The Unbroken Chain

One of our own, LC Cortilaen, will be shipping off for Marine Corps boot camp at MCRD San Diego in the next few days. Yes, I, a Parris Island Marine, just called San Diego “boot camp”. Not everyone can actually go to real boot camp at Parris Island. Somebody has to keep the sun glass and suntan lotion manufacturers in business.

In all seriousness though, please keep Cortillaen in your thoughts and prayers over the next 13 weeks.

He sent me an email asking for two things, advice for himself, and advice for his parents who are in near “panic” mode, as he described it. Below is what I sent him back, but anything that y’all want to throw in would be greatly appreciated.

First off, congratulations on making it through the screening process. In case you didn’t realize it, the Corps has already been evaluating you.

In reality, there’s very little advice that I can give as far as “making it through” goes, either you want it enough or you don’t. Having said that there are a few things that if you remember them will help you keep your sanity.

1. No matter how stupid something may seem, there is a reason for it. EVERYTHING in boot happens for a reason, and I mean everything. And it’s all designed to make you a Marine. That may seem like a trite saying, but it’s not. You will not be the same when, if, you come out the other end. Marine’s are arrogant and think we’re special because in God’s honest truth, we ARE. And you will be too. Everything that happens in boot camp is designed, crafted to an art form in fact, to do just that. When you graduate, remind me to tell you about the blankets and linen day. You’ll understand then.

2. When you reach that point where you just can’t go on, when every muscle is on fire and screaming at you, every fiber of your being is cursing you for being so stupid, when you doubt yourself and whether you’re good enough, and you are screaming at yourself because it seems that the other recruits are dong it and you can’t, remember that they hurt just as bad, if not worse, than you do. Draw from their strength until you get your own back. Because believe me, they are doing the same thing. And also remember, you’re not the first maggot to go through it. And you won’t be the last. They made it, you can too, and those who follow after you will also. You’re joining an elite chain of brotherhood that stretches back to Tun’s Tavern in 1775. Their victories, their hardships, their adversities, will become yours, and yours will become those who follow you. Have you ever noticed that a lot of times when Marines talk about our history, we say “we stormed Iwo” or “We took Hue or Fallujah”, and not “They”. There’s a reason for that too. It’s that unbroken chain. It’s the brotherhood. We won’t fail because they didn’t fail, and we will not be the ones who bring dishonor to those who preceded us.

3. When you think that the DI’s hate your guts, don’t delude yourself. They do. But they also swore an oath to train you, care for you, and make you Marines. And even though they hate your smelly, nasty body (that’s not just a euphemism either, recruits DO stink), they love you also, a love that you will understand when your DI places that Eagle, Globe and Anchor in your sweaty, bloody hand.

For your parents, well I can’t really give any advice worth what you’ll pay for it since when my son shipped out I knew what he was in store for and didn’t worry. I knew he wasn’t gonna die in boot camp. And if he died after that, either in Iraq or even in training, well then at least he died FOR something, not just because the crossed he wrong street at the wrong time. In short, I looked at it more as a grunt than as a father. When he deployed to Iraq there were a lot more fatherly emotions then, but I dealt with them as a grunt too. My wife on the other hand says for them not to worry because you will be in good hands, which is true, and that they should take advantage of all that the Corps offers to keep them advised of your status. When I went through boot camp the only word my parents got was what little I was able to write. Again, they are not the first to go through this, and they have advantages that modern technology offers that are unprecedented in the history of parents sending their children to war. She also said to be proud, not only of the man they raised, but of the man you will be on the other side.

God’s speed and Semper Fi.

 

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Cortillaen
Cortillaen

Not sure what else to say other than thanks, Crunchie. Like I mentioned to you, Monday (technically, Tuesday is when I’ll be flying out to San Diego, but Monday is the last I’ll see of home for three months) is just shy of two years in the making. I don’t plan on throwing all of that away. I’m more worried… Read more »

Mike M
Mike M

I wish I was there with you, LC Cortilaen. You make us proud. And pay attention to Crunchie’s words. He knows of which he speaks… although he needs to check his email.

Mattexian
Mattexian

I’ll just tell you the benediction our Battalion’s Chaplain gave us: “Lord please watch over these brave young men and women, and protect them from the bad decisions of their leaders!”

Orion
Orion

While I may be Army, Basic Training wasn’t that long ago for me (2007) so the memories are still fresh. One of the things that got me through was constantly telling myself “It’s TRADOC. It’s retarded.” – Unlike the Corps, TRADOC couldn’t teach a Golden Retriever to retrieve, much less to sit and stay. 😉 However, that being said –… Read more »

lc purple raider
lc purple raider

I too wish I was going with you, Cortillian, but my body is broken.

And some guy named Scheerhorn called me fat.

LC Old Dog
LC Old Dog

Cortillaen @ #: I went through Army Basic back in the distant age of 1970 when it was still driven by the Jungle War. Later I wound up spending some time “On the Trail” (crunchie thats pounder slang for Drill Duty). As a Drill I did not hate you, I could care less about you. All I gave a crap… Read more »

LC Draco
LC Draco

Orion @ #:

As an Active Duty Army mustang (If you do not know that term, just ask!!), I went thru Basic in 1985. Yes, believe it or not, there really is a reason for what they tell you to do. Even marching in formation has multiple purposes.

Great advice from Crunchie and Orion!!!

LC TerribleTroy
LC TerribleTroy

Leave the “World” behind. Please dont take this the wrong way. Don’t worry about your parents (or anything else for that matter) they are adults and will be just fine. This is a time to focus entirely on what is in your immediate environment. Keep your MOUTH shut. Best to be the guy who was always third row back in… Read more »

NR Pax
NR Pax

Yes, I, a Parris Island Marine, just called San Diego “boot camp”. Not everyone can actually go to real boot camp at Parris Island. That’s fine, Crunchie. We Hollywood Marines know that they had to soften PI a bit since they take the women. (I kid, I kid.) Cortilaen, I’m an alumni of MCRD San Diego, Class of 98. If… Read more »

LC Old Dog
LC Old Dog

LC Draco @ #: Draco hit me with a private e-mail (you can get mine at my site) and I will give you a Mustang story you will get a kick out of. Two points: 1. It explains why I did not attend the Hudson River School for Delinquents 2. You need to go into the archives and find “The… Read more »

glasshalfempty
glasshalfempty

Cortillaen,

As a graduate of MCRD San Diego in 2003 I’m looking forward to hearing that you have completed Boot Camp (I expect nothing less than success from a member of this esteemed group) and joined the Misguided Children. Good luck, Semper Fidelis, and we’ll see you on the other side.

LC R6
LC R6

Cortilaen, Much great advice here. Orion particularly nailed it. Don’t ever quit. I went through Infantry school at Ft. Beginning (Benning), School for wayward boys in 1985 and broke my leg in the six week (hand to hand). Unlike Orion I was put in a cast from the knee down (old plaster walking cast). The DI said I was an… Read more »

MasterGuns Imperial Swampmaster
MasterGuns Imperial Swampmaster

On 8 Mar 68, a young lad from MN enlisted. After he graduated from high school, a few days later on 6 Jun 68 he found himself in the wee hours of the morning standing on yellow footprints while a bunch of lunatics wearing “Smokies” were screaming at him in San Diego. He wondered what the f*ck he’d done. The… Read more »

FrankOK
FrankOK

You kids are making this old squid feel old – Company 492 Great Lakes NRTC, 1969. Then on to NATTC Memphis ADJ (A) School. We had a lot of Marines in the classes, about 50/50. Since then, all aviation training has moved to Pensacola. At any rate, you’ve been given damned good advice here, Cortillaen, and take good care of… Read more »

LC HJ Caveman82952
LC HJ Caveman82952

Cortillaen, Thank You for yur service……from a squid machinist mate long past, got out in early seventies. My duty was easy compared to yours, stationed on the Enterprise. I always have admired you guys, had a few friends, they would tease me about having to get them to the war…..but I lost a friend too…he wore what you soon will………….think… Read more »

Azygos
Azygos

Cortilean, It might help you mentally to learn a little history such as Fox Company, George Company, Belleau Wood. I have to disagree with Old Dog and Orion about the DI’s not caring. I sometimes teach at a University and I want everyone to do well. When one does not do well I almost always ask myself what did I… Read more »

Azygos
Azygos
BigDogg - Imperial Thread Killer (ITK)
BigDogg - Imperial Thread Killer (ITK)

Cortillaen, Good luck to you … you’ve already received a wealth of great advice. Basic is like any other challenge in life – a case of mind over matter. If you’ve got your head right, it can make your body do or survive just about anything. I am sure you will make a great Marine … you’re a Rottie, after… Read more »

FrankOK
FrankOK

By the way, Sir Crunchy – I remember your piece on the hog hunt to “have proper food” for your son’s send off – excellent post.

Emperor Misha I
Emperor Misha I

Some great advice all along here, Cortillaen, take it to heart because it, and you, will carry you through. A word or two on DIs or whatever the heck you choose to call ’em over here, they’re really the same all over the world. When you step off the bus they do view you slightly less favorably than they would… Read more »

Cortillaen
Cortillaen

It’s been a busy weekend putting my affairs in order (and isn’t that a morbid way to put it…). Don’t have enough time left to respond as I’d like, so I’ll just have to say thanks to everyone. I did read every piece of advice, and I’ll do my best to take them to heart. The 8am briefing before getting… Read more »

Emperor Misha I
Emperor Misha I

Cortillaen says: I did read every piece of advice, and I’ll do my best to take them to heart. You’ll be fine, boot. Just don’t ever quit. If it helps, keep in mind that the Army somehow managed to turn this particular momma’s boy into a soldier. They had their work cut out for them, but they succeeded, and if… Read more »

Imperial Grammar Hun, G.L.O.R
Imperial Grammar Hun, G.L.O.R

Cortillaen, Since I am posting this late, you probably won’t get a chance to read this, but I wanted to address your parents’ panic. I come at it from both sides; I’m former Air Force AND a mom who encouraged her son to join up. I wanted so badly for my son to carry on the tradition. Yes, I knew… Read more »

LC Old Dog
LC Old Dog

LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. @ #:
Not a damn thing crunchie. The thought of keeping a juicy story like that might be the payback I once promised!
:em01:

LC Draco
LC Draco

OldDog…email sent….

Crunchie…thanks for that link!!

Lady M-ITT™-Imperial Sniper G.L.O.R
Lady M-ITT™-Imperial Sniper G.L.O.R

Cortillaen says:

See you all then.

G-d Speed Cortillean. We’re looking forward to seeing another Rotty Marine the next time you log in.

As for Crunchie….Dammit! Why is it that anything you write manages to make me cry??

That was just flippin beautiful.

LC Sir Rurik, K.o.E.
LC Sir Rurik, K.o.E.

Cortillean, I offer you Good luck and Godspeed, and for now the little congratulation – the Big Congratulation will come in 13 weeks. I too wish I were going with you, but even back in 1991 the Recruiter told me I was too old, go home and gie somebody else a turn. So now its your turn. I’m a weakened… Read more »

Teufelhunden_JD
Teufelhunden_JD

1. Wake up.
2. Do as you’re told.
3. Repeat until graduation day.

Yut.

Mike M
Mike M

I just met a young lad…the grandson of a neighbor… who’s enlisted in the Corps and will be arriving at MCRD/San Diego in early October. He was pretty willing to share with us his initial impression of the Marine Corps; that being that his recruiter was a “douchebag”. I’ve got a hunch he’s about to embark on the adventure of… Read more »

LC LittleRott84 Imperial DJ
LC LittleRott84 Imperial DJ

Good luck kiddo. Can’t wait to talk to you again, when you’re a MARINE!!