The Few, The Proud ...

Four days at a South Carolina boot camp

At the MCX, a wide variety of magazines is available, both the mainstream (Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Wired) and the niche market (Truckin', Military Spouse, Muscular Development, Car Audio, Gun, Soldier of Fortune). Notably absent, however, are Time, Newsweek, The Economist, and almost any other periodical that discusses the politics of combat. The information spoon-fed to soldiers, like that given to the teachers during the workshop, is carefully strained so that the negative and uncertain are excluded. Those who might die aren't given the information most critical to them.

But that's to be expected. Simon scoffs at the notion that things might be otherwise. "Of course it's completely one-sided. They're not going to say anything bad about the place."

One recruit, a twenty-year-old Miami Beach High School grad from North Miami named Louis Lopez, gushes over the life-changing experience of basic training. "I enlisted because I was doing stupid things, hanging out with the wrong people. I tried community college for a while, then dropped out of that, then became a security guard."

Mindy Mathos shoots an M-16 with help from Marine Cprl. 
Ryan Rice
Emily Witt
Mindy Mathos shoots an M-16 with help from Marine Cprl. Ryan Rice
The fog of war
Emily Witt
The fog of war

Lopez is thin and enthusiastic, wolfing down his MRE before he's forced to jog back to the rifle range. "The first week I signed up I was like, 'Oh, man. What did I do?' but it's already changed my life.

"There's no 'I can't' here," he adds. "Everything we do here is for a reason."

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