David H. T. Kane ’58 reports from the alumni meeting in Naples, FL.

Speaker today was recently tenured Williams Professor Magnus Bernhardsson who told us an enthralling (no kidding) tale of the last 100 years in Iraq.

Enjoyed talking at lunch with Paul Neeley ’68, current Trustee of Williams, father of a Senior and of an older son who is serving, as a Naval Academy graduate ’03, with the Marines in Anbar Province at the moment. Electronic warfare officer, charged with detecting road side bombs.

Semper Fidelis.

Note, also, this excellent Record article by Kevin Waite on two Eph Marines-to-be: seniors Brad Shirley and Jeff Castilagone.

Summer: a time for lazy beach days, baseball caps, long vacations and pushing your body and mind to the very limits of human endurance. This past summer Brad Shirley ’07 and Jeff Castiglione ’07 had plenty of the latter. There was little time for poolside tanning at Quantico, Va., where the two Ephs spent hot days under the rigorous testing system of the Marine Officer Candidates School (OCS). But after running a veritable gauntlet of physical, academic and mental trials, Shirley and Castiglione have come out proudly on the other side, now just a few months from their commissioning as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

The average civilian forms his or her interpretations of such training from a patchwork of Hollywood representations. Full Metal Jacket and Band of Brothers give the armchair generals a crash course in military training from the comfort of their living rooms. Shirley, who underwent two six-week OCS sessions over the last two summers and Castiglione, who completed the process in a ten-week program last summer, experienced it from the front lines.

“It’s a high-stress environment,” Shirley said. “They intentionally design it to be like that, because field operations are inherently stressful. They don’t want their officers to crack.”

Castiglione was quick to point out that although it’s no joy ride, the physical punishment seen in Full Metal Jacket no longer has a place in the training regimen. “When you do something wrong, instead of doing pushups, they have you write a 300 word essay,” he said. “You have to stay up an extra hour to write the essay, so it’s another way of depriving you of sleep.”

No push-ups! What is my Marine Corps coming to?! ;-)

In any event, Waite’s article is a fun read, capturing perfectly the goals and methods of OCS. Although it is true that Sergeant Instructors no longer beat recruits, almost everything else about Full Metal Jacket is spot-on.

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