Thursday, September 14, 2006

Today the Marines, Tomorrow the Air Force, and then on to the Army

One trade show down, 3 to go...

I've been at the Modern Day Marine Show this week in Quantico, VA. And just like the name implies, it is a trade show all about the Marines and things they may or may not want. Thankfully, we sell a product they want, and therefore, people like us at this show. The show was held in several gigantic tents in the middle of a particularly large field on a Marine base. This allows for more actual Marines to actually attend the show than would otherwise happen. (For instance, tomorrow we go to an Air Force event at a hotel, and in 3 weeks we attend the Army show, where only half the attendees will be actual soldiers or flyboys. Most attendees will be contractors and suits from downtown DC. The real soldiers will be working back at their bases.) Being around the actual clients makes for an interesting week. It's just depressing. These kids, and yes, I do mean kids, come up to you in their green camis, acting all big and tough, like they think they are some body and start talking guns. But they are just kids. Just 19 yr old boys fresh out of their stepdad's basement trying to be something in this world. They talk big and tough and crude, and all you really hear is, "I know little about this world, I will always be oppressed for the choices I have made, and my future is always going to suck." And that is when you look down and realize this kid pretending to be a man is wearing a wedding ring. Somewhere in some other state this kid has a wife who can't afford to live in the same town with him. Or worse, he's brought his child bride to the show with him, and you realize, she has even less of a future. She's five minutes out of high school, wearing too much eyeliner, and when she speaks, has the IQ of a rock. It doesn't take much to figure she's probably working at the Wal-Mart or waitressing to help support them. They move around too much for her to get a real job or an education. So for the rest of their young lives they will be poverty level and struggling. In a few months' time he'll get called up to Iraq and she'll move back to her mom's house, their young marriage tried and tested. Few of them will make it through this hard time, and he'll come home from the war a jaded and embittered young man. He'll get more crude and rough around the edges, add a tattoo to his growing collection, and eventually meet another girl, and the cycle will start all over again. And in 18 years from now the result of one of his marriages will come of age and enter the Marines, just like his daddy did.
Semper Fi

PS- That was only one side of the things I saw this week. The other disturbing sight was how many young pregnant Marines walked by. Girls trying to avoid Iraq by getting knocked up, or the ones who got sent home from Iraq after getting knocked up. Trust me, there's nothing quite like the sight of a 20 yr old girl, hair in a tight bun, in green fatigues with a six months pregnant belly protruding out. Maternity camo's, can you imagine?

1 comment:

  1. Zwoelfet112:55 AM

    That is a sad cycle. The other half of it is the military couple, where they married in training school (after Basic training), so they could get a housing allowance and live off post, instead of in the dorms. Then, if they have kids, and both parents deploy...

    There are those, though, who do make the best of it and improve themselves, and are some of the best people you will ever meet.

    re the PS: Yes, I can imagine Maternity camo's. You won't have seen, but the pants have a spandex or elastic panel in the front, and the oversized top (with take-up tabs). Maybe even more "out there" is the maternity Dress uniforms, although you don't see them worn as much.

    Hope Friday's show is not such a downer.


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