Captain Grose's Motivation pages

 
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This is an exchange between an Army Sergeant and me. I pray that my words hit their mark.

Subject: Website, etc.

Sir,

My name is (name withheld), US Army. I serve at Fort Knox, KY as part of the 16th Cavalry Regiment, which is the US Army Armor School. I joined the Army just as Clinton and his merry men were getting their hooks into the Armed Forces, 7 years ago. I don't know how things look from your side, but I don't like where the Army is at. The whole world has become a game of anti-military, non-patriotic, political correctness and I hate it. I'm tired of the Equal Opportunity, Sexual Harassment, Homosexuality, and Consideration of Others training. My belief is that the country needs to be reminded that the primary objective of the Armed Forces is to "kill people and break things", and while not doing so need to endlessly practice the art of doing so in order to maintain a razor sharp edge.

Not long ago, I lost my enchantment with my place in life as an Artilleryman, and looked at getting out, only to realize that I would re-enter the American workforce in no better position that when I entered, save perhaps the GI Bill. I re-thought leaving and am changing my MOS to 74B, with a focus in the IT field. Now don't get me wrong, I am a better geek than I ever was an artilleryman, but I would have liked to have felt a little more useful as a true soldier. I have even pondered trading in this goofy-ass beret for one of your covers. (I doubt that I still have that option after 7 years with the Army.)

I just wanted to write to let you know that though you are a Marine and probably look down your nose at those such as I, that I applaud the heart within your site and the message that you convey. I especially loved your Boot stories, as well as your focus on R. Lee Embrey who I have idolized since I first watched "Full Metal Jacket". Keep up the good work.

(name withheld)


(name withheld),

 I received your email and I can understand some of the disenchantment you convey and I have to admit that the Marine Corps has sometimes fallen short in my eyes at certain points in my career. Let me recount a story that might help you out as it was a pivotal point in my career.

When I first joined in 1987, I was guaranteed an avionic field due to my high grades and test scores. It was a technical field and I was glad to get it, although I did not realize it until later. You see, when I got to my duty station, I realized that it was run by senior enlisted with no officers in the mix. While that had its perks, I see now that there were problems. You had senior enlisted that had grown up and gotten old and comfortable in the field. Added in was the fact that it was a technical MOS so there was less hardcore Marine Corps spirit in exchange for technical work. We never did the things that normal units did to build team spirit: PT, marching, leadership training, etc. In my opinion, the organization was soft and liked it that way.

As a young Marine, I was torn. On one hand, it was an easy existence; basically a 9-5 job and sometimes not even that. On the other hand, I felt like I was missing something. This was not the hardcore organization I thought I was promised. But being young and dumb, I just went along with it, pushing back that little voice. Then one day it happened.

Sgt Shane Maxey checked in one day and my life would never be the same. He had just come off the drill field and was still just as intense. He showed up and was disgusted with what he saw. He jumped knee deep in our ass from day one. At first, I hated him. Who was he to come in our cushy set up and turn things upside down?

But after awhile, he answered that little voice that was telling me that this situation was not right. I realized this was someone I needed to latch onto and learn how to be a real Marine. He was the first one in the organization that showed me that you can still make a difference.

Shane is the reason I am an Officer today. I learned so much leadership from him and he put my faith back into the Corps and made me realize what I hope I have conveyed. He taught me my mantra when it comes to leadership: I cannot change the Marine Corps as a whole but I can change the little piece it gives to me.

I, too, get bothered by some of the things you mentioned. I feel that my Corps is going down the tubes at times and that the entire organization has lost its spirit. But then I realize that if I feel that way, then others around me do too. I think back to how Shane affected me and I realize that it is my responsibility to reverse the disenchantment of those under me.

What is our warrior spirit but a collection of beliefs? What is it made of? The sum of our attitudes. How do you change in if you detect it is lacking? One person at a time starting with you. If you do not like the way things are going, set yourself on fire and then go around and start going around lighting others. Do not think it is for personal gain or that you are only making a dent in the problem. Shane lit me years ago and now I am a Captain of Marines. Who knows who else he lit and, by extension, how many I have lit as a result of his influence.

Lastly, I address your chosen field. If you fell that way, do you think that others in the IT field might feel like they got the short end of the stick, wanting to be more towards the front of the spear? As a Sergeant, you have the ability to show them that despite their current station, they can still be hardcore Army. Some might be happy with it. Some might resist. But what is the worst thing that can happen; a few will look back and remember that asshole of a Sergeant who made them adhere to Army standards. On the other hand, you might inspire someone to succeed.

Bottom line is that in tough political times such as the ones that infect our armed forces, we need heroes more than ever. It is easy to be gung ho when there is fighting.

Lastly, I do not look down on Army. Both of my grandfathers proudly served the Army in war and peace. Both of them were also drill sergeants, I am proud to claim. My brother served and some of the finest fighting men I have met have wore Army green. (name withheld), they are out there. Find them, motivate them, and for those who are trying to slide through and ruin your Army...HURT 'em!!

Jason D. Grose
Captain
United States Marine Corps
http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

"And of course you can't become if you only say what you would have done..."
If You Steal My Sunshine Len



Sir,

I'd like to thank you for the response to my email. While it was written in a moment of frustration, I still feel that they are still issues to me. Luckily, I will report in 2 weeks to AIT, and will be immersed in a Basic Training environment. I don't think that there can be a better time or place to begin making an impression than my four months at Fort Gordon, GA. IT soldiers, especially those who know their stuff and realize how underpaid their field in particular is, tend to be less soldiers than they ought to be. I think the time has come to help steer my peers and subordinates back into the light. Thanks for your guidance.

v/r
(name withheld)


Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

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