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Marine Corps Stories: Soft Relief

by Skyler Saunders 2 years ago in marine corps
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A three star general offers a colonel two options.

Colonel Bess Vaunt sat at the table in the officers’ club. She twiddled her insignia between her fingers. The door opened. In walked Lieutenant General Callagain Crispus. Bess sprang to her feet. Crispus walked over to her. They both wore plain clothes. The three star general wore a long sleeve, red collared shirt. The colonel had on a heather gray sweater.

“Have a seat,” he said. Bess sat. “This is your FitRep. Since you have been relieved from your command, you will be reassigned to another post. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Commandant Rockaway has been cracking down and...look...I know it was not your fault those Marines were caught up in a drug-running operation and assasination plot on the commander-in-chief. But you know that shit rolls down hill, and it starts at the top. We can certainly try to salvage your career.”

Bess looked at the documents. “Why did you want to meet here instead of in the office in our Service Alphas?”

He exhaled. “I thought this would be a better setting than to be all uptight. You’re relaxed, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“There you go. Keep looking through those papers.”

“It says I can retire now with a pension or if I stay on, I’ll be moved to an armpit and never see those dollars but I can go up in rank.”

“Hell of a decision, colonel.”

“Commandant Rockaway, he said all of this should be?”

“He’s got field officers who wrote that up. He just signed off on it.”

“Did he read it?”

“I would imagine.”

“Sir, I want you to know I love my Marines. I didn't know them all personally, but the ones I did get to know, I felt a connection to...that spirit that goes with being a Leatherneck. Those wayward Devils who got caught up in all of that nonsense should be charged. Hell, time in the brig is almost as bad as this sheet.”

“Just consider the facts, Vaunt.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Remember, you have close to twenty-five years of experience. You take that out into the civilian world, and they’ll gobble up all your awards and achievements. You’ve got to look at the long picture. Not the big one. That FitRep sums up the big one. But the long one says retire now, get your pension and start working for a civilian defense company. I’d say that’s your best bet. It’s either that, or you write some books and land a deal with a TV network as a consultant.”

“Will they hire me though, sir?”

Crispus shrugged. “You’re the top leader, so the fact that those Marines made bad juju for themselves could be an obstacle. Maybe, maybe not. But the point is, you still have the option of advancing. You won’t get the pension, but you might see stars. It’s all up to you.”

Bess just thought, sitting in the booth with the lieutenant general.

“I’m going to go out for a smoke. You look those pieces over, and I’ll be back momentarily.”

Bess thought some more. She thought of her three sons. She grasped the eagle emblems in her hand even tighter, but not to the point of injury. Lieutenant General Crispus returned from his nicotine fix.

“So what did you come up with?”

“I’m going to bow out gracefully and take that pension. I can’t see being in the general field, and then retiring when I’m too old and haven’t got enough time or money to take care of myself or my family.”

“You could run for office….”

“No. That’s not what I’m about.”

“Okay. When we get to the office we’ll finalize all the paperwork.”


marine corps

About the author

Skyler Saunders

I am a forever young, ego-driven, radical hipster from Delaware. Investor. Objectivist for life. Instagram: @skylerized


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