Posts Tagged ‘USMC’

Initiative, Judgement, and Execution

May 5, 2010

Good initiative.

Poor judgement.

That was a critique that was frequently given to individuals during my days in the Marine Corps.  It was meant to applaud the fact that an individual recognized a problem, and tried to fix it.  The problem was that the solution that was attempted, was not a good idea.  The individual lacked good judgement.

Sometimes it was good initiative, good judgement, poor execution.  In this scenario, the problem was recognized, a good plan was established, but something went wrong with the execution of the plan.  Things didn’t go as anticipated.  Sometimes this was avoidable, and sometimes it was something out of anyone’s control.

Of course, sometimes things went well.  Ah, the sweet smell of success.  The problem was recognized, a plan was established and the task was accomplished.  Problem  solved.

This process must start with the recognition of a problem. 

Sometimes that is the hardest part.

A Light in the Darkness

April 8, 2010

On one of my last field exercises before getting out of the Marine Corps, we were planning an early morning movement of the company.  We were operating under light and sound discipline.  That meant that we were not supposed to have any unnecessary light, or make any unnecessary sounds.  It was early in the morning, way before sunrise.  I dropped down between tanks, that were parked side by side, and fired up a small, portable, single burner stove that tankers carried on their vehicles, since we were often far from any source of hot food.  I placed my canteen cup over the flame and shielded the light as best I could with my body, and the vehicles.  Soon, I heard my platoon commander, whose tank was about twenty five yards away,  whisper loudly, and urgently, “Sgt. Girod”  …  I pretended not to hear him.  It was still pitch black, I couldn’t see him; and positioned where I was, he could not have seen me, but he saw enough of the light.  He sent a crewman running over to tell me to extinguish the light.  I immediately complied.

Besides, my water was already hot.  My morning coffee was ready.

The light that I had made shone brightly in the darkness.  I really could not effectively hide it from those nearby.  Actually, light can be seen for a great distance in the darkness, and if it had been a real movement, not simply an exercise, I would never had lighted the stove. 

Jesus is the light of the world and Christians believe that Jesus dwells in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.  It is important that we allow the light of Christ to shine forth in our lives.  Our actions, words, and our attitudes should all reflect the light of Christ.

That is even more true if we find ourselves in a dark place surrounded by evil, tragedy, or difficulty.  Let the light of Christ shine even more brightly in that day.

The Goal of War

April 7, 2010

Sitting next to our computer is a brass casing from a 105mm tank round.  No, I did not steal it.  I served in the USMC back in the eighties as a tank crewman and one day we were given instructions to use up the remaining brass rounds that were on hand.  Our company commander then authorized us each to keep one of the casings as a souvenir.  That was many years ago, but I still have one in my possesion.

It is visually contradictory, because we have a bouquet of artificial flowers stuffed into the top. 

I read a great quote the other day, “The goal of war is a just peace.”  and I suppose that my unusual flower stand could be used as a symbol of that statement.  The round is spent. It is no longer a threat or a danger, yet it is a reminder of a past reality.  The flowers that are supported by it currently, are a present beauty.

My hope, and prayer for our returning troops, and for the countries now in conflict, is that a time of peace will come, and that beauty may be restored, both to individual lives, and to whole countries.

This Old Marine

September 22, 2009

When I was young I enjoyed going for long runs.  While I was in the military I often ran five miles over the lunch break.  After the military I moved into a new neighborhood and went for my first run on city sidewalks.  Running on the concrete hurt my knees.  I could hardly walk up the stairs to my house.  From that point every time I tried to run, as soon as I reached any kind of distance, something would hurt.  My back, my knees, my hips, something would force me to stop running.  I didn’t run for years.

One day I decided that I wanted to try running again.  I ran a half mile on an inside padded track.  It was ok.  I slowly built up to a mile and did that at the end of my weightlifting workouts for many months. 

One day, my son, who was planning on joining the Marine Corps and was running a lot in preparation said to me “Dad, don’t Marines run three miles?”.

I was challenged to try again to build up to a three mile run.  I very slowly increased the distance that I ran until after many months was again running three miles.  I felt very good about the fact that this old Marine could once again pass the Marine Corps physical fitness test.  (The situps and pullups are not, and never were a problem for me.)

This past summer I wanted to try something different.  I thought that I would try doing the triathlon routine.  I swam, biked and ran: first for twenty minutes each, and then for thirty minutes each.  It then occurred to me that if I was going to enter a triathlon, I would have to run on something other than an inside, padded track. 

The first time that I ran outside I was very concerned.  I ran on the grass or on the gravel shoulder as much as possible. 

It worked.  I was able to run outside again without hurting.  I have been routinely doing this triathlon training now for a few months.  It feels good.

On Labor Day, the gym was closed.  I couldn’t swim, and I had the urge to try for a longer run.

I ran for an hour.  It went really well.  I checked out the distance with the car and I had made 6.6 miles!  That was the longest run I had made in over twenty years. 

The problem is… now I want more.  I am going to try going for long runs every other week.  Yesterday, I ran for an hour again.  This morning there are no ill effects.  I am going to try adding four minutes the next time that I run.  I will continue to do a long run every other week ( in addition to other shorter runs in between) adding four minutes every other time, until I reach the ten mile mark. 

We’ll see how it goes.