'Mission impossible'? - US Marines visiting our school by Prof. Sachatonicsek

On 30 October 2017 several classes of our higher grades were offered the opportunity to make a – very likely – unique experience: to meet in person 'a few good men' of the United States Marine Corps, currently serving as security guards to the local embassy here in Vienna.
While, presumably, quite a number of the students attending the event might have viewed our guests with a certain degree of – if even just preconceived – skepticism, many of them seemed to have been definitely impressed not just by the Marines' immaculate blue dress uniforms but maybe also by their – seemingly in contrast - relaxed manner in which Gunnery Sergeant Meak, Sergeant Cross and Corporal Friend addressed a perhaps still not all too familiar audience.
Taking questions from students (mostly) the Marines were talking about their own personal backgrounds as well as (some of) their experiences in the USMC, from the hardships of basic training in boot camp, for instance, to both their respective 'specialties' and those of the Marine Corps in general, demonstrating their usual level of professionalism also on 'unusual' terrain. And while some observers might have thought of brilliantly applied military tactics it was rather a combination of, in particular, 'Gunny' Meak's communicative skills and a genuine interest in getting people involved in honest discussion that characterized the spirit of that talk, which, not quite unexpectedly, also touched upon political and ethical issues on the students part.
At the end of the day, though; it was probably this, what some might have learned that day: that these Marines were also humans after all.
And while many students' interest obviously went beyond enhancing, at least, their English skills, it was also a delight to see that our guests seemed to have appreciated and even enjoyed the opportunity to present themselves here as well.
Many thanks to all those involved in making all that possible!

Report by Joel Mulumba

On the 30th of October we were visited by three Marines of the US Marine Corps, that were stationed in the US Embassy in Austria. The event was organized by our English teacher. It was a great honour to have these Marines tell us about their jobs. They told a little bit about themselves and then we could ask questions. Some of the questions were good and interesting. Others were a little subpar. The soldiers were sympathetic and down-to-earth, and they jokingly asked about Donald Trump. We all had a little chuckle.
One student asked what they did in their free time. One of them told us how the US Marines shouldn’t be considered as something abnormal. He told us, that it’s a normal job, with a normal wage and normal spare time. He also told us that his family is in Austria and they travel with him. The next question was about where they have been, while serving the US Marine Corps. The one serving the longest explained that he was in Japan, Iraq, the Philippines, the USA and Austria. The others answered similarly. Another student asked what they did when they joined the Marine Corps. They showed us a videoclips of the US Marines and the US Army. The US Army’s drills looked tough and the Drill Sergeants were constantly shouting at the cadets, but the videoclips of US Marine Corps were ten times worse.
Another student asked what hand-to-hand combat training they had. They showed us another clip and told us how in the past, the US Marines were an easier target, because they were not taught how to defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat. Then the US Marines incorporated a few types, like Krav Maga and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), into their own fighting style. These were just some examples of the good questions asked on the day. Other questions asked for example were just appalling, like one student, that asked if they would kill an enemy. The answer couldn’t have been more obvious. Another student asked what their opinions were on Donald Trump. One of them answered the question in a very plausible way. He explained that he serves the USA and if they decide to send him some place he will go.
All in all, it was a very interesting visit. They cleared up rumours around the US Marine Corps, they tackled a few issues as well. I learned the core concepts of the US Marine Corps. They’re built on teamwork and comradery and its essential they look out for another. We’re only as strong as our weakest link. These concepts can be applied to all areas of life and I am happy about the experience.

Report: Presentation Of The Marine Corps by Jakob Wendl

Last week, there were three Marines from the US embassy visiting our school to talk about and introduce us to the Marine Corps. The program was organized by our English teacher Professor Sachatonicsek and lasted for about two hours. After using a few short clips of the Marine Corps as an introduction the audience, about 200 students of different ages, had the chance to ask any questions concerning the Marine Corps. The following are the most memorable parts.

Only The Toughest
In the beginning the Marines showed us how you get treated when joining the Marines and made a comparison to the American army. However, you are only considered a marine after recruiting; before that you are referred to as a recruit. First of all, you get your head shaved. Then you learn to even take care of simple things like changing your bed, since many of the new recruits are very young and thus have never done such things in their life before. Only then does the real training begin; physically AND mentally. You work hard every day from morning to evening facing frightening situations you’ve never been in before and all that while getting shouted at by three different sergeants at once and having to stay in line with the rest of the recruits. The Marine Corps has the hardest qualification standards of all military branches so you can only imagine what it takes to accomplish becoming a Marine.

Still Human
As I mentioned in the last paragraph, all recruits get their head shaved completely upon joining. This happens so that everyone is broken down to the simplest form of a human and therefore is equal. In the Marine Corps race, religion, taste of music or hobbies don’t matter at all. Everyone is the same and gets built up in the same way. Like this you develop a strong bond with your partners, which is crucial to being a real Marine. That’s something the Marines from the embassy particularly mentioned a lot of times. Being fit, both physically and mentally, is one thing, but what matters the most, when Marines are on a mission together, is to take care that every single one of them is returning home safely to his family.
This changed my perception of Marines immensely from ice cold machines to actually really kind and interesting personalities. And I think I’m not the only one who sees it that way.

Imposing Tradition
When I first saw the Marines at our school I was impressed, almost intimidated, by their looks. They wore these bright red and blue uniforms and shining black shoes. The uniforms had a pad on the upper arm section, which had a sign of golden lines stitched into it displaying the respective rank, and badges composed of a colorful ribbon attached to a golden medal representing certain achievements, as explained by the visiting Marines, hanging from their left side of the chest.

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