AMONGST THE MARINES is Steven Preece's first hand account of life as an elite Royal Marine Commando. He delivers a direct and unflinching depiction of the excessive and often shocking lifestyle of the Marines and explains the impact this had on his own personality and behaviour.Preece fulfilled his childhood ambition by earning the coveted Green Beret from the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone when he was 18. He was unaware at that time of the brutal rite of passage that awaited him and all the other 'pieces of skin' (new recruits) at his first Marine Commando unit. Violence in the Marines, as Steven discovered, was not limited to the battlefield but a continual part of a pervasive culture of bullying and aggression. It did not take long for Preece to be accepted into this culture and to adopt it as his own. His personality changed beyond recognition - from friendly and approachable to hard and unforgiving - as he embraced the customs and values of the 45 Commando Unit. On duty he was fit, committed and loyal, while off duty he displayed a mammoth capacity for drinking, fighting and, when the drink had run out, womanising. On home leave, Steven found it increasingly hard to adapt to civilian life. His drinking sessions in local pubs frequently ended in fights with the locals and even in violence against members of his own family. Preece earned a reputation amongst his fellow Marines for pranks and dangerous behaviour and his eagerness to accept any challenge from other commandos eventually led him to be court-maritialled. True to form, however, Preece was finally acquitted by the court.

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