Into the Locker Room: Male InitiationPosted: April 23, 2012 | |
i was 20 years old when i joined the navy. i was living in a small town in texas. i had spent a year in college, and didn’t like it. i had landed a good job at an oil refinery making decent money. i had a gf, and i was about to move out of my dad’s place (long story). but as i worked at this job i soon realized i knew EXACTLY how my life was going to pan out- soon the gf would end up pregnant, i’d be 24-25, working (stuck) at the refinery. all this came to me at 20 years old.
i wanted out. i knew there was a world out there, and i wanted to see it. one of friends had a brother in the navy, and he frequently got letters from him in spain. thats what i wanted to do, i wanted to to go to spain.
i set off for boot camp in april 1994 (yeah, i’m that old). i arrived at great lakes, ill on a chilly and windy day. there were 6 of us, and we were marched to a grey, cold, bleak, bunker room with prison style metal framed bunk beds. he told us someone would be be there to get us in the morning. none of us said a word to each other as we fell asleep in silence. when i was in boot camp, there were no females. NONE. i didn’t see a woman until the first female drill instructor showed up. boot camp was brutal. our company commander was a salty asshole that bragged about how he “couldn’t wait for your mom’s and sisters to show up so i can give them a REAL dose.” he singled out all the guys with gf’s and railed on them. i was the second shortest in my company, and i was the PFC (personal flag carrier). that meant my tiny ass had to lug the biggest flag around that symbolized our company. in great lakes. in the wind. fuck.me.did it suck. but something i learned via observation during the first week-
shut the fuck up. don’t complain. whiners get beat. every company has ONE fuck up…..don’t be that guy.
boot camp is basically mental deconstruction to teach you to think of your company before yourself. keep the ship afloat. when we finally cleared medical from getting our shots complete, our CC (company commander) lined us up and beat the shit out of us for 45 minutes with what’s called “cycling”. cycling is comprised of non-stop exercizes, and the “resting” phase is getting to run in place for 5 minutes. eventually they have to quit because there so much condensation that the floor becomes slippery. when it was over, everyone is drenched in sweat. then, our CC informed us it was time for chow. we assambled out front and marched to the chow hall. all the other companies were staring at us in fear, and disbelief. we held out heads high, we were proud of the beating we took. NO WAY were we going to show any signs of fear, pain, or broken spirit. our CC had done his job. we’d form up in the chow hall and stand in front of our chairs, holding our trays in front of us. when the whole company had their trays, our squad leader would call out, “COMPANY 94135, TAKE. SEATS!!!” we’d sit quickly and then he’d call out. “COMMENCE.CHOW!!!!” and we’d all dive in. you see, the first man to sit has the longest time to eat. me and the short guys would have about 5 minutes to eat everything. so the company decided we’d all have equal time to eat…..and we all took equal time to suffer. we were a VERY tight knit company. lol. i graduated 3 months later, and was headed to san diego for Corpsman basic training.
my first duty station in charleston, sc. after a TAD to cuba, i landed in EMS. the EMS guys were the wolves of the hospital. no shit. those guys were known for knowing their shit and being amazing medics. there were 3 crews. i landed on bravo. before you could be “in” EMS, you had to do ride alongs until you showed competence to be on your own with a crew chief. my crew chief was gore. gore got shot in the face, and was saved by a fire-medic. he was an ACE EMT. that man know every algorithm, to every trauma and ACLS chart there was. when i finally got the green light to be a rider, i was stoked. but gore had something in store for me as i checked off my rig one morning. “well, you’re officially in bravo now, huh. time to get you up to speed.” i was placed in full c-spine precautions and strapped to the top of the ambulance for my “base orientation”. then, the spine board was placed up against the fence (with me still in it) and a sign on me that said, “baby EMT”. oh, and this fence was the entrance to the base, so EVERYONE coming on base could point and snicker. after 30 minutes i had a 14 gauge IV placed in my hand (read- OOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!) i didn’t utter a word. after it was done, the guys untied me, “welcome to bravo D. all the crews were tight, hell, even like family. well we did a 24 hour shift, then we’re off for 48 hours. we worked hard, but our unit cohesion was SICK. NO ONE, in the hosptial fucked with us. our Commander was even a bigger prick than we were. “you got a problem with my guys, talk to me, you don’t address them, I DO!!!!” it was fucking great working for him, becuase he made sure you knew your shit. EMS was were EVERYONE wanted to work. it was the only department that would boot you out if you weren’t able to keep up.
my next command was a hospital in Sicily. the milestone of my career there was making E4. thats kind of a transition rank in the military, and they make a big deal about it. while i was there i worked on a med/surg ward, but was a primary EMT for the ER due to my previous command. all the EMT guys were dicks. and i fit in well, i got tested and shined, so i was immediately in. well, after i made E4, i was checking off the rig when i got jumped and carried into a store house.
i knew what this was, i was getting tacked. “tacking on” is when they punch your new rank into your arm. ONLY E4’s and above can tack you. no one beneath your pay grade can tack you. this is a HIGHLY ILLEGAL practice, but a navy tradition. i WAS NOT going to let these guys fuck me over. i said, “c’mon bitches….FUCKING GET SOME!!!! i held my left arm out and my boy jarzembak stepped up. mat was 5’9” and weighed about 200. he spent about 13 hours a day in the gym. mat BLASTED my arm. he fucking killed it. i laughed and said, “i fuck youmother harder than that, you pussy.” he laughed then the other 5 guys took their turn. here’s the thing guys, this was a badge of HONOR. guys don’t do this shit to guys they don’t like. i knew thier tacking me was validation. it was welcoming me to the upper ranks of the navy. now if i could just keep people from finding out i got tacked. if anyone had discovered i would have REFUSED to say who did it. oh, and the girls NEVER get tacked.
i was proud i got initiated.
i think that’s a pretty sad thing now for “modern man”. in western culture, there’s no rite of passage. no way for men to transition from youth to manhood. no trial by fire, no beast to slay, no great task to make the women folk swoon. now all you get is a peice of paper, a pat on the back, and maybe a mortgage. i think it’s good for men to go through some kind of test, or task. it must be painful, and it must be difficult. but i was ready for all this a long time ago. i’ll post about that tommorrow. i’d like to add that i DID finally make it to spain. i lived there from april 2007-nov 2009. it only took me 14 years. lol. a few months after getting there i realized, seeing spain (while a priviledge) was what 20 year old danny wanted. i was no longer that kid, and i soon realized i was ready to quit wandering. i talked with a friend about it and he said, “welcome to maturity, glad you’re finally here.” but i am glad i chose the path i did. it’s definately been an interesting journey.
but even today….you CANNOT do any kind of
in the meantime, my boy just got back from afghanistan, so we were catching up this weekend on how the good ole USMC is killing muji’s out in the suck. he’s an 8404 HM, and mean sunovabitch. he was telling me stories about what they boys are doing, it’s always funny and interesting. i’m sure many of you would like me to share what we talked about, but i can’t……
you haven’t been initiated.
Warsquat, we can take this to email later. lol. oh, and if this isn’t on your radar, it should be. http://terminallance.com/
and thank you Bb for the post, you def know the way to my heart.