Fresh out of boot camp and ITR, I was sent (1958) to Treasure Island electronics school. I had dropped out of high school, never having developed any study habits and I struggled in the classes. While my buddies got their first stripe as we all passed our first 6 months in the Corps, mine was held back. I was told I wouldn’t get it until I raised my grades, even though I had no blemishes on my record and was pretty much “squared away. In the meantime, other guys failed the course and were given their stripe before being released to their next duty station.Even when I graduated from T.I. and was sent to MCRD for the next level, they held it over my head. I had 11 months in grade if privacy is a grade when I reported to the base. When I checked in a WM E4 corporal, looked at my orders, saw how long I’d been in, and told me that “If I do well” I’d get that stripe. By then I was thoroughly pissed about the situation – all my buddies had long since been gaining time-in-grade toward E3. “I told her the Corps could take that stripe and put it up to its collective ass.” Kind of shocked her.Anyhow, one morning, as I approached 14 months in the Corps, at the first class of the day, they went through the morning bulletins and casually announced the I.G. would be coming to MCRD the next week and that any requests to see him must go through channels (meaning the instructors, school commander on up the ladder). He continued with the bulletins until his assistant brought it to his attention that I had my hand up. Kind of irritated, he said, “What do you want, Barber?” I said “I request permission to speak to the I.G.” He jumped up off the edge of the desk he was sitting on (I think he spilled a little coffee) and said “What the f–k for?!!!” I said, “It’s personal.”He tried to get it out of me for a few minutes then gave up. The regulation is pretty clear that every Marine, down to the lowest rank – and I couldn’t go any lower – had the right to request to see the I.G. and didn’t have to disclose the reason. However, by the end of the day, every instructor knew to try to find out why I wanted to see the I.G., and I had been approached by several junior NCOs and asked, “buddy to buddy” what was behind my request.”The next day, before morning formation, I was told to report to the Top Sergeant. I figured that was a good place to start. When he told me to sit down and tell him what my problem was so he could bring it to an end I laid it out for him. I was in his office for about 2 minutes. At the following Monday morning formation, I got my stripe. Funny what an Inspector General can accomplish without even knowing it.A couple of weeks later I failed the course, received a supply MOS and transferred to Battalion Supply, on 3/5. A few months later I was promoted to L/Cpl after setting an unbeatable (100%) record at the Supply school in Okinawa.
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Dear America, Just wanted to take a few minutes to say thanks and get a few things off my chest. Life’s been a little challenging... Continue reading