One of the most traumatic things I ever experienced through an enlistment–with two deployments to Iraq–was having to listen to any Staff NCO read an old English promotion warrant at a typical 4th grade reading level. It’s one of those things that makes you simultaneously cringe and feel unsafe every time you hear, listening to someone in 2019 say the words “know ye that, reposing” and “see these presents” (pronounced PRE-zents).
To make matters worse, not only do you have to listen to this nonsense probably once a month in an infantry company (when everyone gets their promotions), but you have to stand at the position of attention the entire time. There’s nothing more scarring than having to watch three or four Marines awkward try to do drill in front of the Company Commander and First Sergeant while they barely remember to right or left-face correctly and render a salute.
God forbid you end up being one of the Marines getting promoted. Not only do you (also) have to listen to this rambling, weird Medieval English, but you get the pleasure of knowing that everyone in the company currently hates you while you go through this meandering process that everyone hates. Like many things in the Corps, it’s one of those things that we all do but literally no one wants to be there (including the SNCO reading those odd-ass paragraphs).
In other news, I’ll be at USC this weekend at the Los Angeles Festival of Books! Join us at 10:30am on Saturday for a panel on graphic novels followed by a book signing.
I will read your promotion warrant if you bring one.