This is a response to a question and answer email I got from
a foreigner trying to decide if he wants to be a United States
Some answers for you below.
“First, what is being a Marine to you? If it’s more
than just a job, and you enthusiasm certainly seems to indicate
it is, what do you find special about it? To quote my
cousin, ‘whatever it is to you, can you not
find it elsewhere?’”
I think that my webpage pretty much covers this question.
Being a Marine is not just a job or a period in one’s life.
Being a Marine is a permanent mental change that stays with
you forever. Unlike other services, it is part of you all day,
every day, for the rest of your life. You live, breath, think,
Marine Corps. It is your single most encompassing facet of who
you are for the rest of your life. Simply put, it defines you.
“So my first question to you is: while high standards
and expectations may exist in OCS and boot camp, does this translate
into the life in the Corps or is it rapidly forgotten?
Is it an ideal that just doesn't exist in "real" life?
Does your average Captain or Major still have integrity or does
he do what he likes? What if he is caught breaking the
rules? Do the same uncompromising standards at OCS apply
Other than a few aberrant cases, it stays with you because
the Marine Corps mentality requires that you uphold the standards
for your fellow Marines, past, present and future. And if someone
breaks the rules, they are quickly singled out. It could be
my own brother and I would not hesitate to levy punishment.
Because we have such high standards, it is up to every one of
us to uphold them. We feel a responsibility to those who have
come before us and paid the ultimate price. We do not put up
with anyone, even ourselves, breaking the high standards that
have been paid for in blood.
“You once told someone (on your website) that it’s up to
yourself to uphold your own corner of the Corps. You certainly
have a point but if many others do not, then standards drop
no matter what you do. Do you not begin to question why
you do this? Could it be that YOU are wrong, that this
is not important or valued?”
I never question it because if I can pass on that passion
to the Marines around me, then they can go on and do the same.
If a can get two people to do the same, and they get a couple
more over the years, II can start a chain reaction that will
be around for decades.
“My next question is: is there a way I can experience a
bit of life in the Corps to judge for myself whether it’s really
what I think it is?”
No, not to the degree you would like. There has to be a
faith and a commitment. You come in and if you do not like it,
you do your four years and you are out. But no matter what,
it will change you forever. Those four years will be remembered
more than any other four year period in your entire life.
“You suggested visiting MRCD San Diego. Is it open
to visitors normally? One concern is that a guided tour
may not accurately reflect what it’s really like. Could
I roam around a bit? Better yet, is there any
possibility of spending some time (say a couple of days/weeks)
with actual Marines in a unit to see how
an “average” day is like? I recognize the issue of security,
are there some that are considered safe for
visitors? Do they arrange these and if so how might I
If you go to MCRD on Sundays, you can go just about anywhere
you want (except in the squadbays). But again, you are asking
too much. If you think the Corps is for you, make the commitment.
If you want to be among the millions who say that they “were
gonna,” then stop trying to dip your toes and go home (read
the quote below my name). Otherwise, jump in and you will never
be the same.
Jason D. Grose
United States Marine Corps
"And of course you can't become
if you only say what you would have done..."
If You Steal My Sunshine