A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Esprit de Corps

I've had some great conversations over the past few weeks here in the most Marine-centric corner of the world, Jacksonville NC...often the kind of conversation that reminds me just how unique is this organization in which I've spent most of my adult life.  There are the constant encounters with Marines I've known from a past assignment, the new friends or acquaintances made just by going through the same processing process, and perhaps most feel-good of all, the random shoot-the-shit chats with other Jarheads from all over as you're hitting the beach or catching a playoff game in a local steakhouse.  Something pretty cool ties us all together, no matter where we're from, no matter what exactly we do -- and keep in mind this is coming from one oppositional pain in the ass who's usually rolling his eyes and cursing about anything that reeks of too much gung-ho Oooh Raaah.

In a span of just two days recently, I played the face/name/familiarity game with a major I knew from the battalion in Afghanistan, a gunny I knew from New York, a sergeant I knew from both Afghanistan and Germany, a major from my Basic School company as brand-new 2ndLts, and most surprising of all, a pilot with whom I'd lost touch over a decade ago, but still owed a debt of gratitude for taking me along on a thrilling low-altitude flight all around NYC in a tiny cessna...back when you could do that.  The small world of the Corps has never seemed smaller than it has for me these past few weeks.

Still, most encouraging of all is the recurrence of shared experience that gets you breaking out into a grin before you even know it's happening...those moments where you're just fine trapping yourself into your mind and all its concerns, shutting out the world beyond...when an off-color joke or an example of real generosity reminds you that yeah, this "gun club" is something special.


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