Sgt Grits (Store in Okc)

Sgt Grit,

I recently read a forwarded email which contained an article written by Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, and a Marine Infantry officer, explaining how the leadership principles he learned in the Corps have been instrumental in the growth and success of his company. In that article, he identified 2 USMC NCO's as being most instrumental in his growth and development as a Marine.

After I finished reading the article, I took a virtual 'walk down memory lane' thinking of my time in the Corps and the examples of excellent leadership that I observed and encountered during that time, 1967-1972. Among my USMC souvenirs is a "Guidebook for Marines", Eleventh Revised Edition, printed May 1, 1966. Chapter 38 of the book deals with Marine Corps Leadership, and there on page 496 you will find a listing of the 14 character traits of a Marine NCO : 1. Integrity, 2. Knowledge, 3. Courage, 4. Decisiveness, 5. Dependability, 6. Initiative, 7. Tact, 8. Justice, 9. Enthusiasm, 10. Bearing, 11. Endurance, 12. Unselfishness, 13. Loyalty, and 14. Judgment.

As I read through that list, I thought of the many NCOs with whom I had the privilege to serve. I remembered the Sgt Instructors, Sgt. RH Moon and SSgt. ML Parker who trained me during OCS. I remembered several Sergeants, Staff Sgts, Gunnys, First Shirts and Sgts Major that I served with both stateside and in Vietnam.

All of the NCOs who I recalled from my memory bank not only possessed those 14 traits but they demonstrated them routinely. They were the reason the Corps functioned with discipline and precision. In his article, Fred Smith credited the NCOs with the success of the USMC units in which he served, and he credits the first line managers in FedEx for the success of his company. Fred adapted the Marine Corps 'business model' as the FedEx model, and with great success.

In thinking back through my time in the Corps, I fully agree with Fred Smith. It was the non-commissioned officers who were and are the backbone of the Corps, and a major reason for its success. Look at a list of recipients of the MOH, from Dan Daly to John Quick, to Herman Hanneken to Manila John Basilone to Jimmy Howard, and you find NCO's who personified Marine Corps leadership. As long as there are NCOs like those serving in our beloved Corps, the Marine Corps will always be the few, the proud, and in a class by ourselves.

Semper Fi,
Steve Van Tyle
Former Captain, USMC
Not as Lean, Not as Mean, but ALWAYS a Marine

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I have experienced a transformation of sorts. I spent  nearly 8 yrs as an Army Medic  wondering Why those Marines got

all all the good press-- and took the jokes  -most often as stoics. Since I  was discharged back in 77-- I find it is most

often the Marine who keeps the  "Military Service  organizations" going. Most often the Marine who keeps "Toys for Tots "and similar community organizations  afloat. Yes we all served. But there remains "something" in the Marine  I admit I envy.

I read and have re-read Guardians of the Republic: A history of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the US Army. by 

Ernest M.Fisher,Jr. And it was good. And in some ways similar But we remain distinctly different. Thank God we have Marines.

"Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines."

-- Marine's Hymn, Verse 3

Ed, Da Nang, 1968

Robert, I as well served with many Marines. What I have always held for them was a very healthy respect and, at times, a little awe. Don't tell them though, you know sailors and marines don't like each other..

"Don't tell them though, you know sailors and marines don't like each other."

With all due respect, one small correction to that statement, Johnny.  As a former Marine who served in Korea during that skirmish in the 50's I can tell you that no one was held in higher regard by Marines than those brave Navy Corpsmen.

Semper Fi,

Clarence De Barrows

S/Sgt USMC, 1190645, 51 - 54 


Sorry Clarence, It was intended to be funny, I knew there were Marines who were members. Just joking around, love for all my fellow vets.

I'm with you, Johnny, no need to apologize to this old guy, as you're actually more right than wrong.  As politically incorrect as it is to say today, the truth of the matter, at least then, was there was an almost genetic dislike between "swabbies" and "jarheads".  That dislike definitely did not go to the Corpsmen.  Just wanted to give credit to those brave bastards.


Clarnece, I heard that the entire time I was in, later on than you, but never could see it or any reason for it. I can remember when I was a kid my cousins grandmother threatened to switch me for saying some little something about a marine, yes mam and shut my mouth. I was raised right.

Of course, that is true for all branches of the United States and, dare I say, all other militaries as well.  The NCO's are the ones who make it happen while the brass take the credit...and the grunts do the work.  ;-)

Not just the Marines...throughout our whole military structure. Communist structured militaries  don't even promote a NCO core, let alone have any real concept of one. It all started at Valley Forge with 'Baron' Von Stubin.

Thank you for posting this Twana. IMHO the other military branches should look up to the marines, I know I always have. They are the first in most of the time and on the front lines all the time. The article is correct about the NCOs, not only in the marines but in the Navy as well. I'm sure all of the branches operate the same way. I know that the upper NCOs (E-7,8,9) in the Navy were largely responsible for training the junior officers as well as the NCOs under their supervision. As the Capt. says they are the backbone, the CO can order anything they please but the NCO is the one who makes it happen.

As a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant I too hold the Marines in high regard. There are also senior NCO's from other branches of the military that I also hold in high regard.

When we were training the Kuwaiti's on their new M1 Tanks, we had a Platoon from the 3rd ID act as OPFOR. The Platoon ripped through the Company of tanks. The Kuwaiti Captain wanted to talk to the Officer in charge and congratulate him on how well his Platoon was trained... But it was an NCO who had taken over because his OIC had gone back to the States because his wife having a baby...

That's why, I will always consider service in the military as more of a "Resume Enhancer" than a two or even four year degree.  Especially when it comes to Management and Leadership. Give an NCO a chance and give them training and they will kick the ass of any College Business Management grad.



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