Jason Everman: Ranger and Green Beret

Jason Everman was both a member of Nirvana and Soundgarden right before they hit their prime. In an amazing turn, he left (technically, he got kicked out of) both to join the Army. He became a Ranger and then a Green Beret:

Jason Everman, US Army Ranger, Green Beret
Jason Everman, Army Ranger, Green Beret

So in 1993, while living in a group house in San Francisco with the guys in Mindfunk, Jason Everman slipped out to meet with recruiters; the Army offered a fast track to becoming a Ranger and perhaps eventually to the Special Forces. He told me he always had an interest in it. His stepfather was in the Navy; both grandfathers were ex-military. Most of the people he grew up with scoffed at that world, which was part of the appeal to him. Novoselic remembered something Everman said way back in the Olympia days. “He was just pondering. He asked me, ‘Do you ever think about what it’d be like to be in the military and go through that experience?’ And I was just like . . . no.”

Everman started waking up early while his bandmates slept in; he went biking, swimming, got in shape. One day, with zero warning, he resigned. He put all of his stuff in storage. He took a flight to New York and went to an Army recruiting office in Manhattan. A couple of weeks later he was on a flight to Georgia. “Was I nervous?” he asked. “I was a little nervous. But I knew.”

Hand Salute for the link: Coffeypot, thanks!

Royal Marine Auctions

This is a first heard for me, that the Royal Marines hold auctions for their fallen comrades:

Without the Royal Navy there would be no Royal Marines (and the rest of the world followed suit, so it goes without saying; the party for Marines every where started in 1664)!

Traditionally the Marines Barracks on board ships under sail were placed between the sailors, who were bunked up forward, and the officers quarters, aft; the reason being to stop dissension and mutiny. As dusk approached the marines mounting duty had the right to discharge their muskets to prove they worked (as well as to prove a point to ‘jolly jack tar’).

The RM’s have much to thank the RN for as they have fought several times to keep the RM’s from being disbanded. From WW1 through to and after WW2, RM’s manned the main turrets on board most of the heavy ships of the line, as well as provided the ‘knuckling’ fighting parties required to go ashore to speak to the heathen kings around the Globe. RM Commando Units have established themselves in military history.

The RN may well pay our wages, but they certainly do not own us.

As traditions go a deceased Royal Marine will have the Union Flag draped upon his coffin as well as his Peaked Cap (or) Green Beret, Medals and Corps Pattern Belt. A Royal Marine Bugler will play the last post as the flags of the Royal Marine & British Legion Association standard bearers dip their colours in respect. Then its off to the pub for a gallon of the finest amber nectar.

Either before or after the funeral; it is also a long standing tradition that a ‘dead mans kit sale’ is held, where upon the RSM of his Commando Unit will auction of the deceased RM’s kit. The event is a ‘clear lower deck’ with all ranks attending. Outrageous prices are bid up for obscure items with all profits going to his next of kin. (I once bought a pair of boot laces for £100, and then put them back into the sale). The Green Beret and Medals always go to his immediate next of kin, as would be expected. The Chief clerk will deduct any bids from your pay the following month if required. ‘£ thousands’ are raised in such a way. Even bids from additional Commando Units are raised via telephone.

I have one or two mementos from such kit sales, which have pride of place on my display shelf, as I served with those they belonged to.

I for one enjoyed being ‘part’ of the Senior Service. My one belief being that if you have not served at sea, or accrued sea service time on your official documents, then you have not served as a true Royal Marine.

In the US we do hold fundraisers, but I’m not familiar with these great auctions.

Green Beret Training, Robin Sage

Chief Kidd sent in the following story to share:

At Fort Bragg in the ’80s, the duty battalion caught all kinds of odd duties they had to provide warm bodies for. Usually they were crappy jobs like highway cleanup, but when my unit’s time came up, I was able to leverage my job as a photojournalist into being a “G” for Robin Sage. A “G” is an active duty soldier who simulated being an untrained native resistance trooper for Robin Sage.

Robin Sage is the final phase of Special Forces training and the SF students came to Camp MacKall prepared for the worst. Make it through this and they earn the mythical Green Beret.  I was the most senior of the batch of junior folks assigned to support the operation, so I was the “G” first sergeant. We mooched smokes and food from them like there was no tomorrow.

Chief Kidd (Once SPEC4 Kidd)

The first week went as everyone expected. We lived in hooches covered in pine needles, woke in the middle of the night to DI DI MAO from the opposition forces and completed several missions, the coolest being the time we wired a bridge for demolition. We had just finished wiring the (simulated) explosives on a small road bridge over a seasonal riverway when we saw a large vehicle approaching.

We assumed an OPFOR deuce-and-a-half had caught up to us and our perimeter forces engaged.  The civilian operated Recreational Vehicle (CORV) immediately slowed at the sight of the subdued muzzle flashes of our guards, but bravely continued on their way. (This is sarcasm.)

In the second week, we had been forced to reposition several times and the leader of the guerrilla forces (an SF instructor) called a meeting. The trainee SF Team Leader (a 1Lt), his enlisted first (an SSgt) and I as “G” first sgt (lowly Spec4) met. The instructor ranted and raved about how his forces were being killed and blamed it on the SF team. The Lt denied any responsibility aggressively.

The guerrilla leader (SF cadre) ordered his guards (more SF cadre) to search the Lt’s gear. They found a map of the region marked with our current position as well as our boogie position (where we would go it we were hit unexpectedly). There was also a list of all the names of the G forces (a bad no-no, if the government forces get the opposition names, then families die).

He confronted the Lt, blaming him the deaths of his troops. After a lot of arguing he shot the Lt. (It was a blank obviously.) The Guerrilla leader then turned to the trainee SF team First Sgt and said “Can we do business?”

The SSgt mimed wiping blood off his pants and said “Yes, we can do business.”

This may seem harsh, but I was a fly on the wall so to speak. The instructors were very unhappy with the Lt’s performance and washed him out in the harshest manner. The SSgt brushing blood off his pants still sticks with me. I was very sleep deprived, an inexperienced REMF. Now looking back over 25 years later, I wonder if my memories are correct. But whether they are perfect or not, it is a helluva a good drinking story.

Chief Kidd (Once SPEC4 Kidd)