My older brother and I in the Corps

The Buddy System Collapses

My brother was seeking a carefree 2 year vacation with no decisions. I had one objective – to NOT be a grunt! I did NOT want to take that chance and my recruiter (sensing an easy kill) told me I had to sign a 4 year enlistment to get a job guarantee. I decided that I wanted to work in Intelligence, yeah Military Intelligence. I signed for 4 years. already we were taking different paths.

WE went through processing together, through testing together, TO physical fitness testing together. Seems by older brother cannot do the minimum number of pull ups. He is going to be sent to the “Fat Farm” to loose some weight and build some muscle. As we were on the Buddy System they had to let me go WITH him if I wanted to. If I wanted to stay with my buddy I had to go to the Fat Farm WITH him. See ya later bro! I didn’t know what the Fat Farm was, but I wanted NO part of it. We said a quick goodbye and then he was gone.

He ended up spending 2 weeks at the Fat Farm, which put him 2 weeks behind me in Boot Camp. We were in totally different sections and rarely even saw each other, let alone be able to talk or visit.

The day I graduated from Boot Camp they allowed me to visit my older brother’s platoon. That was interesting as, officially, I was now a Lean Green Killing Machine. A real Marine! I was now free to come and go as I pleased, unbutton my top button, and I no longer needed to answer everyone with “Sir Yes Sir!” My brother’s platoon had not yet achieved that status.

I knocked on the Drill Instructor’s door to get his permission to speak with my brother. I get no response. I knock again, a little louder. I hear the traditional “I can’t HEAR you! Is there a mouse at my door? You want MY attention you better bang on that door like you mean it!” Lol – I fan the flames, I say “Hey Sarge?” He comes out of the office like he was going to kill someone and then he sees ME, and the Drill Instructor role drops instantly. I really WAS a Marine! A short meeting is quickly arranged.

I tell him some of the stuff that he has yet to encounter, it’s good to know. There is no mushy scene, just a couple guys touching base. It was over quickly.

The next time I saw him was in Infantry Training, still 2 weeks behind. Our Companies would pass often going to or coming from the chow hall. We started a rock fight. I would try to hit him as we marched past, and he would return the favor. Inevitably, we missed and hit someone else, then that person would join in trying to return the rock present. More misses. More participants. Before long the entire company would make sure it had a handful of small rocks in their pockets before going for chow. They started keeping our Companies apart.

I don’t recall ever seeing my older brother again in the Marine Corps.

I believe our paths crossed though. My brother has never forgiven me for getting his squadron “de-assigned” from service in Vietnam. I was there first, and they don’t like sending brothers to the same theater of operations. He blames me for his units last minute scrub from the operation.

He did his 2 years, got Honorably Discharged, and went on with his life.

I still had 2 years left on MY enlistment. Oh yeah, I did NOT get into Military Intelligence. I made it “Office Worker”. Then I got promoted to “Smart Ass Office Worker who needs to go to Vietnam to learn some respect”. Then it was, “Take Moe for your mission. He’s not doing anything”. Then back to “Office Worker who has learned his lesson”. And finally to Combat Veteran that wishes he could go home now, like my brother.

Okay, I ditched him in Boot Camp. But that was just 2 WEEKS, not 2 YEARS! Who’s laughing now?

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.