Within the Marine Corps there is an underlying, unofficial tradition, due in part to the slow promotion process. The senior lance corporal. Not actually a real or separate rank, they are merely lance corporals that have put in their time doing all the shit work, have been on deployments, have progressed to positions of leadership, and are generally just salty as fuck. Most of these guys got beat down and stopped giving a shit a long time ago. They don’t ever expect to see Corporal pinned on their collar, and generally are expecting to finish their four year prison sentence and get out. This inability to give fucks often leads to many of them becoming some of the best leaders young privates have ever had. Their influence and mentoring in the art of S.K.A.T.E. echo throughout the futures of the Marines that serve under them. The influence of such senior lance’s has even extended to retired four star generals.
A key signature of a no fucks given, terminal, senior lance corporal is the trademark PT hooded sweatshirt. This particular item, while not officially ever authorized, was randomly spotted while on runs down river road, travelling from room to room at the barracks, and sometimes as a warming layer under camies with the hood bulging oddly upon the back. Not every senior lance had one, but everyone wearing one was a senior lance.
I picked up mine after we got back from our second deployment. I had roughly a year left and had no intent, based on some things that had occurred on deployment, to reenlist. Field ops had basically ended for me with the exception of a few small ones, all of which my hoodie were on as well. My days were spent in the barracks playing xbox, rocking the sweet unauthorized hoodie in a state of total badassdom. No one expected me to do anything, either for my attitude, or the fact that I was actually just taking up space until they found something else to do with me. I didn’t get bothered to train, because they weren’t going to use their time on someone not going on the next deployment. Life, briefly, was good with the support of the power of the hoodie.
Of all pieces of clothing I have hung on to over the years, I still have that hoodie. Its a little beat up, and not necessarily the comfiest thing ever, but damned if I don’t take a great bit of pride in it. Most items like this, once it is damaged it would just as soon be simple enough to get a new one. That will never happen for me. I will put money in to have it repaired before it is ever replaced. The symbolism and history of this one sweatshirt can never be exchanged.
I continue to wear it, even now as I type this. In fact, the hoodie holds such great power and awe to those around it that one could say it can perform miracles. My daughter woke up not long ago. She started crying and as my wife is exhausted from currently being a baby factory, and having been up with her a lot last night, she asked me if I could go take care of her. Not a problem, however, being in nothing but boxers and getting out of bed was a little chilly. So I, of course, threw on the ol’ hooded sweatshirt and proceeded in to comfort my daughter. Now, this had gone unsuccessfully last night, and my daughter completely rejected me and wanted nothing but to nurse herself back to sleep. I went in expecting to have a repeat, and as I picked her up, she immediately nuzzled up to my hoodie. After a minute or so of rocking, my daughter had gone limp and was completely out cold without complaint.
Thus, the power of the hoodie has yet again proven itself reliable. Like my daughter, I wish you all a good night.