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by Anonymous Corporal, guest contributor.  [November 25, 2005]





[]  I joined the Marines when I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school. I walked into my nearest recruiting station and told the recruiter to "sign me up and give me infantry."

I told my parents two weeks later about my decision. They were not happy about it but they accepted my choice.

I was in college at the time and decided to join the reserves. Boot camp was not that hard physically. I think anybody in average shape can make it through three months of Paris Island. Psychologically it was a joke.

I am a New Yorker, so I am mentally tougher than most people from other states. Some of the southern boys had a hard time and would cry at night time or write to their 18-year-old wives every day.

The drill instructors would hit us and try to humiliate us, but they mostly focused on the weak recruits. Most of the DI's are bullies who were probably picked on when they were kids, and will probably become asshole cops once their enlistment ends. There were some real cool DI's who really loved and believed in the Corps.

Recruit training is easy. Almost everyone passes.

Since I was a reservist after boot camp, I went back to school once the summer was over. My only commitment was one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer with my reserve unit.

The demographics of reservists are a little different from that of my active duty brothers. Half the company was filled with college kids living their dreams on the weekends and the other half are blue-collar guys making an extra buck on the side. We had a lot of cops, correctional officers, and a few firemen in our company.

The Marines, and especially the infantry, are mostly composed of white boys. I guess the mystic of being a Marine Corps infantryman resonates with that group more than other racial groups. I am black so I was a big minority in my company. In my platoon of 40 marines, I was one of only two black guys. Racism does persist in the military. The blue-collar guys were more racist than the college guys, but that is predictable.


Manhattan Sharks


After about five years of routine weekend training which consists of rifle range, swim qualification, fire and maneuver practices, and patrolling, my unit was finally mobilized to go to Iraq.

I really was not scared of dying, but I did figure I would lose a leg or, God forbid, an arm. One guy in our company shot himself in the leg in order to not go. That kid got six months jail time and a bad conduct discharge. One guy said he was a conscious objector, and a few people had "family problems" preventing them from coming with us.

I was like, cool, let's leave the trash behind and go with guys who actually want to be there.

I landed in Iraq on 4/1/2003. I have to admit, flying into a war zone is the scariest thing I have ever done in my life -- and I am a black kid from the projects of Brooklyn who had already seen people shot and killed. It is just different when you have a whole army dug in preparing to shoot you.

The thing that I first noticed in Iraq was the machine gun shells that were freshly lying in front of our camp ground. We wondered who had just fought here and where had they gone? And more importantly, will they come back?

After a few days on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah our commanders sent us in to secure the city.  Luckily for us, the Marine expeditionary force which was already in the city had pretty much done the job for us, so we had no bad guys to kill and none looking to kill us.

My platoon moved into a former government building.  For the next five months our routine was two patrols during the day and two in the evening. When we were not on patrol, we were guarding our building or just hanging out watching TV, playing cards, jerking off to porn, etc.

We had a lot of fun with the Iraq people, especially the kids. They loved us. The men are a little weird and very gay. I personally was not cool with grown ass men blowing me kisses or giving me flowers. The only women we saw were the old and fat ones. The young ones are locked up in the house.

Unlike the Vietnam guys, there was no pussy for us in this war. We were actually disappointed about that. What is the point of conquering a country without the spoils of war?

The only pussy that was available to us was the female soldiers. Unfortunately for us, we had no females attached to our unit. The guys in the army and the air force got all the pussy.

We left Iraq in July of 2003, and not a day too soon. At the time we left is when the war started to get worse with the insurgency and IED's. We really felt for the guys in Baghdad because they were catching hell.

After we left Iraq, we went back to Kuwait for a couple of weeks and then back to New York. Back home we got a parade and a family day party. My parents are assholes, so they don't even show up. That's cool. I was just happy to get back to good ole USA!


Manattan Sharks


Two months later, I am watching the news and the building that my platoon stayed in for five months was attacked by a suicide bomber. The Italian troops who replaced us were in the compound. Twenty-six of them died and over 100 were wounded. If they had not replaced us, I would have been in the building and would most likely be dead.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday. I am no longer in the corps, but I still keep in contact with my boys. My boy called me up and told me they asked for volunteers to go back to Iraq. Sixty guys decided to volunteer for another year-long deployment. This is not the choice I would have personally made, but it does say a lot about the commitment that out troops have to the cause.

Actually, most of those guys are disappointed that they didn't get a chance to use their weapon the first time around and want to get a "confirmed kill." I can understand where they are coming from. I never shot my weapon, and however sadistic this might sound, I do wish I got to kill somebody.

That being said you, couldn't pay me enough to go back to the "SWA" (Southwest Asia).

You guys that are thinking about joining the military, I say go for it and join the infantry. You will definitely go to war and will most likely get to shoot and kill things. You will meet all kinds of cool, and not so cool, people from all over the country. You won't learn any relevant skills for when you get out, but if you join at 18 and get out at 22, you can always go back to college.

Most people in this country are weak. After a tour with a Marine unit in Iraq, or even in Afghanistan, you will be a cold-hearted killer with no fear in the world. You will also realize how great America is, how much opportunity this country provides.

Just don't get killed. I have a friend who was shot in the head, and another who is a double amputee. I guess that is the price one pays to be "The few, the proud, the..."


The author adds: "I am not going to give you my name or photo. I just started my career with a federal govt agency. I have a bright future and need not the attention."


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