Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Quantico Marine Corps Base is home of the Officer Candidate School my husband attended back when the Viet Nam War still raged.

With an eight-hour drive ahead of us, if all goes perfectly, we'll be in Virginia at 1500 today.

On Thursday, my husband will join hundreds of former Marines for the 41st reunion of those who graduated from Officer Candidate School at Quantico Marine Corp Base. Most haven't communicated, let alone seen each other, since 1967.
Email has been flying for nearly a year as the committee worked to make the reunion possible. And now with the event schedule in hand, we're off.

Only it's not called a schedule. It's a sit rep. Actually, Sit Rep it says on the top sheet.

"A what?"

"A situation report," Bruce says.

The three-day agenda is printed in military time. That's as bad as the metric system. So I draw myself a normal clock, and jot the military hours beside the numbers on the normal person's clock. I will need this crib sheet, I'm sure. Events are tightly scheduled, most on the hour or half-hour, but some at 5-minute intervals.

This explains a lot. My husband tells time to the minute, and insists on being early. I don't wear a watch, I tell time to the "ish," and anything less than fifteen minutes isn't late.

From the hotel, buses will take the Marines and spouses an hour north to Washington, DC where we'll visit The Wall, but all other events will be by POV.

"What's POV?"

"Privately owned vehicles," Bruce says.

That would be a car in normal person's language.

The sit rep gives 10 minutes to "load the buses."

"Load the buses with what?" I ask.

"Us," Bruce says.

Marines don't board buses; they load them.

Then we're given 15 minutes to depart the hotel.

Marines don't leave; they depart.

I'd never have made it in the Marine Corp Bruce has told me more than once and somewhat irritably. I wouldn't navigate in the proper direction. I'd get lefts and rights reversed, let alone coordinate points. But worse, I'd question the reason for my orders, and would try to suggest a better way to my superiors. As you might imagine, this is not good Marine behavior, and not always welcome in a marriage either.

This I know, though, that these men share a bond I only understand mentally. They feel it in their gut, in every fiber of their being, in their hearts that still, and always will, beat with pride at having served in the Marine Corps. It will be my pleasure to see Quantico through their eyes and hear the memories they've held for so long.

Semper Fi.

Courage is endurance for one moment more.~Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam


Texas Travelers said...

Great story and my thanks to the Marines.
Thanks for sharing.

Come visit my Quadruped,

ellen b said...

What a great choice for Q and so timely. My hat is off in honor of the service your husband and his buddies performed for all of us in this country. Blessings...

Barbara said...

It sounds like a good thing your husband was the Marine and not you! :) Welcome to Washington!

Picturing of Life said...

great post of your story and pic

Will you visit mine Thanks

Janice Thomson said...

I bet you will come back with some truly remarkable and poignant stories too.
Have a lovely trip!

Jonna said...

Where would we all be with out the discipline of our armed forces. Loved your post.

Neva said...

What an absolutely wonderful post! I love the time and the lingo but more importantly...the bond between Marines...How special. I hope you blog about it when you get back ....I will be back to visit to see!
Mine is not as original as yours but here it is.

John said...

What a great choice and informative post for Q!

Powell River Books said...

Good choice and thanks for sharing your personal story. I chose to use nearby Quadra Island for Q. It is a fun vacation destination that you can see by clicking here. – Margy

Lisa said...

I hope Bruce enjoys his reunion, and I hope you have a good time as well! I can't wait to see your photos from DC!

I'm sorry I wasn't able to see this post before I tried calling you earlier, btw.

mrsnesbitt said...

Gosh.......the palarity of ABC Wednesday! There was I talking of dads and cheese and onion dishes!

leslie said...

Oh Ruth, this is a fantastic story! I hope you have a wonderful time at the reunion - at least, you'll be able to trade stories with the wives and compare notes about the hubbies' QUIRKS - lol

Wanda said...

Oh I learned so much today ~~ what a wonderful story. Loved it.

Have a great time and don't look at the clock, let your husband do that!! :)

Pauline said...

My ex graduated from Quantico in 1967! He had a two day leave for the birth of our first child. I wonder if he and your husband knew each other!

Barry said...

Ahem. If Bruce hasn't already squared you away, it's 'Marine Corps,' Ruth, not 'Marine Corp.'

They do something to those guys in basic training. I can tell you this for sure: Soldiers and airmen steer clear of them in bars, even though we're all supposed to be on the same side.

Another thing. They survived WW2 prison camps in much higher percentages than soldiers and airmen.

I think it's something they did to those guys in basic training.


Tere said...

I laughed as I read your story. As the daughter of a career Army officer, I can identify more than you know. There is a reason I steered clear of the military after I left home. Mostly because my favorite word was "why?" Hope your trip was wonderful and I can't wait to hear about your experiences.

Rozel said...

First and foremost thank your thank your husband for his services.

I LOVE the Lingo. I am a fan of talking in code. Every job I take on has its own lingo and I just love it!

Rozel said...

*service* (Oh dear, there I go again with the spelling. I even Copy/Paste into a word doc to check the spelling - it doesn't catch those things!)

Rozel said...

*service* (Oh dear, there I go again with the spelling. I even Copy/Paste into a word doc to check the spelling - it doesn't catch those things!)