14 January, 2008

Another Stupid Civilian Trick

Well, he thought I was a stupid civilian, but this time the trick was on him. It's actually a long-ago memory, but it got stirred up this morning...

I was sitting at the USO reception desk on "SOI Day," the day hundreds of new Marines come through the USO on their way to secondary training. Sergeants from SOI are sent to coordinate, for the place is usually a madhouse on such days--with wall-to-wall people, sea bags everywhere, guys changing into their alphas and then rushing around following the sergeants' directions, etc.

I looked up to see a hulking PFC who had already changed into uniform, but was just now signing in. He was so tall and broad-chested I couldn't see anyone behind him, but I noticed his uniform was a bit awry. I said gently, "Marine, I think you have your lapel EGAs switched, and one epaulet is sticking up over your collar."

But what do I know? I'm just a girl, and a civilian even (horrors!). He brushed me off as he finished signing in...

And turned around right into the sergeant standing behind him. I tried not to smile, for the results were predictable...

SGT [grabbing PFC's lapel]: What the hell is wrong with you, Marine?!! Are you dyslexic or something?

PFC: [sputter, sputter]

SGT: Get those EGAs off and go find someone who can show you how the hell to dress yourself."

PFC: [blank look]

SGT: I said to take those _____ EGAs off now!

The sergeant's voice continued, but I soon was distracted by other work. I like to think the tongue lashing also included, "And next time a nice young lady at the USO gives you some advice about uniform details, you might want to take it!"

I've since told that story to other young Marines with uniforms awry on SOI Days. You'll be glad to know that the vast majority of them are smart enough to be able to identify good advice no matter the source. :D