Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Colonel Kids Thee Not

The recent Islamic State-inspired attack on a military recruiting office and Reserve center in Chattanooga hit the Colonel right in the small crusty cinder that serves as his heart and fired up a few neurons circulating in the vicinity of what used to be his memory.

The Colonel's last command on active duty was the 6th Marine Corps District; headquartered at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, and responsible for Marine Corps enlisted and officer recruiting in the Southeastern United States. He commanded more than 500 Marine NCOs and Officers, spread over hundreds of offices. Those Marines (most on temporary duty as recruiters -- outside of their primary occupational specialties) contacted, screened, and sold nearly 4000 of America's finest young men and women on the benefits of serving their nation as Marines, each year.

In addition to recruiting the best high school graduates for service as Marines, recruiters are also held responsible for preparing soft, squishy civilian minds and bodies for success at the world's foremost military recruit training grounds -- Parris Island and Quantico..

The Colonel has often told anyone he could corner that, "a Marine recruiter is the best salesman in the world." Anyone who can convince a college-bound youngster, and his Momma, that he should forego college for a few years and serve as a Marine -- in time of WAR -- well...,

That's a salesman.

And..., to walk into the most dangerous place on earth -- Momma's house -- to ask for Momma's permission to take her baby to war, takes incredible bravery.

The Colonel kids thee not.

Marines would rather face a regiment of the enemy single-handed, than Momma.

A combat Marine, now trained to be the world's best salesman, is a dangerous combination of skills.

Even as planes crashed into the towers in New York and into the Pentagon, the Colonel remained more concerned for the safety of his Marine recruiters at the hands of a jealous boyfriend or husband than any terrorist.

The Colonel kids thee not.

The Colonel lost more Marines to their own testosterone and bravado than he ever worried about losing to enemy action.

But, as much as the modified dress blue uniform of a recruiter made him an easily identifiable target, that was the whole idea. Marines on recruiting are supposed to stand out in the civilian community. They give most of the American people the only personal exposure to Marines that they ever get. That is by design.

Only the best Marines get assigned to recruiting duty.

Marines assigned as drill instructors are fine, as well. But, the Colonel would take a former recruiter as a subordinate leader in any combat organization over a former drill instructor ANY DAY.

The Colonel kids thee not.
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