THINGS YOUR 1ST SERGEANT HATES |
August 15, 2011
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.
I normally begin the 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.
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.
Nowadays, 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. Here two of our Sergeants pin Corporal chevrons on a newly-minted Cpl Beeby.
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.
Because Marines like this deserve better.