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November 28, 2004
What it means to be a grunt
Sgt. Robert M. Storm, press chief for The Scout, the base newspaper at Camp Pendleton wrote this essay on his experience as an infantry Marine. I've heard the same sentiment from my own 0311 son.
There are so many different aspects of the job: training, the field, combat. During each of these times, the job varies. I could explain each of these experiences at great length and detail but as with many experiences, words donít adequately express what it means to be a grunt. But Iíll try to give you a picture anyway.
Training: Four words sum this experience up: ďAny clime and place.Ē This means you go complete a Combined Arms Exercise at Twentynine Palms, Calif., in 100-degree plus heat, or a cold-weather package at Bridgeport, Calif., in negative 14-degree weather with 40 mph winds. Spending a month in Jordan to cross-train with the Jordanian military or carrying out a range on Guam in the pouring rain are just other ways to use our time. Sitting eight hours in the back of an AAV sucking diesel fumes and getting a headache while being jostled worse than any roller coaster Iíve ever been on. Even when weíre not doing ranges, we stay busy with endless classes on radios, Marine Corps martial arts program, close quarters battle, first aid, crew-served weapons and nuclear, biological and chemical training, all so that we can deal with problems quickly, cleanly, decisively and with swift violence when necessary.
The Field: Next Iíll move to the field, where the motto is, ďIf it ainít raining, you ainít training.Ē This aspect probably wouldnít be that bad except that contrary to popular belief, we rarely use tents. You will also eat the best meals of your life as a grunt. Iím not joking either because believe me when I tell you that the meal you eat after spending four months eating Meals Ready to Eat will be the best meal of your entire life no matter what it is. The MRE you eat after a day of patrolling or a 12-mile hike with an 80-pound pack will taste pretty good too.
Combat: Itís a lot easier than training. After all, itís pretty easy to get shot at. Most of the time combat is boring, waiting for something to happen followed by a few quick minutes of excitement. In those hours of doing nothing, you try not to think of everything you miss back home. Playing cards passes the time and if you donít know how to play, donít worry because youíll learn, with spades, hearts and rummy being the most popular games. In the meantime, youíll run endless patrols and search house-to-house all day long. Youíll crawl through an Iraqi sewer and climb to the roofs of many buildings so you can clear from the top down. After exhausting yourself all day, youíll dig a fighting trench so that you can bed down for the night. In the interest of speed you make this hole just big enough for you and your partner so that you can get as much sleep as possible, since during war youíre usually at 50 percent firewatch. This results in closeness with your fellow grunts that I donít even share with my wife at home. Despite all these occurrences, there are fun times; the joy of blowing up a bus on a demo range, fast roping out of a helicopter, conducting a live fire range at night with just tracers. The camaraderie you feel with fellow grunts as you complete a mission and bed down for the night underneath the stars. These are the parts of the job that make what it means to be a grunt.
Posted by Deb at November 28, 2004 03:57 PM
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If you think MRE arent great you should eat some old "C" rats. I was fortunate enough to get somew MREs in the field and loved 'em.
A 1/5 Nam 1967+1968
Posted by: Rod Stanton at November 29, 2004 01:54 PM
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