Leading Marines is the greatest resource that I have come across so far for guidance and motivation in becoming a leader of Marines. In one neat sentence located in the forward, we are given everything that sums up what is expected of future leaders of Marines: "Our actions as Marines every day must embody the legacy of those who went before us." Marines have a great expectation to live up to, and as commissioned officers we must absolutely carry on the tradition of excellent leadership that has come before us. This leadership comes in many forms under many different conditions. As there are no two people who are exactly alike, there is no single way to lead. Leadership is learned not born; one must utilize personal traits and experiences to find his way of leading. I draw some of my leadership style and experience from leading a football team, O.C.S., and principles I have learned from my parents, while others may draw on school, physical challenges, or any other of their personal experiences. This doctrine is meant to help the leader understand the excellence that they are inheriting, and to give guidance on developing one's own leadership style.
The first chapter is titled Ethos, which describes to the reader what it is that makes a Marine, and leading Marines, different from every other walk of life. Being a Marine a full-time gig, never a part-time mindset or a paycheck. When Marines do things in the civilian world, they often hear statements like "that's such a Marine thing to do", or "only a Marine..." This is because Marines have a special way of going about things, a different way of looking at life and all it entails. Young people join the Marines because they want to be different, because they want to stand out. Marines desire the challenge and all that comes with it, because it is under these conditions that we form the cherished and unbreakable elitists mindset and sense of brotherhood so well adorned by the Corp. All Marines wear the title Marine as equals. Whether officer or enlisted, each has been given the same basic indoctrination, a rite of passage so well that guarded and cherished that it has stood for 197 years. Where other American services fail, the Marines excel at instilling a common bond between all those who wear an eagle globe and anchor, laying a foundation for all Marines to depend on, regardless of what they wear on their collar. A sense of selflessness is another common trait about Marines that makes us unique. It is putting others and the Corp before oneself; it is helping a fallen friend, with no regard to your own interests, without hesitation or second thought. It is the spirit of being a Marine that is instilled in us "on the drill decks of Parris Island or San Diego, or in the woods of Quantico." This spirit is what prevails, and allows statements like "it is not how many show up, but who" to be said about Marines. And while technology changes, and weapons systems become obsolete, the fighting man will never go away. It is the Marine in everyone who wears the uniform, not the rifle he carries, that will be winning battles for years to come.
A dimension of the Marine Corps that belongs solely to the Marines is the credo "every Marine a rifleman." There are no Marines whose only purpose is to support. Given the expeditionary nature of our force-in-readiness structure, every Marine must be ready to take on the function of a rifleman. This is why all Marines must go to MCT or TBS; it is necessary that all officers be able to assume the duties of a rifle platoon commander. Stories like those of Captain Elrod demonstrate the importance of this concept, and also serve as a shining example of its usefulness. This basic training provides all Marines with the confidence that every Marine can be counted on to fight. No one man can make it alone, rather success lies in dependence on those around you. Those who share the common bond of struggle with each other reserve a special place for that...
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