As a kid my dad would tell me tales of his adventures while serving 33 years in the Corps. To my memory they sounded like Viking sagas and made Marines akin to Arthurian knights. Of course, the things they got away with in the late forties when he enlisted after WWII would never be tolerated in today’s Marine Corps.
The other day my CO, XO and I were swapping epic Marine Corps stories. Inevitably I throw in a yarn about my old man because I often think his adventures were way cooler than mine.
There was a time in the Corps when drinking and brawling was the normal off duty pastime of Marines. According to my father he was promoted as a young Marine because he was known as someone who got into bar fights and won. In the 21st Century we expect more chivalrous conduct from our Marines and for the record I will personally smash my guys right between the eyes with a sledgehammer for any type of thuggery or brawling ( I know some of you jarheads are reading this right now so be advised).
In the ancient times of my father, if a Marine was in any kind of trouble all he had to do was bellow: “Marine Corps!” Any red blooded U.S. Marine in hearing distance would immediately rush to their aid.
My dad related to me while on liberty a few Marines got into it with some locals. Apparently the thing in their town was to meet under the bridge to rumble. The Marines agreed to meet them there to fight. Upon arriving at the designated spot the hand full of leathernecks were immediately surrounded by approximately 30 locals.
In a bar somewhere down the road my dad said they could hear the call go out: “Marines! Marines!” Bursting through the front door of the bar my dad said he could see guys leaping out of second story windows and emptying bars to join the river of Marines running down the street.
Much to the dismay of the town locals, around 500 U.S. Marines noisily arrived under the bridge.
“Dad! So what did you guys do! What happened?” I remember excitedly asking my father. In my mind these were tales of high adventure. Better than Conan! Better than Louis L’Amour!
“Well,” he shrugged as if it was no big deal, “we just left 30 of our guys under the bridge to fight and the rest of us went back to drinking.”
That’s WWII style logic and chivalry for you.