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Academic Essay - Military Leadership ..

For the record, one of the Marine generals who commanded the Marines on Iwo Jima was General Clifton Bledsoe Cates. Throughout his distinguished career, General Cates fought at Belleau Woods and other battles in WWI where he was repeatedly wounded and gassed. He commanded Marines in the Pacific, and served as the 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps where his leadership guided the Marine Corps through the Korean War.

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His essays and book reviews have appeared in a variety of professional and scholarly journals. Two of his essays, both from the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, won the 1981 and 1987 Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. awards: “Ouster of a Commandant” in November 1980, and “Old Gimlet Eye” in November 1986. The award is presented by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation for what that body adjudges to be the previous year’s best published article pertinent to Marine Corps history. Lieutenant Colonel Bartlett lives, researches and writes on Vashon Island, Washington.

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An officer’s mess as a distinct part of a garrison or depot originated with the Royal Artillery at Woolwich in 1783. From that date until World War II altered the social stratification of the British officer corps, it served as the cornerstone of the military social institution. The mess functioned as the home of bachelor officers; unlike today, most junior officers remained single for obvious economic reasons. Regulations precluded payment of a marriage allowance until age thirty, and in most regiments young officers reached that age before putting up their captain’s pips. Junior officers, especially, spent most of their evenings in the mess—their home-and to dine out or “warn out” more than once a week invited a rebuke from the senior subaltern. In any event, a junior officer with little or no private means could hardly afford to spend his leisure time elsewhere. Field Marshall Montgomery, for example, began his army career earning nine pounds a month—his mess dues cost him thirteen pounds!

Drawn from the aristocracy or upper middle classes, the British officer of the 19th Century would find no achievement in living in squalor while in the field. A gentleman lived as comfortably as circumstances allowed, and the most comfortable way to live in the field was to establish an officers’ mess—a view that survived well into World War II. Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery expressed disgust at the state of the headquarters mess when he assumed command of the troubled Eighth Army in North Africa in 1942. The new commanding general, normally Spartan and disinclined to partake liberally of mess life, did not advocate conspicuous luxury; instead, he merely suggested no reason to undergo unnecessary privation: “Let us all be as comfortable as possible,” he advised his staff.

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For decades, female recruits have been trained in general isolation from their male peers. Female recruits are primarily trained on a compound in a removed location on the Depot with its own recruit exchange, chow hall, health clinic, classrooms, and squad bays. Female-male recruit interaction is strictly limited to occasionally sitting in the same large classroom for instruction or attending church on Sundays. There is very little male-female socialization during training. The bottom line is that gender bias in the Marine Corps starts in the DEP and continues at recruit training in part because the males believe the females don’t work as hard – mainly because the males rarely see their female counterparts during training. Further, the segregation of female recruits and drill instructors during training creates a sense of mystery about how female Marines are made – even though they follow the same training schedule and regulations as the males.

In general, from the instant a female applicant joins the delayed entry program (DEP) she faces lower expectations for accountability and performance than her male peers. Females are often allowed to miss applicant physical fitness training, seldom hold leadership positions within their respective recruiting substations, and are frequently allowed to ship to recruit training in spite of not having made progress with their physical development, all of which is observed firsthand by their male counterparts. As a result of this double standard, many female recruits arrive at boot camp utterly unprepared for the mental and physical rigors of training. Even more significant, their male counterparts arrive at recruit training with well-established preconceptions about the difference in accountability for men and women in the Marine Corps based on their observations in the DEP. The double standard is reinforced by the fact that, despite most females having an average of five months in the DEP, their IST failure rate is historically nine times greater than that of their male counterparts.

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Interested in Becoming an Officer in the Marine Corps?

Lieutenant Colonel Merrill L. Bartlett, the author of this monograph, earned his undergraduate degree at Washington State University and was commissioned via the Platoon Leaders Class program in 1963. He has a master of arts degree from San Diego State University, and has completed his studies for a doctorate in history at the University of Maryland, College Park. He taught history at the Naval Academy from 1977 to 1982, and retired from active service as a Marine Corps officer. While serving in Annapolis, he won the prestigious William D. Clements Award as the outstanding military educator at the Naval Academy for 1980. He is the editor of Assault from the Sea: Essays on the History of Amphibious Warfare (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1983; reprint ed., 1985 ed., 1985), author of Lejeune: A Marine’s Life, 1867-1942 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1992; reprint ed., Naval Institute Press, 1996);
co-author (with Colonel Joseph H. Alexander) of Sea Soldiers in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare in the Age of the Superpowers, 1945-1991(Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994); and co-author (with Dirk Anthony Ballendorf) of Pete Ellis: An Amphibious Warfare Prophet, 1880-1923(Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996).

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Directorates: Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL), Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) Fellowship Program, The Brute Krulak Center for Applied Creativity (BKCAC), Center for Strategic Studies (CSS), Leadership Communications Skills Center (LCSC), History Division (HD), Lejeune Leadership Institution (LLI), Library of the Marine Corps (LoMC), Marine Corps University Press (MCUP), Middle East Studies (MES), and National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC).

Page 2 Accountability, Per the Marine Corps Essay

This study of a popular and time-honored military and naval social custom is long overdue. Much has changed since mess night devotees such as General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.; Brigadier General Robert H. Williams; Colonel Angus M. “Tiny” Fraser; and Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., formalized and institutionalized the custom of formal dinners. With widely different social perspectives, and the changes that accompanying them, Marine Corps mess nights have become increasingly dissimilar. Almost two decades ago, the author of this study challenged a new generation of Marines to codify this enjoyable and important tradition. While his earlier treatment appeared in the pages of the Marine Corps Gazette, no one appeared willing to undertake such a project.

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