Monday, July 23, 2007

Oaths and Excuses

Shouting to his fellow Marines on the muddy, blood soaked battlefield of France in World War I, Daniel Daly once yelled, “Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?” This illustrates the legendary warrior spirit that Marines are famous for. Unfortunately, not every Marine has fostered this spirit within them. Marines can be broken down into two easily defined groups: Motivated Marines, and “box checkers.” Fortunately, the box checker is the exception, and not the rule.

Box checkers represent a type of person that you might find anywhere in life. They strive to do the bare minimum in every respect. If asked why they joined the Corps, the box checker will give a response along the lines of, "I needed money for college," or, "My parents were going to kick me out," or, "I couldn't find work back home." While these may be nominal reasons for seeking employment, they are not the right reasons for joining the Marine Corps. The box checker almost seems to make excuses for joining the Corps. The Corps requires discipline, dedication, and drive, not mediocrity. The box checker is simply putting a "check in the box" on the checklist of life. They are killing time, and collecting a paycheck. Their glaring lack of performance, in every area, hobbles any desire they may have to succeed. Box checkers are not trying to excel, they are trying to merely get by. Their military appearance is pathetic, like a trash bag full of doorknobs. Their performance at physically demanding tasks, in comparison to traditional Marine Corps expectations, is laughable, at best. Thankfully, they are routinely out shined by their superior counterparts, the motivated Marines.

The motivated Marine personifies what makes the Marine Corps great. Ask the motivated Marine why he, or she, joined the Corps, and you’ll likely get an answer similar to, “Because I wanted to serve my country,” or “I wanted to join the best,” or even, “I’ve always wanted to be a Marine.” These are not always tangible reasons, but they leave no doubt that you are dealing with a motivated Marine. The motivated Marine shows genuine enthusiasm for their job, and way of life. These Marines are easy to spot, with their short haircuts, clean dress, and confident swagger. Enthusiasm for their Corps almost oozes from their pores. They show up early, go home late, and can be counted on to get the mission accomplished. Their uniforms are immaculate, with knife blade creases, and lovingly polished brass. They are the ones that you want at your side in a pitched battle.

While both types of Marines have volunteered to serve their country, the motivated Marine seems to hold that ideal close to their heart. You can see their motivation and dedication in their every action. The box checker, however, is content to trudge along, doing the bare minimum to get by. Somehow, these two groups manage to co-exist, fight our nation's battles, and win against determined enemies. Even with a mild array of shortcomings, Marines stand ready to guard against the evils of tyranny around the globe.

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