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The DIs would place us in competition with each other no matter what it was about. ” Whitmore and his buddies understood that the challenge had to be carried out between equals. The test of manhood could not compromise the military hierarchy. ”49 Group competition could be very useful in getting men to feel a sense of responsibility toward one another and in training them to stick together in battle. But it could easily lead to hatred for outsiders. “I remember being aware of the fact that the Marine Corps came before country or anything else,” Steve Borrowman recalled.

Everybody laughed at me. Little skinny boy can’t work in the field going in the Marine Corps. So I passed the test. 44 A young man from a family of limited means, Edwards realized that he would not be able to express his manhood as a college student. The world of work was similarly inaccessible to him since prospective employers saw 24 | Chapter 2 Edwards as a “skinny boy” rather than an able man. Excluded from higher education and civilian work, Edwards consciously chose to define his gender identity through military service.

All the power comes down from the top. If you’re at the bottom, which most people are, there’s not very much you can do. . And if you’re a private or sergeant or just a peon, you don’t really have any rights. —Vince Dijanich, Between Men [I]t’s a brainwashing process, I think, because a great deal of them [marine recruits] who were rebellious the first few nights or days, in the end, they were the most gung-ho, who would walk up to a sailor or a soldier, if they say something about the Marines, and demand that they apologize, [or else] they were going to mop up the streets with them.

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