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I remember getting that phone call on a Sunday afternoon. The thought of “what type of person would have the temerity to call me on a Sunday afternoon: raced through my mind. The answer was one that set my mind into a state of juvenile rage. I immediately told this military recruiter that he would never show his face on my block. To which he replied -in a way that Marines only truly can- that I was punk. We agreed to a time and place on Monday morning in which to meet. The moment that he stepped out of the recruiter’s vehicle, with his perfectly pressed uniform and ribbons, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the organization that he was representing.
This sentiment, like most things in life, would be short lived. It didn’t immediately occur to me that there were flaws in that shiny armor that would reveal themselves upon closer inspection. That there was a sort of disconnect between the image that the man before me represented, one of slaying dragons and climbing mountains, and the reality of life in the Marine Corps. This does not, however, mean that I regret my time in the Corps. Like most Marines, I to this very day carry an immense amount of pride and love for our Corps. The fun memories and powerful experiences that I carry with me have been formative.
The other services do an excellent job of creating a sense of pride in their members, but none have the same life altering impact that serving in the Marine Corps has. That sharp moment when you realize standing on those yellow foot prints that you will never be the same person again. The statistics, however, do reveal something powerful. The newly created identities that are born in the Marines do not often stay in the Marine Corps: there are no “individuals” in the Marine Corps. Each one of us “one and outs” have our own reasons for not re-enlisting; I would love to share three that made me realize that the Marines would not be the place for me.
The Marines: Three Moments That Made Me Realize I Wouldn’t Re-enlist!
Alex Sanchez is a veteran of the US Marines. He is also a teacher and coach, who enjoys writing and working on his website. You can read more of his work over at: http://upfromnothing.com