Rolling good sleeves is an art form. I happened to be pretty good at it, something that’s rare amongst 03-types. As I’m sure you may remember, a couple of years ago the Commandant randomly declared that sleeves were no longer to be rolled per the usual Marine Corps tradition. This was met with a lot of confusion and outrage by some, and relief by those that had better things to do on Sunday night than pinch and fold their cammies to perfection. I’m sure most of you, if not all of you, are probably already aware that rolled sleeves are coming back to the Marine Corps (and to much acclaim).
Honestly, I just feel sorry for the newer Marines that never went through that trial in boot camp. My Drill Instructors gave a pretty good class on rolling sleeves, it was an important part of the Marine image back when I enlisted. I can only imagine that most Marines that enlisted over the last couple of years have never really had any exposure to methods and pains of sleeve rolling. It takes very specific technique to get them creased well, flat, yet not so tight that it cuts off the circulation to the gun show you call arms. I know some Marines are lamenting the change back to the rolls, but I honestly always liked it. Not necessarily the rolling part, but the stylish look unique to the Marine Corps.
I’ve heard some conspiracy theories about how requiring rolled sleeves is just a dubious way of enforcing tattoo regulations, but that seems farfetched given that you can still see forearms in green-on-green PT gear. I wouldn’t worry about that aspect so much, in my mind at least.
So, in other news, I’m back. I apologize for the sudden leap of absence, but the loss of Tyler Cone hit me hard (as it did for everyone that knew him). I spent two days in his home state of Nebraska this week to attend his funeral. The hospitality of his family and the small towns of Ravenna and Burwell was nothing short of overwhelming. There were around 15-20 Marines that showed up to the secluded community, and not a single one of them paid for a hotel or even a drink while we were there. It was an endearing experience and, despite the circumstances, it was nice to see a lot of the guys I was with in 3/3 India Co. again; as well as some new friends from 3/6 (who he was with at the time of his death). All of the guys there from 3/3 had EAS’d just like myself, but despite the hairy heads and faces, it felt exactly the same as it did the last time I saw them aboard MCBH Kaneohe Bay. As well, spending time with his father Chuck and his sister Emily was inspiring, and I don’t think they can be thanked enough for everything they did for us while we were there.
I know funerals are supposed to bring closure to an event such as this, and in some ways it did, but I don’t think anything can fill the void left by Cone for everyone that loved him. Suicides often leave more questions than answers, and unfortunately this was not an exception to that rule.
However, the show must go on, and I don’t think Cone would have it any other way.