How many times have you been asked, "What is it about you Marines?" This
May help you explain what we share that is so special and what we have lived
That makes us remember. To understand, you have to live our experience,
Share what we have all shared and feel what we have all felt. It is about
Corps values and honor. It is about character. It is about a shared
Experience that changed our lives.
The common experience starts with DISORIENTATION. The Corps creates
A vacuum in your life, it takes away your hair, clothes and friends, and
Fills it with a Drill Instructor. He says things like, "Get off MY bus!",
"Do it NOW!", and, as you stand asshole to belly-button on the yellow
Footprints, your identity disappears. The D.I. Gives you a short lesson on
The UCMJ -- and you learn that rights belong to the institution, not to the
You will live in a squad bay and you will march everywhere. He speaks to
You in the future imperative -- he says, "YOU WILL..." and you do! He gives
You a new language -- deck, hatch, head -- It is a language that is
Steeped in a tradition you don't understand yet. He takes away your right
To speak in the first person and he takes away your first name. Your
Platoon number is what 's important now.
Before your first meal, you get 20 seconds to stow your gear and you learn
That the only way to get it done within the time limit is to help one and
Other...the TRANSFORM ATION begins. This is the culture of the Group, and
Its members are anonymous.
Although you don't know it, your Drill Instructor will become the most
Important person you will ever meet, and your weeks of boot camp will become
The defining cultural experience of your life. For the first time in your
Life, you encounter absolute standards of right and wrong, success and
Failure. When you screw up, everyone stops and they penalize you,
Immediately, so you won't forget.
Disorientation and Transformation are followed by TRAINING.
The rules are simple:
a.. Tell the truth
B.. Always do your best, no matter how trivial the task
C.. Choose the difficult right over the easy wrong
D.. Don't whine or make excuses
E.. Judge others by their actions; and above all,
A.. Look out for the group, before you look out for yourself.
During your training, you are pushed beyond your limits and you achieve. You
Learn to make excellence a habit. The common denominator among you and your
Fellow recruits is pride and accomplishment. Through your training you develop
Spirit and you develop self-discipline.
You learn the ingredients of CHARACTER: Integrity, Selflessness, and Moral
Courage. And you learn the Corps Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
These are your roots. The Corps is a rigid code that will stay with you
Forever. It will define your character, and it will guide you for the rest
Of your life. This is why there are no EX-Marines.
Once you can appreciate what you are about to become, you learn about those
Who have gone before you. You study our history and learn the lessons of
Countless heroes who acted not for self, but for comrade, Corps, and Country;
Marines are about taking care of each other, always have been,
Always will. It is our culture and it holds us together. As you learn the
History, you become part of the tradition. You have a new appreciation of
Your God, your Country, and your Corps.
One final element completes your training -- you become a rifleman.
The magnitude of what you have accomplished becomes apparent to you at
Graduation, when you finally earn your title and are called Marine. What
You know then, in your heart, but what you can't put into words, is that
There is something very special about this organization that is unlike any
Other organization you ever have been a part of. What you can't put into
Words, but what you know in your heart, is that the essence of the Marine
Corps resides with the lowest in rank;&nbs! P;the Marine is the Corps, and the
Corps is the Marine...your uniform says it all. When someone looks at you,
They don't see the name of your ship, a unit patch, or a branch
Insignia...what they see is a MARINE. That's all that counts! You are a
Marine! It is what matters to you and it is what matters to every other
Marine. You know that you may never feel this important again, and you will
Spend the rest of our life living the code and holding on to the feeling.
That every Marine is a rifleman, and that the essence of the Corps resides
with the lowest in rank, is the reason that the Corps bestows its name on
its enlisted. No other service does this, they don't even understand.
But there is more to our story than our boot camp experience. There is our
experience of sacrifice and our participation in the history and tradition of the Corps.
We share stories and tell of the humor that got us through the
tough times, but we also have stories we keep to ourselves, hiding the
painful memories too personal to share.
Shared experience and personal sacrifice are reasons the Marine Corps is a
Band of Brothers. It is the reason we celebrate today. The feeling you
have when you become a Marine lasts a lifetime. Whether you serve 3 years,
or 30, your experiences will never be forgotten. You will never work as
closely, or depend on others more, than you did in the Corps. The Corps is
your family...you can never leave and you are always welcome back. You are
EXPECTED to come back!
This shared experience and personal sacrifice is ! our common bond. It is
why we love each other and our country so much, and why we cling to our
traditions. Our celebration preserves and honors the memory of all who have
gone before us and it is an example and a standard for all who follow. In
a time when there are so few proud and good examples to follow, when so
little seems to count, our views, our beliefs, our PRACTICE of our tradition
is, by others standards, EXTREME. We are, perhaps, all our country has left
to guarantee that the principles upon which this nation was founded will survive.
Many presidents and congressmen have tried to do away with the Marine
Corps, but we are still here. Why? The answer is simple -- America doesn't
need a Marine Corps, America WANTS one! Marine, you are the reason she
feels that way. Remember that and feel good about it, especially today!