Hands in Pockets: Chaos, Disorder, Mayhem

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — A rogue lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps can cause the breakdown of society leading to chaos, disorder and mayhem by committing one act so heinous that staff non-commissioned officers worldwide consider murder at the mere thought of it. You may ask yourself, what world-altering power does a lance corporal have that could cause such destruction? Stand by to cry: hands in pockets.

For decades SNCO’s have led the crusade against a scourge of lance corporals putting dirty hands in their filthy pockets. The severity of the situation is demonstrated repeatedly by the intensity of a SNCO’s response to sheathed fingers. When asked why they hate covered fists, an anonymous staff sergeant told me “It destroys good order and discipline.”

According to this leader of Marines, good order and discipline is something so fragile and easily broken in the Marine Corps that a pair of meat hooks encased in cloth could annihilate it. This astounding declaration of weakness within the Corps is concerning. What are we teaching Marines at boot camp? How are they so weak minded coming out of basic training that a simple nonchalant gesture could implode the whole thing?

Thinking logistically about how putting ones hands in his or her pockets could destroy the Corps, one must first suspend reality and learn the art of nonsense. Then one must go down a long trail of crazy cause and crazier effect.

For example: If a Marine put his hands in his pockets then he wouldn’t have time to take them out to punch the terrorist in the face. If he can’t punch the terrorist in the face then the terrorists win. If the terrorists win then America loses. If America loses then we are all dead. If we are all dead then… you get the picture. As you can see, this is the only logical conclusion.

According to the Internet, Lt. Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, recipient of 5 Navy Crosses and easily the most famous Marine of all-time, famously said, “A Marine with cold hands and warm empty pockets is a damn fool.” According to SNCO’s, Chesty Puller is trying to destroy the Marine Corps.

Another SNCO told me that his reason for extinguishing the love from a lance corporals eyes and hands from his pockets was because, “That’s how it has always been. You just don’t do that. In my day you would never see a Marine with his hands in his pockets.”

Considering this hero’s logic, I can only assume that he still hazes his Marine regularly, sexually harasses women, and beats the cooperation into his subordinates. Sadly, however, his logic isn’t infallible. Through private research one can find picture after picture of Marines during World War II with their hands in the pockets. Should I conclude that these devil dogs of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal were not the selfless hard-chargers we all accept them to be? Of course not, I will just pretend I didn’t see the picture.

So, how do mitts in pants pouches destroy the Corps? I am about to find out. I am going to put my hands in my pockets. Stand back for safety and stand by to run for your life.

Oh my goodness I think I almost died… no never mind, that was just my heart stopping because I got chewed out for putting my hands in my pockets. Interestingly, I did not lose my Marine Corps values or discipline. I simply warmed my hands. What conclusion should I draw from that? First, the Marine Corps hates hands. Second, Chesty Puller was a wise man who was not trying to destroy the Corps. Third, common sense is like air, it spreads thin the higher it goes. I wonder how this all applies to the Marine Corps in general?


Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following entry are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Marine Corps, Department of Defense or the U.S. government.  This piece was written by Sgt. Jonathon House while he was active duty in the United States Marine Corps.

Photo used by Pretendo – http://www.flickr.com/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9906214