Blaming Others

Monday, February 8, 2016 Posted by Corey Harrell
As we marched across the parade deck from the side we looked as one. The sound of about 70 Marines' heels hitting the pavement but sounded as one. The sound of the hoarse drill instructor's voice echoed throughout the 3rd Battalion. The sight from the side must had been one to see. 70 Marines appearing as only a few walking in a single line. In one instant, in one brief moment the few became many. The drill instructor echoed one command followed by quickly correcting himself with a different command. The 70 Marines who were marching as one became many as they tried to adjust. The stress of making a mistake on his first platoon must have added to the pressure. As the Marines marched across the parade deck the drill instructor kept echoing the wrong commands forcing the Marines to adjust. The stress of the Marines striving to take first place must have added to the pressure. They lost their focus and were no longer in sync with the Marine standing next to them. It must have been a sorry sight from the side seeing close to 70 arms and legs marching with the sound of 70 heals hitting the parade deck at different times. Cluster is the most G-rated description one can give seeing the Marines march across the parade deck that afternoon.

The evaluation was over and the 70 Marines filed back into their barracks. The brief moment of reflection in their minds was broken as the sound of a footlocker being kicked broke the silence. The roar of the two other drill instructors’ hoarse voices followed the loud bang of more footlockers being kicked. The blame for the cluster on the parade deck was placed squarely on the recruits. That afternoon the Marines spent quality time doing sandpit hopping across 3rd Battalion in Parris Island. For those not acquainted with this tradition the following is what occurs. Recruits are forced exercise in what seems like a giant sandbox by following the orders barked by their drill instructor. Jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, push ups, mountain climbers, etc.. This goes on for a period of time before the recruits then run to the next sandbox to be smoked again in the same manner before running to the next sandbox. This continues until the drill instructors get bored or the recruits need to be somewhere. Words don’t do justice describing getting smoked so please take a few minutes to see a Pit Stop in action. In the sweltering heat of South Carolina, the recruits had sweat powering down their faces as they were covered in sand with sandfleas biting them. As much as they tried to ignore it they could only focus on the feeling of bugs feasting on them and not being able to do anything about it (one scratch typically ends with a lot longer time being smoked). That afternoon the recruits (me being one of them) thought to ourselves why are we being punished when our drill instructor messed up.

It was easier to blame even though it was hard to tell what even happened. It was easier to blame then it was to take responsibility so it wouldn't happen again. It was easier to blame then it was to admit we messed up; despite the circumstances we lost focus and resembled nasty civilians instead of Marines marching in sync. It was easier to blame to distract us from our current reality of shit.

Moral of the Story

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems - not people; to focus your energies on answers - not excuses.

- William Arthur Ward


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