I interrupt this training blog in recognition of the 243rd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps and the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of World War I, celebrated on this day, Veterans Day, 2018. I interrupt to offer clarification, explanation and full disclosure. I am not a Marine. I am not a Veteran. This is why….
This weekend marks both Veterans’ Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Over the past several of days, I’ve been tagged in posts, been given thanks and received birthday greetings. While I appreciate everyone who includes me in their remembrances, I’m not entitled to them and I think that deserves some explanation. I have worn a uniform in the service of my country, but I am neither a Marine, nor a Veteran. Most people who have served in the Military will understand this, but for many who have not, this won’t make sense.
To begin with, I have not earned the title of Marine. While I proudly wore a Marine Corps uniform while pursuing my commission, I did not earn my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. When I was in the Platoon Leaders’ Course portion of Officer Candidate School, you earned your EGA upon completion of your first, 6-week training cycle. I was injured during that cycle, discharged on a medical disqualification, and not allowed to return. For that reason, I am careful to never state that I am or was a Marine. I normally state that I trained to be a Marine Officer, but never served on active duty with the Marine Corps.
Additionally, I am also not a Veteran. By definition, veteran’s status is not conferred if your only active duty time was in a training assignment. Since all of my active duty time occurred while I was at the U.S. Naval Academy, or when I was enrolled in Platoon Leaders’ Course at Quantico, none of that time counts.
With all of this being said, you might wonder, why do I take the time to recognize and commemorate the birthdays of the Navy and Marine Corps, and Veterans’ Day? That answer is simple. My time in uniform at Annapolis and Quantico counts among the most valuable, formative time in my life. The lessons that I learned, the people that I met, and the discipline that I gained is largely responsible for the person that I am today.
I remain eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been associated with these amazing organizations and these amazing people. I owe them more than I can ever repay, and the least I can do is express appreciation for their service and sacrifice. I’m blessed to have been allowed to spend a brief period in your presence. Semper Fortis. Semper Fidelis. Ex Scientia Tridens.