Marine Corps Stories: Lance General
Marines point out a discrepancy in a film.
Bowls of half-eaten ramen noodles decorated the barracks room. Empty bottles of beer complimented the decor. Lance Corporal Staten Dole, medium brown skin colored with a wavy, dark regulation haircut was twenty-years-old and stood at about 5’10”. He possessed a gaunt figure and high cheekbones. Lance Corporal Tyson Gatling exhibited darker skin, stood a few inches taller, and sported a bald head. He was twenty-year-old, too. His face fit perfectly among the Marine ranks. They had taken off their utility blouses but kept on their PT t-shirts and cammie trousers and boots. The two watched on a big screen television a movie on Marines being sent on a mission to retrieve weapons from a storehouse in the Syrian desert. One thing caught both of their eyes.
“No. I’m not seeing that,” Dole said.
“Yes. You did just see that,” Gatling said.
“Run it back.”
Gatling’s voice commanded the television to go back to a specific minute mark.
Once the picture froze, their disbelief evaporated like cool water on a hot electric stove.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” Dole said. Those are definitely gunny stripes on a four-star general uniform. What. The. Shit.”
“I know that they had to have had a consultant on this film. If he or she was there, they definitely fumbled on this one. Look at this mess,” Gatling said.
“I’m going to become a lance general,” Dole said.
Gatling laughed. He said, “A what?”
“A lance general. I’m going to make sure enlisted Marines wear Eagle, Globe, and Anchor insignia on their collar points. And I’m going to walk around this son of a bitch like I own it. Yes, I’ll be the first enlisted officer at the same time to ever grace the Corps.”
“You’re crazy, man,” Gatling said.
“No, look at this.” Dole pointed to the screen with a knife hand. “The service alpha uniform worn by enlisted and officers alike have certain distinctions. just like the other branches. Officers wear their rank on their shoulders because they carry the weight of both the ‘O’ side and the ‘E’ side. Marines go so far as to wear their shiny stuff on their shirt collars. Enlisted personnel wear their rank on their sleeve at or around the deltoid because they’re the muscle of the entire apparatus.”
“Indeed,” Gatling said.
“But this?! What is he supposed to be? The gunny general?”
“It would be something if we just combined our rank with a four-star. We would probably be the highest ranking Marines in a working party.”
Dole shook his head. “I’m out of the movie, now. I know that this was direct to video, but damn. They could’ve done the most basic research to ensure that the general displayed the proper uniform. I’m done with it.”
Dole leapt up from the chair that occupied the small space. “You can watch the rest of it. Spoil it for me. I don’t care. I can’t go on watching this stupid movie if they’re going to show gunny general like that. I just can’t do it.”
Gatling played the film once again. Just as the next scene started with the team on their mission, Dole started to button up his blouse until he saw a few scenes of Marines using strategy to take down the enemy.
“Now, that’s what I’m talking about,” Dole said.
“It gets better,” Gatling said.
“Oh, so you’ve seen this before?”
‘Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wanted to see your reaction at the gunny general. I thought his four stars and three stripes up and two rockers would get a kick out of you. And it did.”
Dole grinned. “You got me that time, Ty’.”
“Sit. Relax. The rest of the movie isn’t half bad. I mean it’s no masterpiece but the action sequences are exceptional. Everything has a reason for happening. Nothing is done willy-nilly. And everything doesn’t seem like it was done by accident.”
“Except the general gunny.”
The two Marines sat there enjoying an inferior film but made an effort to glean some semblance of enlightenment and entertainment.