A Little Encouragement Needed

Back in September I told y’all that LC Cortilaen was off to Uncle Sam’s School for Wayward Boys. Much to my surprise I received a letter from our young recruit today. Like so many who have gone before him he’s reaching the breaking point, that magical place where your mind tells you that your body is failing and the seeds of doubt creep in. Every day you wake up even more tired than the previous day. Your muscles hurt, your bones hurt, your hair hurts.

It’s at that point that you dig deeper to make it just one hour, one minute more. So a little encouragement would help him out here pups.

I’ll print out and send along your comments to Cortilaen. Any of y’all who want to send a personal note can email me and I’ll send you his address.

Thanks pups. Let’s help him earn the title United States Marine.


  1. 1
    NR Pax growls and barks:

    Crunchie, please check your email. I’ll send him a note.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Orion growls and barks:

    Boot, don’t you DARE give up on yourself!

    You can do this – you WILL do this! No matter how tired you are, how beaten you feel, how cut off, alone, ostracized, misunderstood, disliked, hated, failed, and useless you feel – you are none of those.

    Take a deep breath and lean into it – You must NOT QUIT. EVER.
    Kipling said it well:

    All along o’ dirtiness, all along o’ mess,
    All along o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less,
    All along of abby-nay, kul, an’ hazar-ho,
    Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so!
    The young recruit is ‘aughty — ‘e draf’s from Gawd knows where;
    They bid ‘im show ‘is stockin’s an’ lay ‘is mattress square;
    ‘E calls it bloomin’ nonsense — ‘e doesn’t know no more —
    An’ then up comes ‘is Company an’ kicks ‘im round the floor!

    The young recruit is ‘ammered — ‘e takes it very ‘ard;
    ‘E ‘angs ‘is ‘ead an’ mutters — ‘e sulks about the yard;
    ‘E talks o’ “cruel tyrants” ‘e’ll swing for by-an’-by,
    An’ the others ‘ears an’ mocks ‘im, an’ the boy goes orf to cry.

    The young recruit is silly — ‘e thinks o’ suicide;
    ‘E’s lost ‘is gutter-devil; ‘e ‘asn’t got ‘is pride;
    But day by day they kicks ‘im, which ‘elps ‘im on a bit,
    Till ‘e finds ‘isself one mornin’ with a full an’ proper kit.

    Gettin’ clear o’ dirtiness, gettin’ done with mess,
    Gettin’ shut o’ doin’ things rather-more-or-less;
    Not so fond of abby-nay, kul, nor hazar-ho,
    Learns to keep ‘is rifle an’ ‘isself jus’ so!

    You’re doing one of the hardest things in the entire world right now – keep after it and succeed! Pain is temporary. Pride is permanent.


  4. 4
    LC HJ Caveman82952 growls and barks:

    LC Cortilaen ; You don’t know it now, but what you are enduring will provide immense rewards in years to come, to help you cope and endure, to look adversity in the eye and step forward.
    Trust in this thought, I know it to be true, even now, especially now in my case. ….this I know.
    For that little thirteen week sojourn I called boot camp in the Navy taught me things I have put to use in life all my life. It has taught me nothing is beyond reach, given what I am willing to give to get it.
    The times you think you are going to blow apart, yet one more time to do it again, what has been called getting over the hump…., and once done, when all has been accepted, then despite paiin, adversity and insult, one steps forward yet again…..knowing you have take a quantum leap forward in your development. To surrender your preconceptions to a new reality, an entire new world just discovered.
    For one day, answering the sweet melody of shitcans bouncing off the deck at three AM…Outta da rack you motherfuckin’ maggots! everything was cool.
    I was over the hump…yet you have to be driven to it, your resistance overcome.
    There remains a reason the United States Marines are feared and respected globally……..

  5. 5
    LC Old Dog growls and barks:

    One step at a time, just keep going forward. Pain is temporary and passing, that Badge at the end of the tunnel is forever.

    And from the Army Pounder Puke, if for no other reason (and it worked for me) illegitimi non carborundum est.

    Or in English “Don’t let the Bas**rds Grind You Down.”

  6. 6

    LC Old Dog @ #:
    Or “don’t give the prick the satisfaction.”

  7. 7
    LC Old Dog growls and barks:

    LC 0311 Sir Crunchie I.M.H., K.o.E. @ #:
    That sentiment works also! I just prefer the original translation although I do understand Jarheads not getting the irony of the original Latin!

    /Ducks, Pops Smoke and Runs!!!!!!! :em05:

  8. 8
    Mattexian growls and barks:

    You’re a much braver sunvabitch than I for doing this. Make us proud to know you, so we can brag about having a Marine as a friend.

  9. 9
    FrankOK growls and barks:

    LC Cortilaen:

    Don’t take it personal when a Navy fellow says “USMC” stands for” Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children”.

    Went through a lot of Aviation schools and drank a lot of beer with you guys after class – carry on.

  10. 10
    LC BOATS growls and barks:

    I remember a day way back in 1965 when after thirteen weeks of more hell than I ever knew existed had finally come to an end. I remember thinking of how proud I was and how I had accomplished things I did not believe I could have ever done but did. I remembered thinking about just quitting because it was just to much but then thinking –what would my dad think of me ? Then realizing none of this was about me but about everything I ever held dear to my life– my dad, my family and yes my country but I think mostly for the guys that are in this with me. The pain has passed but the pride never will. Ill always be a swabie and you will always be a Marine.Carry on

  11. 11
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    Son, don’t you give up on doing what I wished I had done 40 years ago. You be a Marine!

    You’ve got it in you and you’ve got you’re friends here at your back.

    Of course if you ain’t up to Marine…there is always inventory control (Army) or material transport (Navy) or look down at the action (Air Force)….all necessary cogs, but you make your choice.

    (Oh hell, am I gonna get shit for this post)

  12. 12
    The Irish Dragoness growls and barks:

    I’m not a a Marine, but I’m married to one and have heard many stories of boot camp and other formal schools. Take it one minute at a time, one second at a time if you have to. You CAN do this! Dig down deep and you will find a strength you never knew you had. All of us here are rooting and praying for you.

  13. 13
    LC Draco growls and barks:

    LC Cortilaen…

    I served with numerous Marines in Iraq, especially when Fallujah was hot. The training is for a purpose and is actually MORE mental than physical, although sometimes it may not seem that way! One day at a time and, as we in the Army say, watch out for your Ranger buddy. When you doubt yourself, take a deep breath and step back. It DOES help!!

  14. 14
    Lc ORWN engine builder for Rottie Racing growls and barks:


    You got this Brother, You’re a ROTTIE…that alone makes you strong enough :em01:

    And if I could make it thru Fire school at the age of 41, (and I didn’t know how bad my knees were until the ladder maze) you can make it thru camp

  15. 15
    LC Gladiator growls and barks:

    Boot is stressful. Take it one day at a time. Do as your told, do the best you can, and you’ll be fine. The paper test at the end is hard so study. Don’t expect to eat more than 3 bites of your food the first couple meals.
    Congrats to him for having a brain. You only need a 3 on your ASVAB for the Army.

    pain is weakness leaving the body. pain is temporary pride is forever

  16. 16
    LC&IB Vulcanrider, MSgt, USAF, Ret growls and barks:

    One step at a time, young boot, that’s all it takes. I know it’s hard but it’s harder to quit. And remember,

    Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory… lasts forever.

  17. 17
    LC R6 growls and barks:

    Of course if you ain’t up to Marine…there is always inventory control (Army)

    Jarheads may kick the door in, but while they are over there in the corner causing a distraction those of us with blue cords come in and kill everyone.

    That’s inventory control.

    Boot, keep this in mind: Finish boot camp and you can wade in here and lie about fine tune your heroic stories with the rest of us.

  18. 18
    MasterGuns Imperial Swampmaster growls and barks:

    Pvt Cortilaen,

    I made it through, so can you. The Corps is an exclusive club and boot camp is hard for a reason. You must weed the recruits and separate “wheat from chaff” so to speak.

    The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war. In boot camp I did not understand that……..a few months after I graduated I did. When you feel like the Drill Instructor hates you and is trying to kill you remember one thing…..his job is to condition you to survive what is yet to come.

    Nobody ever said life was easy. You have chosen to serve in what may be the most arrogant, proud, and feared military organization in the world. YOU can do it or you would not have enlisted in the first place. Countless Marines before you have felt as you do now. Hopefully many more will in the future. When you graduate from boot camp, you will have done something few of your peers could have……you will be a Marine. For the rest of your life you will be a Marine. You will always carry the burden of being a Marine. It is a goal few of your peers could attain. You will walk a little prouder and be more confident for the rest of your life. You will be a man among the many who would be sheep. It is a worthwhile goal.

    The road ahead of you is hard, but you can win. Never quit, give 110% at all times, and learn to be a Marine.

    Semper Fi future Marine.


  19. 19
    Slightly to the right of Gingis Khan growls and barks:

    I have no advice to give…. only encouragement. You’ll make it. I’ll toss up a word with the Man upstairs.

  20. 20

    Something I forgot to add in my hastily written letter to you today Cortilaen, when you feel your body is telling you to quit, it ain’t. Your mind is. Your body will do exactly what it’s told until it dies. It’s the mental strength that tells it to keep going.

    If you want it bad enough that is. Dig down deep, make it to the next chow break. Then the next one. Next thing you know you’ll be having the EGA placed in your hand.

    It’s taken you two years to get to this point. You can make it the rest of the way. When you’re done you’ll be a part of an elite brotherhood, forever. No man can ever take that, or the title, away from you.

  21. 21

    Reading the prior posts, I can find no greater words than have already been used. The one that hits the best is: Pain is weakness leaving the body. You are a Rottie, you have a brotherhood standing behind you. It IS the spirit, not the body, know we’re here.

  22. 22
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    LC BOATS says:

    The pain has passed but the pride never will. Ill always be a swabie and you will always be a Marine.Carry on

    Another swabbie with you here Boats. Cortilaen, this too shall pass. I remember well that time in hell 37 years ago. I was thinking of quitting, but the idea of going home a civilian was too much shame to bear. My dad was always telling me that his biggest mistake in life was not signing up when he was young. He was tired of the farm and ready to fight the commie bastards in Korea.

    I couldn’t give up and disappoint dad and family. I toughed it out second by second and minute by minute. One day came that the fucking rifle seemed lighter and pushups forever not quite so hellish. I was over the hump and feeling good.

    Hang on brother, you’ll get over your hump too and never ever, even once regret that you did it too, along with thousands of shipmates that went before you. It’s a long, LONG chain that must be unbroken for our Republic to survive.

  23. 23
    LC Sir Rurik, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    LC Cortilaen,
    Remember that I suggested resting every second you weren’t doing something else even more essential.
    The Irish Dragoness and Gladiator have already proffered the encouragement that I was about to give. One day at a time so long as you can, and when that is no longer possible one hour at a time, then one minute at a time. Imagine you’re holding your last ditch position against hordes of presistent zombies, and just hang on because there’s nowhere else to go. Because that is what they are preparing you to be able to handle. And afterward, you’ll never, ever, again consider the possibility of not making it. Or of having to prove yourself.

  24. 24
    VonZorch Imperial Researcher growls and barks:

    Expanding a little on Master Guns.
    Bootcamp is deliberately and scientifically made as tough as possible. This to both weed out those who are too weak to succeed and to make actual combat easier.
    When your DI is ripping you a new asshole, he is showing, in the manner used by senior enlisted, that he thinks well of you and wants to help you succeed in your military career. If you stay in long enough to make E6 you will understand this.

    And this from my time as a soldier. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lay down, never lay down without getting some sleep.

  25. 25
    LC Ogrrre growls and barks:

    Cortilaen, don’t give up. They grind you down to build you up. That may sound counter-intuitive, but if you think about it, it’s true. If you stay the course, you will be a fine, fierce weapon. Do you think the steel that is fasioned into a sword would enjoy the process? Yet at the end of the process, (especially in the case of Marines [well, maybe except scout-snipers … they’re crazy]) there is a weapon produced that is the envy of the world.
    The DIs destroy a loner to produce a team member. Some of the stuff they have you do is to teach you to instantly act, because when the SHTF, you don’t have time to reason through the problem, you have to act, and you act as you were trained to act in that hell called basic training.
    Besides, if you have survived one of BC’s or RR’s links with your sanity mostly intact, you can surely survive boot, yes?
    Don’t give up and don’t lose faith in yourself, Marine.

  26. 26
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    Being late to the party, there’s not a whole lot I can add, Cortillaen, but that never stopped me in the past so why would it now?

    We’ve all been, those of us who served anyway, exactly where you are now, whether we care to admit it or not.

    We were there, and you are there now because it is meant to be that way. Convincing somebody that they can carry on when everything looks bleak and about to hit the fan isn’t accomplished by fiery speeches or logical arguments. It’s done by showing you, and you’re being shown, right now.

    The other guys in your unit are feeling it too, you know. Yes, even the gung-ho annoyingly positive arse who gets on your last nerve with his cheery “I love this shit” attitude, and I know you have at least one of those. If you think he isn’t feeling it, you’re wrong. He’s just dealing with it differently and, as a matter of fact, it’s not a bad way of doing it.

    Keep telling yourself that “this ain’t nothin'” and eventually your mind will believe it and, as Crunch pointed out, it’s not your body that can stop you. It will keep doing whatever your mind tells it to do until it dies and, in spite of what I’m sure your DIs have tried to convince you of, they’re really not interested in you dying 🙂

    Only your mind can quit, and it’s your mind, dammit, so it’ll do what you tell it to do.

    When it starts getting pessimistic, tell it to have a nice cup of shut the fuck up and show it who’s in charge.

    Your mind is the enemy now. It’s trying desperately to cling to the comforts and weaknesses of civilian life, it’s Grima Wormtongue whispering in your ear that maybe this ain’t worth it, it’s no big deal and hey, what are we doing here anyway. But as you hang in there, as you refuse to listen to it, as you get from one chow time to another, one sunrise to the next, that voice will get weaker and weaker as you prove to yourself as well as everybody else that it’s not in charge anymore, that it’s a part of your past and it needs to bug somebody who gives a shit instead.

    And pretty soon it won’t be there at all, and nor will you. In your place will be somebody better, somebody that you can and will be proud of for the rest of your life.

    Press on, boot!

  27. 27
    Madam President growls and barks:


    We’ve never spoken before, but I’m totally envious of you! After reading what the other Rotties have said, there’s really nothing more I can add other than:

    1.) Mind leads body. This may sound trite and dull as hell, but it’s true. The human body is a straight up machine, capable of being pushed to the most extreme physical limits. If the mind caves, so does the body. Show it who’s boss (yeah, yeah, I know! Easier said than done, right?)

    2.) I love a man in uniform.~*

  28. 28
    HoundOfDoom growls and barks:

    Hi Cortilaen,

    Keep your chin up and your eyes open. Soon you will be telling us it was all worth it, and your career as a Marine will be on it’s way. Everyone here knows you are up to this challenge, and believe me, all us old guys would trade places with you in a flash.

    Just keep going. If you can make it a minute, you can make ten minutes. If you can make 10 minutes, you can make it an hour. If you can make it an hour, you can make it to the next mess call. And if you can do that, you can make it one more day. Just make it one more minute. We’re all with you.

  29. 29
    redc1c4 growls and barks:

    the easiest way through is forward.

    if it was supposed to be easy, you would have joined the Air Force.

    (and if you ain’t Cav, you ain’t shit. %-)

  30. 30

    redc1c4 @ #29 & 30: :em07: Does that mean if you are Cav, you are…? :em05:

  31. 31
    LC Darth Scoundrel growls and barks:

    Nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said. It’s tough, you will get through it, enough said.
    If the DI’s didn’t think you could make it they wouldn’t waste their time on you. The fact they are still kicking you in the ass means they think there is a Marine in there somewhere. Don’t disappoint them by giving up on yourself.
    Many have gone before you, many will come after you. You can do this.
    This fat old retired Sailor sends his best.

  32. 32
    LC Darth Scoundrel growls and barks:

    LC cmblake6, Imperial Black Ops Technician says:

    redc1c4 @ #29 & 30: Does that mean if you are Cav, you are…?
    LC cmblake6, Imperial Black Ops Technician recently posted..Arpaio on the pRes, Babeau on the ATF,

    The Ordies say the same thing (IYAOYAS), and I always ask them the same question. Usually I just get confused looks. I imagine it’s the same thing with Cav.

    :em05: :em05: :em05: :em05: :em05:

  33. 33
    LC Old Dog growls and barks:

    OK, I tried the friendly approach! Now I shall use my best Platoon Sergeant approach. The meek or faint of heart my leave now.


    Listen the Fuck up Jarhead! Get off of your dead ass and get moving. Somewhere, some when my Grandson is going to be standing at a corner of a building with the short hairs on his neck standing up. When he cries out “oooahh”, you better be the one who replies “Can’t you get shit right, that is oooraahh.”

    Get off of your Dead Ass and get moving Jarhead!

    You and my Grandson stop by and the booze is on me!

    First you have to finish what you started.

    /PSG Mode Off

  34. 34
    LC Proud Infidel growls and barks:

    I remember being in Army boot camp and AIT 20 years ago this month, and thought in my head at the end of every painful ballbuster of a day was “It failed to kill me, it only made me stronger.”.

    YES, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. When the going gets tougher, the real men drive on!


  35. 35
    Orion growls and barks:

    Pvt Cortilaen

    These are all outstanding, but Master Guns and The Emperor particularly struck a chord with me – Read their stuff again! Master Guns’ comment reminded me of a radio intercept from Fallujah I read about recently. a local commander was exhorting his troops to stand and fight the Marines that were going through them like sh!t through a goose. The answer he got back from his gunmen was “We’re shooting! But the Marines won’t stop coming!”

    All you have to do is not QUIT. Get up ONE more time to answer the bell, no matter what. Just put that one boot in front of the other one more time and keep going.

    Misha nailed it:

    Your mind is the enemy now. It’s trying desperately to cling to the comforts and weaknesses of civilian life, it’s Grima Wormtongue whispering in your ear that maybe this ain’t worth it, it’s no big deal and hey, what are we doing here anyway. But as you hang in there, as you refuse to listen to it, as you get from one chow time to another, one sunrise to the next, that voice will get weaker and weaker as you prove to yourself as well as everybody else that it’s not in charge anymore, that it’s a part of your past and it needs to bug somebody who gives a shit instead

    The other one that got me was:

    Yes, even the gung-ho annoyingly positive arse who gets on your last nerve with his cheery “I love this shit” attitude, and I know you have at least one of those. If you think he isn’t feeling it, you’re wrong. He’s just dealing with it differently and, as a matter of fact, it’s not a bad way of doing it.

    That was me most of the time in BCT. Since I was 43, I figured it was on me to keep people moving, and one of the ways I did that was simply by getting them so pissed at MY cheery fat old a$$ that they forgot their own misery. It worked. Especially as I was outscoring them on the PT tests…LOL 😀 But I guarantee he’s feeling it too. There was not a day that I didn’t ask myself WTF did I DO?! I could be home, warm, comfortable, drinking Coke and surfing the net!

    Don’t quit. Get up. Get UP dammit, no matter HOW hard it feels you CAN do it. Listen to Master Guns and the rest!


  36. 36

    LC Cortilaen – When you look at this, it’s a tiny portion of your life that can mean so much! It will end, and when it does, you will look back on it as the biggest, most significant accomplishment of your life. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. Keep pushing. Keep pushing hard. You will make it, and you will know that you have earned that title with every bit of heart you have!

  37. 37
    Hvy Gunner 0331 growls and barks:

    You are going to earn that title, young Recruit. There will come a time when you look back on Boot Camp as the easiest thing you ever did on the Corps. Now, however, you are going to come eyeball to eyeball with a lot of barriers, and you’re going to have to reach down, do a package check, and ask yourself how badly you really want this, and I expect you to commence to breaking down those barriers.

    You can do this. You’ve got the whole Corps rooting for you from the other side of the finish line…

    Semper Fi,

    SGT. B.

  38. 38
    Igor, Imperial Booby growls and barks:

    While I didn’t have the chops to be a Marine (okay, okay, I went into Uncle Sam’s Flying Air Circus :em05: ), I learned to push through pain – If a wuss like me can do it, you can do it in your sleep, Cortilaen. (No, it wasn’t in the AF I learned that…)

    The best metals are put through the Refiner’s Fire, and the strongest steel is heated the hottest.

    Semper Fi!

  39. 39
    LC/IB PrimEviL growls and barks:

    Keep humping that pack, Maggot! You can rest at the top of the next rise.

    If you fall down, I’ll stand beside you, and kick you until you get up.

  40. 40
    Delftsman3 growls and barks:

    I have nothing to add other than this WILL be the time when you learn just who and what you are;A lot of us here felt every emotion/pain/uncertainty you are feeling now, but when we look back we know that this was the time when we came to know just how much we could be, and that is the greatest gift a human being can learn.

    Now drop and give us another ten!

  41. 41
    NR Pax growls and barks:

    My own letter was sent off today. Good on him for having one hell of a support network.