How I joined the Marine Corps

@ihenpecked on Twitter just said he wasn’t sure if the Marines would have been right for him. I didn’t think they were right for me, either.

Flashback: it’s 1986. The Cold War is happening, big time. I wanted nothing more than to fly jets, pretty much for whoever would have me, but I certainly didn’t work hard for it. I made a desultory effort to be nominated to the Air Force Academy or Annapolis, but my heart wasn’t in it (and neither were my grades, sadly). More or less as a lark, I took the ASVAB and did pretty well on it. That resulted in a flood of calls from recruiters. All the Air Force guys could talk about was missile maintenance, and the Navy recruiters kept talking about subs and nuclear power, neither one of which I wanted any part of; I was firm on going to college and couldn’t see putting that aside for active-duty service.

I had no interest in the Army or Marines, and told their recruiters that. The Army guy took me at my word, but the Marine recruiter, bless his heart, was made of sterner stuff. He kept calling me every few weeks, and it seemed like he always knew when we were sitting down to dinner. I finally agreed to go to his office to talk to him, and that was my downfall: he totally sold me. He convinced me of the benefits of serving in the Marine Corps Reserve, and that it was better to “test-drive” military service before making the commitment to get a commission and the obligations that come with it. (Advice that I took, having heard it from my grandfather, a WW II vet and retired USAF pilot.)

I left for boot camp about four months later, two days after graduating from high school. Then the real fun started 🙂

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