Monday, March 13, 2006

Why I am getting out of the Marines | Comments:

In the previous post, I copied a posting from Craiglist, a free classified internet forum. That story has been picked up by other blogs. The blogs then get comments about the story. I think it is interesting to see how the general public reacts to the feelings of a soldier who is calling it quits.


you tell'em.
posted by zenzizi at 12:18 PM PST on March 13

Is this guy saying that a U.S. pilot intentionally flew his jet into the water and killed himself? Cuz that's how this is reading to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:27 PM PST on March 13

If this is real, the author sounds like a chopper pilot. Not sure about his friends.
p osted by bardic at 12:28 PM PST on March 13

It could have been poor maintenance, he's complaining that the equipment isn't being maintained the way it should be. [shock, horror]
posted by Malor at 12:30 PM PST on March 13

I've been told that there are far more military suicides during wartime than we ever hear about. It's only natural that people break under that kind of pressure. It's also normal that it never makes it into the press, and that commanders clamp down upon it hard. There's an omerta among the suicide's friends too -- do you want to tell the family that their brave trooper went nuts and shot himself in the middle of the chow hall, or would you rather it be due to a "training accident"?
posted by xthlc at 12:38 PM PST on March 13

Hey, you "Go to war with the army you have". At least that's what Donald Rumsfeld, with his years and years of combat experience says. And that should be good enough for anyone.
p osted by slatternus at 12:42 PM PST on March 13

There's something very familiar about that line. Very familiar indeed. It's either a quote taken straight from Robocop, or that link (or something with the same content) has been posted around these here parts before.
Posted by mad judge pickles at 12:42 PM PST on March 13

stinkycheese; I don't get that impression, I get the impression that it was due to poor maintenance, or something like sleep deprivation. I don't get the impression that it was a suicide.
posted by odinsdream at 12:45 PM PST on March 13

I agree with odin, I think that the poster's complaint was that the death was caused by poor equipment maintenance.

The material readiness of the US military is an interesting and important story. But an anonymous posting to craigslist as an FPP? Come on.
posted by justkevin at 12:51 PM PST on March 13

I'm looking through the casualty list for December 2005 (when this was posted), but I'm not finding any dead marines who "crashed into the water." (LINK) Maybe he's referring to something that happened months earlier, and he spent some time stewing over it before posting? I don't know.

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but I can't find a Beger, Kerns, and Murphy who all died on the same day, either.
posted by Jatayu das at 12:54 PM PST on March 13

This was posted on DailyKos on January 26. While they don't exactly debunk the story, some of the commenters throw a small amount of doubt as to whether it is true or not.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:54 PM PST on March 13

If you read the link, it looks like his friends have been ordered to fly in unmaintained aircraft to do missions that they aren't qualified for, and died trying. I wouldn't really call that suicide. I would question the sanity of anyone joining the Marines, but that's just an old Navy prejudice creeping up.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:58 PM PST on March 13

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but I can't find a Beger, Kerns, and Murphy who all died on the same day, either.

Have you checked the cemetery?
posted by palinode at 12:58 PM PST on March 13

uless the US Marines do it vastly differently from the British military, I'll call bullshit on the maintenance logs being faked. Nobody I've ever encountered with that sort of responsibility would do anything but the right thing when lives are involved.
posted by mad judge pickles at 1:03 PM PST on March 13

So it's an anonymous, possibly fake posting to craigslist which is really old and has already been determined to be dubious at best.

And seriously - The war is going badly and there's no end in sight. It shows every sign of being a PR problem where the troops are asked to fail as little as possible while the administration tries to bolster the "everything is fine" argument by not adding enough men or resources. I think we'd all be surprised if the attitude in this FFP wasn't widespread.

In other words - Is there anyone in the country who doesn't "get it" to the point where this sort of gratuitous crap is required?
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:07 PM PST on March 13

Yeah, in reading it over again, I'm inclined to go with the poorly maintained equipment over an outright suicide.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:10 PM PST on March 13

> In other words - Is there anyone in the country who doesn't
> "get it" to the point where this sort of gratuitous crap is required?

Well, there is at least one person. Tragically, he's in charge.
posted by sfslim at 1:12 PM PST on March 13

There's no reason to assume Berger, Kerns, and Murphy died on the same day.

According to CNN, nobody named "Berger" has died at all. A Murpy and a Kerns were killed, but they weren't pilots. (They drove over a land mine.)

This is bogus.
posted by Jatayu das at 3:15 PM PST on March 13

Eh, even if it's real (which I don't really doubt), it sounds more like the rant of a discontented employee than anything specific to the current administration, etc. The passion and the stakes are a lot higher, but the familiar refrains (understaffed, underbudgeted) could apply to most jobs. It certainly must be more frustrating when coworkers are dying, however.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:20 PM PST on March 13

man this guy is really gonna be pissed when he has to start all over again in Iran.
posted by j.p. Hung at 3:28 PM PST on March 13

I'm not buying this at all. Knowing quite a few people in Naval Aviation, including pilots and maintainers, I have to say that this is B.S. Maintanence problems are par for the course and are always a huge problem. This guy obviously has some knowledge but is really talking out of his ass and should shut up.
posted by snsranch at 5:42 PM PST on March 13

maintenance problems are par for the course and are always a huge problem.

That kind of struck me as a little odd as well. When my brother was over there, he said they regularly flew in conditions (weather and maintenance) that wouldn't be acceptable stateside.

But he wasn't bitter about it. One of his best friends over there was a ground scout. One night, after the scouts had been on patrol for over twelve hours, my brother escorted them back to the base and flew off. As he was flying away he came under fire from insurgents on the ground. His scout friend actually turned his convoy around, again, after twelve exhausting hours outside the wire, to go engage the insurgents shooting at my brother.

No military pilot worth his wings is going to stay on the ground because of a Check Engine light when there are people like that scout out there screaming for his help.
posted by Cyrano at 7:38 PM PST on March 13

Has some knowledge? If this is a fake, this guy should be writing for the movies. It's one of the tightest prose depictions of battle shock I've ever read. The content is verifiable, though I see no reason to think that someone wouldn't blur identifying details on purpose before posting something almost certainly court martialable, and likely to get the dude fragged too, if he's still in theater. But if the Marines are hiring guys who write like that, things are stranger than I thought abroad. On the other hand, if this is a fake, a serious literary talent has been discovered here. The debate here about whether it's political or personal is moot, unlike the debate about its authenticity. The beauty of the piece is the way it evokes the voice of a working-stiff soldier, with no horizon higher than the world of the Marines, with just a hint of longing to see past that horizon to the world he doesn't feel he is defending properly. He is not opposed to the war. He is opposed to war, in general, but he doesn't know that because he is too numb and unconscious to do more than lash out at the immediate agents of his misery -- and interestingly not the Iraqi or Afghan ones so much as his CoC. What a character. Maybe it's James Frey.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:39 PM PST on March 13

Yes ... because if you were a soldier serving in the Armed Forces, you'd be certain to give the real names of fatalities you were personally acquainted with, so that your identity could easily be deduced by your superior officers, who no doubt would be quite pleased with your rant.
posted by WCityMike at 8:14 PM PST on March 13

THESE COMMENTS WERE ABOUT A PREVIOUS POST: Why I am getting out of the Marines

Which shirt would you wear?

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