“First to fight for right and freedomThe Marine Corps Hymn
and to keep our honor clean.
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.”
At first glance, I appear to be many things. In my signature stillettos, I stand about six feet two inches tall- sometimes taller depending on the shoe. I weigh about 120 pounds. People often ask if I’m a model. Some ask if I’m an FBI agent- which I always find interesting. I get pegged as undercover boss a lot – which, on occasion, is correct. However, no one has ever looked at me and said US. Marine. Yet, I am one of The Few and The Proud.
Our corps values- honor, courage, and commitment- are ingrained in me. I heard the words integrity so many times in my career that it’s part of my DNA. Semper Fidelis, always faithful, still flies like a company guidon above me. I never tattoed it on my body, but it is inscribed on my heart.
One of the things I love most about the Marine Corps is the priority of mission and how it shapes and defines every action connected to it. The mission determines everything: what we do, how we do it, when we do it, who is sent to do it…. Mission is everything. Men and women lay down their rights for the mission. They lay down their lives for the mission. They put aside ego and selfish ambition for the mission. They lend a helping hand for the sake of the mission.
One thing is understood: the mission is greater than all of us. In order to ensure success, every Marine is trained to execute his part, if not, the mission fails. We have a mantra of no man left behind. Why? Because each man is critical to the mission. We carry our injured, wounded, and even our dead as part of the mission.
We truly invest in each other because at any moment, one of us could be gone, and any one of us has to be equipped to take the lead. We do so with selflessness and with pride. Why? For the mission. Marines not only do long term succession planning but moment by moment succession planning. Why? For the mission. Marines aren’t threatened by the success of the one standing next to us or coming up behind us. Why? Because we need to ensure that they are equipped to carry out the mission. If the person next to us fails, the mission is jeopardized.
Marines don’t fight for medals. We don’t fight for awards. We fight for the mission.
If men in 1775- and every war since- sought their own glory, we would have lost a battle. If Marines equipped only themselves and not their fellow Marine, we would have lost a war. Where would America be if drill instructors, sergeants, and captains forgot that privates, corporals, and lieutenants are proteges? What would happen if they treated them as competition, as the enemy or a foe? What would happen if artillerymen handed out weapons but hid the rounds…? What if intelligence officers gathered intelligence but never shared it…?
It would never happen. Why? Because of the mission.
We stand side by side, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder laying down our personal agendas for each other- and for the mission. We equip each other, champion each other, and train each other to carry out the mission. We share our ideas for the sake of the mission. We put aside our differences for the sake of the mission. We lift each other up for the mission.
I come from a long line of Marines, all living our core values: honor, courage, and commitment. I am committed to the mission in business, marriage, and friendship- even if it means I don’t get credit, accolades, or the glory. I equip those before me, behind me and beside me. Why? For the sake of the mission.
At the end of the day, and at the end of it all, I can say with integrity and cleanness of hands and heart, like so many Marines that have gone before me, mission accomplished.
To all those who laid down their lives so that we could live in the manifestion of their hope and dream of a new world, thank you for your selfless sacrifice. Mission accomplished.
Happy Birthday, America! God shed His grace on thee!
Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
The Final Chorus of
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key