Chapter 5: Ladies, stay away from those nasty male Marines
After our 10-day Boot Leave, we all returned back to Parris Island for Marine Combat Training. We didn’t get too far once we all ended up at the airport. We were forgotten – at the airport. No one from MCRD was there to pick us up. Hmm, reminds me of a certain night at a hospital. What is it about me getting left behind? At least I didn't think it was personal since the whole series was forgotten about.
Marine Combat Training was pretty uneventful. I shot a rifle, played around with smoke grenades, took big boy weapons apart and sat in a fox hole waiting for some fake assault to happen. The most action I saw was another Marine, freaking out over a raccoon and the whole platoon shooting a bunch of blanks down range thinking she was our attacker. Quite comical actually. Other than that, the open bathroom was a little odd. I think everybody took turns going to the bathroom during the night since there weren't any stalls. We are women. We need bathroom stall doors, damn it!
Those three weeks went by and as we neared the end of our training, we all learned what our job was going to be. I had no clue what was in store for me. Some people were assigned cool jobs like Intel (I knew I wouldn't have made it in Intel; I can't keep a secret. All you have to do is tickle me and I will surrender the secret. Remember that tactic). Me? I got stuck being a Unit Diary Clerk. I stared at my orders and had no flipping idea what a Unit Diary Clerk was. This should be fun.
A majority of us were sent off to the "Land of Enchantment". Wait, that's New Mexico. That is not where we went. We went to the "Land of Pawn Shops, Tattoo Parlors and Strip Clubs." Good ol' Jacksonville, NC. My bus pulled up to Camp Johnson, NC, home to the Supply Handlers, Grease Monkey Motor Transport, Pencil Pusher Supply Admin and of course, the School of Administration, a/k/a The Geek Squad, which is where I ended up.
Our bus pulled up to a desolate area at the back of the base. Remember those videos of people chasing buses in third world countries because they are looking for food? I know, bad comparison, but that is what it was like. The male Marines could smell us. Fresh meat. They eyed us as we got off the bus. All these male Marines ambushed the bus, unloading our bags for us. So this is what the Marine Corps is like? I just assumed our Drill Instructions lied to us when they would say, "Ladies, stay away from those nasty male Marines." They looked so harmless. Remember, looks can be deceiving.
We stayed in the squad bays until our class was available. It was the worst time of my life. All we did was rake dirt, clean the same room over and over again, and pick up trash along Highway 17. Here I was thinking that I was upgraded from loser to Marine. Nope. Still a loser, wearing a bright orange vest along the highway like a prisoner. Cute. Real cute.
The weekends were our time to escape. We all hopped into those awesome cabs and headed into town. Our favorite cab driver was the one that would tell us that he used to be an actor and was one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the these song is now playing head, ugh!). We fell for it too. Gave that loser mad tips! Out in town, we couldn't fool the Fleet Marines. They knew we were all boots because we still had sand flea war wounds on our bodies and bad, bad, tan lines. We would all get dolled up in whatever clothes we managed to fit into our seabag, so let's just say, our attire wasn't the best. We would rush to the Mall a/k/a, the "Small", go to the movie theater or head on over to Club 108 or Rumors. Oh, yeah, Buddy...we were cool! Dinner was another story. We ate in packs. Somehow we ended up either at Applebee's or Ragazzi's. I boycotted Ragazzi's towards the end of our tour as the mozzarella sticks scared the crap out of me. They were so big that they looked like deep fried penis'. When we were bored waiting for our horrible food, us girls (me) would take a knife, jab it into the cheese stick and tell the guys it looked like its boar was getting punched. They didn't care for my visual.
I remember the day we were finally picked up for our class. It was like we were finally picked up from a deserted island. Finally. A room with just four people in it. Nice. The first day of class was nice. Had a great group of people in my class and was so excited - I was voted as Class Leader. The luxuries of being class leader. I got to march the class to and from class. I was the last to board the bus and first to get off. Other than that, I served no purpose. But being class leader introduced me to the cutest little guy. Okay, he wasn't little. Just shorter than me. By like an inch. I remember our first meeting as if it were yesterday...
He was the class leader for the next platoon over. He came over and asked me if I could move my platoon about 5 steps over so that we could have proper spacing between our platoons (yes, we were drill geeks). When our eyes met, I swear you could hear Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" playing in the background. We hit it off instantly.
We dated for a couple of weeks. It was a good time. He had a car, which was an added bonus. We cruised in style. And the money that I saved on cab fare...I wish I would had met him earlier. He took me to Wilmington for the day, where I touched the East Coast beach for the first in my life. He took me to a nice Italian restaurant off of Market Street (but made me pay dutch, but I was okay with that since I have been saving on cab fare) and we walked along the Riverfront. But with all things, if something is too good to be true, then they usually are. He was a little bit of a troublemaker. Guess he loved weed in his spare time and he kept popping on the drug tests. Only I would date the one guy who was on Legal hold. Nice. But he had a car, which made up for that. We hung out until I graduated school. We kept in touch for a few years later after that. I really liked him, but he ended up being stationed in Hawaii, which made it hard to have a relationship. Plus he turned out to be gay. He told me later that I was his test to see if he was really gay or not. Well, I guess I pushed him to the side he was most comfortable with. Even my Mom told me she thought he was gay. I guess I just liked for his car and didn't pick up on the other things. All the cute guys, I tell ya. They have to be gay.
I was eventually fired as the class leader and my replacement was a total douche. He was the epitome of arrogant bastard. During class, I would throw things at him to make him crazy. Once he busted me, I don't think he cared for me too much. Oh well, I got over it.
Being in school, you always had to do community service. We had the luxury of handing out water at the LeJeune Marathon or helping out with the Special Olympics. I met the most awesome guy at the Special Olympics event (no he wasn't a participant and that was VERY mean for you to even think that). We hit it off and he happened to be stationed at New River Air Station, right across the river from where I was going to school. I admit, I turned into a little stalker. But I think deep down, he liked it. Or at least the voices in my head told me that he did. He had a truck, so he was convenient to have around too. Oh, and he wasn't on legal hold.
I eventually graduated from my formal school. I was in the top percentage of my class. We got to choose our duty stations by how you ranked in the class. I think I was like 4th or 5th in class, so I could have chosen Hawaii or California or 8th and I. Nope. I picked Marine Corps Air Station New River. After all, I knew a guy with a truck that was stationed there at MALS. I think the instructor looked at me like I was crazy. Who would pick New River? Now that I think about it, it was one of my better decisions.