My Aunt Could Totally Kick Your Aunt’s Butt

In this episode, Michael and Nicole speak with retired Colonel Linda McGowan. Linda shares what it was like becoming a U.S. Marine in the 1980s, her career and adventures in life, and eventual retirement.

Show Notes

Marine Corp Facts:

  • Historically, Marines serve as the Navy’s ground troops. In fact, the word “marine” is the French word for sea, which may be why the French military historically called English troops — who all had to arrive by sea — “marines.”
  • The U.S. Marine Corps may celebrate its birthday on November 10th, but its real birthday is in the middle of July. The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that established two battalions of Continental Marines on November 10, 1775, which the Corps now celebrates as its official birthday. It wasn’t until July 11, 1798, that a service known as the United States Marine Corps was established by Congress under the command of the Navy.
  • The marines currently practice the martial arts including taekwondo, karate and Brazilian jiu-jutsu.
  • All current Marines carry about $14,000 worth of gear – in 2001 they carried just $2,500 worth of gear.
  • The Marines are the smallest branch of the department of defense 185,000 active-duty personnel and 38,5000 reserves – Army currently has more 541,000 personnel, while the Navy has more than 317,000 personnel, and the Air Force has 333,000.
  • Marines’ motto, semper fidelis is Latin for “always faithful” or “always loyal”.
  • As explained in the National Security Act of 1947, the U.S. Marines have three primary responsibilities – seizure or defense of naval bases and land operations to support naval campaigns; the development of tactics and equipment to conduct amphibious landings in conjunction with the Army and Air Force; and other duties as directed by the President or DoD.
  • The Marines have 3 operating forces – the Marine Corps Forces; the Fleet Marine Forces; and the Security Guard detachments for American embassies. Additionally, these Forces are categorized as either Forces Command or Pacific Command, each of which is led by a Lieutenant General.
  • Marines often pin their next promotable rank onto their uniforms as motivation. They usually hide it in their cover, or under a pocket flap.
  • Female Marine Corps recruits only would attend MCRD Parris Island South Carolina for boot camp until 2021 when the first group trained at MCRD San Diego California.
  • Where recruits are assigned depends on which side of the Mississippi River they live. The intensity of recruit training leads to a bit of competition and rivalry between the two recruit depots. “Hollywood Marines” are made in San Diego, according to Marines hailing from Parris Island, the original MCRD.
  • Marine recruits must finish eating the moment their drill instructor is finished. This is why Marines eat so fast.
  • Fewer than 100 people have received the title of honorary Marine, a title that can only be bestowed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Some of these people include:  
  1. Chuck Norris (rank unknown, but also unneeded)
  2. Brig. Gen. Bob Hope
  3. Master Sgt. Bugs Bunny
  4. Cpl. Jim Nabors, star of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
  5. Gary Sinise
  • Marines in uniform are not authorized to put their hands in their pockets.
  • Only female Marines are authorized to carry umbrellas in uniform.
  • In the Marine Corps a three-day weekend is called a “72” and a four-day weekend is called a “96”.
  • The Marine Corps mascot is an English bulldog named Chesty. This mascot was named after Marine Lt. Gen. Louis B. “Chesty” Puller, the only Marine to earn five Navy Crosses.
  • Marines also think it’s unlucky to eat the CHARMS that used to come in packs of meals ready to eat, so the candy had to be removed.
  • The US Marine Corps is older than the United States itself, predating the Declaration of Independence by one year.
  • Ernest “Boots” Thomas, one of the U.S. Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, was able to enlist in spite of being color blind by memorizing the results of another man’s test.
  • Marine corps official flag is scarlet with the Corps emblem in gray and gold. It was adopted on January 18, 1939, although Marine Corps Order 4 had established scarlet and gold as the official colors of the Corps as early as 1925. The indoor/parade version is bordered by a gold fringe while the outdoor version is plain.
  • On the Marine Corps’ flag  – The eagle is a symbol of the United States and is often associated with freedom. The globe represents the Marine Corps’ commitment to serving anywhere in the world. The anchor symbolizes the Corps’ amphibious duties and close ties to the Navy.
  • The Marines Corps’ Hymn is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps, introduced by the first Director of USMC Band, Francesco Maria Scala. It is the oldest official song in the United States Armed Forces. The “Marines’ Hymn” is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies. Western Illinois University uses the hymn prior to all football games. They are the only non-military academy allowed to use the hymn. The university has had permission to use the official nickname, mascot, and hymn of the Corps since 1927. 

Listing of the Full Ranks of the Marine Corps

Marine Basic Training: everything you need to know.

In the United States military, a cadence call is sometimes called Jody calls or Jodies, after Jody, a recurring character who figures in some traditional cadences; Jody refers to the man or woman with whom a serviceman’s wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend cheats while he/she is deployed.

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