One thing I really hated about being Active Duty was the constant anxiety of never knowing who was going to be around the corner. If it’s a Staff NCO or an Officer, you better be prepared to greet them–regardless of if you know them or have any genuine respect for them. Being a Marine in garrison is a game of being on edge every time you leave your barracks room. You’re constantly greeting people you don’t know and trying desperately not to mix up the jumble of ranks in your head at the last moment.

I’ve previously covered the difficulty of having to identify a rank in the short timeframe required for a greeting, it’s a lot easier when dealing with officers (sans the added burden of rendering a salute) since all officers are greeted as “sir” or “ma’am.” When it comes to Staff NCO’s however, you better get the rank right, because apparently it’s extremely upsetting if a Marine that doesn’t know you doesn’t immediately know who you are and what you’ve done.

There’s also always that awkward uncertainty of whether or not a Staff NCO is going to try to and correct you for something you didn’t know was a rule. I recall walking hastily to formation one day, whilst sending a text to another Marine (otherwise known as multitasking). A Staff Sergeant walking passed me says (or more accurately, gives a gutteral yell) along the lines of, “EY MARINE! DON’T WALK WHILE ON YOUR PHONE!”

My response was something like, “I thought that was just if you were talking on it, Staff Sergeant.”

He responded with, “YOU GOTTA FUCKIN’ PROBLEM DEVIL DOG?! PUT IT AWAY!”

Unfortunately many of the regulations are kind of vague, especially when concerning modern technology. The regulations are one of those things that everyone kind of pretends to know but everyone is too lazy to actually look up, unless they’re a 20-year lifer of some sort or trying to prove a point.

It’s an interesting world to live in, being constantly bombarded with random, angry men yelling at you for silly things. But, thus is life in the military, I suppose.