Post Traumatic Military Courtesy

I was shown the clip below and it reminded me of every lance corporal I’ve ever known. When a group of junior Marines see an officer in the distance they’ll purposely space themselves out enough so that each of them will greet him separately (I know because I did it too). The young officer will end up saluting so many times he may give himself tennis elbow. It often plays out like this:

America’s SgtMaj is well known for hating a weak greeting. In Bahrain I used to encourage the Marines to render a proper greeting of the day with such vigor that Naval officers would actively avoid them when possible.

Then there was the time I was in Quantico attending the MCMAP martial arts instructor trainer course as a Staff Sgt. Young lieutenants fresh out of OCS attended The Basic School nearby.  I was swaggering across the quad when a class let out and the sidewalk was flooded with boot lieutenants.

I gazed across a sea of cash sales and gold bars recalling my lance corporal days of hand salute hijinks. Ruefully, I popped a salute and kept my fingers glued to the brim of my cover as I maneuvered through the mob of young officers. Some of them were smirking. 

It goes around and comes around.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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6 comments

  1. Boy, this brings back some serious memories, Sgt Major!!!

    I may have, as a Cpl on my second CAX at Camp Wilson, “accidentally” forgotten the no-saluting rules at the long chow line and “inadvertently” yelled out “Good Morning, Sir,” with the sharpest of salutes, to a particular Lt none of us respected.

    And this grand idea, engineered with plenty of folks behind and in front of me, all of whom took part in such saluting as part of an effort to convince the Lt that folks actually did salute out here, might have come from a salty, recently demoted LCpl (knocked down from Cpl).

    Oh, my, do I miss those days…

  2. I had the opposite happen to me once.

    I was at an Army base in Korea. Forget it’s name. It’s the one closest to Yeachon (sp)? and Teagu (again, sp?)

    I was shepherding a group of Marine boots from our deploy camp to the Army base so’s we could all visit the bank and get our paychecks cashed.

    This was back when pay was dispersed by paper check even when deployed, and AM Express banks did not talk to each other outside of the various bases/camps so having a direct deposit account helped to zero degree.

    So, there I was, walking along the side of the road on base and a long line, perfectly spaced of youngsters with shiny on their collars was approaching.

    Reflex action. Shiny collar gets saluted.

    So, after a couple hundred yards of this a kindly Army SNCO stopped me and asked me why I was saluting all his non-rates.

    I do recall thinking those officers were way young and a bit scruffy looking, but it was Army, so…

    – Grimmy

  3. Stan, I often miss those days as well. Poor Lts.

    Jon, the great thing about it is they generally can’t pin point what that is.

    Grimy, I think every Marine has had a similar encounter with Navy Chiefs as well.

  4. I remember a glorious day at the combined exercise that we call CAX. I was coming back from relieving myself on approved leave at the arcade whilst enjoying my newly found “CAX stache”. My walk back to the hooch was as dignified as my feeling towards my newly grown facial hair. That is until I ran across America’s First Sergeant. “What the hell is that”, you said. “A CAX stache” i retorted. I’ll refrain from mentioning anything further, but I defiantly shaved it that night before rack ops commenced. That being said….you gave the best ass chewings.

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