This year our Guest of Honor was none other than the 4th Marine Division SgtMaj, SgtMaj Brad Kasal. You may remember him from my heady days as a young Marine at the School of Infantry. In the early 90’s then Sgt Kasal was the terror of Infantry Training Battalion. Twenty odd years after I graduated SOI I ran into him as a SgtMaj. He, of course, had no memory of silly, inept America’s PFC. This is probably a good thing as he knows me only in my capacity as a SgtMaj in his division.
|Yeah, he’d be the one on the right.|
I can remember Sgt Kasal training us in the proper comportment of Marine grunts. We would be standing in formation in front of our barracks before going to chow. As Marines from other MOS schools marched by he instructed us to address them in a fashion fit only for infantrymen.
“POGUES!” We bellowed as they slithered past, no doubt on their way to execute their inferior non-infantry tasks.
“Did you see that?” Sgt Kasal broke out in a burst of laughter at his fellow instructors. “My students just called them all pogues! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!” This was about as close to praise any of us would ever receive from him publicly.
Some may remember an add campaign from the late 80’s and early 90’s regaling cola drinkers as the Pepsi Generation. Among Marines this became a term of derision used to describe all the new boots considered weaker than the generations of those who had preceded them. Sgt Kasal was particularly vocal in his assessment of us.
“You $#*%@&! aren’t even the Pepsi Generation,” he would growl through perpetually tightened jaws. “You’re the Ho-Ho generation!” It could have been worse, at least we were delicious.
At the ball the other night I finally had an opportunity to present SgtMaj Kasal with a token of my esteem.
And good times were had by all!
If you have the opportunity to attend a Marine Corps Ball this year, I highly recommend it.