Courage and Commitment in the Marines

Sgt. Isaac S. Orta, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3245, Company L, inspects one of his Marines during the battalion commander’s inspection Tuesday.

Marines who graduate today from the rigorous 13-week training cycle of Marine Corps boot camp possess three values that set them apart from who they used to be.

The Marines of Company L were introduced to these values before stepping on the yellow footprints. They heard them when they sat down with their recruiter and memorized their definitions before departing for boot camp.

“(The core values) are the foundation of which Marines are made,” said Sgt. Matthew A. Montgomery, Recruiting Substation West Las Vegas, Recruiting Station San Diego, 12th Marine Corps District.

Montgomery said without honor, courage and commitment – the core characteristics of a Marine – an individual cannot consider himself a Marine at all.

“When individuals become Marines, they no longer represent themselves. They represent their entire organization,” said Montgomery.

According to the Navy and Marine Corps core values card, honor is having integrity, responsibility and accountability.

Honor is upholding the name and values of what an individual stands for. Montgomery said by living his life by the strict standards of the core values, he has stayed out of trouble and is able to be a positive role model for the young men and women he recruits.

The core values card states that courage is doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason.

Many times during recruit training a recruit will face a challenge he believes is impossible to accomplish. But, after completing what his mind told him he could not do, he feels a sense of triumph which instills in him the courage he needs to be a United States Marine, said Isaac S. Orta, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3245, Company L.

Commitment is being devoted to the Corps and to fellow Marines. It is being 100 percent willing and able to take a task and stick with it until it is complete, according to Montgomery.

“All three of the core values are equally important,” said Montgomery, a Danville, Ind., native. “Different circumstances call for one to take precedence over the other two, but in the end they all make up the mental and moral character of a Marine.”

In boot camp, recruits endure mental and physical challenges, which call for them to rely on the core values, said Orta.

“Whether it is on the battlefield or here in garrison, the core values are used in every aspect of a Marine’s life,” said Orta. “Everyone was raised different, and core values give a Marine the baseline on how to treat people and treat themselves.”

Orta, a San Antonio native, said that all of the Marines he has worked under have taught him something about the core values and how to put them into practice in his own life.

For more than 231 years, the Marine Corps has remained the world’s finest fighting force because of the strict standards Marines choose to uphold, said Montgomery.

The pride that comes with honor, courage and commitment is a pride that never fades, even years after a Marine leaves active duty. The core values are the bedrock elements that make Marines stand out as the few and the proud in America, Montgomery added.

Times have boot Marines heading to combat

The ongoing war on terror has created a situation within the Marine Corps similar to one that occurred during Vietnam – Marines going almost straight from basic training and military occupational school to war, with little time in between to receive additional training or to spend time with family.

Private First Class Chad A. Brown, 18, of Nederland, Texas, just joined 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, after graduating from the School of Infantry just down the road from here. The young Marine, not yet old enough to legally drink, learned he?ll soon deploy to Ar Ramadi, Iraq and fight the very same day he checked in.

After attending Marine Corps Recruit Training and receiving more advanced training at the School of Infantry, Brown will soon find himself in combat and have to rely on the war fighting skills he so recently learned.

“It’s nerve raking because I don’t know what to expect,” said the young freckled faced fair skinned Marine who enlisted a day after turning 17. He needed his parents to sign legal consent papers.

Brown said he is in good spirits despite the deployment and the risks it brings. He’s motivated and welcomes the fact that he’ll soon be doing what he’s spent the last six months training for – fighting.

“I joined the Marines for the title, and to support my family,” said the newlywed and father of a five-month-old daughter. “I’ll get to spend at least six months with my family when I get back, before I have to deploy again.”

According to Staff Sgt. Javier L Vega Jr., 29, of Oceanside, Calif., and platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, Weapon’s Company, Marines like Brown are ready.

“It’s a bonus being fresh out of SOI because they have quick obedience to orders,” Vega said. “Since day one (of their infantry career), they have been preparing for war. They have the ability.”

Vega said their time in a combat theater should sharpen their skill by forcing them to make decisions on their own.

He also offers encouragement to the new Marines by reminding them of the battalion’s history in Iraq. The upcoming deployment will be the second and, for some Marines, the third time to go there. “This is a combat experienced unit.”

Vega also said the new Marines won’t be thrown into the mix right away, but be supplemented instead.

“We will give them simple missions at first,” he said. “As their skills grow, so will their responsibilities with us.”