Surfing for Dolpins


marines should carry their own shit


At one of my units, we got this staff sergeant as our platoon sergeant that was rather incompetent. It got to the point that many of the members of the platoon were making fun of him to his face. While I didn’t like him, or respect him, I tried to be tactful and polite. Due to this, when he had orders for the squad leaders, he would sometimes come to me, and have me relay the orders to the squad leaders. I think he was afraid of them.

A leader he was not.

To thank me for being polite, he fucked me over really good. He got moved to one of the S shops. When I finally got orders to another unit, my higher ups talked to me and had a conversations sort of like, “You’re not a bad marine, but you’ve fucked up too many times. So we are going to lose your disciplinary paperwork, so you can have a fresh start at your new unit.” Well ssgt dumbfuck sees me checking out at the S shops, so to help me, faxes over all my paperwork to the new unit. He told me about how he sent it all over, with a big smile on his face, after he did it. Gets me started off over at the new unit in trouble for paperwork not matching up.

Now let me give you a side story. We had these forms we did monthly that had 3 sections. One section was if you did something really bad. That was almost always blank. One section for if you did something extraordinary exemplary. That was usually blank. Last section was suggestions for improvement. You always had suggestions for improvement as there is always room for improvement.

At some point we got a new command, which seemed to happen quarterly. This new command decided that that room for improvement section would be used as a list of failings. These failings, would be used to non-rec you. etc.

To the main story.

marines should carry their own shit


There was this ultra miserable week long field op we would do. A week might not sound bad, but it isn’t the duration that was the problem, it was the activities. But that isn’t the critical part of this story.

At some point one of the high brass realizes that the leadership has no idea what the peons actually have to do. So, now the plt sgts and plt cmdrs suddenly had to do one of each field op.

Yea, that lasted about two months.

Usually, due to the inclement conditions, we were given two man tents, the Eureka type, to provide shelter during the minimal periods of down time.

My team mate for this field op was a salty ol’ lcpl who looked like a stoner, acted like a stoner, but was a professional killer on the rare occasion he felt like it. Motivation or desire to be a good marine had long left him, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of it. I think he was tired of the bull shit. When there was real work to be done, he was impressive. Let’s call him lcpl. Shocker. Team mates shared a tent.

Per the course of this field op, we were completely muddy and messy. Someone shocker and I each had ended up with a tent when they were being issued out. Being covered with mud, I suggested we use my (issued) tent and the first couple of nights that we had the time to set up a tent, Shocker and I used my tent and got it full of mud. Many of the other marines choose not to use a tent due to the somewhat decent weather.

About halfway into the field op, we are going to have an easy night, but rain is expected. So we stop and set up tents. Most all the mud has dried and flaked off us, so we are somewhat clean. At least not muddy. So I suggest we use Shocker’s tent. He agrees. Since they are so fast and easy to set up, I tell him I’ll set it up my self, while he grabs supplies. I think he was grabbing MREs for us.

As he comes back, a couple minutes later, I almost have the tent set up. Word is coming down the line that if anyone has an extra tent, that someone needs it. I tell Shocker to pull my (muddy) tent off my pack and take it to whom ever needs it. I tell him to tell the other person, “marines should carry their own shit”.

Well he comes back, and moments afterwards, a message comes down our line for me to see ssgt dumbfuck.

Mind you, this whole series of events up to now has taken something like 5 minutes.

I report to him, and he is holding that tent. I immediately realize he is the guy who didn’t have tent. He tells me that I told Shocker to tell him something. He tells me to repeat what I said.

marines should carry their own shit


He is clearly unhappy. I think he was going to try and make an example of me. He has me summon my Squad Leader. He tells me to tell my Squad Leader what I said.

marines should carry their own shit


Now, I had a really good Squad Leader at the time. A real leader, good guy, and an excellent bullshit shield.

He instantly realized what was happening. He called over the other team leaders.

The other Squad Leaders show up.

My Squad Leader, smirking, tells me to repeat what I said.

marines should carry their own shit


I could see dumb fuck watching me as I spoke, looking smug, waiting for the leadership to tear into me.

We had a Cpl, close to picking up Sgt., who was a real top notch guy. He was squad leader of 3rd squad. With out hesitation, he bursts out with righteous indignation, loudly, “DAMN STRAIGHT!”


I think my Squad Leader was smiling. I have a suspicion that 2nd Squad Leader immediately figured out what happened. The ssgt, with out saying anything, motioned to dismiss us. As I was walking away, this Corporal was still loudly demanding to know who was the shitbag not pulling his weight. ssgt slinked away, with his (new to him) muddy tent.

He carried his tent for the rest of the week.

At the last evening, it had rained on us. We were all soaking wet, and cold. It was suppose to get very cold that night. So we set up tents.

I liked setting up the tents, so I set up ours quickly. As I was staging my pack and the like, I saw my ssgt was strugging setting up his tent. First he wasn’t experience in setting up one of these tents. Then, we was clearly freezing, his hands shaking, unsteady enough he was struggling with assembling the tent. I then realized he wasn’t going to be able to do it.

I walked over, and assembled his tent for him.

Yeah, I hadn’t yet learned my lesson about why we never give aid or shelter to our enemies.


  1. Howard,
    Your stories of your time in the Marine Corps are entertaining, but depressing to a Marine no longer on active duty. I hope the Marine Corps is not self-destructing due to this endless war and good people getting out. I was an 1833 ‘Tracker and then shot on the Pistol/Rifle team in the Reserves-retired in 2005. Respect your service and a belated Happy Birthday to you!

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