Things Your 1stSgt Hates…

…Concerning Promotion Ceremonies.
The first of the month is always a fine time anywhere in the Marine Corps. Not only do we all get paid (usually), we also get to promote a few deserving Marines in whom we’ve reposed special trust and confidence.
This week we promoted one of our Marines to Sergeant, three to Corporal and one to Private First Class.
Cpl Rehfeldt receives his warrant from the CO.
I normally begin the promotion ceremony by calling the company to attention and have each of the platoons report their accountability: “All present or accounted for!”  Then I about face and wait for the Company Commander to march on and take his position in front of me. Here I render the report and he will say: “Take your post!” or simply: “Post!” I then move in to my position to his left rear.
“Sir, do you like how I positioned myself to be in the shade while you remain blistered with ultraviolet radiation?”
Next I will order: “Marines to be promoted, CENTER! MARCH!”  They march around from behind the formation and report to the CO.

Then I read the warrant authorizing the promotion of the Marine.

Now days, Marines being promoted to an NCO rank or higher are given the privilege of requesting who they would like to pin on their new chevrons. This privilege is supposed to highlight the major step taken from a troop to a small unit leader and NCO. If you don’t think this is a big deal then you haven’t been paying attention.
Above, two of our Sergeants pin Corporal chevrons on a newly minted Cpl Beeby. To the right the Commanding Officer and America’s 1stSgt exercise the privlige of promoting Private First Class Carrissosa.
It is at this point where I sometimes tighten my jaws at promotion ceremonies. I have witnessed promotions where those pinning the Marine remove the old rank insignia and disdainfully toss it away. I don’t know where this started but it strikes me as profoundly disrespectful. Tremendous feats of valor have been accomplished by Privates, PFCs and Lance Corporals throughout our history. These are not ranks to be despised.   
Back in Kaneohe Bay I had a SSgt toss a Lance Corporal chevron into the grass during a promotion. Immediately following the ceremony the SSgt aided me in combing through the grass to find it. When we were successful I explained there were a lot of good Marines buried in Arlington Cemetery bearing this insignia. It would be ignoble of us to callously cast aside something they bore honorably in combat.  Our mantle is something we pass down to worthy successors not hurl into the dirt to be forgotten.
It hasn’t happened again in my presence, but if it did someone would find themselves subject to a nose to nose counseling from America’s 1stSgt.

Semper Fidelis,
America’s 1stSgt
/ / / /


  1. 1. Congratulations to your promoted Marines.

    2. This post is one of favorites.

    3. I’m saving a spot on my bookshelf for a must-have written by America’s 1st Sgt (because you aaare going to write one, no?)

    4. Any chance Fast Co t-shirts come in pink? If so, I’d love to add one to my collection moto apparel.

    5. I’m numbering these to help keep from rambling because I have an awful habit of doing that…as I’m doing right now…

  2. It has been suggested I write a book entitled “The Dangerous Book for Jarheads” or some similar theme. Feel free to ramble here any time.

    Wahine, I’m all about showing off my chest candy so I don’t know where that nonsense is coming from. I will say after a while the awards thing does become a pain in the colon though.

    Sorry Christina and Kanani, looking through our t-shirt inventory I can find no pink shirts. Alas!

  3. Top,
    I agree 100% with you. When I orginally joined the Army, they had just started to allow the small sew on rank on the collar of the OD Green Fatigues.
    Each soldier had the option weather they used the pin on rank or the sew on.
    I figured it was a waste of time to sew it on because I planned on getting to “Spec 4” right away.
    Now, they use dang velcro!
    Velcro is fun when you can tell a new 2nd Lt they he or she has the bar on upside down.
    I remember each time I got promoted…the last time we were too busy getting ready for a deployment, so I just pinned the rank on myself.

  4. 1st Sgt,

    Having never been in a FAST Co, I wouldn’t presume to wear the shirt. However, if there were a “FAST Co Supporter” shirt…

    On the subject of rank insignia, when I was promoted the old insignia was given back to me. The expectation being I would find a Marine below that rank and give them to him along with whatever mentoring was required to help that Marine get promoted.

    Is that tradition gone? I thought it was a pretty good tradition and helped keep the newly promoted Marine’s perspective in line. At least I thought it did for me.


  5. David, the tradition of passing your chevrons down is still alive and well. Fear not.

    As for FAST t-shirt wearing, it’s presumed you are a supporter if you have one on. We let the Sailors wear them after all.

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