posted June 25th, 2011 by John B.

In 1998, I left the Marine Corps and was very happy to take on the civilian work force. Like most Marines, I thought that I could just jump right into any police department and get work easily. I had a security clearance, leadership skills, weapons proficient, tactical training, and much more tactical training. To tell the truth the world is just not that simple. I started my police application processes for Oakland PD, San Jose PD, and San Jose State University PD at the same time.  I was high on life as to what my future held for me.

In the process of testing I took an interim job as a Security Guard at a shopping mall that was up and coming. I excelled at my security job and quickly became a Shift Supervisor. I rewrote the foot patrol procedures manual, change vehicle patrolling techniques & patterns, taught others how to write standard reports, installed a handcuffing policy, helped change the uniforms we wore to be more assertive, and brought a bit of professionalism to that Mall Security Department. I began to realize that there must be malls all across the state, and maybe even the nation that are filled with individuals just like me. Individuals ready to move on to other careers or are testing to go into police work. Basically Police “wannabes.” I know that sounds derogatory, but in reality everybody should want to be something in life.

Mike was this new Security Officer that we had just hired and I was field training him on what to do at the mall. Dispatch codes, how to use the radio, vehicle patrol, and other safety things I had to show him. In our conversations I told him that I had some college behind me, I was in the Marine Corps, and that I wanted to work for San Jose PD at the time. He asks me a strange question, “So how does it feel to be a real man?” Of course he was referring to being a Marine and it struck me as being really odd that he would phrase it that way.

I never really felt any different then any other person, but I realized that not everybody can be a Marine. Not every “body” can join the military (allergies, flat feet, broken bones, etc.) and not everybody has the mental stamina to even join the military. About 10% of the US population, I am told, can even pass the requirements to join the military. Of that few, not a big percentage even go into the military, or consider it as a career move. Not even 1% of the US population serve our country, and yet we still have the best fighting force in the world.  Serving the US military of in any branch is a career move. So, I figured I should tell him the true secret to being a real man.

In a low tone of voice, I said, “Mike, you really want to know what it takes to be a real man in this world?” He gave me a look like I was going to bestow upon him the ancient secrets of the universe. Here is what I told him. “Love God, be a husband to your wife, and a greater father to your kids. Do those three things and all else will fall into place. Those three things will make you a ‘Superman’.” That secret is what GOD has told me my whole life, but for some of it I wasn’t listening.

Mike was about 22 or 23 years old and had no specific direction in life. He heard what I had to say, but I think it went in one ear and out the other without touching gray matter. In the military we say ‘Over…’ at the end of a radio transmission to convey to the other person(s) that we were done talking and it was there turn to talk. I remember thinking I should say “Over!” just to see if Mike had heard my message “loud and clear” and understood my meaning. I knew perfectly well that he didn’t. He was young and ambitious without guidance. Dangerous for young impressionable men who are around gangs.  He didn’t have a wife, steady girlfriend, or kids so there was no life cement to keep him on track. I think my idea of “Superman” was lost on him.

Men, look around you…. You will not see too many red silky capes flapping in the wind with a big “S” on it. What you will see is a great number of Supermen out there doing the right thing. That’s what our nation needs right now more then any military force. We need men to step up and do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.  Don’t get me wrong… We will still need the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard to keep world knuckleheads in check. That mission is not going away…


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2 Responses to ““Superman””

  1. Fran says:

    They all have pretty much the same bfnieets as far as education goes.The Navy and USAF have traditionally offered more general tech oriented skill areas (Jobs) while the Army and USMC are more oriented to actual field work. That is a raw generalization, of course, because your push-button’ military is pretty much all tech, now.You would still have the hassle of family needs and such, but generally, the health, pension and pay bfnieets’ are pretty sweet.You have to balance that with the concept of being called to fight’ for your country, but if that is where your head is at, go for it.I’d go back into the Air Force again in a skinny minute if they would have me.Go for it the absolute worst it can do for you is give you time to scope out the rest of your life, while making a pretty decent living on the taxpayer’s dime.Beats the hell out of Welfare.

  2. Fernando says:

    as a MARINE i say the air force has the most benifits for eudcation they really stress higher eudcation and after getting out the oppertunity for high paying jobs in abundant i know a lot people i went to high school with the got out of the airforce early to pursue higher paying civilian jobs some airforce MOS schools are the equivilant to having certifications from college courses.