During this time in my career I was attending Nuclear Biological Chemical Defense School. I was led to believe this school would qualify me to train Marines to operate in chemically contaminated battlefields in conflicts against the forces of evil the world over. This belief was utter fantasy but that is not the subject of this story.
I was a sergeant attending an MOS producing school attended primarily by Marines just out of Boot Camp. As such, I was the NCO in charge of a class room of boot jarheads who had a natural tendency to get embroiled in various kinds of mischief and stupidity.
One night around midnight I was awoken in the squad bay by a young Marine who had been in a fist fight. He let me know he had been playing basket ball against some Army guys. One particular Soldier kept blatantly fouling him and running his mouth. This eventually ended up in fisticuffs, a past time young men sometimes engage in.
Being a responsible non-commissioned officer, I asked two simple questions.
“Are you hurt?” He wasn’t, but safety is paramount after all.
“Did you win?” The honor of the Corps is always a top subject. He answered in the affirmative so I didn’t worry about it anymore and sent him away.
Later, Army MPs came by as the loser had reported the incident. This created some small drama as the young Marine was taken away and the instructor staff was notified.
The next day it got back to me through our instructors that the Master Sergeant in charge of our course was furious with me for not having immediately reported the incident when I found out about it. The other instructors came to my defense remarking they would have done same thing I did. They were dumbfounded the MSgt was more pissed at me over the whole incident. In the end I was exonerated as two glaring truths continued to rear their twin heads: he wasn’t hurt and he won the fight which the MPs decided was a mutual endeavor vice assault. Go figure.
That troop welfare thing can get a little tricky sometimes, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible.