And She Couldn’t Be Bothered To Attend My Honour Graduation. Even Though I Had Sent Her A Mother-Fukken Plane Ticket
I Looked and Looked and Looked
For Her In The Crowd
She Weren’t There
I Discovered Later–My Wife–Love of my life—I would’ve Killed The Sonuvabitch for fuking my wife.
But I Could Not Find Him. Yet, Did Not Actually Break My Heart, Her Fucking Around,—I Gave Zero Fucks, In Fact, I Had My Eye On A “She-Marine” But That Was Just A Premonition Which Never Came To Fruition (I Know the ‘Time-Line’ of This Story is Slightly Skewed—
But It Is All Truth. I Don’t Write Fiction) I have Lost My Fucking Mind! I Do Not Even Know Who I Am Anymore!
“No One Told Me About her
Though They ALL Knew”
NAVY CLUB of the United State of America MILITARY EXCELLENCE Award
“Presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.”
This was the highest honor any recruit could be awarded.
I won that sucker in ‘85.
Before I went to Boot Camp, aka in Naval Parlance, “Recruit Training” my recruiter told my wife:
“Hey, If Lance wins this award, The Navy will pay for your plane ticket and lodging at Great Lakes Naval Recruit Center so you may see Lance graduate. But of course, it is very unlikely he will win.
I mean the odds are against it, but who knows? Lance has scored the best on his ASVAB and he looks to be squared-away.” Blah Blah Blah.
My wife was an Army Reserve Vet, a Non-Com in the U.S. Army Reserve, and for her day job, a probation officer. She should have smelled bullshit. So should I. But neither one of us did. We were poor. I promised her before I left for Boot Camp:
“Janet, I am gonna win that award and you are gonna be so proud of me.
The Navy will fly you to Chicago and we will be together before I ship out to SEAL training. Don’t worry: the Navy is an honorable service. They cannot make these claims if they are not true.”
She put me on the plane and I headed off to Great Lakes RTC (Recruit Training Center). I arrived at 0400hrs and somewhat scared shitless, even though I was twenty-seven and a veteran of one war zone already (see SFM). But I had seen too many movies and I knew my next nine weeks would ‘test’ me.
About 0500hrs, just after I had reached that REM status, some asshole threw a shit can (55 gal. trash can) down the middle of the barracks.
“Clang Clang! Bounce! Clang! Fucking CLANG!”
“Wake the fuck up Gentlemen! Welcome to the US Navy! Get your asses outta your racks! Spit and Shine! Fall the Fuck OUT! Do it! Do it now! Line the fuck up in front of yer racks!”
(Just like in the movies.)
Every morning for the next few weeks it was like this. Never enough time to piss, take a drink of water, take a shit, take a shower, eat, think, miss home. Never time for anything, except learning how to fold our skivvies.
This is what I signed on for? For Fuck sake. My CC (Company Commander) was twenty-four years old. I was twenty-seven.
Do I really need this shit? Well, ‘Call me Ishmael’. You do what you must. I had to endure long enough to get to SEAL training: Then surely my REAL Naval Career could begin.(BUD/s)
Somewhere about week six of boot camp, my CC informed me that he had nominated me for the Naval Club of the U.S. Military Excellence Award.
“Sir! Yes Sir! Excuse me Sir! But Sir! What the fuck is that?”
(We were encouraged to use profanity—meant we were men—yes)
I feigned ignorance–not difficult to do, given my Rickie Recruit Status.
“Rick!” (All recruits are called ‘Rick’–‘Rickie Recruit’ in Naval Boot Camp) “Rick!” He continued, I have nominated you for this award.
I have stuck my neck out for you. There are twelve companies of Ricks for this cycle. That means about eleven hundred recruits. Every division picks the one best recruit from their company to go head to head against the rest. You are my choice. Do not fuck this up!”
“Sir! What do I do?”
“You will be called to see the DIVO (Company Division Officer) and he will interview you to make sure you are qualified to represent our company and the division. He is a senior officer. You better impress the hell outta him, or I am gonna look like an idiot.”
“Sir! Yes Sir! I will do my best!”
“Marcom! You better do better than your best! Dismissed!”
Wow! And I had been trying to fly/remain somewhere under the radar. Now I had to perform for an award I had decided I did not seek nor want. I figured/hoped Janet would find an alternate way to me for my Graduation.
Few days later I was summoned to the DIVO’s office.
Standing outside his door, sweating my ass off, I waited to be ordered inside.
Another Rick came up to me and said, “You can go on in now. Just be sure to knock on the door like a MAN. Give the door a good loud knock and wait until he says ‘Enter’. Then God save you.”
“Thanks Asshole” I remember thinking.
I approached the door, took a breath and whacked the hell out of it.
Manly, I threw the door open. Seated behind an oak desk was the DIVO, a full Commander. I had never spoken to an Officer at this point. I was scared shitless.
“Step Forward Son!” he commanded.
I took two steps into his office and remained at attention, no small feat—difficult to walk while maintaining the ‘at attention’ status.
“ABOUT FACE!” he yelled at me.
I had never learned to perform a proper About Face. Just did not seem important to me, as I was the Geek in the company, and no one had noticed or cared about my ‘Geekiness’.
I made an effort but got my feet tangled up and damn near fell on my face.
“What the Fuck Almighty is that shit Rick!?” He screamed, standing up and walking over to face me. I could feel his breath on me now and I was truly scared.
He took a step back and ordered again, “About FACE!”
I tried again and failed.
“Son, why the fuck are you here wasting my time?” he bellowed. “You have been nominated by your CC to represent the proud history and tradition of this Division for the Military Excellence award. And YOU CANNOT EVEN Do A PROPER ABOUT FACE?! Drop the fuck down! Push ups! Until I get tired.”
Unfortunately, My CC walked in at this time, expecting to meet with the DIVO and hear about what a great candidate he had submitted to represent
The Division for The Award. What he discovered, to his horror, was me in the ‘Leaning Rest’ prostrate on the floor of his boss, obviously humiliated.
After some stuttering from my CC, and our being thrown out of the DIVO’s office, we made it back to the barracks.
CC took me aside and confided, “Marcom, I know you are a good recruit, but my ass is on the line here.
You can succeed in this. All you have to do is learn how to do a proper about face. You have one week until they call everyone in front of The Board which decides the awardee. I suggest you practice… or kill yourself.”
I did. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I just could never get it down perfect. Everything else I had to offer was squared away, but if I could not do the simplest, most basic military step… well, I was fucked.
The day of the Review Board came. I could not eat morning chow for my nerves. At 1000hrs I was summoned to The Building to stand in front of The Board.
There were twelve of us nominees all nervously waiting our turn to be called in to the room to be tested.
As I recall, my name came up tenth. No way was I going to have a chance at this. I had checked out my competition (Why did I feel like a contestant in some fucking beauty pageant?), and I had found me lacking and wanting.
I stepped up to the door and gave my hearty three knocks.
“Don’t show fear,” I said to myself. “They will smell fear.”
I took my requisite three steps forward and faced the three officers seated behind a folding table, “Seaman Recruit Marcom reporting!” I shouted.
“Very well. About Face!”
(“Oh Shit!” I thought. “Please don’t let me fuck this up.”)
I executed a passable ‘About Face’.
“Have a seat Son” one of the officers instructed.
I took the lone chair which stood in the Spartan room, sat rigidly and waited for the rest of the ‘interview.’
Happily, I answered all their questions to their satisfaction, but after I had been dismissed and returned to my peers, I knew I had screwed the pooch with my lame-ass about face. The twelve of us stood outside the room at ‘Parade Rest’ for about twenty minutes before one of the officers came out and announced,
“Gentlemen, we have reached our decision. Seaman Recruit Marcom is our Military Excellence Award recipient.
“Congratulations Seaman Recruit Marcom,” He said, handing me a sheet of paper, then standing in front of us, all lined up like martinets, he ordered, “About Face!”
We all executed the command, but I got my feet tangled once again. Another officer had come out of the room just in time to witness this.
I saw a look of horror on his face.
The officer who had just pronounced me the most ‘squared-away’ sailor out of the eleven hundred who had been eligible barked, “Dismissed!”
And we got the hell out of there, smartly. I ran back to my CC with the documentation in hand, proving that I had, in fact won the award. He snatched it from me, no preamble. Read it, then went some kind of ape-shit happy.
While I was basking in the glow of the accolades of my shipmates in the barracks, CC came running out of his office and screamed, “Marcom! Front and Center! Double Time!”
“Oh shit!” I thought. “They done changed their mind.”
I ran up to CC and said, “Sir! Yes Sir!”
“Double time it down to the DIVO’s office! Do it now!”
I beat feet over to DIVO’s building and office. Walked up to his receptionist and announced, “Seaman Recruit Marcom here to see DIVO.”
“You may go in now Rick,” she said.
I gave his door the hearty whack.
“Enter!” came his booming voice.
I strode into his office, taking my three steps, then announced, “Seaman Recruit Marcom reporting Sir!”
He looked me up and down, paused, and then shouted, “ABOUT FACE!”
I proceeded to perform the only perfect ‘about face’ in the history of my naval career.
“Thank Fucking God!” He yelled. “Now get the hell outta my office!”
“Yes SIR!” I said and as I turned to depart, he said,
“Congratulations Marcom! You did the Division proud today.”
Tears welled as I left. I cannot recall a happier moment in my life.
Three weeks later at graduation, I was presented my award. I had not had a chance to talk to my wife since the day
I had been selected but I assured her that as soon as my recruiter had the official word of my award, she would have her plane ticket to Great Lakes Naval base and she would be escorted to the graduation ceremony.
During the entire three hour graduation ordeal, I kept my eyes searching the bleachers for my wife.
The night before, we were subjected to a ‘briefing.’ (and a pecker check–you don’t wanna know)
Briefly this briefing consisted of a shit-load of ‘don’ts’:
Don’t do this; don’t do that. “This is a working port, and don’t get excited about liberty here.”
We had been at-sea for (to us) longer than Odysseus, and we really did not wanna hear this shit but, being ‘good sailors’ and desperate to get ‘on the beach’, we just nodded.
The main thing was this: “You cannot, under any circumstance, go to the British side of this Island.”
No worries, I thought, (for at that time the only Brits I had known had come across as rather ‘stuffy’.
Our captor went further:
“This, as I did say, is a working port: Three day duty.”
Yep, fully two thirds of the Ship’s company had to be on-board at any given time. Not to mention, as this was a working port, we could not leave the ship until the Work Day was done: i.e., sixteen hundred hours.
Diego Garcia was beautiful! Right out of ‘South Pacific’ the movie. I was jazzed by all of it. I hit the beach! Went to explore the Naval Base there. Found it wanting (Not my idea of Hemingway). I then swerved onto the Merchant Marine obscure dock and here is where I found my home for the next thirty days.
It was untouched by modern anything.
There was a small bar/restaurant and A beach. Some serving wenches, and palm trees.
Please tell me all about your therapy session today once it is done. I know a little about back trouble as I went through some during my Navy SEAL training.
I know there is nothing worse than that for pain. There were several days during that training whereby I thought it would be better to be dead than run/swim yet another step.
Somehow we always managed just one more step. “The only easy day was yesterday” was our mantra and that had been passed down over the years to all BUD/s classes.
There was one guy in my first class (Class 140) who actually broke his femur during a fun little evolution called “Rock Portage.” For two days he remained in training after that. His roommates would walk him about every morning until his leg got numb.
Obviously he couldn’t keep up on any of the evolutions and the SEAL instructors kicked him out. No one knew his leg was broken. Once he was drummed out and had gone to Balboa Naval Hospital they told him he had a broken femur. Imagine his surprise!
Hahahah! A footnote: Seems his father was a retired SEAL. Well when daddy found out how his son had been kicked out of training for having a broken leg, yet still “putting out” to use the vernacular, he was, shall we say, livid.
Needless to say, the kid in question was apologized to (ad nauseam) and invited to return once healed so that he would have an opportunity to break the other leg. I talked to him about this and he told me he’d had enough, but then I ran into him a few weeks later and he told me he would be coming back.
It takes a special kind of idiot to go through that. I know, as I was just such an idiot. Twice. I suppose that’s why they call it “SpecialForces.”
We had a guy in my second BUD/s class (158) whose name was Lundtmark. One day while we were running the obstacle course he got to the very top of the cargo net (roughly 60 feet above the beach) and fell off.
He survived, but from that day forward Lundtmark was reborn and known as “Sand-Dart.”
Some of the funniest moments I recall were during “Drown Proofing.” Drown-proofing is quite simple: one’s ankles are tied up and one’s wrists tied together behind one’s back. Then the “wog” (Short for pollywog, a neophyte, wanna-be SEAL) must simply swim 100 meters in 12 foot deep water.
Once that is accomplished, the wog must do some acrobatic maneuvers underwater while still tied up and then somehow get to the bottom and pick up a scuba mask with his teeth and bring it to the edge of the pool where the instructors await to pull him out and beach him. All great fun.
I never had any apprehension with this evolution since I am very relaxed in water. Others had slightly more trouble.
One idiot after being cast into the water did nothing but bob up and down screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Save me!” As he would get close to the edge of the pool the instructors would push him back toward the middle using long poles while yelling,
“You idiot! If you were drowning, you wouldn’t be able to say you’re drowning!” It was all great fun, but I suspect you’d have had to actually been there at that precise moment to fully appreciate it.
Another idiot didn’t even make it into the water. His name was “Feather.” (His name really was Feather and he was a body-builder which made him a target of opportunity for the instructors’ “special attention.”)
Well, seems Feather had second thoughts about BUD/s and his desire to “Kill some Commie Bastards” when it came time for drown-proofing. As soon as we were told to start getting tied up, Feather bolted. He actually ran away! Just like a little bitch. Never saw him again.
He’s probably still running…
Anchors Aweigh And Fuck No. I CNNOT pROPERLY eDIT This Fuck You WordPress! Operator Error? I Don’t Fuckin’ Think So!
Dateline: 1989 Subic Bay Naval Base / Olongapo City, Philippines 1600hrs
“Knock Off Ship’s Work! Liberty Call! Liberty Call!” reverberated from the 1MC onboard the USS Frederick, LST 1184.
Simultaneously a couple hundred sailors went into Fred Flintstone mode, “Yabba Dabba Dooo!!”
To beat the stampede off the ship, Matt, Rogers, and I were already in our berthing compartment donning our civvies. We were, as always, five minutes ahead of the game. We double-timed up to the quarterdeck,
“Permission to go ashore” we said in unison to the O.O.D, (Officer of the Deck)
“Very well,” he replied, and we scampered down to the pier almost knocking each other down in our haste. Free at last!
Olongapo City was Sexual Disneyland for Sailors and Marines. Up and down Magsaysay Boulevard, every other venue a bar, and every other venue was a massage parlor (“Hey Sailor! You want massage with sensation?”)
and every other, other joint was what could be better described as a ‘Mega-Club’. These had no less than three to four hundred ‘working girls.’ These Mega-Clubs, (solely owned and operated by the Chinese Mafia) which were often three stories high, were death traps in the event of a fire, no matter how small. The din inside was cacophonous.
Ear plugs were prudent. If the place didn’t burn down during your sojourn, you could still get trampled to death in the stampede to get out the solitary door. Cigarette smoke swirled up like morning Mekong mist in Apocalypse Now. No one felt the danger. Nor cared.
This was not my first rodeo. I had been to Olongapo before (WESTPAC deployment in 1986).
Ditto for my two compadres. All three of us were GM’s—Gunner’s mates. We were ‘Old Salts’. Matt was married to a Filipina and she seconded to San Dog (San Diego), happily fucking every Marine she could lay legs on.
This TMI came directly from Matt and was common knowledge. He admitted to being a cuckold, but was so blindly in love he was powerless to do anything about it.
Rogers was married as well, but cuckold, he was none. Rogers was a little wiry Irish descendant, reddish blond-haired crazy son of a bitch. The three of us were absolutely the best of friends.
There could not be a more divergent set of personalities. Matt was an artist. He was thoughtful, mild-mannered, and really too nice of a guy for his chosen vocation.
Rogers was coarse, with a bit of a Napoleon Complex, fearless, rowdy. And crazy.
My persona was dark and foreboding and dangerous. I had ‘rocked out’ of SEAL training for the second time and had but one year left before I could turn in my Canoe Club Card and get the hell outta This Man’s Navy.
Having failed to make it in Naval Spec-Warfare, my Naval Career was over as far as I was able to give one shit. This made me dangerous. Rogers loved that about me. Matt was just generally apprehensive.
We did not enjoy the Magsaysay scene: it was just too rowdy—too loud—too frenetic—too immature (Yes: I said ‘immature’) We were not looking for prostitutes.
Matt had his loving wife; Rogers had his Trailer-Park-Shotgun-Bride with their four tow-headed kids, each born precisely nine months and twenty minutes after the preceding. And I had my transplanted Yankee Girlfriend waiting (?) back in San Dog.
We just wanted a joint which would have that “Cheers” ambiance. We found it at Viva Young, a little shit-hole-in-the-wall bar off on a side street
(And actually ‘Off Limits’—even better: nothing more fun than jacking with the SP’s—Shore Patrol). Viva Young had become our place and all the girls (and the Mama-San) knew our names.
There was not much to it. It was a narrow long bar, perhaps 1500 square feet, dark and smoky and the music volume did not force us to shout.
Upon entering Viva Young, one was instantly assaulted with ‘Welcome!’
“We love you here, Sailor Man!”
“Take your shoes off! We love you!”
There was a long cat walk. The cat walk was the main attraction—taking up most of the bar. At the very back of the bar, just for fun, were two pool tables.
The nubile Filipinas, fresh from Soccer Practice (we always seemed to show up during the lax time-that time between the end of girls soccer and the Real Deal), would greet us:
Hey Mister Marcone! Hey Mista Matt! Hey Mista Rog! We love you! Buy me drink?!”