Battle Rattle

Behind the Cover: Busted for ‘Sammich’ Jokes

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A female Marine finds photos from her personal Facebook account re-posted on a Marine humor page and subjected to derogatory and sexual comments. This happens not once, but again and again, and it doesn’t stay online:  she gets honked and yelled at in the street when she’s walking near her base, and her friends tell her she’s developed a reputation as a “barracks mattress,” because Marines think that if she gets posted to these sites,  she must be a slut.

On Facebook pages like “Just The Tip, Of The Spear,” and others, most users say there’s no problem with what happens there–it’s just standard rough Marine Corps humor that can be shocking to outsiders.

“War creates a pretty twisted sense of humor,” an admin from JTTOTS told me.

But when active-duty Marines say they feel alienated, bullied, or sexually harassed by their brothers and sisters-in-arms, have things gone too far?

Marine leaders aren’t laughing. A senior equal opportunity adviser in the Corps says what you post on Facebook could lead to non-judicial punishment or even court-martial. Units are amping up briefs instructing their Marines to stay away from the most popular sites. And more penalties could be on the way.

We explore the culture of “sammich jokes,” the challenge of the wild  frontier that is the internet, and the Marine Corps’ upcoming crackdown on what you say or do online.

Read our cover story here.

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Comments

  1. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know Marine Times, it seems that images of female Marines taht have been beaten, comments about gang raping them, stolen photos of them naked, images that have been captioned with the word “Rape Face”, or images of them captioned to imply that they are only promoted because the “sucked the Gunny’s dick”, dont really qualify as “making fun” of female Marines, or even harassment. It seems images and comments such as these are closer to blatant and violent racism. Semper Fi

  2. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Actually, I think your “Cover” trivializes the criminal behavior and gang like environment of the Corps. The wheels are falling off one of the finest organizations the world has ever known…not from the fatigue of ten years of war, but from a Corps that for three years knew about these violent sites. The images from these FB sites are not just “Sammich” jokes, they are criminal. For three years the Corps allowed its active duty Marines to comment about gang raping female Marines, or “Wooks” as is their derogatory nickname that Officers and NCOs call them. This is a permanent self inflicted mark on your honor. You do not reflect society, yu reflect a gang. What is most chilling is the silence from female Marines. That should worry everyone in the Corps. Semper Fi, but I am not sure anymore what you are faithful to.

  3. Jennifer Pirante Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I am extremely curious as to how Marine Corps Times feels about the replies to their own Facebook posts on this topic. Is that not any implication to how extreme the issue is that Marines with their exposed name, job title and MOS are willing to perpetuate the mindset and behavior?

  4. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Jennifer, I completely agree, as I read through the replies to the post by the Marine Times, I was shocked at just how naive these active duty Marines (the ones who left replies), were to the violence of these sites, I was shocked that both female Marines and male Marines were condoning of these sites, of being called a “Sammich Maker”, or “WM” (walking mattress), or “Wook”. The silence and or approval of this culture by female Marines is so disturbing, so scary.

  5. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I was also, shocked that so many active duty Marines would put forth their name and rank in these replies. They must really believe that there is not a problem, that they reflect society, or even the other services. They do not.

  6. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    From your FB Post…Tomas Butkunas: “Theres nothing funny about sammich making. Now get your ass in the kitchen.”

  7. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    A Comment fro your FB Post: Jose Garcia: “I’m tired of these dumb ass women saying they were “bullied” and “victimized” by fellow troops…if you don’t want to be a victim don’t be taking pictures of you acting like a slut or doing something stupid while in uniform!! The majority of those pictures posted depict women taking pictures of themselves while in uniform doing either sexual things or something down right idiotic! If you want to be part of the military grow some thick skin or get the f*** out! Stop making the rest of the beloved Corps pay for your stupidity!”

  8. Shelly Goode Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    A comment from your FB post: Tomas Butkunas: “Theres nothing funny about sammich making. Now get your ass in the kitchen.”

  9. Jessica Nagel Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    It’s quite shocking to me that so many Marines would reply in the manner that they have on such an open Official Marine Corps Facebook website with full names to identify themselves. These guys have no shame in that they know that there will be no recourse. They know that the culture has been framed in their favor to accept this behavior.

    If male employees of a large corporation (say Apple, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc) posted such derogatory & violent “jokes” about their female counterparts on a Facebook site or blog and that corporation did nothing about it, you can be sure that there would be one hell of a class action law suit and that corporation would be sued out of existence.

    But, since this is the Marine Corps it’s…what? Celebrated?

    Give me a break.

  10. Travis Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Grow the fuck up! How can you call yourself a Marine when you buckle under the pressure of verbal abuse? I’ve been treated worse in boot camp and I’ve turned out just fine…in fact, it made a harder and stronger person. The military isn’t for the sensitive, or the weak minded. if you don’t like a page on facebook, then don’t look at the shit and pay no mind to it. Geez…I’m so glad that I’m out of active duty if this is what has become of the Marine Corps…smh.

  11. Jessica Nagel Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 3:36 am

    I can assure you, I’m a very grown woman. By the looks of things, male Marines are acting like little boys getting their favorite toy taken away.

    It’s quite sad that one of the worlds greatest organizations is unraveling before our eyes on social media. All these very public comments show is that the Marine Corp CoC has completely lost control. Who’s running the asylum?

  12. Head Sammich Maker Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Whats pathetic is the systematic pussification of the USMC. Warriors will be warriors until some sandy vaj wook complains. Way to undermine the fraternity of Marine brotherhood. You want us to die for you?? Then let us do it on our terms. Wooks need to stop wanting to be in mens roles then complaining about the environment. If its too hot, get back in the kitchen.

  13. H Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I love how Marines tell others to “suck it up” then mention that they are no longer even in. Trust me, we’re glad you’re no longer in a position to lead Marines.

    And it’s too bad that warriors have to act like little boys on Facebook because they think their purpose is to be killed.

  14. Lance S Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Here we go with the butt hurt females again. I cant tell you how many nigger jokes, watermelon and fried chicken jokes i heard when i was in…..and you know what?? i slung the shit right back at em. Its the marine corps damn it not the fucking girl scouts im so tired of women talking about how strong and powerful they are get they hear a sammich joke and they run to the EO Officer crying. And these are the same women who will be fighting next to male marines. Its sad we will die under this political correctness crap. Learn to take a joke, you wanted equal treatment well here it is.

  15. Brandon Hill Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    There is a joke and then there is going too far. Yes, Marine humor is a bit rough and to an outsider may be shocking. Hell, I’ve been in for near 20 years and have heard it, been the brunt of it, and given it. But there is a line where it goes too far. Sadly, many not only cross it, but take others with them when they do. Only one thing teaches a Marine where that is…experience. It is up to NCOs, SNCOs and Officers to lead their Marines. Lead by example and teach them. I was dissappointed, but not shocked, when I discussed this with my Marines and they laughed about it. But I used that same laughter to explain why it was not okay. The Marine Corps consists of people from different cultures, and with that comes a certain ambiguity when it comes to topics like this. It’s unfortunate yes, but it is also unacceptable. It isn’t “pussification” or the suppression of a warrior culture; it’s professionalism. Something Marines should be known for. We are professionals, both in garrison and in combat. That means getting it done correctly and safely with as little effort and resources as necessary to get it done. We can’t be efficient if thre is a member of the team who is being degraded to the level these FB pages and other websites take it. “Grow a thicker skin” is not the answer. Most female Marines I know already have a thick skin when it comes to this treatment, but everyone has a breaking point. The bottom line is that we all took the same oaths and went through the same training to earn the title. There is no dark, light, white, hispanic, female, male, there is only Marine.

  16. MarineO Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    You know, it doesnt matter how hard we try, what we do, we seem to never be good enough for male Marines. Why can’t male Marines look at us like we are one of the few, just like they are? Why cant we be looked at as their sisters and just like back home with thier own sisters, they look out for us and protect us?
    If female Marines are looked at in the barracks as being “mattresses,” they dont get that title on their own. Who are they sleeping with? Yep, the male Marines. Where’s their derogatory name? In my opinion, it seems as though every effort is being made to weed women out of the Marine Corps. Uniform changes, PFT changes, etc. It almost feels like discrimination. There are more weak male Marines than female Marines. Why are we always saying something negative about female Marines? Why dont we talk about the weak male Marines? The Marine Corps is becoming one big MARSOC and no women are allowed.
    Male Marines screamed and whined because “the PFT isnt fair” so we changed to doing pull ups. But now with the change, it still isnt fair is it? Once a female Marine masters the 8 required pull ups for 100 points, male Marines will start whining again saying “its not fair!!” Obvioulsy male and females are different and someone is acknowledging that we are different, hence the 8 pull up vice 20. Whoever makes and changes the rules are not female Marines. If a male Marine had to walk one day in our shoes and see what we have to deal with on a daily basis, they would understand. The degradation of female Marines and the negative attitude towards female Marines stems from the male leadership. Males condone this type of attitude in their units. If a leader told his Marines that this type of attitude and talk was unacceptable, Marines wouldnt do it. Its because either the male leadership sits around and makes comments themselves or doesnt stop their own male Marines from saying negative things, is why this is rampid in the Marine Corps.
    Get over your whining. Sound like a bunch of little girls….

  17. Sabrina M Messenger Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    32 years ago, when I was a young enlisted WM,I can remember hearing some male Marines making comments about “women don’t belong in “my” Marine Corps…as though they ‘own” the Corps. But most of them were pretty cool for the most part. However, this younger generation of young men who are enlisting seem to be angry, antagonistic, misogynistic, rude and disrespectful to anyone they feel is a potential threat to their ego and masculinity! They would do the same crap in a civilian job, and find their butt fired for it, too! I’d say maybe the leaders need to start writing up repeat offenders. An article 15/NJC/”office hours” and holding back scheduled promotions just might make them grow up and change their “middle school badass wannabee” attitude. No, they don’t have to like the idea of women in the Corps, but they do need to accept it because we’ve been around for more than 70 years and we’re not going away anytime soon. Get used to it or get out of “OUR” Marine Corps.

  18. Sabrina M Messenger Says:
    May 22nd, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    and this business about blaming being in combat doesn’t cut it! I know old salts who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam (some of them were POWs) would NEVER dream of disrespecting or mistreating or slut-shaming women the way some of these young punks posing as Marines nowadays try to do! Those who indulge in such conduct are a DISGRACE to the Corps!!!

  19. More Liberty Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 8:52 am

    The Marine Corps has gotten weak and soft – a shell of its former self. I am glad I got out in 2008 after 10 years to include 3 tours in Iraq. The purpose of the Marine Corps is project power – kill people and break things. They are not here to act as some social experiment for politicians the the politically correct.

  20. More Liberty Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 8:55 am

    There should be no different standards for female marines in PFT, in uniform and/or grooming standards. You want to be a marine – fine you have to have a shaved head upon arrival at bootcamp and while in the fleet your hair must be 0 to 3″ – no longer.

  21. Marine Enlisted Swine Says:
    May 28th, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    A Reply to MarineO

    I must say, your MARSOC comment is ridiculous. You sound like a female who wishes she was a male. Unfortunately, a female is what you are and MARSOC isn’t looking for outspoken women like you. Have you have heard of Silent Professional? I think not. I can’t imagine what you have done in your career to “get ahead”.
    If you have the intestinal fortitude to get on this website and post a reply, you should have the intestinal fortitude to say it to your chain of command. In fact, you should be embarrassed at how whiny, lame, and utterly soft you sound. Maybe the USMC isn’t the right line of work for you. Perhaps working for code pink or some other liberal and left wing organization is.
    The PFT IS weak sauce and the woman standards were even weaker. In no shape or form is the USMC PFT a true representation of what is expected on the battlefield. If you didn’t like what changed than you should have stood up and said something. You probably didn’t though because you take to post like this to vent about it. We can thank the Marine Times and its pages full of garbage for that one.
    BLUF: You want us to protect you? You want us to treat you like sisters? START ACTING LIKE REAL PROFESSIONAL WOMEN!!! Don’t post things on FB, Don’t do things to compromise your reputation, and certainly don’t do things to compromise your own personal morality!

    Sincerely,
    quit your bitchin!!!

  22. Spesh Says:
    May 31st, 2013 at 9:36 am

    8 is NOT EQUAL to 20. Different standards are exactly that DIFFERENT.

    You aren’t men. Quit trying to compare yourselves to men. And don’t demand fair and equal, unless you mean fair and equal.

    Fair and equal:
    One PFT standard
    One standard for body mass
    Women required to register for the draft at 17 or face
    federal-level repercussions

  23. A day off – unproductive and lazy | Proven Force Says:
    August 22nd, 2013 at 9:54 am

    [...] http://blogs.militarytimes.com/battle-rattle/2013/05/21/behind-the-cover-no-more-sammich-jokes/ [...]