You’re probably thinking why I would need to apologise to the US Marine Corps. The answer is the fact that I resented them for one thing for the first two decades since I left that great organisation and that is that they didn’t solve all my problems for me.
For all of my childhood, I was a shy, wimp brought on by my experiences and especially my Asperger’s which I didn’t know about back then. I was perceived by many as being weird although worse labels were given to me. As a result, I often suffered at the hands of bullies, the worst of which was during my junior high school days when I lived in one particular town. While the bullying lessened a great deal after I moved out of that town and throughout my high school days, it didn’t totally go away. Furthermore, the effects of those earlier days continued to plague my mind and by my junior year, I deduced that I was a pathetic creature.
During my high school years, I was a total war buff, especially World War II. I watched plenty of war movies during those years and many of those featured the marines. I loved films like “Sands of Iwo Jima,” “Retreat, Hell!” and “Beach Head.” Those films, often backed up from what I read in books, both historical fact and fiction had me thinking that the marines were supermen and that joining the marines was going to strip me down and build me up into something better. Therefore, in my senior year, I enlisted in the marines.
I went to boot camp full of expectation that I was going to come out a lot different than I went in. For the first few weeks, I eagerly tried to do everything I was expected to do, with some success in some areas and struggles in others. I was always getting PT’d for drill. However, in the back of my mind, I kept asking, “This is all good but when I’m I going to start to become tough?” Then about the fourth week, when my senior drill instructor was having an open Q&A session, I asked when the platoon was going to learn unarmed combat. The senior answered that they no longer taught it on account of the mothers of America complaining that their boys were getting hurt during training.
After that, while I continued to go through training, the back of my mind questioned whether it was worth it. It did cause struggles with me for the rest of boot camp but I did manage to graduate and be called a Marine. When I went home on leave from boot camp, I was nervous that some old nemesis would start trouble with me and whether I could handle myself. I thought I tempted fate when I put on my uniform and went to my high school but I had none of the problems I envisaged. A few days later, I got involved in a football game with an old bully from my early high school years but nothing came of that. Those experiences were great confidence boosts for me and all during my time in the corps, I would come home on leave and act tough while all the time, knowing the old me was still there.
I served my time and left after four years attaining the rank of corporal so I think my time was successful. However, throughout the time and after getting out, I still felt that I had wasted four years of my life because joining the marines hadn’t stripped my down and made me into a different person. This was after taking into considerations all the positive effects that my time in had on me. The fact that I could afford to go to college, that I had literally seen the world, (not many people go to both the European and Pacific theatres in a single enlistment). But still, inside I felt the sad loser and victim that I always believed myself to be and others too. As a result I thought I wasted four years.
Salvation came about ten years ago when I finally thought that professional help was a good idea when I was feeling way down. I began counselling and it was what the counselor said when I told her about joining the marines being a mistake. She told me that joining the marines wasn’t the mistake, my mistake was thinking that it was going to solve all my problems. It was a eureka moment for me, I finally realised that my problems were such that even twelve weeks on Parris Island wasn’t going to solve them. Furthermore, it did give me some tools to use to solve these problems but because I was too angry with the Marine Corps for not being a cure all, it took me two decades to realise that I had these tools to solve my problems with assistance on my own.
Now, I officially apologise to the Marine Corps for my resentment that it didn’t solve all my problems for me. It never said it would and I think I knew that all the time, it was just easy to blame them. I have moved on now and another thing my experiences gave me was the technical knowledge in writing “He Was Weird.” Who better than an ex marine to teach Mark how to shoot a gun although I know the marines wouldn’t condone a boy shooting up his school, some in the Corps would take pride that at least Mark had the best training possible to carry out his revenge.
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To by He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408389389&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird