Every Marine Veteran Alive Feels Something When They Hear This Cadence

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To those who have been there, this video will need no explanation. The rhythms, the tones, the practiced precision, it will all come back to you.

Yeah, you hated it, but when you finally started to get good at it, you could feel the pride rising in you, and that driving sense of unison, the feeling of becoming one with many, and the desire to be the best. Little did we know the simple purpose behind all this cadence calling and marching over and over again. To our naive minds at the time, it was just a lot of “make-work” foolishness. Just boot camp messing with you stuff.

Source: flickr/MCRD Parris Island, SC
Senior drill instructor Sgt. Fernando Horta speaks to the soon-to-be recruits of Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, and Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, moments before they enter the recruit receiving building April 28, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C.


But, as you can clearly see in the video as you watch these boots marching with their DIs calling out the musical cadence, there is a reason to the rhyme. It was all about unit cohesion, of working together for the same purpose, the same objective.

Source: United States Marine Corps
Recruits of Platoon 2065, Golf Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, march in formation at the company’s final drill evaluation Aug. 21, 2013, on Parris Island, S.C.


We didn’t realize it then, but they were working our crazy-quilt of individual egos and proclivities into a unified entity, all headed in the same direction with a machine-like precision. It was about turning us into Marines (or sailors, soldiers, airmen). It was about embodying a particular identity into us. It was showing us that we were one. It was the beginning of our becoming “Fratres Aeterni” (Brothers Forever).

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Sgt. Maj. Jerry Bates II presents his son, Rct. Jerry Bates III, with his Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem during a ceremony Dec. 14, 2013, on Parris Island, S.C.


That unified identity would serve to forge into our consciousness the idea that we were in this together, that our greatest purpose would be “to have each other’s backs.” We were being forged into something larger and more effective than a bunch of loose egos.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Marine Corps recruit Donovan Davidson practices hand and arm signals during Basic Warrior Training at Paige Field on Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.

We certainly didn’t think about that then. It was hard work. We had to practice and practice again. The rhythms had to become part of our mental memory and our muscle memory. We had to learn how to focus, to listen, to pay attention to the man or woman on our right and on our left and the one in front. We did not want to be the one who fell out of step and messed up the whole company. We wanted to be one with each other.

AND IT WORKED!

Enjoy this simple video. And remember how they molded you into men for others. IT was a simple technique, but it was effective. OooRah!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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