August 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm Justin Griffith
Back in December I wrote about a fierce young Marine Corps recruit who was told that she couldn’t have “ATHEIST” on her records and dogtags. I gave her some advice; she fought back, and won.
She recently graduated from Boot Camp in top form. She had a blast despite the USMC’s grueling 13 week training. It’s clear that becoming a Marine is something she is quite proud of. If you’d like to congratulate her, do so in the comments here – I’m certain she’ll see it. This is long, but certainly worth the read.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good. There are some shocking details in this otherwise inspirational letter.
I did it! I successfully earned the title of Marine and graduated from boot camp yesterday morning. I cannot begin to describe how proud and happy I am to have accomplished my goal. I never broke physically; I had a boot bite for 5 weeks which wasn’t pleasant but once I got new boots my foot healed, and some gnarly blisters after the Crucible that the Corpsman made me go to medical for “just in case” (much to my great annoyance). Since blisters were the worst thing that happened to me, I would say I came out ahead.
Believe it or not, I had a lot of fun during the Crucible; it was amazing to see the women I’d been training with come together and gel as a team to complete the obstacles, and pull each other through. There were 19 heat cases during the Crucible (I heard a rumor it got up to 114 degrees at one point), but all in the male company – our Corpsmen were very happy with us females, as they were tired of giving out silver bullets. Only one female failed to complete the Crucible – she fell badly and broke her hand on the initial hump out, which is unfortunate, but she’ll heal up and will eventually get there, I’m sure.
To give you a quick run down of what an atheist recruit can accomplish at MCRD Parris Island without the supposed help of a deity, I earned:
– High scores on my CFT and PFT, (making me a member of the 285+ club, which goes in my Record Service Book)
– Sharpshooter with my rifle (nicknamed Hiro Protagonist; our PMI said we had to name our rifles, and yes, I’m that nerdy)
– Top 10% of my platoon, ranked 3 of 64 (only the guide and series guide received higher pros/cons), so I received a Meritorious Mast.
– Held the billet of ‘Knowledge Recruit,’ so I worked closely with our Knowledge Hat to help everyone study for all our tests. I gave up most of my free time as a result for the majority of our time at boot camp, but we didn’t drop anyone for failing knowledge!
As far as religion and my training, I did go to church three times, once to Contemporary Christian, once to Traditional Christian, both times to get away from the DIs during the first two weeks of boot camp, and once to Catholic to see a friend who was six weeks ahead of me in training who had just completed her Crucible and earned the title of Marine in order to congratulate her before she enjoyed her Liberty Sunday. The Christian services themselves weren’t bad, just a little too hokey for my comfort at the Contemporary Christian service.
To the author,
Good for you!!! I went to Navy Boot in Great lakes at the end of 1970. I have a lot to say about my early life and waiting for something to "make me believe all this", but when I joined, I didn't know any better than put down roman catholic. They made me the catholic religious recruit petty officer, (hmmm). I was supposed to march all the company catholics to mass and turn in a muster sheet. Every week, all the catholics, (most fron New York City), didn't want to go. I didn't care and didn't press the issue. There was just one nerd that really was devout catholic that went with me. I turned in a false muster report every week and never got caught. It was my way of letting my fellow recruits be who they wanted to be. Going to mass got me out of the barracks on Sunday, and an extra smoke break. Didn't mean beans to me what the padre had to say.
I spent 22 years active duty, and another 20 as an engineer for the DON, (F/A-18 hydraulics). In retro, I wish I had your fortitude and conviction in my early years.