After completing another assignment in Georgetown this morning, I drove through San Gabriel Park. It was a drizzly morning, with temperatures maybe in the mid-40s. In a park field there were a group of young folks being cajoled and pushed, but the youngsters seemed to relish the workout. Naturally, curiosity got the best of me so I stopped for a few minutes. As it happens, Marine Corps recruiters were conducting combat fitness tests for future Marines, and those thinking about becoming Marines. These fitness exercises are meant to give participants a feel for the physicality of combat, but without weapons. Several of those gathered are “poolees,” a word I learned today. A poolee is someone who has been accepted into the military, but has yet to enter the service. In most cases, it’s because they’re still in high school. Think of it as a pool of available people. There were also “guests” at today’s workout, those considering the Marine Corps, but haven’t made up their minds. The young lady in the red Marines sweatshirt was a guest. Her older brother is a Marine, her father was also a Marine. It’s a family tradition. Anyway, the Georgetown Marine Corps recruiting station holds these occasional sessions, timed events that put participants through their paces: i.e.. running, crawling, carrying another person on one’s back, toting two ammo canisters, 30 pounds each, while running. And there are active duty Marines on hand to give them that extra push. It was fun to watch, and very instructive. It’s interesting that as the world changes, more women are being sent into combat roles. The nicest part of the session? Each and every one of these young adults called my old self “sir.” Even if I don’t deserve that honor, I like their style. And their manners.