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¨  Are these postcards available for sale?
¨  What does it take to become a Marine officer?
¨  Do Marines believe in torture?
¨  What are the Marines like today?
¨  What religion does not allow you to work before the sun comes up and after it goes down?

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QUESTION:
Are these postcards available for sale?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 19 June 2007:
No, I am sorry.  The postcards you see at Imagiverse were part of an educational exchange... Actually, several exchanges.  We have been doing it for about 4 years.  Thank you for contacting us though!  More information on future postcard exchanges and other activities can be found at: http://imagiverse.org/activities/

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QUESTION:
What does it take to be a Marine officer?

ANSWER from Bob Raab on 8 June 2007:
It takes a high degree of determination!  With that qualification there are several paths you can take.  I will give these in order starting, in my opinion, with the most desirable.

1. If you can get an appointment to go to the Naval Academy you can request a Marine Corps Commission prior to graduation.  That is given only to a select few, but you do get a free education.  However, if your request is denied you will be in the Navy for eight years, outside the Marine Corps looking in, with envy.

Path #2. Complete your education at the college of your choice.  While going to college you can join the Marine PLC (Platoon Leaders Class) program.  This is the path that I chose.  The advantage of this program is that your pay after becoming an officer, that's called being commissioned, is based on the date you joined the PLC program.  This makes a significant difference in you income vs. those who graduate form the service academies or who obtain their commission through the OCS program.  More on that next.  With the PLC program you will spend six weeks for two summers at Quantico, Virginia, going through training.  Making it through that total of 12 weeks requires much determination and total dedication.  A candidate may elect to "drop on request" any time he or she desires.  In fewer instances candidates are sent home for not meeting basic requirements.  When I went through Quantico, that first summer we started with a platoon of 32 and finished with 12.  The platoon next door began with 32 and finished with 9.  During that first six weeks the DIs (drill instructors) do everything they can to make the candidate quit.  They realize that the candidate, as an officer, may be their leader some day and they want to be lead by someone who is totally dedicated and who has the determination and spirit of a winner.

You will finish your second summer prior to your college senior year.  Following graduation you will be commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps.  It will be the proudest day of your life.

You may elect to try for the PLC Air program.  That would start you on the path to become a Marine Pilot.  In that program the Marine Corps will pay for private flight training.  So during a third summer you would take flying lessons near your home.  If for some reason you did not qualify for the Air program, you would be returned to the basic program.

If you talk to a Marine Recruiter about the PLC program, he will try to get you to join a Marine Reserve Unit.  DO NOT DO THIS!

As a PLC candidate you have no obligation other than your summer training.

In a reserve unit you may be called to active duty at any time and you would be sent to boot camp and come out as a private.  This is the case even if it would cut into your college.  If you are told that you do not qualify for the PLC program without being in the reserves, then I suggest that you opt for my third path to become a Marine officer which is the OCS (Officers Candidate School) program.

Path #3. The OCS program.  This program is essentially the same as the PLC program except that you join after graduating from college.  At that time you will go to Quantico for the full 12 weeks of training.  The training is the same as for PLCs; it just comes in one continuous period.  After you finish the 12 weeks you will be commissioned.  Regardless of how you earn you it, after you are commissioned you will spend 9 months going through Officer's Basic School.  This is also done at Quantico but you are now an officer and life is so much better than as a candidate.  After Basic School, if you are in the pilot program, you will be sent to Pensacola, FL. to begin flight training.  That training is intense, but will be the most exciting time you will have experienced.  Think you could land on an aircraft carrier?  That is part of every Marine and Naval Aviator's flight training.

A recruiter my tell you that your chances of going to officer's training become less the closer you get to college graduation.  I would disagree with that.  As a college graduate you will be highly sought after by any recruiter.  You will have to take some tests, the same tests you would take for the PLC program, but your chances of scoring high on those tests will be far better after 4 years of college.  To do well on that test I suggest that you take some math courses even if math is not a big part of your major.  Algebra and trig should be sufficient.

Path #4. The cadet program.  This is for those who qualify for flight training.  I do not know much about this program except that it requires only two years of college.  However, I think you have to go through Marine boot camp and then you will remain a cadet for the entire 18 months of flight training and receive your commission when you finish.  As a cadet in flight training life is not as difficult as for a PLC or OCS candidate, but it is a whole lot less comfortable than going through flight training as an officer.

Path #5. The last path is to join the Marine Corps, go to boot camp, begin your career as a private and try to earn you way into an officer program.  This is very difficult to do but has been done.  If you are selected for an officer's program, you still have to go through 12 weeks at Quantico as a candidate.

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QUESTION:
Do the Marines believe in torture?

ANSWER from Bob Raab on 8 June 2007:
In every conflict this country has fought where Marines have been captured they have been tortured.  Marines know what torture is.  Are Marines trained to use torture?  Absolutely not.  It is not in keeping with the Marine Corps tradition.

I hope that answers your questions.  Please feel free to contact me again.

Semper Fi,
Bob Raab

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QUESTION:
What are the Marines like today?

ANSWER from Bob Raab on 8 June 2007:
I feel safe in saying that the basic mission and philosophy of the Marine Corps has not changed in a hundred years.  Maybe more.  One of the Marine Corps sayings is 'First to Fight'.  Any Marine unit is ready to deploy to anywhere in the world on a moment's notice.  My squadron was stationed in Japan when we received order to move to DeNang, Vietnam on a Friday night.  We flew our first combat missions on Sunday morning.

The Marine is schooled in Marine Corps history.  It is a proud history.  It is a history that every Marine strives to live up to.  There is no consideration given to any Marine who disgraces himself, the uniform, or the tradition.  Fortunately that seldom happens, but even once is once too often.

The esprit de corps is the highest of any service.  In combat a Marine's priority is completing the mission and protecting the Marines in his unit.

You may have heard the expression 'Once a Marine always a Marine'.  What does that mean?  It means that even though I have been out of active duty for 40 years, if I know of an active duty Marine or a Marine who hasn't been on active duty for days or years, who is having difficulty, I will do everything I can to help that Marine, and I am secure in the knowledge that he or she would do the same for me.  The Marine Corps motto is 'Semper Fidelis', always faithful.  Semper Fi is a common greeting or parting.

Marines wear the uniform proudly and deservedly so.

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QUESTION:
What religion does not allow you to work before the sun comes up and after it goes down?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 11 December 2006:
There are many variations on this.  Sometimes this rule is related to fasting, not work.  Other religions observe the holy day by not working after sundown/before sunrise.  You may want to look at some books on world religions and investigate this on your own.  Also, some sects of religions have variations on this theme, while other sects in the same religion do not.  I do not know of one specific religion that has this rule.  Good luck with your investigation!

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4 August 2007
 

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