Marine Corps Stories: Mr. All-Star Recruiter
Two Marines discuss that Corps life.
At a United States Marine Corps recruiting station, the air smells like energy drinks cracked open. The floor is pristine with dominant blue hue and a single red stripe running down the center. Desks occupy the space. Three of them in total represent the first face that some see of the Marine Corps. The third Marine is out to lunch. In the rear is the gunnery sergeant’s office. The remaining two Marines discuss their views of Devil Dog life.
“If anyone came into the Corps for money, they’re in the wrong business,” said Sergeant Ian Flagstaff. He was about 5’8” and boasted coffee colored skin. His face showed his time in the Corps and his two divorces.
“Oh, really,” Staff Sergeant Brennan “Bluish” Hartley said. “What about the girl who just came off of the block with little to no prospects. What about the country boy who was looking for a way to explore the world.” Hartley showed dark skin as well but it was more like a cherrywood. His height remained at 6’ 3.”
“Okay, Mr. All-Star Recruiter. You can dial it back, now,” Flagstaff said. “All those dreams of pay and bennies go drifting away like an aircraft carrier. Our pay is dirt. The benefits dry up if you don’t use them.”
Hartley’s mouth became a razor and his words sliced into Flagstaff.
“So you think that just because our superiors don’t talk about how to get this money while we’re in and what happens when we get out, that being in the Marine Corps is a waste of time?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“It sure sounds like you did. I mean we’re bringing in kids from all walks of life. Rich, poor, oldest, the youngest, whatever. We’re supposed to show them the attractions. Now, it is not our role but the job of the TAP specialists to show them the way out of here. We just dangle the meat and have them chomp at the bits. That’s our job. But don’t say that there’s no money in this thing of ours. There’s plenty of money to be generated inside and outside of the Corps.”
“I hear you talking,” Flagstaff said throwing a stress ball into the air.
He was like an old wizard whose powers had failed him many moons ago. He couldn’t fill his quotas. He couldn’t keep the numbers booming like they once were when he started as a recruiter. Meanwhile, Hartley scooped up awards for his efforts in gathering America’s potential warriors to stand amongst the ranks. “Take for instance the VA,” Flagstaff said.
“Well, they’ll give you tax free money if you rate. Imagine getting 100% after getting out of this insanity.”
“Yes, and you’d have to be pretty banged up or have spent time in the puzzle factory for your 100% to kick in there, Ian,” Hartley said. “And that’s if you talk to the patients around you. The doctors and the nurses aren’t going to give you guidance on how to obtain that money that is rightfully yours. You’re going to have to will yourself into finding a good lawyer or doing all of the work for yourself. That’s if you get that coveted full payment package.”
“I heard guys who received a percentage on top of their 100%. I don’t know if it’s true, but I wouldn't like to find out knowing the conditions that the rating entails.”
Wistfully, Hartley said, “These kids don’t, for the most part, even know about the VA system. Hell, they don’t even know about the Corps except for whatever the media has portrayed us to be.”
“I agree with you there, Bren’. It’s like we have to lure them while in the back of their skulls they are thinking ‘I’m going to get the job I want. Yes, Boot’s going to suck, but isn’t it supposed to, though?’ And then they’ll be asking questions about how many people we killed.”
“You know what I always tell them?”
“Once you hit the fleet and if you find yourself in a combat zone and a firefight at that, remember that question and get back to me.”
“That’s not bad, can I use it?”
Gunnery Sergeant Shaw Laney opened the door to his office.
“Come in here!”
“Looks like you’re on the shitlist, brother,” Flagstaff said.
Hartley stood before Gunny Laney. Laney stood at 6’0”. He showed white hairs on his head from his years of service. His teak colored skin contrasted with his khaki shirt and blue dress trousers.
“Hartley, I want you to take over this station. I’ll be retiring in a few months and I’m going to put in a word to the captain to have you advance in rank and take my position. Is that understood?”
“Alright now, get out there and try to put some sense in Flagstaff’s head.”
Hartley grinned and exited the office.