Like roaring lions young Marines greeted every officer within sight and hearing with such enthusiasm that Navy Lts began avoiding them. Some months later the below e-mail was forwarded to me. I find it satisfying that Marine lance corporals were able to impact an entire Chief’s Mess with their example.
From: CPO USN NSF Bahrain
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 7:42 AM
To: M-BA-NSA – All CPO’s
Subject: Military Courtesies and Discipline
Brothers and sisters,
If this doesn’t bother ANY of you, then we as a fraternity are in big trouble. I’m going to give it my best shot and hope, at the very least, it starts some sort of an awareness amongst us. How many times in the morning or during the course of the day have you walked your hallway/passageway, or maybe down the “spine” on the base, and a junior Sailor looks you straight dead in the eye but continues to walks on without saying a word? Or how many times have they walked around you without even acknowledging your existence or presence? Well, that has happened to me a couple of times and because they don’t work for me, I’ve always thought it wasn’t such a big deal. Until yesterday.
I went into the first floor of building 266 (the Marines’ quarterdeck area), and ran into a bunch of Marines in the hallway, waiting for who knows what. I tried getting through the crowded bunch and asked to be excused. What followed next was a transformation in my sense of awareness, that made me think I had been failing my duty as a leader in the BEST if not most unique fraternities in the United States military. As I maneuvered my way through these bunch of Marines, I must have been greeted by each one of them individually. “Good morning Chief, good morning Chief” echoed on in about twenty different voices as they made way for me.
This actually happens every time I run across a Marine on base here. I thought for a moment, that only if I could enlist the fine Marines into the Navy, maybe, just maybe the respect and discipline they display would rub off a couple of our young Sailors. Hey, I would be satisfied with just a handful to begin with. But what makes these guy so respectful to a Navy Chief, who holds no responsibility for their advancement or evaluation? Why would they care to say good morning to someone from another branch of service? Then it hit me, their leadership instills the respect in them from day one in boot camp and never stop. The words of Col Jessep (Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men”) rang through my thought “We follow orders, son. We follow orders or people die. It’s that simple.” I guess the Marines follow discipline too because you hardly ever find a Marine that is disrespectful in public.
After my run-in the Marines, and with the experience still fresh in my mind, I headed upstairs to the Navy world. Now I thought, this was my people, they would show me the same courtesy as the young Marines downstairs. But boy was I wrong! I went by Sailor after Sailor until I came across a MA1 who looked in my direction and called out “good morning Chief!” I replied back “Good morning MA1” but wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be in hearing that. I later changed a went on to the HPU compound (MY HPU I THOUGHT) and was met with the same mentality. I even watch as they walked by HPU’s Bos’n (a Warrant Officer). So I asked myself, why doesn’t anyone ever call these Sailors out? Only answer I could think of is that no one cares anymore. In a day and age where we are on first name basis with the junior Sailors and occasionally party with them. Who really cares? Well brothers and sisters…I DO! At a time when history and tradition is fading pretty fast, it’s about time we take back our Navy! And with the “Season of Pride” fast approaching, I just hope I’m not alone.