For all of the good that Marines do in the world, sometimes they can be a bad influence on an indigenous population. I spent a large chunk of time as a turret gunner during my first deployment to Iraq, and imagine my surprise when I found all of the kids flipping me off for no apparent reason. I would wave to them and be greeted back with with a stark middle finger and a smile. They actually had no idea what they were doing, but the unit that we replaced had taught all of the children to flip people off instead of wave.
I actually really enjoyed the turret, it was my favorite job on the vehicle. Up in the turret is a little personal bird’s nest where I could set up things the way I liked them and got a good view of everything around us. Another one of my favorite parts about it is being able to interact with people, which you don’t really get to do much sitting in the back seat. As such, I took it upon myself to erase the middle finger from the local children and replace it with the Hawaiian “shaka.” Though we had replaced 2/7 from Twentynine Palms, I was a Hawaii Marine with 3/3, and the shaka seemed like a somewhat more wholesome option anyway.
If any of you were paying attention to the Terminal Lance Facebook page you probably noticed the fun we had with the President’s “Latte Salute” over the last few days. I feel like half of my audience understood me and that it was simply for the laughs, the other half took it as some kind of political statement in protest to the President’s sloppy salute. If you know me and you’ve been following me this long, you know that Terminal Lance is apolitical on all topics, and this one is no different. Honestly I didn’t really give two shits about his salute itself, my response to it was in the spirit of having fun with it, as is everything I do.
Not everything is a statement. Learn to laugh at things, you’ll live longer.