Once a marine, always a marine – even if you’re 80 years old, live in a senior living community and enlisted back when “I Love Lucy” hit the airwaves.
That’s the general point of view shared amongst Marines past and present, all of which firmly believe that while police officers can be ex-cops and firefighters ex-firefighters, a Marine is always a Marine, regardless of the calendar year.
"The expression "once a Marine - always a Marine" is hammered into every recruit who makes it through boot camp at either Parris Island or San Diego.," said FOX News contributor retired Marine Corps Col. Oliver North. "It is an expression derived from the Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis" which means "Always Faithful" in Latin.
North said passing boot camp requires recruits to embody 10 major attributes of dependability, courage, decisiveness, endurance, initiative, integrity, judgement, proficiency, selflesness and loyalty.
"If one is - 'Always Faithful' - to this 10-Point Marine credo, it is therefore impossible to be an "ex" Marine," said North.
“The title of Marine is an earned title and never goes away,” said Col. James Hoke. “Once you go through the trails and tribulations, it stays with you forever and cannot be taken away.”
Contrary to calling a retired Marine or a Marine who got out of service an ex-Marine, they should be referred to as “former enlisted” or “former commissioned officers,” Hoke said.
“I personally would not be insulted if I was older and someone referred to me as an ex-Marine, mostly because I would understand what they meant by saying that,” said Hoke. “But I would correct them because there are certainly a few Marines who would be offended by that.”
Marine Sgt. and Chief Media Coordinator for Camp Pendleton Jesse Lora said the term "ex" has a negative connotation.
"I could see a marine from the Vietnam War or a marine from four years ago, and they would be equal in my eyes," he said.
The question of what an inactive Marine should be called came into light yesterday when FOXNews.com received a handful of criticizing e-mails regarding a headline that called a 72-year-old man an ex-Marine.
Bill Barnes, who enlisted in the Marines in 1956, was scratching off a lotto ticket at a Michigan gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where $300 in cash was stored, the Associated Press reported yesterday.
He immediately grabbed the person's wrist and started throwing punches, thwarting the robbery.