First day of school

My first drill weekend was a whirlwind introduction to the alternate reality that is I&I duty.
At 0500 Saturday morning my boss and I went to the airport to pick up a Marine general whose flight promptly arrived an hour late. After getting him situated back at our HQ I took off to meet all of my 1stSgts for breakfast.  They had come from their various locales (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Akron, and Columbus) to the retirement ceremony of the previous SgtMaj the day before. I probably could have continued with them all morning but we had to get the general to his first engagement at the Cleveland Asian Festival. The general was a guest speaker discussing the contributions of Asian Americans have historically made to the Corps. He was a hit. Then we strolled through various booths and stages checking out the sites the festival had to offer. All I can say is Cleveland loves its Marines! We must have posed for 50 photos. Old jarheads came out of the woodwork to introduce themselves, some younger ones too. I have a feeling Marine Week is going to hit this town like a freight train considering all the energy coming from the Clevelanders I met this weekend.
Next we hit Progressive Field for an Indians game. Again the red carpet came barrelling out to greet us. We got to cruise onto the field and check out the dugouts then were escorted to our private box. There was a huge spread of chow and even a server on hand. 
Not too shabby…
We were able to get about ten other Marines from the battalion in the box with us and they all had a blast. All local boys, they were Indians fans of course. Suddenly a three man ensamble arrived to seranade us with baseball songs. 
The old timer on the far right had just turned 94!
All this may have been the toughest part of the drill weekend. I don’t even like baseball and I thought it was awesome. 

The lousy view.

We left the game early in order to meet up with our police escort who ensured we arrived at the Cleveland International Tattoo and Police Memorial Commemoration. Nothing like running red lights downtown in a major metropolitan city. The general was on hand to recieve the request of the senior drum major to begin the procedings. For the uninitiated, a military tattoo in this case has more to do with the tattoo of drums vice ink. Three and a half hours of fifes and drums, marching bands, singiers, and bagpipers representing various police agencies in the U.S. and Canada rounded out our evening.  I think the U.S. Army might have made an appearance too.

The 2d Marine Aircraft Wing band was on hand representing the World’s Finest. The lights had gone out as the Marines quietly took their places on the floor. Despite the darkness the crowd could see that Marines in blues taking their positions and began to cheer. There were even a few “ooh-rahs” as the energy began to build. It might be my bias showing but the Marines smoke checked everyone else in the show. Don’t believe me?
Let me just say again, the reception the Marines got from the Cleveland crowd was extraordiary. Ohio loves its Marines.
After the excellent program there was an after party at a nearby hotel. This, the general announced, we would definately be checking that out. This turned in to a four hour evolution of well lubricated police officers dancing in their kilts with the general holding court as every cop who’d ever been a Marine offered to buy him a beer.
Finally dropping off the general at his hotel around 0300 I remarked to my boss that I probably hadn’t been awake for 22 hours straight since I was last in combat. Six hours later I was back in the office for day two to do the real work. Drill weekend was only half over!

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj  

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14 comments

  1. I knew you would enjoy a warm reception there. I tried to call you but I got a message that your phone was off. I’ll be back for good mid-June.

  2. America’s SgtMaj:

    Sounds as though it was a good start to your new duties. Welcome to the reserve component.

    Paul

  3. If you keep partying like that, Am.Sgt.Maj., when it’s time for your R&R, you’re going to get a yen to go back to Bahrain just to get a break and rest a little. 😉

  4. SGM, another thought…remember when you are working with your reserve Marines, most of them also have another full time job that they can use to bring other knowledge to the fight.
    I found half way through OIFIII, the Start and Stripes reported that 60% of the troops in Iraq at that time were reserved and National Guard. Scary thought.

  5. Coffey, I suspect doting parents but everyone is allowed to have their own theory.

    Bahrain’s Major, sent you my new number to your Yahoo account!

    MSgt B, good chow is truly the way to a Marine’s heart. When I am asked what is my favorite food my go to response: hot chow served by other people.

    Paul, I was clicking my heels but not getting anywhere, and thanks!

    Book, funny enough I went out of my way to avoid parties when I was in Bahrain. It worries me you may be right.

    CI Roller, true. It’s best to able to nod in approval than have to do any of the work. As for full time jobs, I’m waiting for the PFC who can install internet in my apartment. Actually, a whole bunch of these guys are cops, firemen, and paramedics.

  6. It sounds like your new job will be an interesting mix. New and interesting challenges to keep you on your toes. Do they have zombies in Ohio?

  7. Sounds like one of our standard Drill weekends, except we are usually in the field. Even a HTC drill is a long day when you’re trying to get all the annual required training in on one weekend.

    Most guys do get 6-8 hours of sleep on Saturday since many of them have a 2 to 4 hour drive home Sunday night. We have one guy who drives 8 hours and another who drives 12 hours during the summer, when he is out of school.

  8. Welcome to Cleveland!
    (Its chock full of Zombies btw)
    Took your advice and started a class on Kali -love it. Excellent instructor. Tony Marcial.

  9. Anonymous 1, well Marines belong in the field more often than not I’d say. I don’t know about those long drives. I’d spring for the plane ticket.

    Anonymous 2, glad my advice worked out for you. Just remember traumatic brain injury is the only effective zombie repellant.

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