I wasn’t “tough enough” to be a marine from my friends and adults around the neighborhood got to me. I figured they knew something that I didn’t know about me at the time and if they said I was “too soft” to be a marine, they must’ve been right.
To make a long story short, I called the recruiter and told him that I changed my mind. when he asked if I was scared and what I was going to do after high school, I didn’t answer him. He knew I was scared and that made me feel even worse.
Then one day, I was walking home from school and saw a crowd standing around looking at something on the ground. and when I went over to see what they were looking at, I realized that it was a body laying on the ground with a coat over the face.
I didn’t know what happened or who the person was that got killed, but it was a wake up call for me. I realized at that moment that I needed to get the hell out of DC anyway possible.
Bottom line, I called the Marine Recruiter as soon as I got home. A week later, I was enlisted and the rest is history.
Even now as I’m re-calling the details of that story, I can’t help but notice how:
– I lacked self-confidence
– Allowed people to tell me what I could or couldn’t do
– Almost ran away from what turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life based on fear
– Fought through the fear and negativity around me and achieved my goal of being a marine.
– Got that dress blue uniform (http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=Agyka&m=1ZavM5NrlvBDQD&b=.D0TKL9HFaKThKTkvYD90A)
So, if you know a “Jarhead” (and you ALL know at least one), wish them a Happy Belated Birthday!
Dedicated to improving your mat experience!
Paul Greenhill (aka The Wise Grappler)