Brute force and ignorance…

…will get the job done every time.

In my last post I mentioned our Operations Officer at CBIRF had said his Marines will do anything you need them to do. It’s a true statement. If you give Marines a task they will figure out a way to accomplish it one way or another.

While a Sergeant I attended Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense School in Fort McClullen, Alabama. Ft Mac was an Army base which housed their NBC schools at the time (it has since closed down) as well as one of their basic training facilities. The Marine detachment there ran Marines through NBC school and Military Police training. It was summer of course. How I always seem to end up conducting CBRN type training under numerous layers of protective over garments during the volcanic months of summer remains a mystery I file under Cruel Twists of Fate.

As the senior NCO attending the course the envious job of class commander fell to me. The majority of the class were mostly just out of boot camp which meant every stupid thing they did was my fault. It also meant I was the first bulwark against which their various melodramatic issues crashed heavily upon. These ranged from bed wetting, marriage, monetary debt, mommy issues, unrequited love, sometimes all at once.

One afternoon we were receiving a period of instruction outside of the school house on the front lawn. Scattered about the lawn on slabs of concrete were tanks of various makes and models on display. Some were American and others were enemy tanks captured in various conflicts across the globe. 

As the instructors turned us loose on a quick break I told the class in jest I wanted one of the tanks picked up and moved over to another slab. One of the instructors, a fellow Sergeant, pulled me aside.

“Bro, you can’t tell the boots stuff like that. They’ll do it. I once joked with a class I wanted one of those Army Drill Sergeant hats to use for a potted plant. Next thing I know one of them handed me a Drill Sgt’s cover he swiped from the dining facility.”

“Come on,” I said. “No way they actually believed I was serious about moving one of those tanks.” He raised his eyebrows and inclined his head in their direction. I turned to see about fifteen or so Marine PFCs standing around a tank scratching their heads as if cogitating a solution.

“Get away from that tank clowns! Lay one finger on it and I’ll break your arms off!”

Another example of being aware of the impact of your words. So be careful what you ask for, because your troops will surprise you when they strive to deliver.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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5 comments

  1. 1. When they switched from the wood handle to the aluminum and steel E-tool, warned the S-4 that the things wouldn’t hold up.
    2. Was told they’d replace the broken ones.
    3. At that time, all of the company leadership had been recipients of indirect fires and were true believers in digging in.
    4. The troops were told not to spare the horses in testing out the new gear.
    5. Needless to say, we were turning in double-digit numbers after every outing -until we got bored with that iteration.
    6. Had a small solid steel cube that I used to say was the only thing I knew that was Marine-proof.
    7. Typical response to that claim: “Let me have it sir. I’ll *#@! it up.”
    8. That mindless will do is a very important part of what it is to be a Marine.
    9. Need you to rephrase that with some art.
    V/R JWest

  2. Ft McClellan is where I did my live agent training in 2005. The live agent training building is still in operation. In the middle of nowhere out there. DHS has taken that over and was running it.

    We had a small group of modern buildings where they dormed us, but we were next to the old classics white and green two story barracks.

    Walking around there is a ghost town, even though some of it was converted to civilian use, it is empty and quiet back there.

  3. Had a tree that was a stone beech to trim and prune to spec in our company grounds. It never looked right except this one time that the trim/prune job came out pretty good.

    The company gunny, who was always on our arses about that danged tree.

    He came out to check our trim/prune job and loudly exclaimed it perfect.

    He also laid down the law that the tree should always look as it did, and if he ever laid eyes on it in any other condition again, there’d be hell to pay.

    So, he went back to his office.

    And, we dug up that tree. Dumped its remains in a dumpster. Poured a few gallons of gas in the hole. Filled in the hole. Poured a couple more gallons of gas over the fresh dirt.

    So, we not only complied with instructions (gunny would never see that tree in a condition of bad trim/prunery again, as he demanded) but exceeded them. Using our initiative (initiative is a big thing in the Corps), we did what we could to ensure that nothing else that might offend our gunny’s eye might be planted in that spot.

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