Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I love the Marine Corps. It saved my life.

February 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Bras & Boots, Most Recent Posts

I went through boot camp in June 1976, relative to ‘I was a Womam Marine Trailblazer’it seems as though boot camp and the Marine Corps in general had changed a bit.  When I went through boot camp we had to keep up and improve our physical training as did the men (though the men’s regs were much more rigorous).  We did the gas chamber, a field hike with a full duffle bag, and hours upon hours on the drill deck (I am a fair skinned red head and that summer was the only time in my life I tanned…after burning several times).  And yes, we did indeed have the make up lessons. We were suppoose to wear girdles as part of our uniforms though when we were being fitted I simply said I was wearing one. All that PTing give me a flat stomach so I didn’t need to wear one. Nobody checked if you had under garments on.

It was after boot camp that I feel we did our greatest trailblazing.  I would not accept someone referring to me as a “Bam” a term used to descrbe a female Marine.  It stood for big ass marine!  The term was generaly accepted even by officers, tongue-in-cheek of course.

As a civilian I was a dog trainner and I wanted to futher my education and experience in the Military Police Women, but I could not because my civilian medical record stated I had experimented with marijuana.  I found out later into my tour that many of the men who were military policeman received a wavier for the same infraction.  I went in on an open contract after being told by the recruiter that I may be able to get into the M.P.’s by proving myself…and you can imagine how that worked for me. 

My boyfriend, who later became my husband, is a black man and I am white.  I lived in barracks that had a balcony-type walkway to get in and out of our rooms.  One day,  as I was walking away from the barracks, a male Marine called me a very insulting, racist name.  I went directly to our Top who had his office right there on the first floor of our barracks.  The man who had made the comment followed me into the Top’s office defending his words and not even trying to cover up what he said. The Top’s reply to me was, ‘Don’t write him up he’s a good Marine.’  Silly me, I went along with it. Duhhhh.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love the Marine Corps.  It made me grow up.  It taught me pride in myself, pride in belonging to something bigger than myself and many other life lessons I wasn’t getting out on the streets.  It saved my life. 

Change happens in stages and stage one needs to occur before stage two can proceed and so on.  We weren’t the first nor will the women in the USMC now be the last to learn the lessons and prove to the rest that we deserve to be called Marines. Thank you for carring on.  Love to all my fellows, both men and woman, because if you think that the men need not be part of the positive changes and perceptions for us women in the Marine Corps you are mistaken.

Thank you for what you do for us now and for tommorrow.

Semper Fi

~Rosanne Crittenden (Vece)


4 Responses to “I love the Marine Corps. It saved my life.”
  1. Tina says:

    The term “BAM” stood for broad ass marine, not big. I didn’t like that term so I told people it stood for “Beautiful American Marine”!!

  2. Vicki Clark says:

    I was a Marine wife and now the mother of a Marine, and equally important, I am a USN Veteran. I remember well the term BAM, in the USN we were “split tail sailors” or “open bottom sailors”. Despite the open sexism, I loved serving in the USN, it saved my life as well. We have come a long way.

    USN 1978-1985


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