As everyone who has ever met a U.S. Marine knows, by the time they receive the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, they are so inculcated in the Corps that they would chew glass with a smile on their faces if so directed by the drill instructor. Semper Fidelis. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Today, my husband and I visited with one of our son's friend from high school. We will call him "P". P always wanted to be a U.S. Marine. He worked very hard in high school to have the right grades. P and our son were in Navy Junior R.O.T.C. together and I got to know him from driving to competitions, which is how most mothers get to know anything about teenagers.
P did join the Marines after high school and was assigned to Motor T (motor transport). He was never in trouble and was promoted through the ranks. He was an E-5 (Sergeant) when he separated from the Marines. He did his time and was deployed to Iraq. He was with the fleet in Japan and was stationed at Twenty-nine Palms and helped to train units for deployment. He was never in trouble.
In January, 2012, the Pentagon announced that they would be cutting the Marines troop strength by 20,000. P was one of the ones cut, mainly because of a paperwork snafu. But, he didn't do something that is really important. He did not keep up with his education. The Marines being retained are the ones with multiple arrows in their quivers. The Marines who can fulfill multiple roles.
Talking to P today, I realized that being a Marine is who he is. A really good guy, with a truly great heart. I know that he would take a bullet for me. He will be a Marine forever, no matter what the paperwork says.
He is a loving husband, a caring father and a really good friend to our son. He is a United States Marine.