You can count on one constant in the Marine Corps; the generation in which you served will always captivate you like no other. Some people may refer to it as ‘old Corps’ versus ‘new Corps’, but truthfully it’s the time spent in the Corps that a Marine holds dear.
I served in a fairly transitional period of time in the Corps between 1997 and 2003 and reminisce often. Consequently, it was bookended by relative peace in the beginning and a deployment to Iraq on the back end.
It was fascinating to watch the Corps transition from peace time to all-out war. However, this post isn’t really about war. Rather, it’s about the little things we all hold dear as the years change. Consequently, I am just here to tell you, bring back my Cadillacs and Alice.
USMC Boots and More Boots
Inevitably, the uniform changes over time and often for the better. However, even considering merits for the changes, doesn’t satisfy the grumpy old man in me. Therefore, I’d like to discuss what I miss.
I miss the Cadillacs. I’m saddened that newer Marines will never know the joy of sitting on their foot locker to polish these all-leather boots until their reflections shines.
Truthfully, you just shined them so some Staff NCO didn’t rip you a new one for dishonoring his beloved Corps with dirty boots. Granted, these boots wouldn’t have functioned well in the dirt and rock of Iraq or Afghanistan. Honestly, I just loved the way they looked.
I purchased a pair of desert boots for my trip to Iraq; they’ve sadly been destroyed since returning home. So if there are any salty supply Marines out there who want to ship me a pair, feel free. But more importantly, bring back my Cadillacs.
Marine Corps Uniform
I actually think uniform changes throughout the years are a pretty cool thing. It delineates a time in history in which one served. When I deployed to Iraq in 2003, I was actually in this hilarious time where they were switching over to the digital cammies. I say hilarious, because not all of us had them yet and every formation was an odd mix of newer Marines in digital and older Marines in woodland.
The digital cammies are nice and all, but I think I will always be drawn to the old fashioned woodland pattern. We all know what it is like to put on that uniform for the first time and I think that sticks with us all. Who cares if you had to iron on the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, or even if you had to press your cover to give it those razor sharp edges. That is right younger Devil Dogs, a well pressed cover was just as valuable as a rolled up sleeve that takes two Marines to pull off your arm. That was just the times.
Marine Corps Gear
I have a confession to make. I have humped Alice more times than I can remember. However, before my time in the Corps was up, I was humping Molle. For any non-Marines reading, I might need to clarify that ALICE and MOLLE are actually the packs we carried on our backs. Thus, humping Alice just means talking a brief 10 mile stroll with her on your back.
Truth be told, MOLLE was more comfortable than ALICE. That being said, my boot camp days were filled with cadence and songs of humping ALICE and no matter what I hump for the rest of my life, ALICE will always have a special place in my heart.
I could say the same for iron sights versus scopes, or gortex versus the cloth field jacket. But regardless of advances are made, I will always long for the gear and uniforms of my generation. Believe it or not in 1997, I was still issued the green gumby suit for rain protection. Look it up kids. I think it’s what makes the Corps so unique, it really is passed down from generation to generation and these changes signify and era’s heritage.
So there you have it Marines, just bring back my Cadillacs and Alice and I will be a happy Marine. So what say you? What characteristics of the Corps do you miss from your generation? Who cares if the current gear is an improvement? Name it and claim it Marines.