12 February 2012


by Andy Weddington
Friday, 17 February 2012

"Old breed? New breed? There's not a damn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine breed."                                                                                              Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

There's a story about the origin of the term 'old Corps' that traces back to our founding in a small pub--the historic Tun Tavern. That tale goes something like this...

It seems during the first weeks enticing young men eager to be a Marine was fairly easy--the recruiter's offer of tough training, a few dollars a month salary, and a signing bonus of a voucher for a free beer had them lined up out the door and around the corner. But as weeks turned to months, with the pool of prospects dwindling, tough training, a few dollars a month salary, and a voucher for a beer was not enough. New recruits held out for a bigger signing bonus--two free beer vouchers. One evening, as a new recruit straddled up to the bar to redeem one of his vouchers, a Marine next to him, likewise enjoying a beer, with a salty smirk said, "So, Mac, what it'd take to get you to enlist?" To which the boot replied, "Tough training, a few dollars a month salary, and two vouchers for beer." And with that came the comment, the term, that has passed through generation of Marines, "Huh (with a shake of the head, look of disgust, drag on his cigarette, and pause for effect), in the 'old Corps' it was one voucher." And so has gone the pride of 'oneupsmanship,' of 'back when it was hard,' between generations of Marines ever since.

Nonetheless, General Puller was exactly right, Marines are Marines.

But with time and progress comes new terms--sometimes same words just new meanings. So, for today, something on the lighter side--the technology language of today's Marines and 'old Corps' translations.

In no particular order...

Digital communication--hand and arm signals (how Marines in the field tactically move units / off duty, well, use your imagination)

Base Station--where assigned (e.g., Camp LeJeune, Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station)

Online (get on)--recruits standing in front of their racks, at attention, in the squadbay

Joystick--used by aviators to fly aircraft / ground combat arms Marines, no comment

Mouse--Drill Instructor's admin recruit; rodent/pest in the squadbay

Wireless--without brains

Browser--civilian geek, usually a protester, known for eating bean sprouts, tofu, pine nuts, and other unhealthy things no self-respecting Marine ever heard of

Facebook--another name for book worm, had anyone thought of it (they may have)

Tweet--nick for Tweety Bird; parody of sweet

Certificate--award (Certificate of Commendation; achievement medal; etc.)

Cookie--chocolate chip; oatmeal; Oreo

Flash--expose oneself

Crash--accident; mishap; sleep

Google--unintelligible noise made by intoxicated Marine

MySpace--Marine's personal area in squadbay--rack, wall locker, foot locker, and workspace

Shareware--friendly females

Navigation Bar--watering hole for aviators to consume beer and digitally (hands) communicate

Inbox / Outbox--Commanding Officer's desk

Ping--bounce an idea off fellow Marine

Protocol--military courtesies

Site Map--gridded terrain map with declination diagram (preferably laminated for grease pencil use)

Social Networking--'Happy Hour' at the club or off-base liberty joints pursuing females

Upload--lading cargo / preparing to deploy

Internal Storage Capacity--number of beers consumed in an evening

External Storage Capacity--number of beers held by refrigerator

Software Not Responding--schedule urology appointment

Website, Webmaster, Web host, Web server, Web developers, etc.--spiders

Mac Users--McDonald's patrons

Laptops--'Happy Hour' seating

Main Menu--posted at the chow hall

Icons--Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John LeJeune, et. al.

Virus--SIQ (sick in quarters)

Antivirus--inoculation at sickbay or naval hospital, or beer

Doc(k)ing station--battalion aid station or naval hospital


Download--drink beer; bend chaplain's ear

Address--street, city, state (and even "older Corps" no zip code)

Zip--postal delivery area

Cell--quarters at the brig

Contract--terms of enlistment (and nothing was bundled)

Dashboard--minimal instruments on a jeep or 5-ton

Insertion Point--recon team drop site

Pop-up--pyrotechnics (e.g. red and green star clusters; illumination--fireworks fun after a few beers at 'Happy Hour')

Quick time--unit march cadence (120 steps per minute)

Trojan Horse--unmentionable found in drug store and in Marines wallets and pockets

Windows--they better be clean

Hard Drive--road trip (long one)

Boot--recruit; new Marine (enlisted or officer); 'black cadillac' (primary transportation for infantrymen)

ReBoot--new pair of 'black cadillacs'

Bluetooth--problem for dental, make an appointment

Hacker--smoker / cougher

Refresh--shave and shower

Worm--anyone unreliable

BMP--Russian infantry wheeled vehicle

Run time--Physical Fitness Test three mile run time/score

Sign out--on leave; end of enlistment; dead

Post--duty, as in sleeping or non-sleeping and standing or walking

Interface--'communicating' with a female

Search engine--rescue helicopter

iPhone--Marine calls female

iPad--where Marine entertains female

Notebook--what platoon commanders kept

log in/log out--what Sergeants of the Guard and Officers of the Day did in green (not to be confused with eco) logbooks

My Account--battalion supply; bank

ATM--all-terrain "m-f'er"

Going green--camouflage utilities (vice desert)

Fox News--female update

Fox Business--date with a female

Tools--anything used to kill anybody (one called 'e-tool'--'e' for 'entrenching' not 'electronic'--e-tools are still manual--hand-operated)

Report Abuse--finding help for wayward Marines

Follow--stalk; by foot or vehicle

LinkedIn--knowledge of all hot liberty spots where females known to frequent (evening liberty: within 100 mile radius; weekend liberty: 250 miles; 72 or 96: 500 miles)


Twitter--automatic response of female heart upon seeing a Marine in dress blues (that's not changed)

In closing, as far as I know, recruiters do not entice young men and women with vouchers for free beer. But, as far as I know, some Marines still drink beer; the vast majority responsibly. And, as far as I know, Marines still frequent places where members of the opposite sex are known to gather. Some things are not likely to change.

With an overflowing pilsner raised, "Here's to the 'old Corps!"

Semper Fidelis.

Post Script

Back in the 'old Corps,' public buildings, parks, streets, and 'Chairs' at distinguished institutions of higher learning were named for politicians. Warships were typically named for downed warriors, high ranking officers, presidents, and states. Why has that changed?

No comments: