8 Mar 15
“Ready for anything. Depending on nothing”
Motto of 2/7, First Marine Division (my old outfit from 1968, Vietnam)
The tinge of bitterness, evident in the above motto, betrays a wisplike sense of disappointment that the “system” often failed to provide us with what we needed at the critical instant, yet those of us on the ground knew and understood that we could not afford to squander valuable moments feeling sorry for ourselves. By contrast, we had to figure out how to best use what we had at the moment to achieve victory and accomplish our mission.
It was an attitude of always finding a way to win, and that orientation was ever an article of faith, and a point of honor, within the USMC Officer Corps! We could never allow self-pity to infect ourselves, nor our unit, and subsequently be employed as a convenient pretext for inaction. We never had time to look for an excuse to lose!
I am ever thankful that my training during OCS and Basic School, imperfect as it was, hammered-home that point. Who instructed us knew, all too well, the nature of warfare and lethal philosophical traps into which armies often fall.
That instruction has served me well during the nearly fifty years since!
Today, I do my best to instruct my students in the Art and science of personal readiness. Technology has advanced, often at a dizzying pace, but Principles never change:
First and foremost, we must be good and honorable people, never perfect, but ever striving to achieve, build, accomplish, advance, adventure, inspire, appreciate, teach, and serve, relentlessly seeking out all the good things this life, and this Civilization, have to offer.
Secondly, we must have the courage to persistently seek and confront the truth, especially when it is ugly, offensive, discouraging, inconvenient, even career-threatening. Denial and cover-up are always poisonous traps.
Thirdly, icy determination! Who wilt at their first exposure to disappointment, even disaster, will accomplish little and die unfulfilled. Trials come and go. We have to know what we’re trying to achieve during this life and have the audacity and fearlessness, in spades, to go for it. Some challenges we never really “solve.” We just outlast them!
Finally, underpromise and overdeliver! The only thing in this world you’ll ever have to sell is your personal reputation. That is the only fact anyone else will ever know, or care, about you. Your personal reputation is more valuable than anything else you have, or ever will have. Against your dying day, make sure it is a good one!
To be shunned like the plague:
A proclaimed sense of elitism and entitlement. The truly great among us are ever humble and modest, always giving credit to others, never heaping glory upon themselves. When others speak well of you, you won’t have to. Boasters, blowhards, and self-proclaimed deities are offensive, annoying, and, without fail, frightful bores!
Vanity and narcissism. We are all mistaken sometimes. Sincerely repenting and turning around will be obligatory for all of us from time to time, and are indeed necessary for good mental health. Who are too vain to repent do this Civilization (and themselves) no good service!
Excuse-making. The only thing in this world more boring than someone who won’t come to the point, is someone who keeps talking after he’s made his point. Get it said, and promptly sit down! The rest of us neither need to, nor want to, hear all your lame excuses. And, endlessly mouthing them makes you look uninspiring, ineffective, and forlornly self-serving. Curiously, who forget their duties, always remember their “rights.”
As an Infantry Officer I learned much, and, as noted above, I’m eternally grateful for every experience I had, even ones I would not care to repeat! By far the most important was about personal character. Yet, we’ve been assured by a corrupt media that personal character is not important.
Six thousand years of human history prove otherwise!
“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.
Duty is the essence of manhood.”