QUITE A CREDIT TO HIS SERVICE

On the evening of 10 September a business trip found me in Atlanta Airport.  With a long wait for my flight, I had ample opportunity to watch passengers come and go.  I first spotted a young sailor fresh out of basic.  The Navy enlisted uniform has never been my cup of tea, but he looked really squared away in his crisp, clean whites.  I then saw an airman.  Typically, his Air Force trousers were about two inches too short, but otherwise he looked good too.  I thought, “another fine representative of our military.”
Some time later, I noticed two Marine privates, obviously fresh out of boot camp, most likely on their first leave home.  I went over to them and exchanged a brief handshake and “Semper Fi,” and then left them on their way.  Still later, I spotted an Army E-3.  High and tight, clean well-pressed uniform and solid bearing.  Quite a credit to his service.

I was reflecting on times when we all wore our uniforms everywhere and airport terminals looked like the local USO.  As I was thinking how unusual it was anymore to see a representative from four major services in uniform at one time, I then spotted the two young privates again.  This time they had their green blouses draped over their arms, and one had his tie loosened and his collar undone!  And walking around Atlanta Airport in this fashion.  I started to go over and say something, but I was with a business group and I didn’t think an airport terminal scene would have been well received on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary.  I could only hope that this character pulls this again and some active duty NCO or SNCO spots him and jumps all over him.

It was very disappointing to me that on the eve of one of the biggest tragedies in American history and when patriotic fervor, for however fleeting for some, was again in high pitch, that the one military member who discredited his uniform had to be the Marine.  To this nameless recruit (which I believe his still is), I would remind him of the intense pride he should feel in wearing the uniform which bears the eagle, globe and anchor; and remind him of the shame he should feel in the callous way he wore it.  I could only imagine what his Drill Instructors, whose care he probably left only hours before, would have thought!
Regards and Semper Fi,
Bob Allena
SSgt. USMC 1971-1978

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21 thoughts on “QUITE A CREDIT TO HIS SERVICE”

  1. Bob, what you are talking about is of the “New Age” where our younger generation hasn’t been taught to respect all things that should be respected. As a society we no longer value the very things that used to drive us, the very things that used to demand respect, the things that would have gotten you an “asz whippin” for disrespecting them just a few years ago. As a society our value system is changing and it’s NOT for the better. God help us, this once great nation is floundering. The things that used to be good are now looked upon as bad and what used to be bad are now viewed as good. In other words, the very things that we fought for are now looked upon as UNWORTHY of our respect. Very, very Sad. Semper Fi,

  2. It was your duty as a Marine to straighten him out and call him out on his disrespect of the uniform and the tittle. I would have definitely squared him away.

  3. Personally, I would have made brief apologies to my “business” associates, went to the young Marines and (in a very low tone) explained their mistakes. There was no need to make a big scene over it, and embarrass them, but it should have been pointed out to them. Even though I no longer wear the uniform, everyone that meets me can see my Marine Pride. As a side note, any of your business group that may have seen you setting the young Marines straight would have, most likely, been impressed by your tact and pride.

    1. I agree with you, you should have went over and introduced yourself, then chasticed them quietly & discreetly so only the two dummies could hear you. Tell them how we’ve been marines for over 50+ years & still value that fact. We are just as proud now as ever and how some day in the future they will feel that way too! I’m not excusing their behavior, but you all do remember how Marines seem to get in trouble more often that the other branches when off duty! Ha! I just got a new military style civilian jacket with the USMC emblem & my last name on it for Xmas. I get stopped all the time by fellow Marines, like myself of the older variety! They are like me, glad to say “Semper Fi” to a fellow Marine! Nothing will ever take that pride away from us, that is something we all earned & is ours forever! I think we all appreciate more as we grow older! Dennis Morrill–Viet Nam (1968-70), 3rd Mar Reg., Dong Ha!

  4. At one time, (’59 – ’65), in order to get off base, (unless you had off base housing), the uniform consisted of Dress shirt/ with creases, field scarf w tie bar, dress trousers, dress shoes, and Barracks Cap ,, Not Garrison cap !! If you had off base housing, you were allowed utilities. To go on leave, you had to be checked out at the gate by MP’s. If you were caught ashore by shore patrol half dressed ,,,, It would be in the “Cooler”, and usually office hours. When did Uniform Regulations get relaxed ?????

  5. Most of the service personnel including Marines appear in public places in utilities and bloused boots.At least these service members were in the uniform of the day.However there is no excuse for a sloppy appearance at any time especially Marines.When I served in the Marine Corps 1957-1960 we were required to dress in the uniform of the day ,greens or tropicals, at various locations on base ,gate duty and when traveling under orders

  6. When I returned from Vietnam, in April, 1969, I was in my Class A uniform. I was with my family and passed a Navy Commander. I saluted him and replied, “Good Afternoon, Commander”. He returned my salute and stated “good afternoon, Staff Sergeant, and carry on”. I replied, “Aye Aye Sir.” My father, being a retired Navy Seaman, stated that he was very proud of the respect that I showed to his Navy. Today, sorry to say, we no longer see that kind of pride and esprit decor. My grandson who is in the Navy advised me that, for his safety, he isn’t allowed to wear his uniform when he travels. What is happening to our country?

  7. No disrespect to the SSGT-But this reminds me back in’72 on “The Rock”just B4 coming back Stateside from our sunny vacation in SE Asia.-My buddy and I were in a bar in Futema town when 4 Marines came in-already to wasted to be in public-2 E1s/and 2 E2s—Wearing half-a**ed Tropical Dress–neck ties hanging fromtheir belts,no covers at all,Blouse completely unbuttoned,T shirt exposed-not to mention loud and obnoxious-They were 0311 from Camp Smedly Butler,just arrived on the Rock first night out on town! A REAL 1st impression for a Marine.We were combat Airwing from HMH462 headed back to The Real World and even tho we were in civies;we couldn’tlet this slide-We confronted them;showed our ID to show we were E4 Corprals and EPLAINED The Correct Way to wear the uniform.BOTH sides got ENGAGEd and when the MPs came,turned out tobe a SSGT and a SGT- After MamaSan explained the situation,theyrounded up the 4 and turned a blind eye to me and my buddy-saying have a good trip HOME! Even if we had beenE1 or E2 something SHOULD HAVE or WOULD HAVE been said. Even tho we were AirWing,we too left buddies behind.

  8. I remember coming home on my first leave and being stuck in Boston for a three hour wait before I could continue on home. I happened to be walking alongside a building in my greens and a man shouted to me, “HEY, MARINE”. I stopped and looked back and a man was waving for me to come back to where he was. I walked back and he introduced himself as a former Marine Major and told me to follow him into the building. With my guard heightened I followed him in as he was talking about the Bruins organization and his role in it. He brought me upstairs and said he’d send my uniform out while I took a shower, and if I wanted I could have a massage by one of the Bruins’ masseuses. I didn’t need a shower but my uniform could use a pressing as I was on a train for 18 hours and was appreciative to have that done. Marines taking care of Marines!!!

  9. Here in town we have a Jr ROTC program. and whenever I see these ROTC’s “acting up” while wearing OUR uniform or NOT properly wearing OUR uniform I step up to the plate and correct them no matter where it is. After all WE DID earn the uniform and the E.G.A., Semper Fi

  10. Been there when Marines are slightly out of uniform regulations. I usually come up to the Marines and ask them to straighten up. I get a stare by some new Marines, but when I tell them when I was in the Marines, they get really respectful. YES, we Marines need to be proud of our Corps, respect our uniforms where ever we are at. Semper Fi.

  11. I also would have set the young Marines straight about how they were representing there their branch of service! If they had any pride in their branch or themselves they should correct how they are representing themselves as a member of that service! I myself would have thought about jumping their ass , but would have given them the opportunity to correct the things!

  12. Me Too, I would have said a friendly Semper Fi to them, and asked them if they were proud to wear the uniform. I would like to think the two might understand what I was talking about, if not then, maybe later. I would have also told them I am a Marine (72-74) and I wore my uniform with pride. To this day, I order hats/cups and give them to the older Marines in a nursing home I work at. To this day I wear my cover/hat with the wording (Once a Marine Always a Marine) Semper Fi

  13. When I left Viet Nam, after serving as a Corpsman with the USMC infantry, when I got to Okinawa, all I had was my Navy sea bag which had no USMC uniforms in it. I asked for one to go home in. Just one danged khaki short sleeved shirt uniform! USMC said no. So I found a Corpsman friend who was stationed there, who was a rank lower, and who was heavier and a little bit shorter, and bought a uniform from him for $10.00. That is what I wore home because I WAS AUTHORIZED TO! It was my honor to serve with the Marines, but I still cannot believe they could be so danged chinchy and unappreciative! I WORE it, and I would have dared anyone to diss me in an airport because of it. And when I got home, and was met by friends and family, no one noticed my ill-fitting uniform.

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