By: Ed Creamer
At my age, memory and sex drive are all I have left. Most mornings after trying to remember where I left my sex drive parked, I set my nameplate out on my desk. It helps prompt me into remembering who I am. You normally get better results when answering the phone with your own name rather than selecting one from the front pages of the newspaper. Confuses people less that way. However, since the month of November rolls around pretty often, I’m reminded of how a typical Marine family celebrates the Birthday of our Corps.
Yes! It’s at that time of year when the family holds muster around the traditional Eagle, Globe and Anchor tree in their living room. The number of candles lit equal the number years passed since the Corps founding. They’re placed in flame retardant 40 mm casings. The old beer keg set back in the corner just waiting for someone to pull their steel mess kit cup down from the wall to fill it with. Tables are decorated in camouflage with different C-rations and MRE’s set out for afternoon chow. Sitting beside each box are the unforgettable small bottles of Tabasco sauce and little individual rolls of 4-holer paper with embossed letters on each sheet saying “TO MY FIXED WING BROTHERS”.
Out in the squad bay the children were busy using their name stamps. Getting ready for a junk on the bunk inspection with name stamps a flying over freshly starched skivvies. Rifle barrels scoured with SOS, shoes shined with Secret deodorant pads and creases made ever perfect by wax. For, if the socks weren’t lined up perfectly, the Good Conduct Medal free of finger prints and Expert shooting badge placed just right, the IG wouldn’t be happy. There’d be no SOS served in the mess hall. Nor, would there be any pogey bait for any that failed. Only head details and guard duty until the next birthday. Yes! THE birthday was a fun time for children.
Friends arrived to exchange gifts after the meal was consumed. It was time for memories to be stretched to the maximum. To be sure, TRUTH comes in many variations when libation is consumed. Stories about how Capt Sam Nichols got his promotion to Major and made Commandant Numba 1. It’s been said he was the first to achieve full recruitment quota while stationed at Tuns’ Tavern. It must have made his Mother proud. So proud she gave him a swagger stick as a parting gift to aide in handling of the enlisted peons should they demand 3.2 beer. All gave the traditional toast of “Up Yours”.
Stories of how, when the winds blew and the monsoon rains did fall on the rotor blades, all nose pickers, spark chasers and tweets went to the flight line to make helicopters ready for flight. Each aviator’s scarf was folded neatly over the instrument panel. Crew chiefs would mark another X on the calendar when this day had passed since making an X was the only letter they knew.
Each knew it wasn’t the size of the parade they would receive when coming home that mattered. It was just the simple thought of getting laid. They knew it all depended upon that 23-year-old previously experienced and hung over fraternity party organizer to fly them into and out of hot landing zones. There would be various versions of that and the ever popular, “There I was at 500 feet with tree tops,,,,,,,,,.”
This was the time families are drawn together for rifle range detail, grenade practice and the family running of the PFT. Yes! This was the day that would bring them all closer. It was THE birthday.