Terminal Lance #271 “Permanent Ink”
June 14, 2013
You see Marines get awful tattoos all the time. In Abe’s case, I think this is appropriate for an 0351 with plenty of Time in Grade. At a certain point you kind of just give up. My case, for example:
I was never NJP’d, I was a good member of my platoon, no Page 11’s or non-rec’s, I held team leader billets and such, but always managed to stay low enough on the radar to avoid instigation. I did my job, and I did it well. The cutting score system failed me in this regard. A good, normal Marine such as myself was unable to pick up E-4 prior to ending my contract because it was either in the upper 1700’s all the time or closed out completely. I’ve talked about this a lot, I know. The main problem with the system is its reliance on the MOS to define the score.
Take a Weapons Platoon for example (like my own). You’ve got 0331’s, 0341’s, and 0351’s in the same platoon. Often, the platoon is turned into another rifle platoon or mounted, where everyone kind of does the same job anyway. The MOS itself becomes kind of irrelevant. I was a machinegunner in Iraq, but I wasn’t actually an 0331. However, what happened in my instance was all of our friendly Mortarmen and Machinegunners in my peergroup ended up picking up Corporal–as they deserved–whereas my entire section of 0351’s was nothing but Lance Corporals. The argument here isn’t that my Weapons brethren didn’t deserve the rank of E-4, it’s that we did too. I wasn’t the only one to hold these billets and still not see the coveted rank of Corporal, there were at least 4 other Marines that could put the exact same things on their resumes and were equally glossed over.
Of course, this is just an instance of three MOS’s in the Marine Corps. I understand that the infantry isn’t the only thing going on in the Corps, in fact it is the minority, but the cutting score system doesn’t do them any favors. Then, you have random 0352’s picking up Corporal as soon as they rate a score. Same shit, but now they’re considered an “NCO,” even if they’re a total boot.
I suppose it doesn’t really matter. They ironically promoted me to E-4 3 months after my EAS. If I could give my E-4 rank to some poor Active Duty Lance Corporal in Afghanistan that can’t pick up for the same reasons I didn’t, I’d gladly hand it over.
Sorry for the late update, I spent all day going over my new eBook, Terminal Lance: Head Call.