Marine Musicians

These past couple weeks I’ve spent most of my time doing a part of my job I don’t normally get to do. I’ve spent the past seven days on the rifle range, firing 50 rounds per day at targets between 200 and 500 yards away. As a Marine, I’m required to be qualified to fire the M16A2 service rifle in the regulation course of fire. As a Marine Musician, I don’t normally get the opportunity to do this.

Many people ask me if I had to go to recruit training (“boot camp”) in order to do what I do. Many Marines in my unit take offense to this, as if it’s a logical connection to make between a well-groomed musician marching down the street in dress blues playing a horn and a rifle-toting, camouflaged warrior on the battlefield. I, however, do not share in their attitude.

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Perhaps it’s what I do, or perhaps it’s just that I’ve noticed more lately, but ignorance is abound.

I recently heard a discussion about the implausibility of the Apollo landing on the moon. There was much skepticism that what has been compared to tossing a quarter into a vending machine in Cleveland from Chicago could actually be done in the in the 1960s space program. And this is perfectly understandable. We’re talking about something that actually would take a rocket scientist to figure out. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, and I’m one of the more intelligent people I know.

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I’ve recently come to realize that friends are far more important than I ever realized. I therefore regret not really having any. I have always been surrounded be people who cared about me, and whom I cared about. But for some reason, I’ve never considered many people to be more than just acquaintances. This isn’t to say I’ve never had friends. I mean, I guess I have.

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