Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Wax on, Wax Off

February 26th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Dear Gang,

Being the hard charging reservist that I am, I decided, against all good advice, to enroll into the Marine Corps Marshal Arts Program (MCMAP) to earn my Tan belt. This program, the brainchild of a certain high-ranking officer, combines about six different combat styles into one modified art. Now I was under the impression that this was going to be the Geritol version for the old guys, but found out quickly how wrong I was!

Our “Dojo” was manned by a handful of mid-twenty something “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles” who proceeded to P.T. the crap out of these old officers and Staff NCOs. We started at 0630 and ended at 1700 (5pm) each day. It only took three hours to break the first old man. Neal, a 41-year-old LtCol airline pilot reservist, started to do his forward roll which failed causing him to get the new call sign “Nadia” as in Nadia Comaneci the Russian Gymnast. His poor grace landed him in the hospital with a clean break on his collarbone.

I know you could see the doubt in my eyes as the potential dangers of taking this course began to be clearer. They were treating a bunch of old guys like we were in shape like a 25-year old. We worked our “arses” off till lunch and then made a few phone calls, asking, “Hey isn’t this supposed to be the old man’s course?” It all fell on deaf ears. We returned for our afternoon workout getting battered till 1700. When I made it home, after a hot shower, I had to bust into my wife’s old pain med’s from her C-section for all my aches and pains. My head hit the pillow at 8pm.

Day two: The alarm went off at 0500, “Oh Lord, I can’t move!” It took every ounce of will power to get dressed. I admit it; I whined like a baby to these hard chargers at the bunker and demanded that we dumb this down a bit. “Sir” the Sgt replied, “You are a Marine, we are all Marines…you are expected to maintain that level that separates us from the other services …Suck it up…Sir.”

“O.K. Gents, stand by for the next exercise. Twenty Marine Corps pushups followed by low crawls through the grass, crab crawls, jumping jacks, smurf jacks, bends and thrusts, and duck walks.” He would put us into the next position of pain. This is all part of being the new Marine Warrior…guess I felt like Ralph Macchio in “The Karate Kid” doing all the stuff for Mr. Miyagi… wax on, wax off, paint up, paint down. It doesn’t make sense while you are doing it, but later realize its part of the overall program.

We lost pilot number two that day to a shoulder injury. I went home again, dragging butt and wondering if they were trying to kill me. I am a shell of the physically fit man I used to be at twenty-five, but I have always refused to quit. So day three, just as hard, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as we beat each other up, tossed each other over our shoulders, learned how to do effective blood chokes, pounded bags, kicked the living crap out of a dummy, practiced bayonet fighting and knife fighting. Did I cover all the basics? I think so. Did I tell you that this was a hard course? Oh yeah baby, I earned that belt. See this is what happens after you leave the Corps and come back in five years later, they change things up a bit. They teach this to all new recruits and young Lt’s, good thing, too, because I’m telling you that some of us old guys would have a hard time getting to the black belt level. It makes me appreciate that I’m an expert pistol shot if I ever have to use it, but if I ran out of bullets, I’d only go down after some kicking and punches. Hats off to our hard-charging young NCOs who took the time to teach us the ropes of this excellent, but demanding program.

Oh by the way, here is one Marine who proves you are a lethal weapon no matter what age you are…
Semper Fi,

February 23, 2007 — A retired 70-year-old Marine killed a mugger with his bare hands after a tour bus of U.S. senior citizens was held up in the Costa Rican city of Limon, authorities said yesterday.
The retiree squeezed the 20-year-old mugger in a headlock, broke his clavicle and choked him, police said.
The thief’s two accomplices, who were armed, fled as other retirees on the bus started defending themselves. The group then drove the unconscious mugger to a local Red Cross clinic, where he was declared dead.
Local police named the former Marine as Allan Clady, but could not say where in the United States he resides.
The 12 tourists involved in the incident on Wednesday were on a stopover from the Carnival Cruise ship Liberty.
Local Police Chief Luis Hernandez said no one would be charged in the incident.
“They were in their right to defend themselves,” he said.