Excerpt

Peacemaking: Chapter 1-9

A week later my platoon mustered outside of our barracks at five in the morning.  Beelzebub formed us up, left-faced us, and gave us one of his rousing motivational speeches.  We were testing at the rifle range today, those of us who passed with a score of two-twenty or better would move on with our training; those of us who failed would drop.  We all wanted to pass, if for no other reason, than because we did not want to drag out our training any longer than necessary.  And, to be honest, I think we did not want to go home in defeat. “Today you will test your skill in shooting,” Beelzebub started.  “Your score, and the score of your platoon, is a direct reflection on me.  If you fail, I will kill you.  Do not fail.  Remember, your weapon is your bride.  Love her, care for her, and she’ll please you.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT embarrass me.  Right—face—move—out.  Left—left—left—right—left.”  If you have never heard a D.I. march his platoon, then you might think Beelzebub’s commands were crass or harsh.  To the contrary, a good D.I. does not shout his marching orders, he sings them, and a really good D.I. does not just sing his commands, he caresses them.  Like a sonnet in the hands of Shakespeare, Beelzebub poetically marched us from our barracks to the range. Seven recruits failed that day.  We never saw them again.  Though we never really knew, it was rumored that they re-tested and picked up with a platoon a few weeks behind us in their training.  I imagined them returning home as the failures that they were, or, at least that is what Beelzebub wanted us to imagine.  As for me, I passed with a two-forty eight.  There are three levels of Marine Corps shooting: marksman, sharpshooter, and expert, and with my score, I was an expert.  In a prone position at five hundred yards, I could shoot your eyes out.  I am not saying I am proud of that, I am just saying it as fact. This raised a lot of questions for me.

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