Marines can do anything.

My encounters with Navy Lts are as infamous as they are glorious. Why one would purposely engage a senior enlisted Marine is well beyond my power to speculate. On those occasions they do, it rarely goes the way they imagined it would.

Last month my Company Gunny and I were grabbing chow at the food court on NSA Bahrain. As we stood in line a young Navy Lt (0-3) walked up behind us. A glistening sheen of perspiration shown on his forehead indicating he had just come in from the sweltering heat.

Summer in Bahrain is not merely hot. Somewhere over the tiny island kingdom, sunshine is transformed into beams of magma. This causes a kind of heat and humidity the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature measures as “Molten.” The occasional breeze offers no relief as every gust feels like a hair dryer blistering the back of your neck.  Just leaving your office to go grab a bite can turn your afternoon into an episode from a reality survival show.

As the young Lt behind us gingerly patted out the flames on his uniform, my Gunny and I turned and greeted him with a hearty, “Good afternoon sir.” Taking this as some kind of invitation the plucky Lt sought to engage us in friendly Naval banter.

“Hey, I heard Marines can do anything,” he said readily. “Can you do something about this heat?”

Without hesitation or a trace of humor, I replied: “We can make it hotter.”

My pithy response and implied threat visibly deflated the unfortunate Lt. Shoulders slumped, he broke contact taking his smoldering utilities with him to the Chinese takeout line.

Turning back to the task at hand my Gunny wondered aloud: “What was he thinking?”

We may never know.

Semper Fi,
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. Oh, you big meanie. He probably sobbed his heart out all afternoon – Navy officers obviously are in thrall to you. He merely wanted a moment to bask in your reflected glory, share a few words with his idol, so he could later re-enact that tremendous conversation with his teddy bear Mr Snuggles and his America’s 1st Sgt Action Figure™ (tomahawk and Gilmore Girls DVD sold separately).

    I hope you’re happy.

  2. Uh oh, here we go.

    So my latest Marine encounter: I am Command Duty Officer, CDO. (Really it entails being a glorified baby-sitter on base when the CO and EA leave for the day.)

    So my turn-over comes to relieve me at 0700. It is a Gunny about to retire and we do our passdown. Then we had over to brief the EA on the previous day’s events.

    I notice that the Gunny is lock-step in step with me. Is this possible? I stutter step and sure enough, he Pink Panthers it! (where you shuffle and switch foot lead.)

    I contemplate stutter stepping all the way to the Captain’s office, but this thing called self-control kicks in and I leave it at that. . .

  3. Okie, it’s a reflex, I can’t stop it.

    Magoo, I suspect “in thrall” does not describe their feelings towards me what so ever.

    NavyOne, he probably did all that without even realizing it. Marines will get in step automatically. It’s a discipline thing and probably a foreign concept to Sailors.

  4. Hmmm. Discipline: foreign concept?

    لا، والانضباط ليس مفهوما الأجنبية إلى البحارة. مشاة البحرية الذين يستطيعون قراءة اللغة العربية هي فكرة أجنبية

  5. I love your sense of humor and am wondering when The American’s 1st Sgt Graphic Novel will be published? It’s going to be worth EVERY DOLLAR! It will be complimentary to the American 1st Sgt Action Figure (Tomahawk and Gilmore Girls DVD sold separately.)

  6. Kristina, I would need an artist capable of capturing the dynamic nature of my world.

    NavyOne, it’s my contribution to the war on terror.

    Wrexie, I will not divulge whether heat, kryptonite, brownies, or any other substances have any effect on my reflexes.

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