Steady knocks of the ping pong ball on the table tennis table nearly lulled Lance Corporals Ellis Firth and Justison Haley into a stupor. Rather than a vigorous game of back and forth, the match seemed listless, dull. But the conversation remained energetic.
The smell of coffee and paper wafted through the train car. A business class interior permitted the tired passengers to experience some semblance of comfort. To ease their minds they watched on demand videos and read books or worked on projects on their tablets, phones, and laptops. Their weariness did not prevent them from completing tasks. The strong scent permeated through the car as if the coffee had been brewing the whole time right there instead of the train’s galley.
She wore diamonds and pearls on occasions like this... normally. But this night remained unique to some civilian husbands and wives who accompanied their Devil Dog spouses. The Marine Corps Ball called for the officers and enlisted to wear their best dress or service uniforms. Mikaela Finn chose to wear her olive green Service “A” uniform instead of her Dress Blues. The diamonds and pearls continued to be out of uniform. Still, she gave off brilliance like one of those gemstones. Her unit also wore the green and khaki garb. As a young adult of age, she imbibed a few potent potables to ease the tension in the room.
Ayn Rand once wrote that it was either “fate or irony... to be born, of all countries on Earth in the one least suitable for a fanatic of individualism, Russia.” My story is the direct opposite. Call it emphasizing the obvious that a fierce egoist like myself was born in the capital of the First State on an Air Force base in the United States of America. And that was just the beginning. By choice, I chose to serve in the United States Marine Corps. To take those polar opposites together, one must know that no unknown or unknowable was involved in Miss Rand’s birth or my own. She chose to come to America to facilitate her life as a rationally selfish human being. I decided to become a Marine because I wanted to not become human chattel.
A fire truck red pickup truck with chrome around the fenders and dual exhaust pipes roared to a stop at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Newark, Delaware. Private First Class Klyde Bakeman hopped out of the truck and yelled, “Oohrah!” He had covered the truck in decals: one read the “Rifleman’s Creed,” in red of course; another showed a bulldog with a KA-Bar between its teeth, another showed the division Bakeman hoped he be assigned to, First Marine Division; and among the dozens of “Semper Fi” stickers he also had a large Eagle Globe and Anchor decal on the hood of the truck in metallic gold. A vanity plate simply read, "Chesty."
Pickup trucks by the dozens bombarded the gates. Personnel guarding those premises fell by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenade attacks. Barriers moved out of the way of the trucks once the men had employed a special machine to separate the obstructions with hydraulic rescue tools. The flow of enemy personnel swarmed the base like wasps. The Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware braced for an attack by foreign aggressors. This night in April called the best men and women in uniform to action.
A rain fell on the Marine outpost at the Dover Air Force Base, in Dover Delaware. Night had fallen and the rain came down in steady sheets. Corporals Regina Marigold and Shana Fisker sat in a duty vehicle.
At an outpost in Dover, Delaware on the Dover Air Force Base, two female officers of the United States Marine Corps met one morning in April. She entered with swift movements. She stood at attention in front of her boss, Major General Magdalene McCorkell.
Davidson Post, second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps just received his uniforms from the dry cleaners. Immaculate and starched to perfection, the garments remained gems. He laid out the officer's Blue Dress "A" uniform on his rack. He took a look at the single gold bars in a bag that sat beside the uniform. He wrestled with the thought, “What if?” What if he just jumped up about nine ranks and donned the silver stars, four of them to be exact. Then he could command respect. He encountered enlisted staff non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) who, based on their billets, could reprimand him and call him a "butter bar" behind his back. Sure, they saluted him, but that was only out of customs and courtesies. If they had the choice, they would breeze by without rendering the sign of admiration and solemnity. He wanted to change all of that.
I am a Marine. I haven’t been in for too long and yet I have managed to see so many flaws in the system. My greatest concerns surround assault. By assault, I mean rape. I was assaulted in January of 2018. I was drinking, underage. As we service members are not only confined to do, but actually encouraged to do. I will not name names. I will only tell my story and the stories of those souls who have enlightened me with their harrowing and repulsive experiences. I reported my assault—immediately. I went to the ER, got the rape kit done, and made a report. This report became unrestricted due to the fact that a member of my command happened to be in the ER at the same time as me. I went to NCIS. I told them what happened but left out the damning detail that me and two of my peers were drinking alcohol. Prior to my interview with NCIS, I was told if anyone else got in trouble for what we were doing I would be in very, very hot water. So when NCIS found out I had lied about drinking they decided I had lied about everything else too. They said it was my fault for drinking with males. Keep in mind that they were the only people I had. I was the only female in my job field at that time. They also told me that I had only made a report because I felt guilty for cheating on my then-fiancé, so I reported it as an attempt to be transferred to his location. They blamed me for the entire ordeal. I will not lie. I did make a few mistakes. My first was trusting my brothers in arms. My second was drinking. My third was not keeping my knife on me so I could stab that bastard in the skull. Me and the two others were punished. My rapist was not. He did nothing wrong in the eyes of my superiors. I was made to be an attention-seeking whore looking for handouts. My friends deserted me. My unit exiled me. I was left alone. I have undergone intensive therapy for all I encountered before, during, and after the assault. But not all are so fortunate. One individual, whom I will call Bryan, was also raped. But his assault was not even looked into. It was disregarded because, in the eyes of the authorities, he was just a “fag” in the closet. He wasn’t even offered counseling. He is now in the brig for a drug addiction stemmed from the assault. Another named Mary was assaulted not once but twice. They moved her away from her station but let the rapist go because she was no longer there to fight for a conviction. My dear friend Tara was assaulted by what one would think was an upstanding member of society: a federal servant. That report didn’t even get past the local police because she didn’t have any signs of battery.
Deciding to join the military is a huge commitment. Deciding to join the U.S. Marines is an even bigger one, even with all the myths about the Marines that civilians believe. With the most stringent physical requirements of any of the military branches of service, making sure you're up to the test, both physically and mentally, because preparing to join the Marines is very important.