Recently, on another blog, I was chastised in a reply to one of my comments where I mentioned I was a former Marine. The Blog post was about Trump wanting to arm teachers to protect our public schools. I was against that insane, stupid idea from the serial lying, Orange Dumpster who is also known to me as the Kremlin’s Agent Orange. I have no respect for Donald Trump. I despise this poor excuse for a human being.
My anonymous critic was allegedly a she, and she had never been a U.S. Marine because she pointed out in her comment that all the Marines she knew referred to themselves as inactive Marines and that she had never heard anyone refer to themselves as a former Marine. The way she wrote her comment made it sound like I was a liar and had never been a U.S. Marine.
To be clear, I have been an active Marine, an inactive Marine, and finally a former Marine. I’ve been a former Marine for a long time and it is going to stay that way up to my last heart beat and breathe. I wouldn’t accept one million dollars to become an active Marine again, but I also wouldn’t accept a million dollars to sell my experiences as a U.S. Marine to someone else.
An active U.S. Marine is still in uniform and belongs to the U.S. government. Believe me when I say that when you join any of the branches of the U.S. military, you basically become a slave with a wage, and my DD-214 clearly shows I was an active Marine from May 1965 to May 1968 when I was released from active duty and became an inactive Marine until the end of my reserve obligation. During the years I was in the inactive reserves, I could have been called back to active duty at any time.
That inactive duty ended on January 20, 1971 when I became a free civilian again and was officially a former Marine.
The VA says, “A person who is active duty is in the military full time. They work for the military full time, may live on a military base, and can be deployed at any time. Persons in the Reserve or National Guard are not full-time active duty military personnel, although they can be deployed at any time should the need arise.”
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve says, “The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is a category of the Ready Reserve of the Reserve Component of the Armed Forces of the United States composed of former active duty or reserve military personnel, and is authorized under 10 U.S.Code Section 1005. The IRR is composed of enlisted personnel and officers, from all ranges of Military Occupational Specialties including combat arms, combat support, and combat service support.
“Individuals assigned to the IRR receive no pay and are not obligated to drill, conduct annual training, or participate in any military activities (except for periodic Muster activities) until ordered by Presidential Authority. Individuals who are assigned to an “Inactive Status” are entitled to limited benefits. These benefits include: Entitlement to a Military ID Card, ID Cards for their dependents, PX (Exchange) benefits, Commissary benefits, and MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) Benefits.”
My inactive status as a U.S. Marine ended forty-seven years ago in 1971. That was when I became a former Marine. Any former Marine that claims they are an inactive Marine and they are not in the IRR or the Ready Reserve is technically wrong. It doesn’t matter what they think, they are wrong if they call themselves an inactive Marine once they become a civilian again with no official, legal ties to the Marine Corps. I was once an active Marine and will always think and react like a Marine. Marines belong to a unique tribe, a brotherhood of warriors trained to kill in combat, but once we leave active or inactive duty, we are a former Marine.
My Honorable Discharge is dated January 20, 1971 … not May 17, 1968 when I left active duty for inactive duty.
Here’s why I’m writing this post. If there are former Marines out there calling themselves inactive Marines and they are not in the Marine reserves, they are doing real inactive Marines a disservice because those Marine are still in a position to be called up and sent into harm’s way on a moment’s notice, while former Marines are not in that same situation. If a former Marine wants to serve again, they have to return to active or inactive duty if the U.S. Marines will take them back.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, retired public school teacher, journalist, and award winning author.
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