Marines are a different breed altogether, and when they first transition into the 'civilian world' they find themselves looking for that camaraderie they were accustomed to every day for however long they were in. Marines have always stuck together, but they tend to do so even more once their time in service has ended. In this post we will look at some of the reasons why Marines stick together in more detail.
Marines are set apart from the rest, making this bond among 'brothers' and 'sisters' in arms that much more strong. Being the smallest branch of service with the least amount of federal funding, the Marines receive hand me down equipment and have to do the most with the least. Hardship tends to bring people together, and Marines typically have no shortage of hardship as they are indoctrinated in it from day one in Boot Camp. That's got to be the start in reasons why Marine Veterans stick together and take care of their own. Let's dig deeper...
It has been said by an unknown source that, "... we are the unwanted, doing the unthinkable for the ungrateful. Doing so much for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing".
When a Marine makes that last walk into the Admin section of his/her unit to receive the infamous DD-214, the realization that there is no turning back hits them in the face. Some are eager for the challenge, and others, not so much. Either way you either take the leap or you don’t. Whatever you decide will start the precedence for how your new ‘Civilian career’ is going to go. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons Marines stick together.
1) ‘Anyone who stepped on the yellow footprints is a friend of mine’
Marines don’t have soft spots, but if they did it would definitely be for other Marines. While they are in the Corps, ‘tough love’ is what continues to carry the day, but in the end it is all about Mission Accomplishment. Being soft with each other isn’t what Marines are about. However, when it comes to Marine Veterans being out in the ‘real world’, dealing with civilians and seeing things ‘on the other side’ that goes against everything you were taught in the Corps, Marines sticking together takes on another face.
2) They have similar interests and personalities
In the Corps you have Marines from all walks of life, and experiences, coming together to accomplish the Mission. Race, Color, Creed, etc. has no place in a unit that favors doing their jobs to stay mission ready. The military in general is a perfect example of everyone getting along and not falling into the societal norms of racism, etc. It hasn’t always been the case, and yes there are some bad seed examples. As soon as you check into your first unit you quickly realize that you now have a Marine family that will have your back when need be. When you get so accustomed to living side by side with others whom you may never have interacted with before, you start to be more compassionate to the fact that there is more to the truth than what you have been fed leading up to that point in your life, from your small part of the world. A great example is a white Marine who never interacted with an African American before joining the military. I have personally led a few.
3) Having served in some of the same areas, they can relate
Marines tend to be deployed on average 3-4 times during their military career. Some are stationed in combat zones and others are not. Regardless, you are able to see different cultures and experience a side of life that the majority of American citizens will never see. When you are deployed to combat zones it’s like being thrown into a virtual reality war movie, with the only exception being that this is life or death. The first time my platoon came under direct enemy fire in Iraq it was eye opening, even though you knew to expect it. But, the first time I had two Marines directly under my charge killed in action it changed my perspective on life. Those situations bring people together.
4) They will always have your back
Marines take care of their own. If a street brawl was happening around the corner and a Marine found out that some other Marines were in a bind, any Marine worth their salt would pick up the nearest weapon and head out the door. I’m not advocating violence, since at least one person has already thought it, but if you aren’t a Marine (or military veteran) you wouldn’t understand. On the same side of the coin, if a Marine was in a bind you could easily find another one quickly coming to his/her aid and doing whatever is necessary to fix the situation. Even if it may not be in the most legal sense.
5) They will give you the shirt off their back if need be
Piggy backing off of point four, because though they are one in the same, they’re not. If a Marine is in a tough spot and is homeless, just lost his job, can’t buy groceries, etc. a Marine is going to step up to the plate and at least figure out a solution. They may literally give you the shirt off their back or something else maybe not so figuratively.
Now, you’re probably thinking; only five reasons why Marines stick together? Other websites I have seen have shown seven or ten. Great for them! Those same articles also were talking about why Veterans (in general) stick together. Yes, Veterans do stick together and these same five reasons would apply to other Veterans from the other branches of service, but the reason why there are only five is that these are the only ones that encompass the overall topic. Yes, reasons four and five are somewhat the same, making it four, but anyone with critical thinking and half a sense of knowledge of the Marine Corps would probably agree that this list covers the bases. Wrapping this present of information up for you in a nutshell, Marines need to seek out the company of others that can relate and make life a little easier at times. Especially if you’re the one in the brawl. With that being said, I recommend that ALL Marine Veterans join their local Marine Corps League detachment. They are all over the country and all you need to do is conduct a little route recon (on the Googler) and ring their digits to get a little information. Look up the Marine Corps League website at www.mclnational.org. Semper Fidelis ‘Devil Dogs’!!