Monday, August 04, 2008

Credit Where Due

Ten years ago this month, I gave up the last really fun job I ever had. For eighteen fleeting months I commanded the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, comprised of upwards of a thousand of America's best, bravest, and brightest. I assumed command on the 14th of February, 1997, and a year and a half later, to the day, I handed the colors and command of "the best battalion in the Marine Corps" to an old friend, saluted him, and wished for all the world that I could be in his boots.

It will sound like MOTO (mastery of the obvious) to any Marine who reads this, but the rest of you need to know that any and every officer worth his salt dreams of, yearns and strives for, and otherwise actively seeks the opportunity to command, even though the responsibility of command is a crushing load of care in which the lives and welfare of those in your charge weigh on your shoulders and in your mind 24/7. Command of a Marine rifle company or infantry battalion both makes you younger and ages you--your mind and body works overtime to keep up with the ability and antics of 150 or 800 hard-chargers all much younger than you, by decades in some cases. Even the soundest slumberers find themselves rendered sleepless by the demands of command, and yet it is the most refreshing and rewarding experience known to man.

I've mentioned before that most treasured of all of my plaques and other "I love me" memorabilia from my career in the Corps are the two with pictures of the officers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines and the officers of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines during my tenure as commanding officer of each. More and more often lately I pause to look at those two pictures and reflect on just how lucky I was to have had such dedicated and talented men on my leadership team. I brag that Charlie 1/8 was the best rifle company in the Marine Corps twenty years ago, and that 1/3 was the best battalion in the Marine Corps in 1998, with the only credit claimed that I recognized my good fortune to be surrounded by greatness and let them run. These are my heroes:

Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines 1988
1st Lt Brad McCulloch, XO
1st Lt Tony Wells, Weapons Platoon
1st Lt Joe Davis, Forward Observer
1st Lt Al Adler, 1st Platoon
1st Lt Pat Hollis, 2nd Platoon
1st Lt John Burk, 3rd Platoon

1st Battalion, 3rd Marines 1998
Maj D. E. Liddell, XO
Maj A. H. Smith, Ops O
Maj J. J. Wanat, CO, Weapons Company
Capt S. K. Moore, XO, Weapons Company
Capt J. W. Ross, Heavy Weapons Platoon
1st Lt R. J. Rizzo, 81mm Mortar Platoon
2nd Lt N. T. Perkkio, Dragons Platoon
Capt J. L. Day, CO, H&S Company
1st Lt J. C. Star, XO, H&S Company
1st Lt V. V. Gerald, Adjutant
CWO2 T. J. Sukalski, Personnel Officer
Capt R. Rochelle, Intelligence Officer
1st Lt F. P. McDowell, Scout/Sniper Platoon
Capt M. A. House, Asst Ops O
Capt G. R. F. Brown, Air Officer
Capt C. L. Christopher, Forward Air Controller
Capt T. K. White, Forward Air Controller
CWO2 G. E. Lawson, Jr., NBC Officer
Capt C. G. Cabaniss, Logistics Officer
1st Lt S. Cavazos III, Asst Logistics Officer
1st Lt G. W. Lewis, Maintenance Management Officer
1st Lt P. J. Moreno, Jr., Supply Officer
1st Lt P. A. Reeves, Motor Transport Officer
Capt G. A. Wynn, Communications Officer
Lt M. R. Hendricks, Chaplain
Lt R. Pickard, Battalion Surgeon
Capt C. R. Henderson, CO Company A
Capt E. T. Card, XO Company A
1st Lt G. W. Johnson, Weapons Platoon, Company A
1st Lt B. J. Hamlet, 1st Platoon, Company A
2nd Lt M. A. Haley, Jr., 2nd Platoon, Company A
2nd Lt J. H. Keller, 3rd Platoon, Company A
Maj K. M. Detreaux, CO Company B
1st Lt A. K. Ledford, XO Company B
1st Lt G. Anikow, Weapons Platoon, Company B
1st Lt P. E. Zambelli, 1st Platoon, Company B
1st Lt T. B. Noel, 2nd Platoon, Company B
1st Lt B. F. Harley, 3rd Platoon, Company B
Capt S. P. Kaegebein, CO Company C
1st Lt B. T. Fulks, XO, Company C
1st Lt D. A. McCombs, 1st Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt J. J. Zavaleta, 2nd Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt J. C. Fitzhugh, 3rd Platoon, Company C
2nd Lt C. B. Lynn III, Weapons Platoon, Company C

Semper Fi, Gentlemen!
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