SAN DIEGO, CA – Finally, a movie about the Marine Corps your Sergeant Major wants you to see.
Marines at Camp Pendleton recently attended the premier of the new mock documentary film “A Day Without A First Sergeant.” The movie explores what would actually happen if junior Marines got their wish and woke up one day to discover all their roundly-ridiculed and hated first sergeants and sergeants major suddenly disappeared.
The film is an independent project by Rocker Room Productions and marks the directorial debut of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett.
It begins on a Monday… a Monday just like any others, except at Camp Pendleton.
“Goddamn you motherfuckers!” yelled First Sergeant Rod Barlow at Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 5th Marines. “All weekend long it’s been dealing with Drunk & Disorderlies, bailing your asses out of jail, and stopping your wives from putting out restraining orders on your girlfriends who you stupidly put as co-owners on your triple mortgaged homes!”
“You know what?” he yelled, turning beat red as he paced back and forth. “Fuck all you motherfuckers! I quit!” He then stormed off, leaving a company of bewildered Marines in his wake.
He didn’t come into work the next day. None of the first sergeants did.
The rest of the film then explores the catastrophic consequences of life without the entire 8999 MOS. Most of the film is seen from the perspective of Lance Corporal Karl Powers, an 0351 Assaultman who is left in charge after all the corporals and sergeants disappear to chase down a group of UA Marines who can’t be sent to the brig because no one knows how to do the paperwork.
“Playing Powers is basically a 24-hour descent into madness,” explains actor Ryan Wolff, who fills the starring role. “Every day Al Qaeda is squatting in the hills, getting stronger. Meanwhile I’m eating McDonald’s three times a day and not picking up cigarette butts, getting weaker.”
While Powers is able to deal with surly privates by just having them repeatedly fall down the stairs, he doesn’t know what to do about the ‘good idea fairy’ officers who want to know why know one is listening to them and begin issuing a series of pointless and frequently contradictory orders, all of which have the full faith and confidence of Congress.
Worse, after a few days Powers has to start dealing with a gaggle of unshaven overweight lance corporals who emerge from their traditional burrowing grounds in the E-Club and the base theater, and suddenly start picking up rank because of low promotion scores and since no one knows how to non-rec them.
If the film has any weak spots, it’s that Powers spends the rest of the film standing at parade rest, even when the company office is burning down.
As Sgt. Maj. Barrett explains, the climax comes when Powers is besieged by an group of angry junior Marines who can’t go on leave since no one knows how to properly submit a leave request, an angrier group still waiting on their awards to be processed, and a homicidal group of lieutenants clutching badly-written fitness reports.
The movie ends in a post-apocalyptic orgy of burning barracks, alcohol abuse, and Grand Theft Auto, commonly-known in the Marine Corps as a “96.”
Of course Headquarters Marine Corps has assured Duffel Blog that the events in the film could never happen in real life. Ever since 1962, the Marine Corps has always kept at least two 8999s in a secure bomb-proof shelter in case of a nuclear war or other cataclysmic event, to ensure an orderly police call in the aftermath.
Sgt. Maj. Barrett has already confirmed he is working on a sequel, seen from the perspective of an Adjutant who suddenly has to write his own Unit Punishment Books and Page 11’s, called “The Charge Sheets Must Flow.”
“A Day Without A First Sergeant” is rated R, due to salty language and a fundamental lack of good order and discipline. Moviegoers are advised that the 3-D version contains multiple knife-hands which may cause flashbacks from any veterans in the audience.
Duffel Blog Investigative Reporter Lee Ho Fuk also contributed to this report.