This is one of the most important and powerful picture I have ever taken: these are Marine Corps boot camp recruits that just arrived for receiving at the San Diego USO office. They are standing in formation, waiting until midnight, when the final recruits from across the country west of the Mississippi finally arrive. They will then get on those buses in front of them, be driven for an hour around San Diego despite Marine Corps Recruit Depot being—literally—right next to the airport and experience their first encounter with the most intimidating and intense person in their life: a Marine Corps drill instructor.
They will be yelled at to get off his fucking bus. They will be yelled at to get on his fucking yellow foot prints, the same yellow foot prints painted in formation stepped on by generations of Marines before them. They will be yelled at to shut the fuck up. Then they will be yelled at to read out loud the pledge on his sign. The sign will list the recruits’ only obligation, allegiance, and faithfulness to just two things: country and the Marine Corps.
They are kids. Most are baby faces that look like they just got dropped off by mom at the after school study program. Three months later, if they survive, they will be certified weapons of mass destruction. Within a year, one or two might die. Within five years, statistics says, a few will certainly die. Likely in Afghanistan.
The fact this process, this regeneration of the Corps, happens every Monday night, every week, every month save for the last two weeks at the end of year, is the reason your parents have been able to enjoy the immense benefits of the old American life style; and why you kids will dread the new post-American life style.
i think Alaska’s found his element, and his true writing voice, in this crazy trip of his.