10 Reasons Why I Would Have Been Dishonorably-Discharged From The Marines

R. Lee Ermy, "Sgt. Hartman," curses "Joker," Matthew Modine in Full Metal Jacket


Matthew Modine, "Joker," Full Metal Jacket


Who's the toughest?

There’s always talk of and a lot of bragging about which branch of our Armed Forces is the toughest. Some swear that the Navy SEALs are the toughest, while others argue it’s the Marines. Then again U.S. Army Ranger fans along with the Green and Black Beret supporters will stand firm and say that “their” branch is the toughest by far.

All I know is that I choose to not get involved with this perpetual argument. They are all “as tough as nails,” to me. This includes our friends, The Israeli Commandos. I sure wouldn’t want to leave them out. There might come a time in my future life when I might need one or many of these military branches that I mentioned to save my old hide.

There are two national icon’s who when they are seen, you instantly think of the United States Marine Corps, and one of them is not Clint Eastwood. I am talking about R. Lee Ermy, famous for his role as “Gunnery Sergeant Hartman,” in “Full Metal Jacket,” and the lovable, big-hearted, Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors. Face it. These two men forever will remind us of the Marines. Ooo-Raah!

R. Lee Ermy curses Arliss Howard, "Cowboy" in Full Metal Jacket


Arliss Howard, left, and unnamed woman


Vincent D'Onofrio, "Leonard Lawrence/Gomer Pyle," Full Metal Jacket


Wild Bill Neff, ex-Marine, cast member of Mountain Monsters


Marines, well-represented by Will Bill Neff

In hindsight, in present time, Wild Bill Neff, cast member of America’s Destination Channel (DirecTV), is a veteran of the Marine Corps, and it shows in his fearless attitude charging toward the mysterious beasts that he and members of the Mountain Monsters team chase every week. Actually, he is great advertising for the Marines for he plugs “the Corps,” at every opportunity on the show. And with each task he and Willy, another member of the Mountain Monster team, completes, we all hear a hearty, “Oooo-Rahhh!” Who could ask for more?

But with all of the hoo-hah, fanfare, and parading, “I” love every member of The Marines, SEALs, Rangers, Green and Black Berets, and yes, sir, the Israeli Commandoes. Yes, I am being overly-zealous, and I just don’t care, but where would our country (and free world) be with these brave men and women who willfully-sacrifice their blood and life each time they go into a battle—and some, we do not even know about.

I do not claim to be a Rhodes Scholar or even the “sharpest tool in the shed,” but I do know “me,” my weak points, and limits.

Thereby I know that . . .

”Here are 10 Reasons Why I Would Be Dishonorably-Discharged From The Marines”

YELLING – Drill instructors in the Marines yell so much that I doubt that they could have a normal conversation with anyone. In the fourth-grade, (a) Mrs. Bolin, used a rather unusual teaching “tool,” to prompt my learning: Yelling at me. It felt awful, humiliating. It’s tough to be laughed-at. From that moment in 1964, I grew to despise yelling or being yelled at by teachers, bosses and wife.

ODD-HOURS – Getting up at dawn to run 20-miles a full pack of gear does not make sense to me. Why not 7 a.m.? Use the same gear, same drill instructor, same course. Wouldn’t the platoon get the same results?

GUNS—are not my easiest puzzle to solve. I get all sweaty, nervous and suffer a few panic attacks. And it’s only a double-barrel shotgun. But the Marines insist that their recruits all achieve sharp-shooter status by using a M-16 rifle. I would guess that using a solid Oak club (like Bufford Pusser, “Walking Tall) would be out of the question?

LOUD NOISES—coupled with M-16’s and bellowing by the drill instructors would make me a nervous wreck not just occasionally, but around the clock, so knowing my limits, the Marines would be glad to get rid of me with a Dishonorable Discharge.

PHYSICAL TRAINING—is important even to civilians. But the Marines have you exercising, or as they call it, “P.T.” from the time you get to boot camp until you graduate. I would be the “one out of four,” who dies from exhaustion from over-exercising.

SALUTING—to me has always been a maze of confusion. Now I know that G.I.’s do not have to salute their sergeants, but captains, lieutenants, colonels, majors, and generals all get a snappy-salute from Marine G.I.’s no matter where. No matter what. What confuses me is not the actually sliding my right hand up to the right side of my head, it’s the not knowing whom is whom by the number of stripes on their arm. Oh, I am sure that a certain colonel would be meeting me on the base sidewalk and I just nod and keep walking. Then I hear the thunder, “Soldier! Halt! Don’t you believe in saluting a superior officer?” I would probably break-down and cry, so there, the colonel instantly-determines that “I” am not fit for the Marines.

KEEPING A TIDY BED—now I am all for “neat.” I love neat. Neat shoes, clothes, house. I even love for my wife to be dressed neatly. But the rough, tough Marines, what’s with the rule of “having a perfect bed” when inspection comes? Do not try to sell me on the idea that when these guys are fighting behind enemy lines that their sergeant is going to jump on their back by yelling, “Yawscoski! Did you take time to make your bed all tidy and perfect before we left?” I just do not see that.

MARCHING—in perfect step, I guess, means the platoon is “working as one,” but why so much marching? I mean it’s a parade march for the visiting dignitaries and a march for a couple of congressman who are on the Defense Spending Committee and finally a common, old march just because the harsh drill instructors have this much power.

SKIN-TIGHT HAIRCUTS—tell me this, ex-Marines. Do the Marine Corps do this to give the new recruits a feeling of unity? Or is it that they hate hair that pushes the hair length regulations? Will a Marine with a skin-tight haircut be a better Marine? I am forgetful when it comes to getting haircuts, so here is another reason for me to head home with a dishonorable discharge.

POLISHING BOOTS—I am all for looking great, boots and all, but “spit shining” your boots until you can see your face? I do not know all I need to know about the illustrious Marines, but this I do know: When a Marine is battling a member of a terrorist cell, that low-life murdering terrorist is not going to focus on the Marine’s boots.

I can hear it now. “That was a short sting in the Marines, eh, Kenny?”

Coming soon . . .”How I Had Fun Keeping My Grade School Teachers Confused”

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Comments 31 comments

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 2 years ago from United States

Funny, Kenneth. lol My dad always said that his best day in the Marines was the day he got out. (Btw, your unnamed woman is Debra Winger.)

Voted up & shared. (: --Jill

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

You big old sissy pants --- I could have been a marine, when I was younger :-(

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

lol. To thine own self be true. I'm glad you spared the marines an attempt in joining them. Although I wonder if it might have made marine history if you did.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Ken - All my life, my non-feminine name has been the cause of my receiving mail targeted to men. (That hasn't changed.) In my thirties, I got a letter addressed to 'Mr.....' that went on to say, 'The Marines are looking for a few good men.' (This was back in the days before women began joining regular branches of the military.)

I thought briefly about showing up at the recruitment office with my letter as a joke, but didn't want to chance it. What if they decided to keep me? I'd have been a lousy Marine (worse than you). My stepbrother told me horror stories about Marine boot camp before he was sent to Vietnam. No way would I set foot in the USMC recruitment office. But that letter was a good conversation piece for a while.


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

On a deep psychological level, I sense you are a little dissatisfied with yourself for not making the Marine Corps. It's subtle, but it's there; otherwise, why would you write an entire article exploring your inability to fit into the Marine discipline?

Being the social creatures we are, we often compare ourselves to others and try to "fit in," when the best course of action is to just be ourselves.

Recently I learned my father, deceased many years, wanted to be in the Marines when he was drafted to serve in WWII. He was Marine material, but I wonder if he would have suffered more injuries than he did as an infantryman in the U.S. Army. Would he have returned from the war alive?

My grandfather served in WWI, my elder half-brother served in the Navy (no skirmishes, but worked near radiation), my younger brother served in Korea as an Army infantryman, and my daughter received a medical discharge after two years in the Army's Airborne Division (probably the result of erratic sleep schedules, which you didn't mention herein).

I never would have qualified for military service, either. Undoubtedly my 20/400 myopia would have disqualified me at recruitment age.

Each person has a particular contribution to creation. We cannot do the work of another; hence, everyone isn't Marine material. With your sensitivities as described, I suspect you have artistic or fine reasoning abilities. Feel good about who you are.

I enjoyed the humor. Voted funny. --Blessings!

Fred Arnold profile image

Fred Arnold 2 years ago from Clearwater, FL

Awesome Hub! I still hold that Submariners are the toughest bunch in the military. I've met people all over the spectrum in the Military and their response was always the same. "You do what? You wouldn't catch me dead in that tin can". (Or somewhere along those lines) But in any case, it is more about being supportive of your branch than an overall attitude of who is better. When it comes down to it, we are all brothers in arms.

Also, you continue to PT AFTER bootcamp, 3-5 times a week, for the rest of the time you are in. So, it doesn't end after boot camp! Haha.

Stay awesome!


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sheilamyers 2 years ago

I had to laugh because many of things you mentioned got on my nerves when I was in the Navy. Doing them all during boot camp is one thing, but to have to keep a perfectly made bed and get up at the crack of dawn doesn't make sense once that training is over. They never tell you, but all of that stuff is done to develop teamwork, so everyone basically looks the same, and/or to learn discipline.

I'll tell you two things you'll never see in the field especially in a hot zone. The first thing a real soldier is going to do is get those spit-shined boots dirty. No one except an idiot is going to want the sun reflecting off the shine and making them stand out as a target. And unless you want to kill off your leader because he's only going to get you killed, you'll never see anyone saluting anyone outside of a tent or building. A sniper probably won't shoot the person popping the first salute. He'll shoot the person returning it. Why? The first salute is given by the lower rank and the sniper wants the second saluter who is the "big boss".

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

I didn't know you were in the Navy, Sheila. You have my utmost respect and gratitude. It seems as though you learned the necessary aspects of life in the military in addition to the perfectly-made bed. Jaye

lupine profile image

lupine 2 years ago from Southern California (USA)

Kenneth, I am so glad you weren't in the military...would hate to have you suffer such drudgery. I can say you are an imaginative and inventive writer. Keep doing what you do best, my friend.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

Jaye: I was and I was one of those people who benefited from the extra discipline required. I wasn't a bad kid, but I did need what the military offered in order to grow up.

Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

The reasons you'd get discharged, I can relate to! Especially having to get up early. lol Seriously, though, my son was in the Marine Corp and the only group he said was tougher than them were the Seals. Just sayin'

Good hub and voted up.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Ann,

I have heard that the SEALs were tough enough to eat nails for lunch and cement blocks for dinner.

But then again, I do not want to mess with any Marine either.

Thanks for your nice comment.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear sheilamyers,

I admire you for your time in the military. I, on the other hand, would have not fared well under pressure and all that yelling and even my best wouldn't have been good enough, so out I would go.

I just know that.

Visit with me again.

PS: Tiger Woods has withdrawl from the elite golf tournament.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear lupine,

Awweee, how sweet. Thank you for the sweet comment. Yes, it would have been drudgery. I would have died of boredom. And my sergeants would have had me on K.P. all of the time.

Hmmm, closer to the food.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

@ sheilamyers again,

See? There ARE some things I wrote that made sense--the useless tasks of making beds, shining shoes. I see their side, but I agree with your points.

I think the Marines should JUST rebuild the recruit and leave the bed-making alone.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Jaye,

Where have you been for so long? I have missed you.

And I join you in respecting sheilamyers. Anyone, woman or man, but especially women, who endure all of the mental and physical torture of military training has my respect.

But some women ARE STILL IN mental and physical torture for being stuck in lousy marriages.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

The Dirt Farmer,

Now that is a great line. The day he got out. Kinda like the sign that hangs in plain-sight in the SEALs training camp: The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.

I tell you this. I KNOW that I would have been sent home on a one-way ticket from the Marines and SEALs. These are rough people--females included.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Grand Old Lady (who is NOT old)

I thank you sincerely for your comment of care. I appreciate you telling me the truth too. It would have killed me to fail the training and tell people back home, "Uhhh, I didn't cut it in the Marines," and then get laughed at. Which is worse by degree.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear eric,

I admire a man who tells the truth. And me? A sissy? Naaah. I wish I could agree. There are things in my past that HP would not let me post here. Deal?

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


I have seen a photo of you four years ago. You were one of my first followers and you are definitely a female. How can any jerk call you a guy?

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, Fred,

I am not shocked at your unit being tough. My grandnephew, who is now a Chief, in the Navy, was once on a "tank," as he called a sub. And he is going for 20 years. He is in his last tour in Connecticut as a computer teacher/professor. Works sometimes 8 until 12, then home or to the bar, but he doesn't get drunk.

For all of these years I have failed at getting him to refer to a ship as a vessel NOT a boat.

He is like me. An Alabamian and I wanted him to get people to look on us with respect, not fun-making.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

@ at Fred again:


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Marie,

You are so good. Are you a psychologist? You are right, but just a little of me regrets NOT serving in the military. I did register for the Draft in 1972 when I was 18 and would have went to Nam, but I knew in my heart that I wasn't made for battle--although my enemies were there to kill me. That wasn't me. But I will never know.

Thanks for your insight and seeing through my text what was eating at me.

Visit with me again.

truefaith7 profile image

truefaith7 2 years ago from USA

Interesting and funny hub! I grew up around my grandpa, was a Marine DI during the Korean War, and understand these points all too well. He always advised me against joining the Marines for many, if not most of the reasons you listed in this hub. Even though other reasons kept me from joining the military, I still wonder sometimes what might have been.

BTW, my grandma has told stories about how after being discharged, his yelling and "lean, mean Marine" demeanor didn't carry over too well in the civilian world......

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Oh how sweet of you to share about your Marine grandpa. Memories like this cannot be bought or manufactured.

You probably have a lot more priceless memories of your grandpa and grandma.

I am glad that you did not join the military. I have one great nephew who is going to make a career of the Navy, he is intelligent in computers and teaches them in his job.

Hi s wife and three adorable kids love him for sacrificing for them.

I have another great nephew who did a tour in Afghanistan and came home to marry a nurse in Nebraska who already had a son. They have since adopted another son and he is finishing his studies (thanks to his G.I. Bill) at The University of Nebraska in Business Administration.

He is also working part-time in a diesel engine shop and making huge bucks. I am proud of both my nephews.

Sorry to get so carried away. It was my pride talking.

Hey, visit me anytime and share what you want.

milleramanda53 profile image

milleramanda53 2 years ago from Florida

Thought my husband was going to fall over. He was a Marine for 8 years.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, milleramanda53,

Is that a good thing? Do I have to worry about him coming after me? Tell him I can say, "ooo-raaah!" Although I have never been one of "Uncle Sam's Misguided Children." Say this phrase to him. He will smile.

Thank you so much for the terrific comment.

milleramanda53 profile image

milleramanda53 2 years ago from Florida

He enjoyed the it and said the years he spent in the Marines (1986 - 1994) was some of the best years of his young adult life.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Wow! I have heard ex-Marines say that. I have never been a confident person, but one ex-Marine told me that although the boot camp is near the gates of Hades, the self-confidence he gained from his years in the Corp he would not sell it for gold hauled on a freight train.

Please tell your husband, "Ooooo---Raaaah!"

And thank YOU for your nice comment. Stay in touch with me. Deal?

milleramanda53 profile image

milleramanda53 2 years ago from Florida

Will do... :)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


:) to you also. And you two have a safe rest of the week as well as the upcoming weekend.

If you or your husband ever need my help, you know how to contact me.


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