“GET THE (expletive) OFF ME” I yelled instantly and involuntarily. It was the middle of the night in the woods of Quantico, VA and Matthew Hays was trying to help me stand up.
It was Mile 16 at of our last hike at The Basic School. My hamstrings decided to give out simultaneously to the point where I had to get out of formation. I was irate.
Matthew Hays was trying to help. The thing is...this was a school. This was training. This wasn’t combat. No one’s life was in danger. However, it was all the same to him. The situation didn’t matter. You help your fellow Marines.
A lot of us “go internal” in situations such as a 20 mile hike (with your weapon and all your gear). You are at capacity, physically and mentally, so you can’t think to help someone else because you don’t want to derail yourself.
When you choose to serve, you choose to serve others. Unselfishness is so immeasurably contagious and in the service I think it becomes natural to put yourself second. This is why you’ve read stories of unthinkable heroism during combat or catastrophic events. You adhere to this when all is well, not simply in crisis.
So thanks for that memory Matt. It reminds me of how to always live that way - even as a civilian.