I was looking back over the last 40 years or so of being associated with the military, either active or simply by being in a military town. And I started laughing.
On social media, there are no pulled punches when it comes time to members of various branches poking fun at each other. The same was true “back in the day” when various members of various branches would run into each other out in town.
This happens with the Navy and Marines more often than not since those two groups end up in foreign ports of call together with more opportunities to jab each other in the ribs. Some of these gatherings can be rather epic.
There will always be poking the bear moments when one group has had enough of the shenanigans of the other and it boils over into a physical altercation. Usually no one gets hurt, some end up in the pokey, but as a rule the next morning they are sitting in a restaurant drinking coffee and looking at each other’s black eyes and laughing.
All this leads up to a “sea story”. Sailors and Marines know what that is.
We were in a little town called Portsmouth, England. Port city, English naval town. Nice place with a lot of things to do during the day but only one thing to do at night. Consume copious amounts of alcoholic beverages.
Such was the case one evening. There was a local gathering spot where Royal Marines and Sailors and American Marines and Sailors were all gathered together eating fish and chips and drinking pints faster than the bartender could pour them.
A US Sailor and a US Marine standing at the bar exchange some words and the brewhaha is on. This of course clears the tables now there are many Sailors and Marines scrapping it up in the bar. A good time was being had by all. But then…
A Royal Marine felt he was slighted when a Sailor bounced into his table and spilled his pint. So he steps in and clocks the US Sailor.
The basic mentality is, we can beat the shit out of each other but you “outside mother fuckers” need to keep in your own world.
As soon as the Royal Marine laid hands on the US Sailor, everything stopped. You could hear a pin drop. Then the entire US contingent turned like rabid dogs on the Royal Marines (and Royal Sailors because, well they were Royal Sailors) and all hell broke loose. The entire establishment was fighting. Everyone was Kung Fu fighting.
It didn’t take long for the US Shore Patrol, Portsmouth Constabulary, Royal Military Police to show up and men (and a few women) were being physically chucked out into the street to be scooped up and brought back to their respective commands. Some via a medical facility but nothing serious. Closed eyes, fat lips, fingers twisted off in funny directions. No one would die.
The next day, almost to a person, the same group is all hanging around, black eyes, fat lips and all and laughing joking and grab assing like old pals.
Times were good. Life was simple. Memories were short.
And for the record, the other 3 branches don’t have to chime in on this. Your perceived rivalries do not compare to the awesomeness that is the rivalry between the Navy and Marines.