It’s the Marine Corps Birthday today. The United States Marine Corps has officially been around for 242 years. As Marine myself, it is my moral obligation to make a big frickin deal about the Marine Corps on our birthday. Since I am a travel blogger…that means I get to write about it! So, here’s my take on the interesting Travel Job that being a Marine can be and some obligatory history of the USMC.
I also share of my experiences from in the Corps – including places I traveled while serving. And some USMC motivational stuff…which, if you are a Marine, you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t…you will be like WTF!? Who cares. Give us this day (we are taking it anyway!) #SemperFi
The Meanest, Fiercest Bunch of Fighting Baddasses in the World: The Marines
242 Years. That’s a long time for a branch of the United States Military that was started in a bar in 1775. That’s a fact all Marines learn early. We were birthed in a bar. Specifically a place called Tun Tavern, in Philadelphia.
Any fighting service that has its roots in a bar is off on the right foot, if you ask me. And make no mistake about it, Marines know how to drink. It is a huge part of our culture. And frankly, an unhealthy part of our culture. You are expected to drink. It’s encouraged. It’s celebrated. And often, it’s the only thing to do when you don’t have a car, or are stuck on a tiny Japanese island during a typhoon. You drink. This often results in DUIs, and many other unhealthy behaviors.
The Marines are universally known as a one of the (if not the) toughest military branch in the world (and certainly in the United States where that is not in question). Admittedly, we are not always known for being the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but if you tell us to take the hill, by God, it will be taken.
Marines have been given many nicknames over the years – often through battle hardened tests. For example, Marines are referred to as Devil Dogs, the English translation of the German phrase Teufel hunden. The Germans gave us this name after fighting us in WW1 – they said we fought like dogs from hell. And it stuck!
We are also known as Leathernecks – due to the strap of leather we wore around our necks while guarding naval boats. The leather strap reduced the chance of decapitation from any enemy sword.
Our fighting tenacity and all around badass-crazy-fighting-drinking-cussing behavior has caught the attention of many famous people over the years and many things have been said about us:
Some Famous Marines (or infamous…)
- Dan Daly – won 2 medals of honor for being an all around bad ass fighting machine
- Mad Dog Mattis – current SecDef for the US of A right now. He is adored by Marines. Just google James Mattis Memes…and enjoy.
- Smedley Butler – also 2 medals of honor…not bad for an officer.
- Chesty Puller – 5 Navy Crosses. Not a political bone in his body. Just kill.
- Drew Carey – yeah, the actor.
- Rob Riggle – funnyman
- General Kelly – chief of staff to President Trump and my former boss
- Gene Hackman (although, really, is this a surprise to anyone…)
- The Infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright – yep that guy
- Lee Harvey Oswald – I told you there were some infamous names on this list…
- Lee Ermey – the single funniest USMC movie every made – Full Metal Jacket.
- Steve McQueen – of course this badass did.
You can read the rest here.
Travel Job: Become a Marine
If you are looking for a job with travel the Marine Corps could be your silver bullet. As a Marine you could get to travel to such exotic locales as 29 Palms California and Yuma, Arizona. Haha…can you feel my sarcasm!?
In all seriousness, in terms of a travel job, being a Marine could be pretty sweet. My father in law was stationed in Hawaii for 4 years, as well as Cuba and short stint in DC. He also did 3 tours in Vietnam (ugh) and 3 years in 29 Palms…so you take the good with the bad.
My grandfather (see pics below) got a free tour of the south pacific during WWII. Never mind the japs shooting at him and the persistent malaria…
And if you’ve been following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan you know it’s a real possibility your travel job as a member of America’s greatest fighting force could take you there.
In peactime, however, you will likely (although not guaranteed) get to see interesting parts of the world. Many Marines spend a year in Japan (or if you are married, 3 years). There are duty stations in CA including San Diego (Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar and the Recruit Depot) as well as Bridgeport, CA (a cold weather training facility).
Bases in North Carolina, South Carolina (the east coast boot camp) dot the east coast, with smaller duty stations like the Pentagon or Marine Barracks 8th & I (you know those cool silent drill teams).
Marines, being of aquatic origins, often spend time on boats for extended duration’s and get to make ports of call all over the world. While life on a boat pretty much sucks, the duty stations can be a blast. I was briefly on the USS Coronado and USS Pearl Harbor (and briefly got to “drive it” – thanks skipper!).
At the end of the day, it’s a military fighting force first, and a travel blogging Instagram posting opportunity to maybe travel the world second. Don’t forget that. The USMC will do whatever it wants with you and your first responsibility is to suck it up.
But, being a Marine could take you all over the world and more importantly will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that most don’t ever feel. You will join our club and forever be welcomed into the halls of the Devil Dogs. Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine. I once randomly met a fellow Jarhead in a Bed & Breakfast attached to the back of a grocery store on the Zuni Indian reservation in NM. We immediately hit it off.
My Time in the Marine Corps (really not much of a travel job for me!)
My commander in chief was President Bill Clinton and I served in the late 90’s – between wars. There was no active conflict during my time on Active Duty. I was what they call a POG, or Person Other than Grunt. POG is a derogatory-ish term used by Grunts (or what the infantry calls themselves) to describe people who are not infantry which is what many Marines view as the toughest job in the Corps. The grunts are usually a bit jealous as us POGs tend to have it easier…haha. And we do.
I was an administrative clerk responsible for pay and finance and auditing. I later lateral moved into small computer repair, eventually seeding what would become my profession outside of the Corps – technology. I had the pleasure of working for and being promoted by General Kelly, now Chief of Staff for President Trump. Kelly was a good man.
There were no wars to fight during my time and I actually did NOT travel as much as many other Marines do. For the most part, I stayed on the West Coast of California at Camp Pendleton – a large USMC base near San Diego.
I did travel a bit though, visiting places like Camp Lejeune, NC where I experienced a hurricane while on guard duty. And Yuma, Arizona – a helicopter base in a hot and humid desert. I spent a little time in 29 Palms, California – a miserable desert base we call “Stumps.” And I invaded San Francisco in an amphibious landing exercise. Not many can say that!
Our mock invasion of San Francisco was interesting to say the least. We came off of naval ships on landing hovercrafts for a beach landing. We were met with real protesters (Vietnam war style) who did not want the Marines in their neck of the woods. Little did they know we were practicing humanitarian operations – how to feed, shelter and clothe refugees. It was surreal.
All in all, my time in the Corps was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It shaped who I am, gave me confidence, courage and a title that can never be taken away. It earns me almost instantaneous respect in the workplace and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In terms of a travel job, it was ok – I didn’t get to see as much of the world as I personally wanted to, but I did get to travel some places and being a Marine alone is better than traveling anyway. #SemperFi
Final Thoughts on Being a Marine
If you are looking for a travel job that mixes patriotism with travel, being a Marine might just be the travel job for you. Make no mistake, it’s not an easy job. It’s tough. You may be asked to put your life on the line. But it’s a great job.
Besides, we literally have the sexiest, coolest uniforms on the planet.