Friday, May 10, 2013

Two Adult Beverages with Dinner

This week, we returned to the longstanding issue of Marines and Alcohol.

Marines will proudly – sometimes with a beer in hand – point out that in 1775 the Marine Corps was founded in a Tavern in Philadelphia.  Two weeks later, the Chaplain Corps was founded to get them out of the bar.

Fun fact: for much of the Marine Corps’ early history, their position was security detachment aboard ships.  Many confuse this concept with protecting the ships’ captains from mutineers, this is true, but an understatement.  Their primary job was to keep the ship’s supply of rum.  If you are wondering where animosity between Sailors and Marines began…

As you might recall, my little island of Okinawa has had quite a few “boo-boos” on the alcohol front.  And thus began the “Winter of Lockdowns”.

But that’s all behind us now.  Right?

Based on a very strong tradition of Covering One’s Ass and reinforced by various pieces of litigation naming the Marine Corps as primary offender, the Marines have a special way of dealing with the big three issues (Substance Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Hazing).  Using small words and repetition (and until recently, reinforcing statements with a judicious use of knife-hands), the Marine Corps makes their points by boring their personnel into submission.  It’s called a “Stand Down”.

This week, the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force came around to speak to every Marine.  To look them in the eye.  And explain to them the new policy.  For thirty minutes.  With wind in the background.  I’m not sure that I heard more than 10 words. I’m pretty sure Nepal was mentioned.

Secondary note:  Marines will tell you that USMC has more than one possible meaning.  United States Marine Corps.  Uncle Sam’s Misbehavin/Misbegotten Children.  And my personal favorite: Uncomplicated [Stuff] Made Complicated.

Then, the Sergeant Major and Command Master Chief.  They were both louder.  The basic premise is that now we can have two adult beverages out in town... but only at a restaurant... and only as long as our BAC does not go over a .03.  

We have to leave base sober, and return sober.  But we can have two beers.  

For twenty minutes, we basked in a new policy that will not be in effect for a few more days/weeks/months.  But I'm not sure that any of us really know what it means.  I'm still not going to drink out in town, and I'm still going to be sad at Karaoke. It's a bummer Righteous Brothers' impression improves with liquid reinforcement.

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