One of the first things they impart on you at Marine Corps recruit training is that, from the point you step on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island or San Diego, until the day you’re buried in the ground, you’ll represent the Corps.  Your behavior, good or bad, will be perceived as the behavior of United States Marines, and, as we’re reminded time and time again, if we ever commit a crime heinous enough to make the papers, you’d better believe the headline will bear the name of our branch.

In recent years, more and more Marines have come out against the old, “once a Marine, always a Marine” adage, often times because it sounds a bit confusing to say, “I’m a Marine,” when you haven’t been on active duty for more than a decade – but what many of these folks don’t understand is that the adage has nothing to do with your perceptions of yourself.

“Once a Marine, always a Marine” is about how the world sees you.

Being in the military means having an inside knowledge into one of the most misunderstood professions of the modern-day, and as Marines, we grow accustomed to explaining away a fair amount of confusion whenever our service is brought up in friendly conversation.

“No mom, Marines are not soldiers.  Soldiers are soldiers.”

“Yes, there are ranks other than Private, Sergeant, Captain, and General.”

“No, we don’t all sleep in tents… I’m married, where do you think my wife lives?”