I received this email from one of my Marines as he was leaving
the Marine Corps. I had moved on to Monterey and he was finishing
up his time in 29 Palms, California.
How is it going? Well I'm finally getting out. It's been good
and it's been bad but it's time for me to leave. Just to catch
you up on some things. I just recently got married back in June
and me and my wife had a baby girl on September 17th. Attached
is a picture of me and my daughter. Well the reason I was e-mailing
you is because I was wondering if you can write me up a letter
of recommendation for when I go for job interviews. I start my
terminal leave on February 22nd. I know it's kind of short notice
but if by any chance I can have it by the February 15th I would
(I withheld his name)
Dear LCpl ______,
I was so delighted to hear from you and I want to thank
you for sending the picture. Congratulations on your promotion,
marriage, and newborn angel. She's beautiful and got your looks
(because I assume her momma's still got hers <grin>).
I was a little saddened to hear that you are leaving the
Corps and I hope you have thought it through and talked with
someone you trust. The worst thing about being a Marine is seeing
good people leave but if you have made a solid decision based
on honest reasons, you must have come up with what's best for
your family and future. But the Corps is losing something special
and that hurts me a bit.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do as a Marine was
seeing you go through trouble and being helpless to alter the
consequences. For so long, you were my go-to man and it really
pissed me off to have to go to "senior" Marines for missions
based on rank. But we both know who I went to when I couldn't
dick around with getting results.
As a Officer, I was required to keep a certain professional
distance from my Marines but as an old enlisted type, it was
hard for me to do so. Yes, I was hard on you and the rest of
the Marines but that was because I really liked most of you
(yes, there were some I didn't particularly like but you were
not one of them and professionally, I didn't treat them any
better or worse).
You may not believe this but the commitment I made to you
and all others put in my charge extends to life, in or out of
the Corps. So if you run across a bald old man a few decades
in the future, don't be surprised if he jumps in your shit for
not shaving or just as readily shows up for a special event
with a proud grin.
I would be honored to write a letter of recommendation for
you. Normally, I would tailor it to the specific job you are
trying to get but I can write a generic one. What field are
you looking into? Any points you want me to highlight?
Always at your service and Semper Fi,
Jason D. Grose
Captain United States Marine Corps
"And of course you can't become
if you only say what you would have done..."
If You Steal My Sunshine
Here is the letter I wrote him...
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Captain Jason D. Grose and I was Jose's Officer
In Charge for 18 months when we were assigned to 7th Marines
in 29 Palms California. Officially, he was the junior Marine
working in my administration shop but as the most knowledgeable
Marine working for me, his performance and responsibility far
exceeded his rank.
Jose was a consummate hard worker who quickly became the
“go to” man when anyone in the Regiment wanted the right answer
for administrative matters. This became a problem for me because
he was always being inundated with outside requests which he
handled willfully in addition to the duties I imposed on him.
Whether it involved correspondence, awards, fitness reports,
publications, or even missions outside of the administration
realm, Jose would quickly ascertain the situation, figure out
a variety of options, and implement the best solution. What
made Jose stand out even more was that he would do this often
without any guidance. Normally, this would evoke concern for
me as a leader, depending on the Marine I was dealing with.
But I can say that when it came to Jose, I was never disappointed
in his professional performance.
Because of his professional and personal qualities, I tried
to keep Jose in the Marine Corps but I respected his decision
to move on after hearing that he honestly weighed his options
and chose the best path for himself and his family. I can say
that, as a leader, I could only hope for a team of Marines just
like Jose and that our loss is another organization’s gain.
His knowledge of administration is only out done by his ability
to assimilate new concepts and interact with other people. His
stellar performance as a junior Marine within a population of
very demanding personalities has shown that Jose has mastered
the skill of interpersonal interaction which will serve him
well in any endeavor he pursues.
Jose has my full professional and personal endorsement to
work in the administration field, a position he excelled in
while assigned to my shop. But more importantly, I must
point out that I would personally accept his services in just
about any field he chooses. I have no doubt he would quickly
become the resident expert.
Please contact me for any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.