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6 Ways the Marines Are Like the Spartans
Spartan vs. Marines #1: Never to Quit.
Before writing this article, I did not know the Marine detachment of my own home base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina's 2/6's mascot was the Spartan, but Lejeune is a huge base. Each infantry detachment in the Marine Corps has their own mascot, and I think the Army works this way too, so it is no surprise one of our mascots would be a Spartan warrior.
The detachment 2/6's motto is "Never to quit". The official role of 2/6 is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver; if that isn't like the Spartans, I don't know what is. The Marines never retreat. When I just wrote the word "retreat", I actually had to look it up in an online dictionary because I kept spelling it wrong, even though I am well-educated. Marines just never speak of retreating, nor write about it. Well, unless we are writing about the enemy doing it. Yeah, that sounds arrogant, but Marines do carry some arrogance, because we have earned it, and Spartans would say the same thing. I love being a Marine.
Marines v. Spartans #2: Elite Training
During their day, the Spartans had the most elite training to mold their Spartan warriors. Marines today have the most elite basic training in the world. Marines still have such a reputation for being so aggressive, many North Koreans still believe that U.S. Marines must kill one of their parents, and if they are dead, a sibling could fill in, to earn their eagle, globe, and anchor, in order to become a full become a Marine. Perhaps they got this notion from the Spartans, but they had to kill a person from a neighboring town without being detected. While I have no doubt some drill instructors would love to make that a requirement, I assure the residents of San Diego, Parris Island, and Quantico, that is not the case......yet.
Marines v. Spartans #3: Es Spirit de Corps
Marines are a band of brothers and sisters. It is weird saying sisters, because Marines have the fewest amount of females in our branch, both in both numbers and in percentages; it's only 6%. I was actually the only female Marine in my unit for a long time. I actually earned the name "Smurphette", due to me being the only female. When I was about to deploy, my unit had to import a few other females, so I wouldn't deploy with nearly 300 male MarInes alone. Hand to God, just like the Spartans, we deployed with 300. So, I was used to just saying band of brothers, since there were no other females in my unit.
The higher ranks knew I hated when they said "Lady and Gents", because I could see all the eyes on me. So, they just said "Gents". I also hated that term because it separated me further from my brothers. Many times, they just called us simply "Marines", but the officers think that it elevates us to their level if they call us gentleman, and I am not going to deny everyone else this advantage just because I am the only female. I am a Marine first, female second. So that is why I call and count myself as a brother, it doesn't bother me.
Marines, like the Spartan warriors have the most teamwork. The Marines would gladly lay down our life for our brothers; we will jump on that grenade, we would stand in front of them and catch the bullet meant for our brother. While of course, many of us don't like a certain Marine or two for whatever reason, that doesn't change the fact that they are a Marine, and our entitled to our fidelity, and our life.
Marines vs. Spartans #4: The Fittest of All the Military
True, while Marines don't start going to boot amp at age 7, I went at the youngest age, age 17, out of all of the military today, we are the fittest. We have to have the least amount of body fat, run the most, do the most pull-ups, or dead arm hang, and the most sit-ups, for out physical fitness test.
Many Marine units do a "300 Workout". If you are a Marine of rank within your unit and are interested in a 300 workout, go to www.300fit.com. 300 of course, being the perfect score on a PFT test. As soon as I wrote that, I just realized it this is a play on words, 300 also being the amount of Spartans that fought at the Battle of Thermopylae.
Marines vs. Spartans #5: We Are Both a Cult.
There is no way anyone could say that Marines and Spartans are not part of a cult. I don't know about the Spartans, but this isn't exactly an insult to the Marines, we are proud to be exclusive; I bet the Spartans would say the same thing. We have our own culture, initiation process, terms special to our branch, etc. Plus, once you are in, you are in for life; so I guess it's like the mob too.
When Marines work with other branches of the military, it is typical for them not to like us. It's not that we are going out of the way for them not to like us, but we just really don't care. That sounds harsh, but we have a job to do, and what others think about is moot; mission first. I have heard them complain "Oh the Marines think they are so big and bad, and they think they are better than us because we are *fill in the blank* (Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Coastie)". Our answer? Yes, yes we are better.
The thing about Marines people need to understand, and I know I don't speak for the hundreds of thousands of Marines that have existed of course, but from the time we arrive at boot camp, we are thinking the same thing. We are taught that we are going to have the most harshest military experience. We must make the most, with the littlest amount of supplies and manpower. We must be the most aggressive because we will be the first in battle, and we will have the most casualties. Look at all the Meals of Honor, the highest medal a service person can get, a president must salute them (seriously), they are mostly Marines, even though we have the fewest service members by far. The figures I have seen the most is between 63-66% of the Medal of Honor recipients being Marines. Remember, the Marines are only 1/5 of the size of the Army.
Do I think we are the best? Yes I do, because we have proven it time and again since November 10, 1775.
Marines v. Spartans #6: We Are Not Afraid to Die.
Many Marines are religious, however, some are not. Before my unit ever left my FOB's wire, the chaplain would pray not necessary for our safety, but for our victory. I am not saying that atheist Marines are afraid to die, that is not true, but many of the Marines I knew personally thought the same way, a long time ago we made the personal decision that we would be giving our life for our country, well for 4-years at least, and if we die, fine, and if we live, that's icing on the cake.
Death was simply something we had made peace with a long time ago. That doesn't mean we were suicidal, we weren't, but Marines are the elite of the elite, and that means doing everything we can do personally to fulfill the mission and to protect our Marine brother's life; and that may very well be the price of our lives. We knew we would die with honor, and that would be just fine.
Thank-you for reading my article, and remember to please support the troops.