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The Marine Corps and Consequences

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Babbitt in the mechanic shop at Kalitta Air in Ypsilanti, MI.

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of a series of stories with the theme “consequences.” It was originally intended to be published in a print edition of The Collegiate. However, because of COVID-19 we were unable to make a hard-copy magazine.

By Hayley Babbitt

As cliche as it may seem, all actions and decisions unarguably have consequences- whether or not those repercussions are positive or negative. The main reason that the word ‘consequence’ itself may sound negative, more often than not, stems from fear of the unknown. In the United States military, what every soldier has in common is making the decision to serve- along with thinking through the possible consequences before making that commitment.

With all branches of the military specializing in either land, air, or sea, there is one branch that prepares each and every soldier to tackle any terrain; the United States Marine Corps. Being the most male-dominated branch in the military, along with having the most rigorous boot camp that is combat oriented, the USMC has purpose for the slogan “the few, the proud”, and for corpsmen being labeled “devil dogs.” Every soldier in the corps is also a rifleman first- making their main duty to serve in a combat role before their job title.

Since the fourth grade I’ve wanted to join the military in hope of becoming a pilot. Inspired by my grandfather, who served in the second World War, I had wanted to give back to the people I care for most by enlisting. 

Little did I know then, I would be waiting for my shipment date at just the age of 18 in the Marine Corps- the branch I had always ruled out. 

With the USMC being at an all time low for the amount of females in service, my interest piqued in the branch that I never had given any thought to. The reason that the corps is considerably smaller than the other branches is because of the possible ‘harsher’ consequences. From the day you arrive at Parris Island, South Carolina, to the day you finish your enlistment contract, the USMC is no walk in the park with every training marines endure throughout their service.

Being raised in a small, West Michigan church town, I have known members of the military my whole life. Although this had probably heavily influenced my interest in serving myself, it has also brought me insight as to how the military lifestyle is. Mackenzie Bailey, a 19-year-old female that is currently serving in the Marine Corps, is stationed in Oahu, Hawaii.

“I wake up every morning at 0500 and do (physical training). I then go throughout my workday, which can include classes and learning my job as a cannoneer, all the way to maintenance and gun drills,” Bailey said.

While Bailey has many obstacles throughout her days on base, she does point out the positives about her experience in the Marine Corps.

“The lifestyle is challenging but has many rewards,” she said. “I go to sleep every night after an honest day of work and I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Bailey is only one example of the slogan “the fewer the prouder” – which represents the title that women in the corps earn after completing basic military training. Because of the small numbers of women in this particular branch, seeing and hearing about other females in the USMC is essential to inspiring other young women to join. 

The sacrifices that every man and woman in our military make on a daily basis does not go unnoticed. Throughout times of both peace and war, the Marine Corps exemplifies the importance of perseverance and sacrifice- despite the consequences.