Secretary without honor: Voices

This is a must read for anyone even considering voting for this person in the upcoming election. As one who grew up in the Marine Corps and imbued with the Honor, Courage, and Commitment with which the Corps adheres, I must vehemently agree with every word this author has written. Every politician, or anyone running for a political office needs to read this article. In fact, I will even go a step further and state that every so-called “citizen” of this once great nation should read this and do some soul-searching to see what their decision would have been in this captain’s situation. This officer’s father was one of the finest officers and Commandant of the Marine Corps under which I served. He did not attempt to save his son!

Hillary againWhen I hear people say Clinton emails don’t matter, I remember a young Marine captain who owned up to his career-ruining mistake.

Apologists for Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminal mishandling of classified documents say that it doesn’t matter, that she really did nothing wrong, or nothing significant. But the real question is not so much what she did as how she has responded to being found out.

Once during the mid-1960s when I was on active duty in the Marine Corps, I was the air liaison officer for a battalion of Marines aboard 11 ships in the Mediterranean. As the air officer and a senior captain, I had a rotating responsibility for the nuclear code book, kept in the safe in the operations room of the lead amphibious squadron command ship. I shared that duty with another captain, a squared away young man, liked by all he commanded and the son of a very high-ranking Marine.

On the day our ships were leaving the Mediterranean, we met the new amphibious squadron near Gibraltar and made preparations to transfer security codes and other sensitive material to the incoming Marine battalion. The young captain was on duty and went to the operations office to pick up the code book. He was alone in the office. He removed the code book and placed it on the desk while closing the safe. In a rushed moment, he stepped across the passageway to retrieve something he needed from his quarters. Seconds later, he stepped back into the operations office and found the operations sergeant having just entered, looking down at the code book.

Against all regulations, the code book had been out of the safe and unattended. It mattered not that it was unattended for only seconds, that the ship was 5 miles at sea, or that it was certain no one unauthorized had seen the code. The captain could have explained this to the operations sergeant. He could have told the sergeant that he “would take care of it.” He could have hinted that his high-ranking dad could smooth it over.

But the Marine Corps’ values are honor, courage and commitment. Honor is the bedrock of our character. The young captain could not ask the sergeant to betray his duty to report the infraction, no matter how small. Instead, the captain simply said, “Let’s go see the colonel.”

The results went by the book. The amphibious squadron stood down. Military couriers flew in from NATO. The codes were changed all over Europe. The battalion was a day late in leaving the Mediterranean. The captain, Leonard F. Chapman III, received a letter of reprimand, damaging his career. He stayed in the corps and died in a tragic accident aboard another ship.

I saw some heroic acts in combat in Vietnam, things that made me proud to be an American and a Marine. But that young captain stood for what makes our Corps and our country great.

Phillip Jennings is an investment banker and entrepreneur, former Marine Corps pilot in Vietnam and Air America pilot in Laos. He is the author of two novels and one non-fiction book

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5 thoughts on “Secretary without honor: Voices”

  1. I have been trying to determine how Capt Leonard Chapman III died in a tragic accident on another ship and can’t find anything on Google. Can anyone refer me to a source?

    1. Willy, As best I recall, Captain Chapman died tragically in a scuba diving accident when he was stationed on Okinawa circa 1979.

  2. Honesty and commitment does matter I gave almost 3 years of my youth to the service of this country 2 major battles in Italy. This country is not what it used to be with our open borders allowing the worst of this world to be embedded with people who gave so much for our country. Our politicians better wake up or we will be a third world country looking for someone to save my children and grandchildren from this cancer that is eating away at our hard won liberties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yes John, you are right on the money! This upcoming election will determine what happens to our once great nation. Thank you for your comment! JB

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