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Memorable "Practical" Essential Subjects Test

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On what turned out to be my last Practical EST test before I got promoted to Master Sergeant, I thought you may enjoy this Sea Story.

We had to line up and go through many stations and we got three questions at each station. OK, so I was a Gunnery Sergeant with about 16 years in the Corps at the time.

MSgt Partridge was the Monitor for one station and we knew each other pretty well. So when I came up, he said this was going to be a snap. So then he asked me what the Motto of the Marine Corps was. I replied, "Sem-PAIR Fee-Day-Lease" (Spelled phonetically with other words that most people know) He looked at me very quizzically and said, "What did you say?" I repeated it and he still looked puzzled. So I replied, "Top, I took a year of Latin in 9th Grade and this is the FIRST time I have ever really had a chance to use it in speaking. That is the correct way to pronounce it in Latin, though we usally mispronounce it as "Sem-Per Fih-dell-is" in common use. The Top told me he didn't know that, grinned and went on to the next question. Well that was so easy I forget what it was, so he went on to the third question.

He then said, "Put yourself in this situation. You are alone and have been behind enemy lines for two weeks and you ran out of food four days ago and you are short on water. You are down to two magazines for your M16. A squad of gooks is coming your way and there is no escape route. What do you do?"

I replied, "Let me get this straight. No support and behind enemy lines. Out of food and little water. I've got at least 56 rounds. Now there is meat on the hoof coming towards me? OK, kill them all by fire and maneuver, by shooting the last guy, then the first guy, then alternately the rest as they are trying to figure out where it is coming from. Then TAKE their water and food or if they have no food - eat THEM." The Top was not in any way a squeemish Marine, but he sort of blanched at that. He smiled and replied, "Eat them?" I said, "Sure and the first part to eat is normally the left thigh." Then he replied, "OK, Gus, I have JUST GOT to ask why the left thigh?" I replied on a human there is more meat on the thigh and easier to get at then any place else. You want the LEFT thigh as most people are right handed, have a tendency when they put their weight on one foot - it is the right foot and as such, the left thigh meat is more tender." He roared a laugh and said, "Where in the (Heck) did you learn THAT?!!!" I told him it was from reading 19th century Mountain Man accounts and particularly about Liver Eating Johnston though his real last name was Johnson, which he changed to Johnston after striking a Navy Officer and desertng the ship (the movie Jeremiah Johnson was loosely taken from that real man). Then with a wry grin he asked in a low voice, "Would you really eat them?" So I replied in a low tone that I sure would if there was nothing else to eat.

Then with a smile on my face I said, "Well, Top, by my count I answered at least five or six questions correctly, so did I pass?" He took my Practical Test sheet, signed it as passed and pointed me to the next station and replied, "Fisher, only YOU would come up with something like that!" He was still chuckling when the next Marine came to his station.
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That's a great story Gus. He was right, only YOU would come up with something like that. DI2
 
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