Although we all bitch and complain about our time in The Corps (we've all heard terms like The Crotch, Big Green Machine, etc..), as Marines we really love it. We love the challenge. We love the pride. And most of all we love the camaraderie.
Leaving the Marine Corps is tough because your brothers are no longer there with you. It can be a really hard pill to swallow.
If there's one thing I really miss it's the guys I served with. Through good times and bad your fellow Marine was always beside you. Remember those days playing hurry up and wait? Your Marines waited right there beside you. We did a million and one things to pass the time: sleep, play Spades, smoke a cig, throw in some dip or chew, talk about nothing...you remember.
It's funny that I find myself thinking about those boring times just as much as the hard times. How about the weird and sad times?
I remember company field training at the base of Mt. Fuji when all of a sudden a freak downpour and lightning storm pounced on us. We hunkered down to try and stay dry (you all know how well that works) when a bolt of lightning struck not fifty feet from our command hooch. The lightning hit one Marine and branched off and hit a few others. That poor Marine didn't make it.
That's another thing we learn to deal with. Death. I remember seeing my Marines cry for the first time at their brother's memorial service. It's a scene we've seen played out too many times in the past ten years. You think of Marines as rough and unshakable. We're all human. To do what Marines do doesn't just take strength and courage. It takes compassion for your fellow man as well.
Think of all those troops overseas right now. Maybe you're one of them. A lot of them aren't firing their rifles. They're helping the civilian population rebuild. It's a strange duel role that, I feel, Marines are perfectly suited for. One minute you're firing at the enemy; the next you're giving out candy and helping to build a school.
So to all our Marines out there in the field: we miss you.