Little known fact about the Marine Corps, there are many enthusiastic bird-watchers among their ranks. Below, Marines search for the elusive Brown-speckled Steamerduck:
‘Elf’ & Safety -V- Sir Francis Drake’s ‘olde’ watering hole.
More often, than ‘often’, I mention the past, and comment on historical dit’s and adventures (‘swing the lamp’ for the Navy/’pull up a sandbag’ for the Marines). This is mainly due to the fact that it is fairly difficult to foresee and predict future escapades!
This post stands firm in the same manner.
Far gone memories were brought flooding back through a recent newspaper article (as well as several outraged phone calls from ex-Bootnecks). It concerns the past affection held for Sir Francis Drakes ‘olde’ watering hole in Plymouth, the Minerva Inn (from where, as a Vice Admiral, he quaffed a gallon after defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588).
The ‘Minerva Inn’ is a pub dear to my own heart. I drank my first ever pint there as a newly qualified Royal Marines Commando. When my son was born, a dozen or more good hardy Marines took me there ‘to wet the baby’s head’. In the same bar I celebrated a Marines engagement, his eventual stag night, and even ‘wet the baby’s head’ when his son was born. I celebrated all of my promotions within the ‘Minerva’; and sadly over the years I also mourned the death of some good Marines.
Consequently I ensured that every ‘sprog’ that became part of my Section/Troop/Company knew of the tradition that went along with the Minerva Inn, as well of other ‘public houses’ of great repute, that have passed into Bootneck folklore.
The ‘Minerva’ in particular, because one great individual that walked through its hallowed door was the great Vice Admiral ~ Francis Drake (who also dwelled in the house next door before moving onto far greater things). He will turn in his shroud at the thought of what public ‘elf’-&-safety demand of the present landlords.
Teak and oak beams taken from the ships of the defeated Spanish Armada form part of the interior of the Minerva Inn, they stand open and proudly on display for all to see. ‘Elf’ & Safety wish to see a great tradition covered over from the public eye, forever… Prior to active deployments, quite a few names from years gone past have left their mark within; some never to return. It is hoped that a tactical resolve can be found that suits all concerned.
Here comes the ‘dit’…
On reporting for duty at my first RM Commando Unit, I was unfortunate enough to (literally) bump into a giant of a Marine; by sheer coincidence I happened to bump into him again a few hours later, as I was shown my bunk opposite his in a two-man cabin. ‘Tiny’ took it upon him self to show me the ropes as well as the run ashore in Plymouth. That same evening I was ‘ordered’ to accompany him to a pub for a ‘quick’ pint of cider… being a ‘sprog’ straight from training I had no option but to comply. Fortunately it was a Thursday evening, the start of a long weekend’s leave, as well as the end of the month & payday.
Having caught a ‘hackney’ black cab into the City centre we pulled up outside of a small unassuming bar. Obviously I had the privilege of paying the taxi fare, and as I was reminded all evening, it was a ‘sprogs privilege’ to do so.
My first pint in Plymouth, on my first ever night in Plymouth, was at the bar of ‘The Minerva Inn’ on Looe Street, the oldest pub in Plymouth (CIRCA 1540, and home to the dealings of the press-gang).
As I paid the fare, Tiny was already through the door and ordering the pints that I was (also) about to pay for. He ordered four? I could have sworn he threw the contents of the first onto the floor, as he quickly banged the glass back onto the bar, empty? ‘Oh My God’, it dawned on me that this man was not just a giant of a man, but also a ‘Beer Monster’ of the most fearsome kind… The game was on! I followed suit and banged my empty glass down in the same fashion, and the next, after which I felt my leather belt strain slightly as my steel muscled six pack expanded (a newly acquired six-pack, the result of recruit training at the Commando Training Centre), what had I let myself in for…
After a half of a gallon, I was about to visit the heads and make a deposit to aid my expanding girth, when I heard a voice boom “where-R-U-going-Royal” ~ “to the heads” I replied, “but I don’t need to, & nor do you, we’re leaving and heading down the street to the Barbican, lets not waste time peeing”! Obviously giants have much larger bladders than mere mortals…
I groaned, my bladder groaned, and my leather belt ‘creaked’ like the harness on a heavy Shire horse pulling a cart full of potatoes.
Safe to say I made the next pub with dignity intact, and continued the night in good form. It was made easier as I somehow managed to lose my 6’ 6” drinking partner in a bar that was packed to the ‘gunwales’. Though I was fortunate enough to bump into two of my squad mates from training.
The next morning I was tipped from my bunk by a grinning ‘Hercules’, as he required my presence at breakfast. Mid morning I endured a long 7-mile run with the beast, all in readiness for that evenings second attempt at bladder control, which obviously started in the Minerva Inn
“Train hard, fight easy, and drink till you stink on R & R“… Not the words of Sir Francis Drake, but the mighty Beer Monster ‘Tiny’.
The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience… ie: the hard way. By reading, you learn through other’s experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work, where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men. Thanks to my reading, I’ve never been caught flatfooted by any situation…It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is so often a dark path ahead.
–James N. Mattis
Someone (a Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps who shall remain unnamed) thought it funny to label the below picture as me:
With one google search, I came up with the pic of a Marine
Sergeant Major Master Gunnery Sergeant. Say whatever you want about the below butterball (check the SEAL trident), at least he is closer to the regs than the above pixie dust sprinkler:
War, we may be fighting one. . .
Each military service has different weight regulations that their members must abide by. And (surprise) our sea-faring Navy is smack in the middle:
Q: What are the actual weight requirements for United States Navy?
OK, this is really not a big deal to me, I am just curious because I am joining the Navy in 1 year after I graduate high school. Anyways, I am 5’6” (66 inches) tall and weigh 155 lbs. On the internet, it says that my maximum weight is 170 pounds. The thing is, my twin brother ( same height and weight) went to the Marine recruiter and I was with him (he tried getting me to join but I didn’t) and he said my maximum weight was 190 pounds. To me, that doesn’t seem right that the Navy has a stricter weight limit than the Marine Corps? Can anyone clear this up to me. Thanks.
A: Marines is 191. AF and Navy is 170. Army is 160. Each branch sets their own standards.
I am not “checking the experts work.” But I assume he knows what he is talking about. It makes sense, after all, that the services derive their own regulations. I am surprised that the Army is so low. I’ve seen some of those “Specialists.”
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I tire of posting stories about veterans returning home only to die as victims of a crime. Yosbel Millares’ life is especially sad. The Marine made it through Iraq only to get shot in Miami:
Twenty-eight-year-old Yosbel Millares survived a dangerous tour of duty in Iraq. But the former U.S. Marine would not survive a shooting on the streets of Miami when he was closing up a store.
Now, four and a half years after his murder, his loved ones are asking for help in solving this crime.
“We were really close,” said his sister Magnolia Millares. “He was my youngest brother and he was such a great person. He was very humble.”
Do I need to write that if you know anything, or have any hot tips, to contact the Miami PD?
United States has many places for retired folks to stroll out their golden years in peace. Presumably, these neighborhoods are cheaper, with available services nearby. If you are retired military, especially Navy or Marine Corps, many of you’all don’t leave San Diego or the Norfolk area.
In my gym this morning, I had three conversations with retired vets. One was a Surface Supply Corps guy who taught at the local high school. He felt embarrassed because even though he had retired many years ago, he asked me if I was in the Marines or the Navy. I smiled and said, Navy, and took it as a compliment. Maybe you Leathernecks might be insulted. Nothing I can do. Blame the Supply Corps and their weak uniform recognition.
The second was a quiet, elderly man. He had been stationed at the ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) base over in Point Loma. You know of it? he asked.
Yes sir, my dentist is over there, I said before leaving him and the locker-room.
And the third veteran was one I had chatted with a couple of times in the past. He looks about 65 years old. Except, he fought in World War II, after enlisting at age 16 in the Marine Corps. I’m 86, he had told me once.
I see him working out on one of the machines as I head toward the door.
Hey sir, save some weights for us, you can’t lift ‘em all!
He laughs. Keeping my weight. I was 123 pounds when I joined up. Not anymore. My rifle and bayonet were way over my head when held to my boot.
Marine Corps, are you not the Department of the Navy? I ask with a wicked grin.
He shoots me a look of miscomprehension, before boxing my arm. I guess so.
How long did you stay in the Marine Corps?
Three wars, he replies. (Not, I retired. Not, I did my hitch. Not, I did twenty years. But, three wars.) World War II, in the Pacific, I was shot twice. Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. Korea, and of course, Vietnam.
I look at my watch. I am late for work, I had lifted weights after cardio. Still, I listen as he continues. You hear all these guys saying they have PTSD? I had it. We all did. You better not creep up behind me. It’s all part of war.
How was coming back home?
Different in each one. They offered me a slot at OCS when I was in Korea. I was a Staff Sergeant then. I could sign on as an officer, but I would have returned to Korea.
You still can, we need you!
He laughs. Me and this other guy both got talked to. He took it, and retired a Major. I passed and retired a Sergeant Major. I’m just a guy. A Sergeant. I didn’t have no education. I was happy.
You miss it?
Yes I do.
How was Vietnam?
What you read and what you hear are nothing close to what happened. You know Tet?
I was there. Our first day was rough. But after that, we kicked the dog-crap out of the VC. Sixty, Seventy thousand dead. Or more. There was none left for us to fight.
I have always thought you all deserved better when you returned.
Yeah. Maybe. I never got called nothing. No baby-killer. None of that. Maybe it was my look. I would’ve beat the pis out of anyone that did.
Sir, I say. I got to run to work. Thanks for chatting.
He shakes my hand and off I push through the doors out into a San Diego morning. I am late. But it was worth it. I don’t get to speak to heroes like that every day.
Oddly, enlisted Sailor, Marine, Soldier, or Airman is listed as the third-worst job by CareerCast.com to hold. In my eyes, most polls, lists, and surveys reflect bias:
In their annual career survey, an online job bank ranked one of the nation’s toughest, proudest and most critical occupations as the third-worst job to have: sailor.
In fact, the CareerCast.com survey didn’t appear to appear to distinguish between the services; the category was named “enlisted military soldier,” but the photo accompanying it features four models in Navy uniforms (BDUs, crackerjacks, flight suit and summer whites). Only lumberjack (first place) and dairy farmer (runner-up) edged out enlisted as the worst-of-the-worst. (To be sure, newspaper reporter was not far behind at fifth-worst.)
To any young man or woman considering enlisting, I can tell you that joining the military is the challenge and time of your life. You can take my word for it or I can introduce you to an old Sergeant Major, the kind of man maybe we don’t raise anymore in this country. He’ll tell you, he wants back in. . .
Over at Yahoo Answers, a Marine (or possibly a phony considering the spelling mistake), asks the question:
What is the process for me to enlist in the us navy after I’ve finished my contract for the us marine cors?
No comment. I’ve seen it done before (Except in this case, Enlisted to Officer.) From a Gunny to an Ensign. One salty Ensign. . .
Are you looking for a new method of heating up your pepperoni Hot Pockets? Look no further. The United States Marine Corps is rolling out the Active Denial System or ADS:
A sensation of unbearable, sudden heat seems to come out of nowhere — this wave, a strong electromagnetic beam, is the latest non-lethal weapon unveiled by the US military this week.
“You’re not gonna see it, you’re not gonna hear it, you’re not gonna smell it: you’re gonna feel it,” explained US Marine Colonel Tracy Taffola, director the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, Marine Corps Base Quantico, at a demonstration for members of the media.
The effect is so repellant, the immediate instinct is to flee — and quickly, as experienced by AFP at the presentation.
Taffola is quick also to point out the “Active Denial System” beam, while powerful and long-range, some 1000 meters (0.6 miles), is the military’s “safest non-lethal capability” that has been developed over 15 years but never used in the field.
Mmmmm, I can just smell the toasty goodness of a bubbling pepperoni Hot-Pocket. In other food news, Takeru Kobayashi set the record for most grilled cheese sandwiches eaten in one minute:
Thirteen grilled cheeses in one minute. That’s 26 pieces of bread and 13 slices of American cheese in sixty seconds.
Yes, that’s the new world record for grilled cheeses eaten in one minute, set today by Takeru Kobayashihere in Austin at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW).
In an event held at the GroupMe Grill at the technology and interactive festival, the well-known competitive eater shoved each sandwich down his throat by dunking them first in water.
Thirteen grilled cheese sandwiches in one minute? Think I’ll stick with Hot Pockets.
Yahoo has a section of their site (Yahoo Answers) that offers “expert opinion” on a variety of different matters. Some of it is accurate, as in good gouge. Other opinions are laughable and some are flat out wrong. The answers get rated, which help the folks answering the questions get a rank. Some funny military questions:
Q: What are you guys opinion on the Navy? I’m thinking about joining soon! I think its a great branch in the military.
A: Ships only sink once.
Q: My recruiter told me that I could leave the Army at any time within the first year if I don’t like it. True?
A: Ya, but first you have to bring a note from you mom.
Q: What are some non violent Army jobs for women? Preferably someone who works behind the scenes or with the soldiers?
A: Breastfeeding the marines.
Q: What is the correct military etiquette for Navy personnel if they see an officer of a different navy?
You asked. Someone answered. That answer and 3 dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.
“My friends keep saying, ‘Dance-off!’ They know about my skills,” Cpl. De Santis told Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover of her “multiple signature moves,” including “The Dougie.”
“I honestly don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with my group of people… I don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with us.”
How the heck did the Marine ever get hooked-up with the ex-’N Sync’er? Well, tactical blood-curdler that a corporal is, she asked him:
The Marine, who is stationed at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, invited Justin to the Marine Corps Ball back in July on YouTube, saying, “And if you can’t go, all I can say is, ‘Cry me a river!’”
She wins points for bravery and strategic brilliance. As for the Dougie, the jury is still in session. The footage has not been smuggled out of Quantico. Yet. But it will. I know junior enlisted. . .
Never again will the Marine Corps be able to joke about either:
The Village People’s groan-worthy 70s hit In the Navy!
Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly wearing their goofy Dixie Caps like nurses’ bonnets in Anchors Aweigh!
Update: Please go to this link for a story on my Marine Corps Drill Instructor at OCS or here for a blogpost on my SEAL training deployment. Or select from any of the topics to the left (scroll down) on the Home Page. . .