Semper Fidelis: Becoming a Marine- Part 1 of ? Where to start?

Disclaimer:

This probably seems a bit... out of place for this particular community, but I'm not really "part of" another community, and I kind of felt like sharing my experience so far and try to reach out to anyone who might be thinking of a military career, especially with how easy it can be to do for the wrong reasons or with the wrong expectations. While I have immense respect and admiration for the Marine Corps, and it was the branch that I picked to go for, I am by no means looking to sway towards any one branch of the military, nor the military at all. The Marine Corps, I believe, was the right choice for me, but the men and women serving the United States are all service-members, and that is all that matters to me. I know people in pretty much every military branch out there, and they are all people I greatly respect both as individuals who have made sacrifices for my country, and just as people who have been good to me and those that I care about. I'll probably poke a few jabs here and there at various bits and pieces of the wonderful military culture, but that doesn't mean I actually think that the Army's basic training is anything to scoff at, that airmen are glorified couch potatoes, or that the Coast Guard- well, chances are I mean just about anything I say about them, but I also probably won't say anything about them so, we'll just leave it at that.

Again, I am not a member of any branch of the military, I am simply making an effort to achieve that, and documenting and hopefully conversing about the experience as I go. I am not speaking for any branch, particularly the Marine Corps. I am not an official source of information, and you should ALWAYS confirm anything I say with a recruiter or other reputable source should you feel the desire to go that far.

What the hell do I aim to achieve by doing this?

It's pretty simple really. I want to explain the process of joining the United States Marine Corps as I experience it. It as been a long and difficult road for me, often for reasons of my own fault, and just as often for reasons out of my control. It was a journey that took me 6 months just to decide to begin, and ultimately will end with about the same amount of time training to become a Marine, to become a combat ready Marine, and to prepare me for my MOS.

I'd like to give anyone out there who is thinking of joining a service, particularly those who like me, are younger, and are still in or just out of high school, a decent idea of what it means, and what you need to do and know and some context to help them decide if such a huge decision is really worth it for them.

The decision to join the military, even if you never end up deployed in a combat zone, is a big one. When you leave boot camp, you have an obligation that will last years, and there are significant penalties if you do not fulfill that obligation. I am enlisting for 4 years of active duty, and 4 years of reserves. That's 8 years of my life where the Corps will be a part of my life. Half of that time, it will be most of my life. I may be shipped to a combat zone such as Afghanistan, and have to survive the hazards of such a deployment. It is not a decision you come to lightly.

Where to start?

The question I have right now is where the hell should I start this off? While I certainly know the things that I wanted to know, I don't know what other's want to know. Do I lead off with the obligations and the complications and the consequences of my decision, and risk sounding like a martyr, or scaring folks off? Do I start with the possibilities and the perks and benefits of service life, and risk sounding like a recruiter? Do I start with a checklist of things to do in order to get the ball rolling and an explanation of how the process went for me, and risk boring the socks off of all of you? I'm not really sure just yet, I think maybe I'll start with WHY I decided I wanted to join the military, and what drew me to the Marines, and hopefully I'll get some input on where I should start after that, and then really get into the meat of it.

Please, give some feedback! I know I'm probably not going to get a lot of bites with this, being as the community is what it is, but I know there are some service members out there in the community and so there must be those who are looking into joining or might be open to the idea, or who might just be curious about the process and the experience. Let me know if there are particular things you want to know, questions you want answered, or just need a pep talk to help you get up and get your ass to a recruiter and start walking down the path. Or hell, if you want me to convince you why you SHOULDN'T join the military, I can probably muster up a good few reasons too. I'm just trying to help educate people, and share my experiences with you all.

Part 2

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Disclaimer:

This probably seems a bit... out of place for this particular community, but I'm not really "part of" another community, and I kind of felt like sharing my experience so far and try to reach out to anyone who might be thinking of a military career, especially with how easy it can be to do for the wrong reasons or with the wrong expectations. While I have immense respect and admiration for the Marine Corps, and it was the branch that I picked to go for, I am by no means looking to sway towards any one branch of the military, nor the military at all. The Marine Corps, I believe, was the right choice for me, but the men and women serving the United States are all service-members, and that is all that matters to me. I know people in pretty much every military branch out there, and they are all people I greatly respect both as individuals who have made sacrifices for my country, and just as people who have been good to me and those that I care about. I'll probably poke a few jabs here and there at various bits and pieces of the wonderful military culture, but that doesn't mean I actually think that the Army's basic training is anything to scoff at, that airmen are glorified couch potatoes, or that the Coast Guard- well, chances are I mean just about anything I say about them, but I also probably won't say anything about them so, we'll just leave it at that.

Again, I am not a member of any branch of the military, I am simply making an effort to achieve that, and documenting and hopefully conversing about the experience as I go. I am not speaking for any branch, particularly the Marine Corps. I am not an official source of information, and you should ALWAYS confirm anything I say with a recruiter or other reputable source should you feel the desire to go that far.

What the hell do I aim to achieve by doing this?

It's pretty simple really. I want to explain the process of joining the United States Marine Corps as I experience it. It as been a long and difficult road for me, often for reasons of my own fault, and just as often for reasons out of my control. It was a journey that took me 6 months just to decide to begin, and ultimately will end with about the same amount of time training to become a Marine, to become a combat ready Marine, and to prepare me for my MOS.

I'd like to give anyone out there who is thinking of joining a service, particularly those who like me, are younger, and are still in or just out of high school, a decent idea of what it means, and what you need to do and know and some context to help them decide if such a huge decision is really worth it for them.

The decision to join the military, even if you never end up deployed in a combat zone, is a big one. When you leave boot camp, you have an obligation that will last years, and there are significant penalties if you do not fulfill that obligation. I am enlisting for 4 years of active duty, and 4 years of reserves. That's 8 years of my life where the Corps will be a part of my life. Half of that time, it will be most of my life. I may be shipped to a combat zone such as Afghanistan, and have to survive the hazards of such a deployment. It is not a decision you come to lightly.

Where to start?

The question I have right now is where the hell should I start this off? While I certainly know the things that I wanted to know, I don't know what other's want to know. Do I lead off with the obligations and the complications and the consequences of my decision, and risk sounding like a martyr, or scaring folks off? Do I start with the possibilities and the perks and benefits of service life, and risk sounding like a recruiter? Do I start with a checklist of things to do in order to get the ball rolling and an explanation of how the process went for me, and risk boring the socks off of all of you? I'm not really sure just yet, I think maybe I'll start with WHY I decided I wanted to join the military, and what drew me to the Marines, and hopefully I'll get some input on where I should start after that, and then really get into the meat of it.

Please, give some feedback! I know I'm probably not going to get a lot of bites with this, being as the community is what it is, but I know there are some service members out there in the community and so there must be those who are looking into joining or might be open to the idea, or who might just be curious about the process and the experience. Let me know if there are particular things you want to know, questions you want answered, or just need a pep talk to help you get up and get your ass to a recruiter and start walking down the path. Or hell, if you want me to convince you why you SHOULDN'T join the military, I can probably muster up a good few reasons too. I'm just trying to help educate people, and share my experiences with you all.

Part 2

Posted by Inkerman

Will you have access to internets at bootcamp to keep us updated?

Posted by Dagbiker

My brother is a marine. Im on the bus, on my phone, and so cant tell you about his expeirance right now but when I get a chance I will

Posted by Otzlowe

Your first paragraph is refreshing. It might be partially due to the fact that I'm from the country, but most of the Marines I know are annoyingly self-righteous (and got in it just to be the most "glorious" part of the military), especially toward other branches of the military. For that reason alone, I've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder against Marines. (That, and bootcamp apparently conditions Marines to start referring to all standing walls as bulkheads? Something I've never really understood).

Aaanyway, despite the fact that I'm a pansy artist, I feel that this thread is still entirely pertinent. For a large period of time in my life, I was heavily considering the military due to no other options that seemed "worthwhile." That, and I spent a lot of time romanticizing the concept of martyrdom. It feels kind of silly to admit to, but I was essentially considering it because I felt like being shot to death in another country would matter more than anything else I did.

I can safely say that I'm glad that I stayed away from that decision. I would never be cut out of it, in the first place, and I have since found a variety of worthwhile purposes in life. It might not necessarily be as "exciting" as traipsing around in a playground full of guns, But it's definitely something, and it was definitely worth the time to make these kinds of considerations.

Giant Bomb might not be the "best" target audience, but I'm sure there are plenty here, still, who this matters too. Besides, you can't be doing anyone a disservice by trying to talk about these things!

Posted by DudeSupreme

As an Airman I probably dont know too much that is exactly relevant to being a Marine, but here are some basic tips for joining up.

  • Start working out. Seriously. Try to at least do more running, the military loves to run some miles. Unless you are an exercise fanatic, or have played a lot of high school/college sports you probably could use a little more exercise. I know it was true for me, and again the Air Force is nowhere near as strenuous I imagine the Marine Corps are.
  • Pick your career field wisely. There are TONS of jobs available, intel, infantry, services, maintenance, medical, finance work, etc. You wont know everything about it until you are in it, but it doesnt hurt to ask around with people you know what they do, what do the jobs you want entail. If you have a bachelors degree by all means try to become an officer.
  • Dont freak out during Basic. Its rough, its supposed to be! But its only a few weeks, you will make it. Be smart and just do what you are told.
  • Prepare to be deployed. You WILL deploy during your enlistment. If you dont think you can handle being away from family and friends for months at a time maybe rethink this endeavor.
Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@Otzlowe: heh. Yeah, I'm not looking forward to all the naval terminology, I've never been good at rewiring that way. The Marine Corps is a actually part of the Department of the Navy, as you can see above. The Marine Corps is an amphibious branch of the military, and are often stationed at sea, either above or below the water. But at the same time, there are a lot of silly things they "teach" you to do at basic, so you can't take everything that recruits do too seriously. I'll get into that in a later part.

As for Marine's being a bit.... overzealous... in their pride of the Corps, a big part of that is how they are trained. But at the same time, a hell of a lot of soldiers will be just as quick to talk shit about other branches. Honestly, most of the military seems to be a joke to a lot of service members. The Air Force and Coast Guard and to a lesser extent the Navy get a lot of shit, and the Corps and Army despite being "sister branches" have a particularly intense rivalry. Most of the Marines and Soldiers I know don't take it too far, it's certainly a rivalry that most embrace, but at the end of the day they would die for one another if the situation called for it.

@Dagbiker: Yeah I remember your brother coming up at some point in the past. I'll be interested in what you have to say :)

@Inkerman: I get letters, and that's about it, other than about 30 seconds to call home and say I arrived. It'll likely be a while before I end up at basic, so I'll see if I can figure out a way I can still update, perhaps I'll have someone back home who can type up my letters. But chances are I'll be focusing on my training so there will not be much for me to say. I'll try and cover basic and what I know about it prior to my ship date as well, so there will be a good amount of information from a number of sources as far as what it's like at MCRD.

Posted by BlinkyTM

Awesome, good luck dudebro.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@SlimJimm: Good advice. I'd say the most important one off the bat is workin out, getting into good shape. They will ask a lot of you at basic and you will be constantly active and doing something. You will do a 10 mile march in full gear, you will be required to run 3 miles, you will need to do a lot of pushups (if you can't do more than 20, forget about it), they want you do do at least 2 pullups before you go to basic but you're kidding yourself if you think 2 is really enough. I'll probably tackle basic training the entry after next, as it's probably the most intimidating and pressing matter when it comes to joining the Corps. They ask a lot of you, but it's not really as scary as a lot of people would have you think. If you can bring yourself to push what you have to the limit, chances are you can make it as long as you apply yourself.

Glad you mentioned fields, I should definitely do an entry covering all of that as it can be a bit overwhelming, it was certainly a bit much for me especially with how much a lot of the other guys around me seemed to know about it all.

Posted by deathstriker666

I'm confused here. You're giving advice, but you haven't even begun basic training?

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@deathstriker666 said:

I'm confused here. You're giving advice, but you haven't even begun basic training?

I'm documenting my experience and sharing the things I've discovered through research and speaking with my recruiter and other service members. I am not at all saying "Hey I'm the tell all authority on joining the military!" I'm just sharing what I'm going through and offering any advice I have to offer. For example, I may not have been to basic, or even touched an M16A2, but I can certainly tell someone how to take it apart and put it back together. I know the General Orders. I know the rifle creed. I know good resources for all of this stuff, and more. I know what recruiters tell you throughout the process. This is all about the process of getting to basic and, probably eventually will wrap up with my experience going through training and perhaps an epilogue after I've spent some time deployed. You can believe me or not, it's up to you. This information is out there and pretty easy to find, I'm not going to be saying shit that'll be hard to either back up or dismantle. I'm not really trying to give advice so much as explain what my experience has been/is.

Posted by doublezeroduck

Joining the military. FUCKIN SMART!