After two years in Bahrain and three years on Inspector & Instructor duty, it had been a while since I had actually been on a Marine base. We arrived at the air station one night after a number of swashbuckling adventures driving across the US. When we pulled up to the gate, I engaged the Marine on post about where things were. He dutifully punctuated his every sentence with “Sergeant Major.” “Yes, SgtMaj. You’ll take the first left and it’ll be on your right SgtMaj. SgtMaj, SgtMaj, SgtMaj.” As we pulled away my wife remarked: “I forgot your first name was Sergeant Major. Don’t expect that crap at home.”
The temperature has been steadily climbing into the triple digits since we arrived and the yearly annual rainfall is currently at half and inch. Additionally, the UV rating has topped out at 11. This means you can develop skin cancer by simply glancing out a window. Despite this the flag condition usually remains green. Yay!
Life in the Air Wing is somewhat culturally different than the infantry side. I can tell I’m on an air station because I saw a SSgt enter the base barber shop I was at and leave with the exact same haircut he walked in with. Hippie.
Fellow Marines are no doubt familiar with the term “swinging with the Wing,” but I’ll admit all I’ve seen so far are young Marines killing themselves 24 hours a day to get planes in the sky. Despite the infantryman’s propensity to regard all other Marines as pogues, nothing gives a grunt more confidence on patrol than looking up and seeing Marine aircraft overhead. I’ve also never heard anyone bad mouth pilots while missiles were screaming up the tail pipes of insurgent bongo trucks.