After posting that picture of me the other day I naturally looked
through all the photographs I took when we did that month of
training in Honduras. I shot a total of 4 rolls of film with a cheap
point and shoot camera that a buddy of mine stole from a
colonel's wife during the drunken debauchery that is a ball
for the Marine Corps birthday. Not only did he steal but the
son of a bitch sold it to me instead of just making a gift of it
like I would have. Still, I got it for less than fifty percent
retail so I can't complain too much.
The group photo I am posting today is a shot of the
communications platoon of the headquarters company
of battalion 2/9 of the Fifth Marines Regiment which
is in the First Marines Division. In other words it's a
photo of about 30 hungover Marine radio operators
Every time I look at this photograph I laugh or smile
quietly to myself. In the center of the picture you
will see a Marine wearing his helmet and flak jacket
and standing at rigid attention while everyone around
him appears dishevelled and anything but gung-ho.
I've talked about him before, his name is Cale Johnson
and I haven't seen him since we both got out of the
service in 1990.
The reason he is doing what he is doing is that the
day before we had returned from spending three
weeks in the field in Honduras. The whole time we
were there it was over a hundred degrees every
day and no one had had a touch of alcohol and
we had hot food maybe twice. Spend three weeks
in the service sober and eathing nothing but MRE's
and you'll go a little nutso. Naturally when we got
back we all went out and got shnockered.
Everyone was hungover and the way Cale and I
dealt with playing Marine while miserable was to
turn the sarcasm knob up to 11. In charge during
that holidy in Honduras was the Regimental commander
who was a colonel bucking for general that had this
thing for making us wear our flak jackets all the time.
Cale and I countered that by wearing our helmets
also and extorting our comrades to "tighten it up"
and act like Marines. This only went on for about
half and hour because our hangovers were too
oppressive for continuous jocularity. Nevetheless
every time I see Cale standing at attention with
his helmet and flack jacket while those around
him lollygag the incongruity of his pose slays me.