American soldiers say it takes a unique type of personality, with a mix of resilience, cockiness and humility, to be part of the United States’ specialised military unit, the Marine Corps.
For the past month, hundreds of troops from the United States Marine Corps have been working alongside Australian soldiers as part of large, biennial, multi-million dollar military exercise called Talisman Sabre in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
The Marine Corps is an independent branch of the United States defence force, with unique training that combines ground, aviation and amphibious warfare.
So what does it take to be part of the force?
Captain Joseph Patterson is an assault pilot who has worked in the Marine Corps for years, and said the most important skill was the ability to perform in the worst conditions known to man.
“You have to be able to thrive in misery. We make sure our marines and soldiers, when they are miserable they do their job better,” he said.
“Why it’s really important [is] in most places where we wind up, it’s not the best living conditions for us, it’s usually really cold or really hot, the food is never good.”
Kevin Poole, 22, from South Carolina, said his almost four years in the Marines had been a hard slog.
“It’s just a lot of training, a lot of hard work. I don’t want to start a war or anything, but if the fight comes I would be more than ready to go,” he said.
“There are better jobs with more money and less stress on the body.”
“It takes a special amount of cockiness to do our job … I don’t like the word failure and that’s the pride, the cockiness,” Captain Patterson said.
“It’s going to sound a little contradictory, but [we] also have to have humility. We have to understand when too far is too far and accept when we fail.
“No one likes to fail, but we have to when we’re training so we don’t fail in combat.”The whole purpose of training is to fail, so we need to know what we did wrong and then have the pride to go back the drawing board and start again.”Female attack pilot captain Kelsey Casey said the job required emotional tenacity, and physical and mental toughness.”I wanted to be a pilot since I was 5 years old, and when I got into college I realised I wanted to be a Marine pilot because I liked the mentality,” she said.”Being a 5’4” female, I didn’t really have a lot of options for getting on the front lines, so getting to fly an attack jet with thousands of pounds and 25 millimetre gun rounds … I love it.Captain Casey spends hours upon hours each year in the AV-8B Harrier aircraft, but life in the Marine Corps also involves extended periods at sea.She has spent the past month on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, a US amphibious attack ship as part of the exercise.”Living on the ship is always an interesting experience. It’s like being on a giant […]