Poetry

The Marine Corps Brat

The Marine Corps Brat

My father entered the Marine Corps, for the second time, as an infantryman.
I was born on November 9th. I missed being a true Marine Corps Brat by one
day. The Naval Doctor couldn't hold out just a little longer for the
c-section. It was close enough, I guess. I was born at Camp LeJeune, North
Carolina, but moved shortly after my second birthday.

As I grew up, my schoolmates would ask me what my father did for a living.
Instead of just saying that my father was a Marine, I would recite his
resume: He's a Vietnam Veteran, a grunt, he's on the Marine Corps Rifle and
Pistol team, and he used to be a part of Force Recon. You know, those
really crazy guys!

I knew the Marine's Hymn, all of the verses, by the time I reached
Kindergarten and even knew to stand for "Anchor's Away." I have to admit,
though, that one confused me. Dad said it was just something that the
Marine's did. I stood at attention for Evening Colors. I attended battalion
functions and all of my father's softball games, proudly wearing a shirt
for 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Everyone knew I was gunny's kid. My father
was gone, a lot. Two weeks here, six months there. Let's not forget the
trips to Japan. He was gone for more of my birthdays than he was home for.
I really looked foreword to the times I could play catch in the back yard
with him. Some of my friends, whose parents were civilian, said they
couldn't have lived like that. Never knowing when one of their parents was
going to have to leave. To me, it was normal. I felt lucky if my father was
home for the major holidays.

My father retired when I was 15, moving us to his hometown. That was
difficult. He was finally home. All the time, I secretly wanted him to be
deployed at times. Usually, when I was in hot water. Then, after a while, I
got used to it. It was a stability I had never had with my father. Little
did I know then, the next time my father and I would be separated was when
I went to Parris Island to become a Marine, just like my father.

All I wanted was to succeed and have him take pride in me, the way I had
always been proud of him. To show me he supported my decision, he sent me
his Expert Badge while I was at Weapons Battalion. The note said that he
wanted me to wear them on MY Dress Blues. No pressure! Well, I did fire
Expert, and I did wear his badge. When I graduated boot camp, my father
told me he was proud of me. Come to think of it, I was proud of me, too.

Well, I served my time and got out. I'm a mother now, married to a Marine.
I will live through deployments and help my two boys get through them, too.
I still know the Marines' Hymn, I know why we stand for "Anchor's Away,"
and I still stand at attention during Evening Colors. But, now, it means
more to me than I could ever express.

Thank you to Katrin Rofkar [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] for your contribution