T Nation

Dealing with Discharge

I know there are some former military in here so maybe you guys can help me out:

I left the Marine Corps in September. I was a grunt and did my 4 years. I left essentially because out of 36 infantry battalions in the Corps, only 6 didn’t go to Iraq, 3 of which being my regiment. The only “real world” operations I got were in the Phillipines for Op. Enduring Freedom in 2002.

I got out and went to college. I’m really playing hell dealing with the fact that I’m not in anymore and am prety much overcome with guilt when I see guys in Iraq now, because I didn’t re-enlist and get into one of those units.

Anyways, I know college is a necessary evil and when I get out I’m either going back into the Corps or the FBI, but I’m trying not to retread now. I LOVE college, but I’m not content not being a Marine anymore.

Long story short, am I crazy or is this something all you veterans deal with?


Have you checked into any ROTC programs, that way when you go back in you can go in as an officer. I have a friend that did the very same thing. He was an Army Ranger, got out did ROTC and got a degree, then went back to being a Ranger. From what I have heard he was involved with the Jessica Lynch rescue in some way or another. He was in Bagdad when it was taken from Sadam.

Good luck man!

Have you thought about the reseves?

As for the guilt, you would still have it even if you were over there and than rotated out or injured. Jumping back in isn’t the solution. Be proud of your voluntary service. You were prepared to do whatever was asked of you. It’s more than 95% of American males can say. There is no glory in getting killed but it is the only way I know of that erases the guilt.

Now get on with your life and make something of yourself to honor the lonely ones that made the ultimate sacrifice. And, remember.

No Devil-Dog…Your going through Corps withdrawel…its real…Ive been out for 3 yrs. have an awesome career and still find myself missing it sometimes…I got to see some action but Ill tell you you didn’t miss much…I did feel guilty like you when the war kicked off mainly when I started recognizing some of the names of the Marines that fell during those first couple of days…But one thing made me proud…NONE surendered and they all died for each other doing what we do…I know mainly what you miss is the Brother hood and Comradery that you will never find out here…Trust me Ive looked…But just remember our saying once a Marine always a Marine…One thing that has helped me is Joining the Marine Corps League…Its a Group of Former Marines that get together and help out current Marines with their problems, financial or emotional…You should look into it its a way to hold on to what we got…If you need any advise there are a few Marines on this site perhaps they’ll ring in too…

I think anyone that signs up to live with a bunch of men, run at 5 in the morning and have a sargent bark orders at them is kinda crazy in the first place.

Once a Marine always a Marine.

Bye the way the FBI loves ex-marines but you’ll need a degree to get in. Law helps so does accounting.

I’ll tell you the best way to shake those blues after college. Get married and start a family. I am serious on this.

I went through the same thing coming off active duty. I went in hoping something would happen before I got out. I got out 6 months prior to 9/11. Never got to go anywhere. Volunteered for bosnia, saudi, everything that came down. They never would let me go.

When I got out, I got into the guard. It helped with the transition and I still get to play war games every so often. I feel the same thing you do. We got deployed prior to the whole Iraq thing. We went to Colorado. No everybody except those of us on homeland defense have gone overseas or are going. Our unit is so low on strength that we can’t go anywhere now anyways. Me and my team are all on the volunteer list, but nothing is really coming down for us.

We do have quite a few Marines in our unit. Most can’t get used to the guard. At least not the pog units. You can probably do a “try one in the guard”. Basically you only commit to one year. Get a good unit, and you may like it. At least keep your retirment points going.

Getting out is hard at any time. It’s a big culture shock.

Good luck


I agree with Mitch, check into ROTC or even see if you can get into Annapolis, then go back as an officer. I was in the Army and not Marines, but I know there was always more respect for officers who had “been there”, meaning moved up from enlisted, over the little weenie ROTC 2nt Lt coming right out of school.

You did your 4 years, finish college, move on with your life. Guilt thing is normal.
If it’s going to make you feel better I know of someone who decided to go back afte serving his tour (not in the US army)
first week back he stepped on a land mine.

Thanks to all! I actually was going to get in a ROTC-like commisioning program but I can no longer pass a physical. During Infantry training I did 3-15 mile humps on a broken ankle and it caused me a lot of problems. They tried to get me on disability but I’ll be go to hell before I do that. I know I can get back in if I keep my mouth shut, I mean, I dealt with it almost my whole time in and I know I can do it now. If I can hump a TOW system through an Okinawan jungle, then I’m not disabled.

flashpoint: That’s a great idea. Oddly enough I got a call from the army guy who wants to put me in, and I can volunteer for a tour in Iraq. No offense to army guys here, but I dunno if I can put on a beret. That would feel dirty. But I just may do that and try to get a tour after this semester is over.

hedo: I’m 23, way too young to get married. Actually getting married sounds scarier than facing some bad guys. I can either wake up to a new person that wants to kill me in a faraway land, or wake up to the same monster every morning in my own bed. I don’t know which would be worse. laugh


DEvil Dog, about your ankle. Doc’s can write waivers for anything and everything. I’ve seen pilots with no depth perception, operators with steel rods in thier legs, you name it. I joined the AF in 95 and everytime it comes time to reup or get out I always think to myself, “I’m not ready to be a civilian yet.” For some, getting out takes more guts than staying in.


I’ve been out 10 years as of last December. I still miss it. I suggest doing some deep self evaluation. Guard of Reserves would be an option. I am proud of serving my country and I miss the satisfaction and the accomplishment that I felt while still in. Nothing compares to it. I have to try hard not to be one of those old guys that live in their past, but it gets hard. All I can say is do what you love. If you miss the Corps that much make a plan to get back in, and if not try to make your civilian life just as satisfying.

Me Solomon Grundy

No advice. I just wanted to say that when I first saw this topic, I thought you had the clap or something.

Thanks for serving.

It is definitely normal. I’ve been out since 97, and I even get those moments every now and then. The worst was watching the Grunts move up through Iraq. I was a 51 with 3/5 and they were some of the first ones into Baghdad. What a feeling that must have been. But like my best friend from the Corps said to me over the phone, Our time is past. Let the young gung-ho hard-chargers go get some.

Semper Fi,

Matt Wray 0351

Law helps in the FBI if you are lawayer Other wise sitck w/ Accoutning or Computer Science major. They like techies also.

As for fealing guilty you did your time and services. There is a reason why you are in school. Move on with your life.

In Health,

Silas C.

I just called the 1stSgt in the local reserve unit. Although being an Arty pogue isn’t the top of my list of jobs I think I’ll look into it some more.

Mattray–Were you a dragon of a SMAW? I was an 0352 and when I went through SOI the 51s we had in Weapons Co were the last dragons in the Corps. When I hit the fleet, the 51 boots in my company we the first wave of Javelins. Fire and forget. Hell of a weapon. I fired a few dragons up at PTA in Hawaii, but nothing beats a TOW.


With the FBI bit, I’m working for a special agent job. My degree has me double majoring in History and Criminal Justice. I’m teaching myself Russian as well. I should be very competitive. Eagles Scout, 4 year Sgt. in the Corps, speaks russian. I just hope the tattoos don’t screw things up for me.


Thanks all for the good word. I just got back in the yesterday, although I’m just a phony reservist. And an arty pogue at that. But hey, better than nothing.



A Senior Chief I work with (we’re Corpsmen)Transfered from 3/5 in Feb of last year.

Let me tell you dude, that guy was just sick when 3/5 moved up toward B-dad. On a similar note the Seabee unit I was with played a major role in runway repair as well as other projects in both Afganistan and Iraq. You’re right dude, you feel like you should be there doing business with those guys. You just have to tell yourself that your time is done and you have to move on.

I guess it’s survivors guilt in a way.

Mike be proud that you served, no-one can take that away from you.


As long as you can pass a PFT, they can not discharge you. I have a friend that has a blown rotator cuff and was light duty for months, but he has a first class PFT. And just use the example of 1st Sgt Hamblin. As a SSgt he lost both his left leg and arm as he was parachuting. Landed right into some power lines. But he passed PFTs with an artificial arm and leg. Makes me feel pathetic for barely having a first class.