MSEJ May 2018 - Page 7

No Escaping Hurry Up and Wait

The first time I heard the word "hurry" and really felt it was at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. I was waiting on a bus, half nervous, half excited, wondering how I was going to make it through boot camp, until suddenly I wasn’t. I wasn’t on the bus, I wasn’t waiting. I was moving before my mind had a chance to think, because a drill instructor had yelled at me to hurry off his bus—and I could tell that he meant it. Sometimes I’m not sure how I wound up standing on the yellow footprints for my first day at boot camp, but I’m always sure I got there in a hurry.

I didn’t know it that first day at boot camp, but at that moment I had my first encounter with “hurry up and wait.” Over the course of my career in the United States Marine Corps, I learned that hurry up and wait is not confined to first days or boot camp, and from my experiences with other Veterans, I’m aware that it’s not an experience solely confined to the Marines. Instead, hurry up and wait is a part of military life, to the point of being a punch line.

Show up at 3:00 a.m. for a 5:00 a.m. battalion run? Get ready to hurry up and wait.

Grab your gear and get ready for a mission?

Settle in, it’s going to be a few more hours. The Commanding Officer just got pulled into a meeting.

You’ve had your hurry up, now it’s time to wait.

When you leave the military, you know there are certain things that you’re saying goodbye to along with the uniform. Goodbye to early morning mandatory PT. Goodbye to pre-vacation safety briefings. Goodbye to friends, neighbors, and favorite places at your last duty station. Some of these farewells are harder than others.

As I packed my bags and settled in to

civilian life, one thing I hoped to forget was that nagging certainty of “hurry up and wait.” But, as it turns out,

You can leave the military, but hurry up and wait just won’t leave you.

By Adam Cole, CASY Writing Intern

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