August 15, 2011

Name: America's 1st Sgt.
Stationed in: Bahrain
Milblog: Castra Praetoria
Email: [email protected]

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.

Framed AmFirst HATES 1
Cpl. Rehfeldt receives his warrant from the CO.

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.

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"Sir, do you like how I positioned myself to be in the shade while you remain blistered with ultraviolet radiation?"

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 Next I will order: “Marines to be promoted, CENTER! MARCH!”  They march around from behind the formation and report to the CO.



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 Then I read the warrant authorizing the promotion of the Marine.





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 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.


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Commanding Officer and America's 1stSgt exercise the privilege of promoting Private First Class Carrissosa.

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.

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                                                 Because Marines like this deserve better.


Semper Fidelis


Here, here, America's First Sargent! All who sacrifice to serve our country, to defend our constitution deserve respect, regardless of rank.

Good, respectful ceremony.

Is your CO grossly overweight for a Captain?

As always, thank you for sharing.

Tossing old chevrons away was explained to me as symbolic of the promoted Marine's immediate transition to new rank, with all of the responsibility that entails.

Promotion is sort of a strange thing in the abstract -- becoming an NCO (especially) requires a set of professional and character changes that obviously cannot occur in the 10 minutes it takes to execute a company formation. But we still expect and demand that the new NCO conduct him/herself as an NCO.

I see throwing away "old" chevrons as a concrete reminder that those transitions must occur, that the newly-promoted Marine's former rank was a thing of the past, and that the newly-promoted Marine must make an effort to conduct himself at his/her new grade -- because the Marine Corps doesn't see him/her as (say) a lance corporal anymore.

I really appreciate your ideas and information you mentioned here. I also agree, and your common sense facts and information collected. Thank you for having here.

As a terminal meritorious Lance with two combat tours under my belt I support your stance on the tossing of chevrons. Mine was a rank I chose to keep and would have died with it pinned to my gear as many others did.

Semper Fi,


A-co 1/3 3rd plt



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