Making The Corps Essay, Research Paper
Thomas Ricks, author of Making the Corps , gives a description about the United States Marine Corps basic military training. The book s main focal point is Platoon 3086 at Parris Island, S.C., in 1995. Their story is about their eleven weeks boot camp training to become a full-fledged marine. Mr. Ricks writes about what separates the marines from American society, he writes how the Marine Corps differ from other branches of the Unites States military, as well as life after boot camp.
How the Marine Corps values show contempt to those of the American society
The Marine Corps transforms young civilians into a life of values: honor, courage, and commitment. These values are instilled in each recruit as they go through the eleven weeks process of boot camp. According to Marines these values are to the Corps and comes before self (p. 55). In American society we work to better ourselves first rather than as a whole.
Drill Instructors strip all your old values and Marine Corps values are formed. There is no I , I is gone (p.60). To be a marine you must shed all thinking as I and me , and think as we and recruit . In American society, striving for independence is a goal for most people, and instead of working as a group we tend to compete with each other to get what we want. As a Marine you must think as a group, learn how to move as a group and you are drilled until not a single action is left to individual improvisation (p.64).
On Drill Sergeant states that a Marine will accept nothing less than the very best effort from you at all times (p.54). In American society, if someone is having a bad day because of something, we say don t worry about it, you ll do better tomorrow . The Marine expects you to give 100% at all times (p.56), and to be completely honest in all things. In American society we say that s a little white lie , as a Marine, you never lie. We get chances all the time in American society, we are allowed to correct the mistakes we make. As a Marine, the instructors do not like to give several chances, because this means that you are inferior and will hold the Corps back (p.61).
Recruits do not have access to alcohol, cars, candy, radio s, television and many other privileges that we use in American society (p.55). This usually happens in society when you live at home on punishment. The Corps becomes the center of being (p.61), all focus is to the marines. As a recruit becomes a Marine, he forms a bond and becomes an elite member that American society looks to, to be the hero during wartime, and uncertainty during peacetime. These feelings have been going on since the Marines have been established, and the reason for that is because of American Society s ignorance of military affairs. The military has led and played an important role in helping shape and win war victories for the United States, but the Marine Corps role today is questionable to many. Why? Because For the first time in our history, we are maintaining a large military establishment during peace time (p.23).
Marine Corps is different from the other branches of United States military
Through-out its existence the Marine Corps has demonstrated through their ways of teaching and going about missions that they are separate and different from the other sources of United States military. The characteristic or attribute that separates them from the rest is their culture. They often say they are a culture apart .(pg19) What the Marine Corps means when they say this phrase is that the Air Force has its planes, the Navy its ships, and the Army its obsessively written and obeyed doctrine that dictates how to act, while the Marines have its culture- its values and integrity that help make a Marine. But like the Army s doctrine the Marine s have one of their own, it s the Small Wars Manuel .
-The Small Wars Manuel not only describes and depicts the lessons and meanings taught in the Marine Corps, it gives a source of back ground information that, is the history of the Corps. The manual describes past operations and the style they were handled in, by the use of low intensity conflict . (pg180) For instance, the Army s old tactics used to be an approach of going in with heavy amounts of artillery against small quick units like the Red Army. But they found out that these troops were small but quick but were effective enough to get the job done. So now the United States Army, as are the Navy and the Air Force, remodeling some of their units after the Marines by becoming smaller, but quicker and more ephiscient. (pg24)
-Even though the Marine Corps has not done as well as the Army in recruiting more black officers, they have effectively addressed the issue of racism. The Marines Corps from the highest ranking officer to the lowest knows that if there is a whiff of racism, at least of whites toward blacks- will end a career .(pg
-A heavy emphasis is place upon even the lowest ranking officers in the Marines Corps. This is unusual and different, because one would figure the highest ranking officer would have more responsibility placed on his shoulders, but not in the Marines. Even though the Marine Corps is separate from the other branches, they work together as one big family. To emphasize this, the Marines often us the phrase Every Marine a rifleman . They use this to say that every man has to carry his load in order for the whole to succeed. This is very important to the Marines because just about half of the Marines are an E-3 or below (lowest rank in the service) and this is just twice the percentages of the other branches.
-With the heavy emphasis on responsibility, the Marines also have shown ways of teaching respect and values to today s youth. What the Marine Corps is able to do is deal with the bottom half of American Society . Because of their installed values of respect and responsibility they are usually more open with speaking of issues than the other members of the branches. The average Marine lance corporal speaks with more self-confidence to a reporter than does the average Army captain .(pg20) An example is when asking a soldier What are you? The difference in the response that s given. An Army officer will say I m in the Army , while a Marine will say I m a Marine . The difference is The first is a matter of membership or occupation, the second speaks to identity. One belongs to the Army, but one is a Marine and to be a Marine is sufficient . (pg238)
Life after boot camp:
-After boot camp and graduation many of the recruits find that they have been changed, but the real challenge is when they enter the real world and find out if that change is permanent. As these former recruits, now Marines, venture back into the outside world they realize how filthy their world s used to be. While taking the train back home Hoover, who served in platoon 3086, notices that the whites are sitting with whites and the blacks with the blacks, and this appears unusual because back at boot camp everyone sits together no matter what color, like a family. He also sees that these civilians , as Marines often call ordinary people, are rude, nasty and overweight. To Hoover this appears to be disgusting. Before boot camp none of these things were recognized, but not that Hoover s mind is Marine-like and his eyes open he realizes that these people are rude and sloppy. The new Marines all feel the same way about ordinary day people including their old friends. They feel that their old friends are losers and that they would rather be back at boot camp making good use of the day.
-With the feeling of rather being back at boot camp, some new Marines started to have unusual recollections. The boot camp left such an effect on some of the Marines that when they began to partake in an action, they would think before they act. In this thought process an image of Sergeant Carey would appear in their minds, and all they could think about was his yelling and screaming. While shopping for clothes, Private Bayton says that an image of Sergeant Carey appeared and all he thought about was would Sergeant Carey approve of these clothes? Even in McDonald s when a new Marine was ordering his food , the cashier asked him if he would like anything extra and his response was a strong Marine like No Sir .
-The Marine uniform has brought towards these new Marines a sense of respect from civilians. Even from the law, as one new Marine remembers that when he was pulled over for doing 40 miles per hour in and 25 miles per hour zone. Once he showed the officer his identification, he was dismissed of the speeding charge because the police officer saw that he was not only a fellow officer but a Marine
-Through out the book it seems as though boot camp had an great effect upon its participants but those were basically the whites, but what about the blacks? One black had a different if at all transformation, and that is Marine Winston. He admits that although things at boot camp were hard, the streets he says are hardest because it s a war out there everyday. Unlike the other new Marines he still understands, and does not feel bad about what his friends have to do in order to live (sell drugs, violence). He feels this way because he believes that a crime is only a crime if you get caught .(pg235) But there is a part of him that was changed, and that is he is not tempted at doing what he used to do, like selling drugs and resorting to violence. Marine Winston also says that Sergeant Carey appears in his conscious.
-These new Marines are recognized officially as Marines when they complete the MCT-Marine Corps Training. While there many officers formally of platoon 3086 reported what they thought. The officer from platoon 3086 felt that the training failed to live up to their and the boot camp s expectations. The Sergeants and drill instructors attending the training were said to be lazy, overweight and they showed little if no motivation. Joshua Praise, officer of 3086, says that the MCT sucked, it was a joke. You get out of boot camp all motivated and you don t do anything .(pg239) Many other Marines felt that while at Marine Corps Training the other Marines(some not part of platoon 3086) were totally disregarding to what they were taught in boot camp, like Marines don t cheat, lie, steal, or mess around on the weekend with unknown women. Although these and many other values were taught in boot camp they were often broken afterwards.
-Marines Demarco and Hall are perfect examples of how they took advantage of life being different during MCT by breaking the rules. Every Friday, both would go back to their hometown of New Jersey and they would return the following Sunday. While in New Jersey Marine Hall gets his girlfriend pregnant. As an result a thought of leaving the Marines pops up in his head, but he is told that he will be shipped to Hawaii. So now, he plans to marry his girlfriend and take her with him, but the official order says that he will be shipped to Okinawa and he must go alone. Marine Hall refuses to leave and he tries to duck out the Marine Corps. So the Marines decide to dock his pay, and therefore he has no money for the baby of his car payments. As a result he now works at a pizza parlor.
-Not all the members of platoon 3086 had a hard time adjusting. One member adjusted well and that is Marine Lee. He felt the same way as the others towards the Marine Corps Training, but he did not let it bother him nor get in his way of his goal, of becoming a full-fledged Marine. In fact he did better than a large percentage of his class, by being a top two graduate and receiving a promotion to lance corporal. (Note: Marines Weber and Buijis also did well)
On the other hand Marine Winston, African-American, got into trouble by getting involved in small fights. He was also involved in an altercation with the police, and because of this he wound up being sent to jail and was later shipped to Japan. While living in Japan he says that everything there was beautiful, orderly, and without violence or trouble. But he still got into another altercation there. Overall he says that the Marines still have many issues dealing with racism, but he s glad that he joined because it got him.