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


  • Daniel Otto

    Personally, I would have made brief apologies to my “business” associates, went to the young Marines and (in a very low tone) explained their mistakes. There was no need to make a big scene over it, and embarrass them, but it should have been pointed out to them. Even though I no longer wear the uniform, everyone that meets me can see my Marine Pride. As a side note, any of your business group that may have seen you setting the young Marines straight would have, most likely, been impressed by your tact and pride.


  • Russell Schuh

    I would have taken him aside and jumped His ASS.


  • A ASCENCIO

    It was your duty as a Marine to straighten him out and call him out on his disrespect of the uniform and the tittle. I would have definitely squared him away.


  • Billy D Richardson, SGT. USMC

    Bob, what you are talking about is of the “New Age” where our younger generation hasn’t been taught to respect all things that should be respected. As a society we no longer value the very things that used to drive us, the very things that used to demand respect, the things that would have gotten you an “asz whippin” for disrespecting them just a few years ago. As a society our value system is changing and it’s NOT for the better. God help us, this once great nation is floundering. The things that used to be good are now looked upon as bad and what used to be bad are now viewed as good. In other words, the very things that we fought for are now looked upon as UNWORTHY of our respect. Very, very Sad. Semper Fi,


  • Martin Weckerly

    Amen,your a Marine,show pride.


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