Military Culture

‘The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine and his’ umbrella — the case for dryness

The old adage of, “If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training,” could be in serious jeopardy if a pending update to the Marine Corps uniform policy overturns a rule prohibiting male Marines from carrying umbrellas in uniform.

It’s about time.

The aforementioned motto is steeped in a illogical masochism similar to the “pain is weakness leaving the body” banality that every recruit who has even reached the third phase of boot camp realizes is firmly entrenched in idiocy.

In “How to Win Friends and Influence People," author Dale Carnegie wrote, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic."

The escapability of basic logic in the Marine Corps is, at times, admirable.

Shin splint pain resulting from an agonizing 21-mile hump through the hills of Camp Pendleton is not an indicator of weakness. It is simply pain — and it hurts like hell.

Similarly, why remain perfectly dry when delightful alternatives of shriveling skin, flu-like symptoms and soggy uniforms that divert an E-3′s valuable beer money toward costly dry cleaning could be had instead?

Speaking to the Washington Post in the wake of former President Barack Obama′s 2013 umbrella incident, Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan could offer no concrete explanation as to why male Marines were doomed to wander an umbrella-less existence.

“Marines are always out getting rained on," Flanagan told the Post.

“That’s sort of what we do.”

What if, for once, misery didn’t have to be the order of the day — a wild concept that just because something is, doesn’t mean it has to be.

A previous attempt to accommodate male umbrella accessorizing in the 1990s — women have long exercised their right to bear umbrellas — was rejected, with some opposed citing an “effeminate" appearance as reason for doing so.

“They seem to be very nervous what constitutes unmanly behavior,” Cynthia Enloe, a professor at Clark University with a background of researching military uniform codes, told the Post.

There is nothing manly, salty, or old Corps about getting unnecessarily drenched. Even the saltiest of all, the Morton Salt Girl, employs her apparatus to great effect.

Ancient cultures in Greece, Egypt, Assyria and China were using umbrellas as far back as 4,000 years ago, yet here we are.

What pain did Mary Poppins inflict that drove the Army and Marine Corps — the Navy and Air Force each allow men the privilege — to lead a life devoted to remaining exposed to the elements? What deep affliction did policy-makers endure at the hands of Batman’s nemesis, Penguin?

In 2019, men and women are rightfully able to fight alongside one another in combat. It’s only right their weaponry expertise extends to umbrella-related combat as well.

Who knows? The most dangerous weapon in the world could be a Marine and an umbrella.

Observation Post articles reflect author observations or attempts at humor. Any resemblance to news may be purely coincidental.

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