One For The Marines

Hello everyone. I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and got your dipsomania and gluttony out of the way. At least until Halloween and then the Holidays, which will be here before you can say Whatchamacallit. Speaking of candy bars, I had a Snickers bar this past Sunday. It was delicious. My wife and I were on our way to visit a friend who found me on Cara Libro (FaceBook), and I got hungry on our drive. I didn’t want to stop and have a full meal so I had a Snickers.

My friend who found me on Cara Libro is a prior Marine I served with in the early 1990’s. He was 2 years my senior in the Marines. He served in Operation Desert Storm. I served in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. This is a picture of us in 1994 in Alaska, I believe. My friend Klebart, who found me on FB is the Marine on the left. The one with the cheesy smile in the center is me, and the one to the right is Freeman. By the way, Freeman had the reddest hair I had ever seen on a human, up to that point in my life. Andy Dalton is a red-head quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and his nickname is “the red rifle”. Sorry Andy, Freeman from Bridge Company in the early 90’s, is the original Red Rifle.

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Below, is the original Red Rifle, Freeman, schooling me on some proper M-16 shooting techniques.

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And below, is a picture of me and my good friend Klebart, almost 20 years later.

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I will be honest, seeing my good friend brought back many memories, all of them good.

I am a bit of a thinker, especially before I blog or write. I thought about the Marines, and my experiences for those four years. The military taught me about life. I came to the following conclusion: It did not matter where you were from in the country, your socio-economic background, your religious and political affiliations, your prejudices, or what you looked like. When you were in the Marines, differences were set aside for the betterment of the platoon and for the  accomplishment of daily duties and any missions we were ordered to take on and execute. Maybe our politicians can learn from The United States Marines.

Just look at the variety of Marines in the picture below. The picture was taken in Alaska in 1994.

Let’s start at the far right. That is Trujillo, I believe he was from Arizona. Next to him is Klebart, he’s the one that found me on FB. He is half German and half Thai. Next to Klebart is Chambers. He was from Southern California. Chambers was our real life Jim Carrey, and kept us entertained. The Marine in the very front, with his arm extended is Mifflin. He is from Australia and he is still in the Marines. Wow! He must have a bunch of ribbons and medals on his Dress Blues by now. Behind Mifflin, that is yours truly, Vargas, many years before I would become “Healthy Homeboy”. Next to Mifflin is “The Red Rifle”, Freeman. I think he was from Washington. I forget the Marines name behind Freeman, but I do remember he was a hard-working Devil Dog. I also do not remember the Marine’s name to the far left, but I do remember he was from Michigan.

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If all the young men above, from different walks of life, can be put together, with weapons and training, and like we say in the Marines “get shit done”, how come our politicians can’t?

This is not about Demorats or Republi-crazies. (I have recently found out that is what they call each other, among other things). This is about American politicians putting differences aside and getting things done for the betterment of the country and its people, young and old. Isn’t that what we all want?

I hear and read the complaints and demands. “This country is going down the toilet. There’s too many guns in America. They are going to take our guns, so I am going to buy as many as I can. Damn Mexicans are everywhere! Damn illegals! Jose the illegal doesn’t pay taxes and gets all the benefits. No! Help the illegals. Hell no, don’t help the illegals. Put up a big ass electric fence between Mexico and the USA. Gay marriage is evil. Gay marriage is a right. I hate that there’s a black guy in the White House. What’s next, a Latina President?”

The rants and complaints go on and on. This country gives us that right. Anyone can be a keyboard gangster. A keyboard gangster is someone who talks trash and even threatens folks from a safe distance and behind a computer, but rarely in person. But what good does it do to complain from your computer to others on their computers? Complaining to others who have your beliefs gets nothing done. You must voice your opinion to those who are in charge, our elected officials. For me, complaining has never improved what I am complaining about. Complaining begets complaining.

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I have gone on Facebook and looked at other Marine’s FB pages. Some love guns, some are laid back, some gained weight, some stayed in shape, some have kids in the military, some have no kids, some hate the black guy in the white house, and some hate “Jose illegal”.

When I recently read a post some of my prior Marines had posted and shared with each other, complaining about Jose illegal, I will admit that I was a bit offended at first. How could I not be? My father came to this country illegally, from Mexico, in the trunk of a car in the late 1960’s, and he was only 16 years old at the time. But he was not Jose illegal, his first name is Juan, making him Juan illegal.

I was born in Los Angeles a few years after my father arrived in this country. A few years after my birth, my father and mother became US citizens. And don’t worry America, and my brothers from the Marines, we did not rob this country of its precious resources. We were, and are productive members of society. My mother and father worked very hard and always paid their taxes. My mother is in heaven now. My father works as a waiter and his 4 adult children are doing ok for themselves. My brother and I served in the US Marines. I have a weight loss business now, and I want to be a writer. My brother is an industrial plumber. One of my sisters is a registered dietician who specializes in diabetes and my other sister is an engineer. Not bad dad.

I want all my Marine brothers that I served with to know that I respect your ideas and beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them, and I hope you return the mature favor. That is part of what makes this country great. Freedom of speech and expression is the shit! Another thing that makes this country great is its variety of people. We are a nation of immigrants. Just look at the picture above from the Marines. We had different skin tones, different hair textures and colors, and some of us even spoke Spanish. But so what! We had each others back, front, side bottom, and everything in between. We would have killed for each other, even if we didn’t like each other. That is special to me and trumps all differences.

I know I broke my vow to not blog politics, sorry. I just want our elected leaders of all parties to look at those young faces above and realize that those are the faces you send to war, and we go with pride and honor. Our military young boys and girls serve and work together, no matter where they are from, and what they believe. There is one glaring difference though between politics and the Marines. In politics, if you are incompetent, you may lose your reputation and job. But in the Marines, in certain situations, if you are incompetent, you may lose a limb, or even worse, your life.

To all high-ranking elected officials who never served our nations military, please remember what our troops risk when you strategically place us here and there throughout the world, like disposable pieces on a chess board. Also, stop bickering and learn to coexist and progress with each other like our troops do now, and like Bridge Company from Camp Pendleton, California did in the early 90’s.

I will try to end this post on a positive note. That is Healthy Homeboy below being not so healthy, but keeping our sanity in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1994. The sun rarely went down when we were there, so on a few occasions we dozed off with Budweiser and Chips Ahoy in our systems.

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But because we were young and in ridiculous shape back then, we woke up looking like this. Ready to kick ass and take names!

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