Quite A Credit To His Service

On the evening of 10 September a business trip found me in Atlanta Airport. With a long wait for my flight, I had ample opportunity to watch passengers come and go. I first spotted a young sailor fresh out of basic. The Navy enlisted uniform has never been my cup of tea, but he looked really squared away in his crisp, clean whites. I then saw an airman. Typically, his Air Force trousers were about two inches too short, but otherwise he looked good too. I thought, “another fine representative of our military.”

Some time later, I noticed two Marine privates, obviously fresh out of boot camp, most likely on their first leave home. I went over to them and exchanged a brief handshake and “Semper Fi,” and then left them on their way. Still later, I spotted an Army E-3. High and tight, clean well-pressed uniform and solid bearing. Quite a credit to his service.

I was reflecting on times when we all wore our uniforms everywhere and airport terminals looked like the local USO. As I was thinking how unusual it was anymore to see a representative from four major services in uniform at one time, I then spotted the two young privates again. This time they had their green blouses draped over their arms, and one had his tie loosened and his collar undone! And walking around Atlanta Airport in this fashion. I started to go over and say something, but I was with a business group and I didn’t think an airport terminal scene would have been well received on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary. I could only hope that this character pulls this again and some active duty NCO or SNCO spots him and jumps all over him.

It was very disappointing to me that on the eve of one of the biggest tragedies in American history and when patriotic fervor, for however fleeting for some, was again in high pitch, that the one military member who discredited his uniform had to be the Marine. To this nameless recruit (which I believe his still is), I would remind him of the intense pride he should feel in wearing the uniform which bears the eagle, globe and anchor; and remind him of the shame he should feel in the callous way he wore it. I could only imagine what his Drill Instructors, whose care he probably left only hours before, would have thought!

Regards and Semper Fi,

Bob Allena
SSgt. USMC 1971-1978

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21 comments


  • Robert E. Hays

    When I left Viet Nam, after serving as a Corpsman with the USMC infantry, when I got to Okinawa, all I had was my Navy sea bag which had no USMC uniforms in it. I asked for one to go home in. Just one danged khaki short sleeved shirt uniform! USMC said no. So I found a Corpsman friend who was stationed there, who was a rank lower, and who was heavier and a little bit shorter, and bought a uniform from him for $10.00. That is what I wore home because I WAS AUTHORIZED TO! It was my honor to serve with the Marines, but I still cannot believe they could be so danged chinchy and unappreciative! I WORE it, and I would have dared anyone to diss me in an airport because of it. And when I got home, and was met by friends and family, no one noticed my ill-fitting uniform.


  • Reinhold Woykowski

    Me Too, I would have said a friendly Semper Fi to them, and asked them if they were proud to wear the uniform. I would like to think the two might understand what I was talking about, if not then, maybe later. I would have also told them I am a Marine (72-74) and I wore my uniform with pride. To this day, I order hats/cups and give them to the older Marines in a nursing home I work at. To this day I wear my cover/hat with the wording (Once a Marine Always a Marine) Semper Fi


  • Dennis Morrill

    I agree with you, you should have went over and introduced yourself, then chasticed them quietly & discreetly so only the two dummies could hear you. Tell them how we’ve been marines for over 50+ years & still value that fact. We are just as proud now as ever and how some day in the future they will feel that way too! I’m not excusing their behavior, but you all do remember how Marines seem to get in trouble more often that the other branches when off duty! Ha! I just got a new military style civilian jacket with the USMC emblem & my last name on it for Xmas. I get stopped all the time by fellow Marines, like myself of the older variety! They are like me, glad to say “Semper Fi” to a fellow Marine! Nothing will ever take that pride away from us, that is something we all earned & is ours forever! I think we all appreciate more as we grow older! Dennis Morrill–Viet Nam (1968-70), 3rd Mar Reg., Dong Ha!


  • Robert SRelle SSGt USMC RET

    I also would have set the young Marines straight about how they were representing there their branch of service! If they had any pride in their branch or themselves they should correct how they are representing themselves as a member of that service! I myself would have thought about jumping their ass , but would have given them the opportunity to correct the things!


  • Chet Lehmann

    I would have been all over them like s stink on 💩


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