Role of the Marine Non Commissioned Officer After the Vietnam War ended, the Marine Corps’ main focus changed from broad scale operations, to being an Expeditionary Force in Readiness. Although this was no new role for the United States Marine Corps (USMC), there have been many changes in society, technology and tactics that affect how the Corps operates. However, over the last 36 years one thing has remained the same, and that is the role of the Marine Non Commissioned Officer (NCO).
With the world changing ever so rapidly, the strong values and responsibilities of the Marine NCO are now, more than ever, necessary to carry out the operations being assigned to United States Marines. The role of the NCO is characterized by their leadership skills, ability to train and care for their subordinates, as well as their responsibility to enforce Marine Corps standards to ensure the proficiency of the Marines in their unit. 1 Strong NCO leadership is extremely crucial on the battlefield, particularly when it comes to small unit combat operations.
The Marine NCO must have courage to be able to lead their Marines in the presence of danger. An excellent example of the courage shown by an NCO is portrayed through the actions of Sgt Dakota L. Meyer. On September 8th 2009 (Corporal at the time), Meyer’s unit was ambushed by over 50 Taliban insurgents. This turned into a six-hour fire-fight, in which he risked his life for his fellow service members. Meyer repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to rescue the wounded, and bring 13 U. S. Marines and Soldiers, as well as 23 Afghan National Army Soldiers to safety. Along with these actions he also killed over eight enemy combatants. For his actions, Sgt Meyer has been nominated for the Medal of Honor and is scheduled to receive it sometime in September 2011. Sgt Meyer’s outstanding leadership has proven how important the values of courage and selflessness are in the Marine Non Commissioned Officer. Another important responsibility of the NCO is to ensure their Marines are knowledgeable. During humanitarian aid missions like Operation Restore Hope (Somalia 1992) and Operation Unified Response (Haiti 2010), troops were deployed on short notice. It was imperative that these Marines understood the mission, and had the proper training before hand to carry out these tasks.
The focus that NCOs put on training and preparedness was proven to be successful when it came time for their Marines to assist in expediting the relief efforts. The training Marines are given consists of maintaining annual qualifications, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), and Professional Military Education. It is the responsibility of the Non Commissioned Officer to ensure that their junior Marines are completing rifle qualifications, physical fitness tests, swimming qualifications as well as any other yearly requirements.
Marines should also be seeking knowledge in and outside of their MOS on a regular basis, and are encouraged to do so by their NCOs. The more knowledge Marines possess, the more successful they will be as individuals, as well as the USMC as a whole. The deep sense of professionalism and tradition is influenced heavily by the Marines who enforce the standards of the Corps. It is said that the Marine NCO is the Backbone of the Marine Corps. This can be attributed to the fact that it is the NCO, who enforces the regulations and standards of the Marine Corps.
Non Commissioned Officers have a thorough understanding of Marine Corps Orders, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They make sure that Marines are conducting themselves professionally, and that they are proficient in their work. NCOs set the example by keeping a good personal appearance, attitude and sense of leadership at all times. These standards and traditions have remained strong until today because of strong NCOs. Throughout the many changes the world has experienced since the end of the Vietnam War, the Roles of the Marine Corps Non Commissioned Officer have remained the same.
NCOs continuing to lead, train, set the example, and ensure Marine Corps standards are followed has contributed to the overall success of the Marine Corps. It is clear that one of the most important parts of the USMC is the role of the Marine Non Commissioned Officer. Bibliography History of the Marine NCO Student Guide. Quantico: United States Marine Corps EnlistedProfessional Military Education Curriculum Branch, 2011. The Marine Corps Organizational Structure Student Guide. Quantico: United States MarineCorps Enlisted Professional Military Education Curriculum Branch, 2010. Medal of Honor Sgt. Dakota Meyer Operation Enduring Freedom.
Official U. S. Marine Corps Website: USMC Division of Public Affairs Media Team, 2011. http://www. marines. mil/community/Pages/MedalofHonorSgtDakotaMeyer-HeroicActions. aspx (accessedSeptember 7, 2011). Endnotes 1 History of the Marine NCO Student Guide. (Quantico: United States Marine Corps Enlisted Professional Military Education Branch, 2011), 5. 2 Medal of Honor Sgt. Dakota Meyer Operation Enduring Freedom. (Official U. S. Marine Corps Website: USMC Division of Public Affairs Media Team, 2011), http://www. marines. mil/ community/Pages/MedalofHonorSgtDakotaMeyer-HeroicActions. aspx (accessed September 7, 2011).