Constitutional Emergency

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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As a retired Army person I have to get my two cents worth in here for Army NCOs.  During my years in the Army the most professional people I ever worked with were Army NCOs.  They were head and shoulders above most of the officers when it came to professionalism.  We were a little different than most of the rest of the Army because we didn't wear uniforms and didn't look very much like military personnel.  Every operation I was ever involved in it was the NCOs who made it happen and got the job done.  The biggest problem the NCOs had was keeping the officers out of the way so they wouldn't screw things up.  And, the things we were doing were not training.  They were real world, real time intelligence operations.

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