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Military

Government Shutdown - Camp Pendleton Marine Shares His Thoughts

Camp Pendleton Main Gate
Camp Pendleton Main Gate

Flying out to New Jersey last night, I sat next to a Marine from Camp Pendleton. Unfortunately, I didn't even realize it until we were getting ready to deplane. He was wearing civilian clothing, and actually slept most of the flight. But as we were gathering our luggage, he took out his white peaked cap (I'm assuming from his dress uniform). I asked if he was in the service, and he answered, "Marine Corps, ma'am."

I questioned him about the government shutdown, and he smiled. "It's all anyone is talking about," he said. "But they don't tell us much. Just that we'll be getting half a paycheck." He told my husband and me that he'd been in the service for two years, and was back east for his block leave. He's leaving for Afghanistan in three weeks - his first deployment. "It takes a lot of guts to do what you do, man," was my husband's response.

The Marine (I never got his name) had such ruddy-cheeked baby face that he appeared to be no older than 15, maybe 16. "He looks so young!" was all I could keep saying to my husband after he left our presence.

It never appeared to cross the young Marine's mind that he was headed into the mouth of danger in Afghanistan, and might not get paid if there's a government shutdown. Amazing. What a juxtaposition: to be so proud of our military, and so embarrassed by our government.

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