Views From A Grunt

How we doing Hard-Chargers!!

Born in 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Tun Tavern, a disciplined group of bad asses would assemble a fearless fraternity and be remembered throughout history for their remarkable battles.


As well as their selfless attitudes and how they would easily put their lives down for this great country.

The Marine Corps, was built on men who were strong both mentally and physically. 

Physicality is a big part of the game as you’ll hike 20 some odd miles while carrying 40/50-lbs of gear.

You’ll patrol in 140′ weather everyday in a combat zone. 

Hell (God forbid) you may have to drag a wounded Marine out of a compound while taking fire from the enemy.

Once that adrenaline rush ordeal is over get ready to endure the same thing the very next day as you’re “in the shit” and the enemy is not letting up.


As a Marine, whose experienced a few things overseas as well as grueling training challenges in the states. 

I get very offended when spoiled kids give their “expert opinion” on things they aren’t familiar with.

A good majority of the time they’ll get hired at these prestigious companies because of the relationships their parents have with someone at that company.

Ok before I go further I wanna say I’m not butt-hurt about their successes or because someone said something negative about Marines.

I’m a bit perturbed because pieces like Toxic Masculinity in the Marine Corps, gets a great amount of attention. 

It’s just odd to me because the writer of the piece Alex Ward, is not a Marine, and he never was.


So how would he know anything pertaining to what Marines deal with on a daily basis in the states and also over-seas when fighting for our country.

He never went to recruit training, nor did he attend the School Of Infantry. 

He hasn’t endured 140′ weather with 50/60 pounds of gear on and he damn sure hasn’t fired any sort of rifle/ weaponry at enemy fighters.

So how does he seem to know so much about this fraternity/brotherhood.

He also has a problem with females not being openly invited to infantry battalions. 

As of now there are only 4 female Marines in total in infantry battalions.

Part of the reason why there aren’t others is because they can’t endure the training. 

They can’t carry the fighting load and they haven’t been successful at (IOC) Infantry Officers Course.


Keeping females out of Marine Corps infantry is not oppressing the rights of females or blockading gender equality.

It’s more-so about maintaining the most combat effective military.

U.S. hegemony is slowly dissipating and other nations are assembling conventional forces.

Our nation should be more concerned in creating the strongest infantry force to defend our national interests.

The Marine Corps will not lower its standards in order to make a few writers happy. 

Nor will it lower its standards in order to reach a quota to allow a certain number of females to enter infantry battalions.

There are about 900 Marines to a battalion, this includes 3 rifle companies, a weapons company, headquarters and service.

There’s also about 24 active infantry battalions in a whole in the Marine Corps.

That’s roughly less than 20,700 Marines in ground combat right now out of 182,000 active duty Marines.

That means there are literally less than 8% who are actually infantry.


This really gives hence to the slogan the few the proud.

Women who claim that they are not afforded traditional leadership opportunities by not being infantry officers are clearly not aware of the plethora of leadership opportunities in the Marine Corps elsewhere.

Maybe this should remain the only area of the military for males only.

Isaac J. Hall II




Marine Corps Rank Insignia

How we doing hard-chargers!!

Today we’ll discuss rank insignia in the Marine Corps, from the enlisted Private, all the way to the Officer General.


Still to this day we’re referred to as the backbone of the Corps, enlisted Marines with pay grades of E-4 and E-5 are non-commissioned officers (NCOs). While staff NCOs are most of the time career Marines serving in grades E-6 through E-9.

Together they work collaboratively  and are responsible to the commanding officer for the welfare, morale, and efficiency of Marines under them. The ranks of E-8 and E-9 each have two ranks per pay grade, with distinct responsibilities.

First sergeants (E-8) and sergeants major (E-9) serve as senior enlisted advisors  and they assist the commanding officer in matters  such as discipline, administration, and the welfare of the unit.

First sergeants serve as the senior enlisted Marine in a company, while sergeants major serve the same role in battalions, squadrons, or larger units.

Master sergeants (E-8) and master gunnery sergeants (E-9) provide technical leadership as occupational specialists in their specific MOS.

The sergeant major of the Marine Corps is the senior enlisted Marine of the entire Marine Corps, and he is personally selected by the commandant. The sergeant major of the Marine Corps and the Marine gunner are the only billets which rate modified rank insignia in place of traditional rank insignia.

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Warrant officers specialize in their respective fields, providing leadership and training to Marines in their military occupational specialty.

A warrant is approved by the secretary of the Navy for a sergeant (E-5) or staff non-commissioned officer (E-6 to E-9) to be appointed a warrant officer. Warrant officers become commissioned officers at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2, they serve as technical advisors, providing expertise to commands and organizations in their field.

A chief warrant officer serving as an infantry weapons officer also carries the title, Marine Gunner, which does not replace his rank. Marine Gunners replace the chief warrant officer insignia on the left collar with a bursting bomb insignia.

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Commissioned officers are college graduates who have earned and accepted an appointment issued in the name of the president of the United States.

Their commission gives them responsibility of leading Marines as they defend the Constitution of the United States. Commissioned officer ranks are further subdivided into generals, field-grade, and company-grade officers.

The commandant of the Marine Corps and the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps are four-star ranks.

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You may want to practice and go over this a few times, I say this because if you address a Marine, by the wrong rank (specifically a motard) you’re gonna be in for a very special treat. I give you my word…

Isaac J. Hall II


Remembrance On Memorial Day

How we doing Hard-Chargers!!

When I think of memorial day, I don’t necessarily think of getting a day off from work, nor do I ever really think about how good the ribs are going to be at the barbeque.

I think of military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.


I get a mental visualization of a gorgeous setting that takes place at grave sites. Grave sites that are decorated specifically for veterans who signed the dotted line knowing that this could very well be the outcome.


I was a sophomore in high school, when the Twin Towers fell, the principal came over the intercom and said

“A tragedy has just happened, you all need to tune in immediately.” While seeing the gruesome footage I just kept thinking to myself how so many lives were changed in an instant because of this heinous act.

What people didn’t realize is that same night Air Force Parajumpers were in Afghanistan calling for fire and dropping bombs on enemy targets because the war had just begun.

There have been wars throughout history and there have also been people who are skeptical because of the many men and women who have been taken away from us.

Some even see war as a complete waste that will do nothing for either side.


There is an old saying which states “if you want peace you must go to war,” this has been evident since the Egyptians walked the earth therefore I don’t feel the lives lost were in vain.

I see this more-so as a testament to how faithful our men and women are to this country, being that they are willing to risk their lives by going to combat zones.

There is a father of 4 with a beautiful wife who made the sacrifice, there is also a woman who gave up a full ride at a great school because she wanted to follow the footsteps of her older brother.


I honestly get a bit chocked up when I spend time thinking about those who have laid down their lives as they fought for our country. This beautiful country filled with selfless people from all walks of life.

For those who have been taken away from us that did their time in the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army, National Guard, and also Marines.

I want to sincerely say thank you.

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The standard was set because of you, with that being said your hard work and dedication will not be forgotten.

On this very day we celebrate your altruism and unconditional love for America.

Nothing you’ve done has been in vain as each and everyone of you played a pivotal role in the success of your specific missions.


You are greatly appreciated and will remain heroes in the eyes of the American, because you made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down your life for this country.

Isaac J. Hall II


No Growth For Marine Corps 2018

Good day hard-chargers!!

So we now have word that the Marine Corps is not expected to grow during the next fiscal year.

If approved by Congress, the Marine Corps’ fiscal 2018 budget will keep active-duty at 185,000. Recently funding for the Corps was approved in order to grow from 182,000 to 185,000 this fiscal year.


President Trump, last year, publicly endorsed the Heritage Foundation, calling for 12 active-duty Marine infantry battalions and one active-duty tank battalion.


The idea was to build a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, the Heritage Foundation noted that this is the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies.


Many now wonder at this point if future budgets will call for the Marine Corps to become larger. The only answer to this staggering question is only time will tell.

President Trump has said he intends to increase the size of the military, however, other lawmakers don’t necessarily agree to increase the defense spending without first conversing in order to find non-military spending cuts.

It is believed that the Marine Corps must grow to 190,000 in order to successfully defeat adversaries.1858829.jpg

The force structure concluded that the Marine Corps needs to add more Marines for information environment operations, counter unmanned aerial systems and also air defense. Adding more Marines would help capabilities needed for 21st century warfare.

Marine Corps Commandant General. Robert Neller said “If you don’t have those things, whatever formation you put on the battlefield will not survive or be combat effective.

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Another serious challenge the Marine Corps faces is the aging fleet of planes and helicopters.

There is a proposed budget, however, it does not accelerate the purchasing of new aircraft. Next year the Corps expects to purchase 353 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters and 67 F-35Cs which will replace the F/A-18 Hornets.

wasp-takeoff-news__main.jpgyourfile.jpg150113-F-SI788-048.jpgSo each CH-53K cost $87.1 million, but when research and development are included the price tag is up to $138.5 million per helicopter.

Colonel Hank Vanderborght said “We fight the war on cost everyday to get things at best and absolute value for the taxpayer.”

I for one was excited to see the Corps grow close to 200,000 strong, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer in order for this to take place. Until then, I urge you all to keep up with current events as you may be effected weather its good or bad.

Isaac J. Hall II


Trims To VA Benefits (Budget Proposal)

Good day hard-charges,

So there is a proposal budget from the White House in the amount of $186.5 billion for Department of Veterans Affairs operations next year.

Which includes over $13 billion for medical care outside the VA and $3.6 billion in savings from benefits trims/cuts.


The proposal, was released Tuesday and is facing much criticism. The proposal does, however, represent a boost for the department, which over the last decade has seen annual increases. While other government agencies have seen funding reductions.


President Trump’s plan calls for a $4.4 billion increase in discretionary funding for the department. That is a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2017 levels, the $82 billion total discretionary request is nearly twice as large as the department’s entire budget in fiscal 2001.


There are some who feel the VA spending request reflects that veterans’ access to timely, high quality health care is one of the administration’s highest priorities.

It was also promised to focus on providing veterans with the most efficient and effective care and benefits, and proposes several trade offs to pay for program expansions.

The most dramatic to all of these would be an end to Individual Unemployability benefits payments. These payments go to retired veterans, this move is expected to save $3.2 billion next year alone and $41 billion over the next decade.


The Individual Unemployability program allows the VA to award payouts at the 100-percent disabled rate to veterans who cannot work due to service-connected injuries.

This is even if the veterans aren’t deemed 100-percent disabled. The number of recipients have tripled since 2000, and numbers are upwards of 339,000 in the fiscal year of 2016.


President Donald Trump has proposed to stop payouts once veterans are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. He argues that the practice amounts to the duplication of benefits. This proposal would impact more than 225,000 veterans receiving the payouts today.14205.jpg

Here is something else to be alarmed about, all veterans receiving benefits checks from the department would also be affected. Reason being is there is a plan to cut down cost-of-living increases to the nearest dollar, which was VA policy from the late 1990s until 2013.


Officials say the move would save $20 million in fiscal year 2018 and cost individual veterans $12 per year. This idea has lead to controversy in the past, and will most-likely face opposition from outside advocates.

Administration officials of the VA also hope to save another $42 million by capping GI Bill tuition payments to flight schools.gibillbanner.jpg

This is a provision which some veterans groups have supported in recent years. Tuition at these schools sometimes costs $100,000 a year. The new plan would limit payments to  $21,000 annually, the same as other private universities.

A large portion of these savings will go towards reauthorizing the controversial Choice Card program, which was established in 2014 and allows veterans to seek medical care outside VA if they meet certain eligibility requirements.


VA Secretary David Shulkin has promised an overhaul of the program later this year, but it needs congressional approval to go into effect. Administration officials have asked for $2.9 billion for the program in fiscal 2018 and $3.5 billion for the effort in subsequent years, lawmakers have questioned the usability of the program.RTS148X8-1024x651.jpg

The budget calls for $8.4 billion for mental health care and $1.7 billion for homeless assistance programs.

Lawmakers will get their first input on the budget later today, as Shulkin testifies before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the funding request hearing.image.jpg

I urge you all to pay attention and keep up with current events as many of you can and most likely will be affected weather it be good or bad.

Much success to you all my dear hard-chargers.

Isaac J. Hall II


Bombing Brings High Death Numbers

Good morning Hard-Chargers!!

I’m sure you’ve heard the news as far as the suicide bombing in Manchester. The numbers have now climbed to 22 as far as deaths go and of course the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.


ISIS stated that one of its members ignited the explosion as Ariana Grande’s concert was ending which was about 10:33 p.m. local time therefore it was Monday.

British authorities identified the bomber as Salman Abedi, who is 23 years old. U.S. officials are not authorized to speak publicly as of yet.


Greater Manchester Police said children were among the victims, and that the attacker died at the scene.

Fifty-nine others were injured in the explosion, police said. They believed one man carried out the attack, however, authorities were trying to confirm whether he was working alone or as part of a network.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in South Manchester in connection with the attack, but no other details were immediately released.

Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities believe they know the attacker’s identity, but did not name him. She will travel to Manchester to meet with police, the mayor and emergency services in the next few days.


“It is now beyond a doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack. An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation,” May said outside her London office.

Chief Ian Hopkins, of Greater Manchester Police stated “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester, one that we all hoped we would never see.” “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”


President Donald Trump added “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, remember that.”

This very incident was the worst terrorist attack in Britain since the suicide bombings on London’s transport in July 2005 which killed 52 people and injured hundreds. The attackers were inspired by Islamist extremism.


Monday’s bombing follows a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament in central London, on March 22 that killed five people. The attacker, Khalid Masood, 52, rammed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer.

Although this is not the first time Manchester, has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.

Our thoughts be to those who were affected by such a heinous act.


Isaac J. Hall II


The “Self Appointed Fiduciary”

Good day hard-chargers!!

So a few days ago we had a Police Sergeant from Massachusetts plead guilty on an array of accounts. Such as stealing funds from the accounts of disable veterans, as he acted as the appointed fiduciary.


The name of the culprit was Glenn Pearson, who is 61 years old and worked for the Whitman Police Department. About 16 years ago he was dismissed for breaches of police codes of conduct. As well as improper arrest, sexual harassment, untruthfulness and even falsifying payrolls.


From 2007 to 2012 Pearson became a Department of Veterans Affairs fiduciary for multiple disabled veterans and managed their funds. During this time Pearson took advantage of his position and embezzled over $250,000 of benefits money award to the veterans by Veterans Affairs.


He even went one step further and operated a “tax preparation” business called FTS Tax Services, this is where he falsely prepared tax returns for clients in return for a fee. After a while though his clients were audited by the IRS, from there Pearson gave falsified statements to the IRS.


As of now he faces a max sentence of 20 years for wire fraud. An additional three years for trying to interfere with the administration of internal revenue laws. Another three years for making and also providing false tax returns. Lastly 5 years for misappropriation of funds.


Pearson admitted to causing over $1 million in tax loss, and has supposedly agreed to a plea deal. Which will be to make restitution to the veterans whom he stole from as well as Veterans Affairs Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.


As of now he’s set to be released Sept. 19th.

Hard-charges it would behoove of you to not only be a better judgment of character but also you may want to do a bit of research because you can do your taxes yourself or hire a reputable accountant.

Keep your eyes open for those who want to take advantage of you.

Isaac J. Hall II


Veterans Affairs Reevaluation

How we doing hard-chargers!!

Today I thought we’d spend a bit of time speaking about the VA reevaluation process. The Department of Veterans Affairs has the ability to reduce or terminate ones disability benefits under specific circumstances.

Most of the time the VA will not do this unless you are first asked to show up at a specific date for a reevaluation.

Understanding VA Reevaluation

A reevaluation can be a medical examination or, if the VA feels necessary to evaluate the severity of ones disability. The VA is legally entitled to require an exam or hospitalization, therefore it would behoove of you to comply with a reevaluation request in order to preserve your benefits.

Scheduled Reevaluations

Once you are awarded disability compensation benefits, the VA will evaluate whether ones disability is such that you should be scheduled for a future reevaluation to determine if ones benefits need to be adjusted.

So types of disabilities subject to reevaluation are those that can be expected to make an improvement. If the VA determines that ones disability requires a future reevaluation, the first reevaluation will be scheduled five years from the date of the decision to grant you benefits.

Change in Condition

The VA may also order a reevaluation at any time if there is medical evidence showing that ones disability has improved. If the VA decreases your benefits, you can request an increase if your condition worsens again. 

To request an increase in your rating after disabilities, worsen all you need to do is write a letter to the VA regional office stating you believe an increase is needed, from there provide medical evidence to support an increase.

I wanna advise you though, there are times when you request an increase, you will actually end up getting a decrease in benefits. If that happens, you can appeal this decrease the same way that you can  appeal a denial of VA benefits.

Notice of Reevaluation

The VA is required to send you advance notice of a reevaluation. If you receive a letter from the VA asking you to attend a VA examination for the purpose of evaluating your disability rating.

This could mean the VA may have decided there is medical evidence on file does not support a continuation of your benefits at your current rate. From there you have 60 days from the date you receive this letter to submit evidence showing a reduction is not warranted.

If the VA fails to send you a notice and decides to reduce or terminate your benefits because you didn’t show up for the exam, you have every right to have your full benefit rate reinstated.

Show Up For Reevaluation

It is imperative that you show up for this examination. If you do not show up, don’t call to reschedule or explain your absence, you are at risk of having your benefits automatically reduced or terminated.

Don’t freak out though as there are times where a reevaluation could actually lead to an increase in your ratings/benefits, BUT this is a rarity, however, this does occasionally happen when a veterans disability has gotten much worse.

When Not to Expect a Reevalutaion

The VA will not ask you to come for a reevaluation, If you are part of one of the groups below. However, should you receive a letter asking you to show up for a reevaluation, call the phone number on the letter you receive to explain why you think you should not have to appear.

VA does not schedule reevaluations for the following veterans:

Over 55 years of age

Static disabilities, such as loss of a limb

A disability resulting from disease that is of a permanent nature

Have been assigned the minimum rating for their disability

Have a combined disability rating, and the individual ratings that were combined are so high that even if one or two of these ratings were reduced, the combined disability rating would remain the same.

If you are not subject to reevalutaion, your disability rating cannot be reduced.

If you do have to attend an examination, the VA can only reduce your benefits in some situations.

Keep your records and be sure to show up to the necessary examinations. I would also ask that you all become a bit more knowledgeable in this area as it could help you greatly.

Isaac J. Hall II


Army Soldier W/ Anecdotal Theory

How we doing hard-chargers!

So we got a few words from a former Army Soldier, who was blessed to see both sides of the playing field. I give you a few good words from retired Sergeant Micheal Thorin.

fdb654c.jpeg                          (I thank you for your sacrifice to this great country my good sir.)

I believe that “balanced” rivalry is good.

If I had to say one branch actually believed themselves superior, it would be the Marines. Sadly, having come from the Army, I would have to bow down and give credit where credit is due.


I’ve seen more fit Marines than soldiers, which is pretty amazing considering the Army has and enlistment size of 541,291 compared to the Marines who have only 195,338.

army-soldiers-veterans-formation-10.jpg   Marines_in_formation.jpgHence the few the proud.

From the outside looking in, it appears the Marines go more “by the book” when it comes to physical fitness standards, also Marines have an individual drive to maintain fitness and uniform standards.


Here is one exception that I may add, infantry units and combat arms units in the Army, have soldiers are mostly fit and ready.


I attribute this to self preservation. When I was a medic assigned to a medical company, we did PT, but it was not the “get your but up and drive on!!!!” kind of PT.

We were never really driven to excel…

Now let me add that Infantry units and combat arms all “live and die by the sword”.

Meaning that their ability to constantly push themselves in order to ensure that they are not only fit enough to ensure their survival, but also fit enough for their brothers, and now sisters in arms, and their equipment as well.


Meaning if a soldier goes down during an engagement, you may have to pull that soldier out. If your 70 pounds overweight and your last meal was a Coke and a bag of barbecue pork rinds, you are going to have a less than stellar performance.

Now, all of this is dependent on whether or not you have a strong chain of command with a great desire for integrity;

i.e. Instead of pencil whipping PT scores and “pencil/pen” weapons qualifications to keep the numbers up, a chain of command that doesn’t want to guarantee troop strengths by the power of the pen.

Rather instead keeps troop strengths up by assuring PT, weapons qualifications, height/weight, and uniform are enforced daily so that when all of these are done for record, thereby maintaining troop strength by ensuring compliance daily.

This is so soldiers do not have a chance to not simply go with the motion, but to be the force that drives the motion.

Another thing I had noticed was the difference in services. In basic training we were told everyone’s primary MOS was 11B. I did not see many of our support companies live by this belief.

However, you look at the Marines, and they say that every Marine’s primary MOS is 0311 Rifleman, and the majority of all MOS’s in the Marines life is this belief.

Again, I am not intending to offend anyone, but 11B and combat arms (19D, etc), more closely matches to the Marines.

I know there are officers who not only require that the standards be met, but also led by example, and lived out the standards.

Just my take, and I may be completely off. I pray that my fellow Army Soldiers, Airforce Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Navy Sailors do not get offended.

When it all comes down to it and rivalry becomes an issue, everyone better remember that the military is like human physiology, where if one system of the body shuts down or doesn’t function properly, THE OTHER SYSTEMS WILL SUFFER.

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It is the same way for the sum total of our military; when one suffers, we all suffer.

Always remember this and realize that rivalry can be fun and bring forth a sense of esprit de corps, however, if taken to an extreme, the body can suffer.

God bless, and may we continue to keep each and every branch of our military strong with a desire to make each branch strong and compliment each-other, as this was the original concept.

Your words are greatly appreciated here sir. I think even with the rivalry among branches, everyone has to remember that we’re all brothers and sisters fighting for our gorgeous illustrious country.

Thank you to all who have made the sacrifice to serve America.

Isaac J. Hall II


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