Need Help!

SgtI need your help.

Want to see your name in print? Here’s your chance.

Over a year ago I sent out an email to everyone in my address book asking for some stories about sergeants. My thoughts were to publish another book entitled “Only a Sergeant,” which was a spin-off from a chapter in my book with the same name. To my sheer disappointment, I received three replies— all from enlisted Marines. My officer friends either did not reply or informed me they had none. Are you shitting me? How could someone spend enough years in the Corps to retire and never observe a sergeant (or corporal) exercising leadership to the extent where you were impressed? Poppy cock! If you have none, then my only assumption is you isolated yourself from the troops to the degree where you were not able to observe any acts of leadership. So, come on, don’t give me that guff that you do not have any. That’s a cop out!

Okay, now that I got that of my chest, please allow me to explain my plan. For some reason, perhaps age, I have this feeling there is another book inside me that needs to come out. This is probably a result of what’s happening to our Corps as a result of all the Kool Aid drinkers we have within DOD, as well within our own ranks among senior officers.

If you read my book, one of the takeaways you should have had was that beginning with my days as a corporal and sergeant and throughout the rest of my career, I firmly believed the sergeant (and corporal) needs to run our units, not the staff sergeants or the gunnys, or God forbid the lieutenants. The sergeants (and corporals) are where the rubber meets the road. The sergeant is the one who holds reveille, orders clean up, falls them out for formations, etc. I know I am telling you something that I hope you already know.

I would like to publish another book, note I said “publish,” not write. I want you to write it. Your assignment is to send me one story about a sergeant (or corporal) where he/she exercised a leadership trait or principle to the degree where you were impressed. Perhaps, you were that NCO, so tell me about it. On the flip side, maybe you had a sergeant or corporal who was not a good example for others to follow. As a young Marine, I personally had lots of those early on, but I also had a load of the great ones that taught me leadership. Not ever Marine is an exceptional Marine, in fact, there are a few that aren’t worth a shit—my book points that out very well.

I envision a story (or maybe two if they are alike) per chapter. Each chapter should be about 1,000 words, which isn’t much (so far this doc is 469 words). PLEASE do not worry about such trivial matters as spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. That’s what editors do. Hell, if you had seen the first chapters I sent to my editor, you’d be laughing your butt off. Moreover, all publishers use a specific bible—it’s called the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), and they also use a certain dictionary as well. So, let the editors worry about those things. Just open a word document and PUT WORDS ON PAPER. It’s amazing what will come to mind when you start telling a story. Embellish? Of course, all “war stories” are embellished

Okay, all you Bills, Jim’s, Ron’s, Wayne’s, Ed’s, Marshall’s, Jay’s, Al’s, John’s, Larry’s, Pete’s Nicks, and so on—not to embarrass anyone by using last names—give me something! I will hound you until you do!

Lastly, I’d prefer to not isolate this endeavor to just the Corps. So, my friends from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, feel free to send me some examples from your service.  I’m sure all our services are experiencing problems. Let’s give the young NCO/PO some examples to follow. For informational purposes for those who are unfamiliar with our grade structure our sergeant is an E-5, corporal is an E-4. Speaking of that—Marines, PLEASE do not, repeat, DO NOT send me a story about a “Sgt E-5.” There is no such animal. Most of you aren’t old enough to understand how that bastardization of our grade structure came about. It was between 1959 and 1963 when we had Sgt E-4’s and Sgt E-5’s. Since 31 July 1963 there has only been one sergeant in our Corps, and he/she is a SERGEANT—period. Stop calling them a Sgt E-5!

How about a quick example? Here is a much shortened version of one of the three stories I received that I cannot wait to publish it.

“Our platoon was TAD to Quantico for our annual qualification on the rifle range. We were billeted at the range in a squad bay. One of our three squad leaders was a superb NCO named Sgt Bennett. After firing on prequal day, Sgt Bennett announced that anyone in the platoon who did not fire over 200 today (actually 190 was qualifying as a marksman, but shooting in the 190’s was dangerously low) will muster with him at the 500 yard line berm after chow at 1800. He said, “Bring your rifle, shooting jacket, and score book.”

At 1800 we were all in a school circle and Sgt Bennett began going over some of the problems he believed we were having with qualifying. As he was talking our lieutenant was walking from the chow hall to his car; he stopped and yelled, “Hey Bennett.” Sgt Bennett ignored him and kept talking to us. This went on several times with the lieutenant getting louder each time. Finally, one of the troops mentioned to Sgt Bennett that the lieutenant was calling him. Calmly, he turned around facing the lieutenant and shouted, “Lieutenant, there is no Bennett up here, but there is a Sgt Bennett—Sir!”

Now, tell me that is not an excellent leadership story! Sgt Bennett taught that young lieutenant a great lesson that day, which I am certain he carried with him for the remainder of his career. I shortened the story quite a bit to only 106 words, it was originally 758 words, but can easily be expanded to 1000 words by explaining to the ill-informed (civilians) some details to better understand it.

Lastly, if you want to be named as the author, great. If not, we’ll simply call you anonymous. If you don’t want to use the sergeant’s Corporalreal name, call him “Sgt Marine.” I kept adding “corporals too” when I spoke, so if the person was only a corporal, so be it, he/she is still an NCO striking for sergeant, maybe we’ll just promote him to sergeant—smiles.

OK, there’s your missions should you agree to accept!

PS. You can either click on the comments below and send it to me, or contact me directly at However, I would suggest you create the story in a Word.doc, then simply attach it

16 thoughts on “Need Help!”

  1. I don’t like Early Voting either. The “however” in this case was: c) I was so pissed off that I wanted to get it done. c) The voting place where I vote is well run. Taffy worked there last year. They have plenty of observers. c) You’re right. People are mega hacked. We are tired of being ripped off. We are tired of dumb ass politicians sending you lads and lasses in harm’s way for their own political careers. I will be bitter about VN until I die, I am sure. Our country is week militarily and they (enemies and allies) know that. We are will in leadership, and all know that. Our economy is a major mess and the politicians do not have to courage to tackle it……they care about their own careers. Our society is a mess. More gunfire in Chicago every weekend than in Afghanistan. Drugs, gangs, illegal aliens. Public schools are a disgrace. Politicians take money for their campaign with promises to unions, special interests….MY GOD! Does anyone on the planet think that a 40 minute speech by either of the Clinton’s is worth a quarter of a million dollars……or much, much more? They are selling the country.

  2. So, if the second book is “on the back burner….way back”, or words to that effect. I will check fire on the Fire Mission.

    Speaking of which, I hate computers…..but love them in some ways. They get screwed up too often. Each one has a lingo of its’ own. And then they keep coming out with new computers AND new programs.

    Note: I already voted. Be assured it wasn’t for Clinton….who, with her “husband” and her staff….make the Mafia look like third stringers.

    1. I don’t like voting early, in my state I don’t know whether the early votes ever get tallied, too easy to just shit can them like they have always done with absentee ballots. The Dems are absolute crooks, always have been, always will be. This election will be the most corrupt, fraudulent election in the history of this once great nation. And if that lying POS wins there will be an open revolt in our country, take that to the bank! Maybe I’ll get to be a company commander again, ya think? Even the Chairman of the JCS is worried, why else would he have come out with that post? Their scared, as they should be!!

  3. Type in : fixbayonetsusmc. You’ll you in the right place if it has chevrons through GySgt and warrant officer insignia and officer insignia through LtCol.

    1. Tad, I’ve been there, but the book idea has been placed on a back burner (far back). This Young Marine assignment consumes most of my waking moments currently. It’s on the front burner and has been since I accepted the job of commander in April.

      1. I served in the era of the contract corporal. I was not in that program and had to earn the rank. You probably know what a disaster that was, essentially creating a class of NCO with insufficient experience, a large proportion of those I knew received bad conduct discharges, so that tainted my view of corporals overall and didn’t much for the sergeants. I had a few Master Sergent’s I had massive respect for. Do you remember 1st Sergent Rubinstein?

        How about Corporal Bill Shelly, he was a rather short man in tank platoon, you probably remember him, if you remember Scott Pheobus that is..I liked Scott, know your opinion and that’s fine, I do remember well when you wanted to split up the tanks one per company for a landing, Pheobus did not agree and like a gentlemen you let it slide, but not really;-)

        Happy Sunday Colonel, Semper Fi.
        Josh Cohen

        1. And a happy Sunday to you as well Josh. Yes I do remember 1stSgt Rubinstein, good Marine! Please forgive me, but I must take exception to your comment about me wanting to split the tanks up one per company. I know not where you got that information, but it sure did not come from me. That has to be the dumbest concept any one who knows a thimble full about tank/infantry tactics could ever perceive. First, one never splits The tank plartoon up, maybe into sections for mutual support for a very isolated incident. Secondly, we only had three companies, one was a helo-bourne company, another was rubber boats. One would have a tough time getting a tank ashore by helos or rubber boats. LOL. I suspect Phoebus was bull shitting you as to who came up with that asinine idea, but I it sure as hell was not the BLT Commander. I am certain I was not at the top of Lt Phoebus’ most popular list, if even on the list at all. He did not like some of the BLT policies that had nothing to do with tactics; therefore, I suspect he was embellishing some plan our S-3 came up with to possibly gain support from his troops — some Lt’s are capable of that. Who knows what his thought process was, but I can assure you that plane did not come from anyone on the BLT staff; it’s a joke to even think someone could offer that up as a OPLAN. And I cannot ever remember anyone ever referring to Jim Bathurst as a “gentleman,” but thank you. LOL

        2. Your memory has gone to shit, who in their right mind would ever split two tanks. That’s a section, they are mutually supportive of one another. You dreamed that one Josh. I would never do something as dumb as that.

    1. Jim, Go to “fixbayonets blog” by mustang. There is a series of very short (6 of them) columns that tell my thoughts about the time I went from a rifle platoon to a CAP. Tad

Please leave a comment on this post or on any subject; all are appreciated. Thank you and Semper Fi, Jim