I volunteered for mobilization as a Navy Reservist with the 1st Navy Customs Inspection Battalion during OIF III in 2004-2005. We conducted our combat skills training at Fort Eustace, Va. About a third of our unit were women, several of them hospital corpsmen who had never fired an M-16 rifle. After competing for many years in military and DCM high-power rifle matches, I quickly drew the attention of the range staff and was asked to coach this group of novice shooters.
During a break, one of my senior chief corpsmen told me that her son would also be learning to shoot an M-16 soon. He was starting at Parris Island at the same time she was preparing to ship out to Kuwait with our unit. In a moment of inspiration, I told her to pose in her Desert Camouflage Utilities with her HMCS insignia prominently displayed wearing her helmet, body armor and M-16. I snapped a picture and emailed it to her, suggesting she should have an 8x10 glossy printed up for her son. "When he reports for boot," I said, "have him put this picture of you on the inside of his footlocker lid like a pin-up girl." I served for many years with Marines and they truly love their corpsmen. We used to say, "If there is a Marine in the bar, a corpsman will never buy a drink."
A short time after we arrived in Kuwait, I ran into the senior chief again, and she told me that her son's training cadre had gone crazy when they saw he had a pin-up girl in his footlocker during his first inspection. When they asked him who she was, he simply said, "My mom." That raised eyebrows and stopped them cold. When they found out she was currently deployed to the Middle East, they carefully closed his footlocker and never mentioned his pin-up girl again.