Some of the things you have heard about the Marines sound like they come straight out of a movie. Crazy tales of violence and insanity spread like wildfire among high school students looking to become the next in line to see if they have what it takes to be part of the proud and few.
For some reason, many people forget that Marines are human beings who happen to have a dangerous job. Yes, they do great things in service of our country but they are not super human. Here are 10 Marine Corps myths dispelled:
1. We eat babies. This one makes me laugh every time. It sounds funny but believe it or not, Marines have developed reputations in certain countries throughout history who have spread rumors that Marines come into a community, take the children and eat them. Sometimes these rumors have been propagated by the governing officials to their own people in an effort to terrify them into fighting. Who am I to argue with this myth? After all, why wouldn’t we want our enemies to believe we really are that terrifying?
2. Drill instructors murder recruits. If this is the case, how does anyone ever graduate boot camp? Despite the horror stories, recruits are actually taken very good care of in boot camp. They are given more medical physicals and shots than one can have in a lifetime and they teach them everything there is to know about sex education, health and survival. The government spends way too much on training recruits to kill them. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t get screamed at constantly or the fear of death put in them.
3. If you have a non-infantry MOS you won’t see combat. Don’t let recruiters convince you of this. Just because you aren’t an infantry Marine doesn’t mean you won’t see combat. There are females who have found themselves on the front lines simply by the type of job they had. Expect that if you go into the Marine Corps your first job is as a rifleman. You are trained to fight and kill if necessary. Everything else is down time.
4. Females do not work near the front lines. Like I said, plenty of females have engaged the enemy in battle and have been killed or killed as a result or working near the front lines. As of now, women are not officially in infantry jobs but they are conducting test cases so that could change in the future.
5. If you don’t like something you can quit. HA! That’s funny! No, you cannot quit. Your recruiter is lying to you. The Marine Corps can kick you out but they will not let you simply quit.
6. You are guaranteed the job you want. This is not exactly accurate. You can be guaranteed the school you are going to as long as you meet the requirements of attending that school. This is usually determined partially by your ASVAB score and if it is written in your contract. However, if you fail in school you can be reassigned to another MOS based on the needs of the Marine Corps. Also, albeit rarely, the Marine Corps can assign you a different MOS right out of your graduation from the school you went to. Ultimately, it is the needs of the Marine Corps that dictate where you will be sent.
7. If you retire after 20 years, you get retirement pay at the rank you left. In fact, your retirement pay is based on the longest average time you spent in one particular rank. So if you retire at a gunnery sergeant but spent most of your time in service as a staff sergeant than your retirement pay is based on a staff sergeant’s pay. Also, retirement pay does not include the extra pay you get while in such as BAH, hazard pay, etc.
8. You will be doing meaningful, purpose driven work your entire time in. Bad news but if you are looking to star in your own hero movie, the Marine Corps is not going to give it to you. The majority of your service is going to be sweeping floors and taking out the trash. It all depends on the MOS you have. Infantry spends their time training to fight when they aren’t actually fighting but they also have to do the same kind of chores as other Marines. It can be extremely frustrating to suffer the office politics of field day cleaning and doing things that appear to have no purpose. When you are not cleaning you will be subjected to the “hurry up and wait” methodology which means that you will get prepared hours in advance to undertake an action like deploying or going to an event only to be told to wait. Don’t go into the Marine Corps looking for glamor or glorious 300 movie action.
9. All Marines see combat. Not all Marines see combat. Yes, there are Marines who are not in the infantry who do see combat. Even some female Marines find themselves on the front lines due to the type of job they have. However, many Marines never see combat for various reasons.
10. All Marines kill someone. This is one of the myths I wouldn’t mind see perpetuated to our enemies. Far be it from me to correct this as the Marine Corps exists to preserve the freedom of America. However, the truth is that not all Marines kill someone. In fact, it is something everyone would rather avoid but in war it happens.
Hopefully, dispelling these myths can assist in your decision whether or not to join the Marine Corps.
Source: Personal experience