CAMP PENDLETON, CA — A Marine Staff Sergeant with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines motor transport is desperately trying to put the finishing touches on his email signature block, officials confirmed.
Staff Sergeant Jason Winters, 33, who was promoted to his present rank on May 1, is not sure whether to use a motivational quote from a legendary Medal of Honor recipient, a major historical figure, or his lieutenant.
Winters is not alone in his signature block frustration. In accordance with Marine Corps regulations, every staff non-commissioned officer is required to place a signature block at the end of their email, with a minimum of 750 words. "They need to have a sign-off, such as 'Regards' or 'Very Respectfully', their name, rank, date of birth, and other pertinent information, and then a closing quote," said Capt. Randy Schuster, a Marine spokesman at Quantico.
"I'm just not sure about this," said a distraught Winters as he looked over a variety of quotes from Chesty Puller and Dan Daly. "Sure, I could use a quote from Chesty, but the Sergeant Major uses one of those and he might get upset."
Winters can't decide whether he should go with "Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?" from Daly, or "We're surrounded, that simplifies the problem," from Puller.
"I could go with the obvious Dan Daly quote, but what if I email some infantry sergeant with that at the end," asked Winters. "I mean, sure I've been on convoys in Iraq so I'm practically a rifleman anyway, but I don't want people to think I'm just some dumb pogue."
"Maybe I'll go with a Bible verse," Winters added. "I kind of like 'I am become death. The destroyer of worlds.'"
While Winters runs through potential quotes that he is sure "will motivate the young devil dogs that read it," he also needs to worry about the "little things" that he says make the perfect email sign-off.
"Should I close with Very Respectfully, or just V/R?" Winters mused. "Or do I go really bold? Maybe put 'Semper Fidelis,' or 'Whatever it Takes!' — our battalion motto."
The new Staff Sergeant also needs to decide what else to place below V/R — the sign-off he's currently leaning towards. Friends in the motor pool told Duffel Blog reporters that he was thinking of putting his rank, name, radio call-sign ("Hondo Hardcore"), email address, office telephone number, mobile number, Iraq and Afghanistan deployment numbers, other units he's served with, PFT score, and other "vital information needed at the end of every email sent."
"Unfortunately, the email software doesn't allow Marines to just double-click on my name and see what unit I'm with and see my phone number," said Winters. "And since I'm sending an email from my usmc.mil address, they also can't just hit reply and get back to me. They need to see that in my signature block."
At press time, desperation overcame Winters as he added up the words for his email signature — bringing it under the regulation requirement at a measly 647 words.
"I think I'm going to have to just bite the bullet on this one and take from someone else," said Winters, as he copy and pasted an obscure confidentiality agreement below the signature block that gives the impression he's either in the CIA or a complete asshole.