Today I had the privilege of going to the Marine Corps Recruit Department for an evolution of drawing blood from brand new marines. Most of these Marines just arrived here in San Diego last night, were kept up all night getting their heads shaved and their butts chewed. Many were probably wondering what the heck they were thinking in joining the Marines.
When my sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago, she became friends with a new marine who didn’t know where he was going from the airport and basically told her no one cares about him here in San Diego. Which is true, they are on their own to get to the base where they are stripped of their belongings and any sense of self they came with.
They had to have blood drawn so that when they are fighting in the front lines and get injured we have the blood ready and waiting for them already in the fleet hospital. It was a confrontation with reality. We are at war and these boys volunteered to put their necks out on the line. I wanted to cry and give them all hugs and say thank you thank you! Of course with it being a training environment, we were not able to strike up conversations with them and be too friendly, but we were able to share a smile. These boys were so exhausted they couldn’t tell me their SSN or their full name when I asked them. When I asked them to straighten their arms so I could draw blood, they looked at my blankly and twisted their arm in some twisted positions. One guy next to me even fainted while having blood drawn.
As we talked about our experience, our leader said that if we could only see these men 3 months from now at their graduation we would be floored. And while I question daily the sanity of what and why the military is how it is... these men get it done. And then my heart swells with pride that I get to be a part of their journey.