Got it. Loon by Jack McLean. McLean attended Andover, the private
school. Unfortunately, in the spring of 1966 it did not look as if he was
going to get his diploma and he had already been turned down by five
colleges. His mother told him, make a plan. There are other colleges.
There's the military (not meant to be considered, meant to be a spur). At
that time and place, young American males were subject to the draft and
while he might have gotten a college deferment McLean thought it might not
be a bad idea to take a couple years off to serve (McLean wrote at that time
Vietnam was still a country and not a war). McLean visited each of the
Services' recruiting stations. The Army wanted three years. The Navy and Air
Force both wanted four years. OTOH, the Marines had a special two year
enlistment program. McLean enlisted in the Marines.
Family, friends, and classmates were shocked, but a distant cousin of his
mother's, Colonel Hank Aplington, sent him a letter. Here are some excerpts
"As of today I have been in the Marine Corps for twenty-six years. I'd
like to take the occasion to welcome you to the USMC and give you my
thoughts, which you may use or not as you wish ...
...This leads your superiors to take a different view of you from that which
your masters (at Andover) had and I think that is is worth reflecting
on the way you will look to your superiors. They don't care who you are or
where you came from. Their interest is in what sort of job you do and what
sort of Marine you are. They are engaged in a serious purpose, preparing a
fighting machine, so that they are impressed by an individual only as he
contributes to the functioning of that machine. They do not have time or the
interest to try to develop a man who is not interested, trying to help
himself, or follow regulations. They have all the time in the world,
however, to work with those who are interested in trying. A man must make or
The Marine Corps is big and proud with years of experience. It can be
impersonal, but it knows what it wants. It has regulations to be followed.
Many may look silly to you. Most, however, are there because they have been
proven as effective ways to accomplish the mission; to fight and win wars.
Things will be done the way the Marine Corps wants them done. If you do what
you are told to the best of your ability, you will get along and it will be
a rewarding experience. Otherwise you will get run over by the system and it
won't hurt the system a bit...
...Welcome to the club.
McLean goes on about this advice ...
...The Marine Corps cared about me as a vehicle to their own ends -
winning wars. It was important, consequently, that I be well trained, well
fed, well disciplined, well behaved, and that I follow orders.
The Marine Corps cared about the Marine Corps. It was an important early
lesson for this innocent child of privilege..."