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Lessons from the Marine Corp
Old 03-06-2009, 03:11 PM   #1
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Lessons from the Marine Corp

Peggy Noonan has terrific piece in todays WSJ that contrast the Corp's handling of an accident with rest of society.

Quote:
It is late in the morning one day last December. A plane is in distress, it's lost one engine and now two and it's going down, and people on the ground hear the sound, look up, say, "That's going awful low," and whip out their cellphones. You could see the pictures they took later on the news.
It sounds like Chesley Sullenburger and US Airways Flight 1549, but that was five weeks later. This was the military jet that went down in San Diego; this was the story that ended badly.
Then this week it took a turn. And looked at a certain way, the San Diego story is every bit as big, and elements of it just as deserving of emulation, as Sully saving all souls when he put down in the Hudson.
Read the rest

I think we need to insist that large governmental organization and business have chief ethics/accountability officer, and if former Marines had the job, perhaps we might making some progress in restoring faith in our institutions.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
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Like Noonan's writing style, anyway, as she seems to nail subjects right down to the bottom line often; but agree with you, Clifp, that we would all profit by having Marines be our accountability watchdogs. Good idea. You should start some movement towards that goal.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
I think we need to insist that large governmental organization and business have chief ethics/accountability officer, and if former Marines had the job, perhaps we might making some progress in restoring faith in our institutions.
Well, as Nords says, I'm not looking for a job...

Shows potential to be a fulfilling career of public service.

Some of those needing remedial training in accountability might be stubborn cases though. I better pack my baseball bat.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post

Some of those needing remedial training in accountability might be stubborn cases though. I better pack my baseball bat.
Better pack two.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:44 AM   #5
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As an ex-USAF guy, I will always respect and honor the United States Marine Corps. Our country would have been in real trouble without their Semper Fidelis attitude. In fact, I doubt if we'd have a country.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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The HBO mini-series "Generation Kill" gives a pretty interesting view of the
USMC. Respectful, but no rose-colored glasses. Probably the most realistic
war movie ever; when was the last war movie you saw when guys were
worrying about when and where to defecate ? Best of all, it gave the best
treatment I have ever seen of how military command actually works in real
life; for example, how does higher command deal with the situation when
a junior officer is incompetent and openly disrespected by the enlisted men ?
On the other hand, there are sergeants that are legends within the entire
Corp.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:26 PM   #7
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The HBO mini-series "Generation Kill" gives a pretty interesting view of the
USMC. Respectful, but no rose-colored glasses.
Didn't see that, I'll look for it. If anyone wants a realistic representation of the Marine Corps battles through history, go see the new MC museum at Quantico. No spin, just the way it was and is. Great dioramas. You walk through a helicopter and right into the Khe Sahn hot landing strip, feeling the hot sun and seeing and hearing the flashes of incoming artillery. Another diorama represents the Chosin reservoir battle during the Korean war, and they cool the exhibit so you feel the coldness of the mountains where the battle was fought.

Here's a link: National Museum of the Marine Corps
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:01 PM   #8
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... for example, how does higher command deal with the situation when a junior officer is incompetent and openly disrespected by the enlisted men ?
Probably the same way as the submarine force, only with more blood and less vicious psychological torture.

Oh, the higher command? I thought you were talking about how the enlisted deal with the problem. I think the higher command lets the enlisted deal with the problem...
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
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I thought you were talking about how the enlisted deal with the problem.
In GK, on one occasion, a sergeant deals with it by telling a Captain
("Captain America"), "you shooting off that AK-47 [that he took
from a dead Iraqii] is causing us problems, if you do it again I'm
going to F**K you up".

But you're right, when the Colonel is confronted by the reporter (who
was in THE first Humvee to cross into Iraq and wrote the book after which
the show is based) about the fact that he's got an incompetent (actually
two) junior officers under him, the Colonel does pretty much blow him
off (without denying that what he's saying may have some validity).
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
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In a long forgotten war there was this activity called fragging......
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:48 PM   #11
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In GK, on one occasion, a sergeant deals with it by telling a Captain ("Captain America"), "you shooting off that AK-47 [that he took from a dead Iraqii] is causing us problems, if you do it again I'm
going to F**K you up".
I'm shocked, shocked I say. I think that's the worst violation of professional military protocol, mutual respect, and appropriate officer-enlisted relations that I've ever read. Why, I can't believe how low the military has sunk since I retired.

Every true warrior knows that the proper response to a senior officer is "I'm going to F**K you up, sir/ma'am."

Not, of course, that I care to share how I learned it...
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:04 AM   #12
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Every true warrior knows that the proper response to a senior officer is "I'm going to F**K you up, sir/ma'am."

Not, of course, that I care to share how I learned it...
NCOs are skilled at making "Sir" sound like an insult.

As a Corporal I was once involved in the chain of events that lead to a Captain getting relieved. He was a smart guy, but his arrogance got in the way of his brains every now and then. When the Colonel showed up with a red face wanting to know why the situation was screwed up, the poop train rolled downhill until it got to me. After I explained that the Captain had not heeded my advice, nor my offer to insure that the abomination would not happen in the first place, he told me to carry on and he and the Captain went away for a "talk". There was a brief meeting of the brass out of earshot, five minutes later the Captain drove away with the Colonel, and I was faced with a very smart Lieutenant who was now in charge. "Corporal, what do you need me to do to help you get this unscrewed?"

I hope that Captain went on to have a fine career selling insurance or managing a Wendy's or whatever. He wasn't a bad guy, but he sure had his arrogance meter pegged that day. He just wouldn't listen to good advice from an NCO trying to protect him. "Those guys will give you every broken M-60 in their armory and laugh as you walk out the door. Either we're there to protect you, or they will f**k you like a tied down billy goat. Either way, it's your ass. Sir.
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:21 PM   #13
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Yes, Nords, you are right; it's in the first minute of this clip:



Note the wiley sergeant first insures there are no witnesses.

Two other amusing clips (just spoken word, and extremely
bad language words !!):



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Old 03-11-2009, 12:00 AM   #14
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Gumby and I were midshipmen under a somewhat charismatic submarine O-6 named Jack Darby, who was known as Cap'n Jack.

He used to give a leadership speech to the first-class mids which was actually recorded on video for us later classes. In it he used to talk about his days of being a young "Ensign Pissant" going to morning quarters when his chief petty officer would come up to him and say "Sir, can I talk to you for a minute?"

Cap'n Jack would stop the story and note: "Now fellas, in the Navy when a chief petty officer talks to you in that kind of voice, you're about to get your ass chewed. And you did something to deserve it, too." USNA could've skipped several semesters of leadership classes just by showing that video.

I think Cap'n Jack influenced a lot of impressionable young minds. My vision wasn't good enough for Marine air and my grades weren't low enough for Navy air, so submarines seemed like a good compromise...
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