I am a SNCO and Former Drill Instructor

Good afternoon.  Let me get this out of the way:  I am a SNCO.  Gasp!  That may make you immediately think I am your enemy.  I am not, I assure you.  Here’s another one:  I was a DI for 3 years.  OMG, that must make me a complete asshole, right?  Nope.  I stumbled upon this website and have read a few of the articles.  While I may not agree with many of the opinions I have read about our shared organization, I do appreciate the fact that the architects of this website are trying to pass on knowledge by posting various Marine Corps orders.   Knowledge is very important and is one of the leadership traits.  Every organization (military, civilian, business, etc.) has rules and regulations that they expect their members and employees to follow.   It is important to note that in the Marine Corps, every single order and regulation is published by an officer.  Look at any MCO and you will not find a SNCO signature on it.  SNCOs do not make policy.  Our job is to enforce policy, regardless if we agree with it or not.

There are many misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge in regard to USMC orders and regulations.  This is a trend I see for every rank, not just junior Marines.  Many SNCOs and officers do not know the information or where to find it.  For example, when asked why a Marine had not received a haircut in a while, his response was that the order stated he only had to get one once a pay period.  Which order, I asked?  THE order, was his reply.  You know…..the haircut order.  I asked him to please print it off and bring it to me so that I can educate myself on the proper frequency of haircuts.  He could not find any such order. I showed him the website where to find every MCO and asked him to pass on what he learned to everyone else.  There is not just THE order, there are hundreds of them! There is nothing in MCO P1020.34G that references how often Marines should get a haircut. It simply states what the haircut regulations are.  0-3, evenly graduated.  Was this a PFC with only a few months of service?  Nope, it was a Sgt who has been in for 10 years.  Another common misconception is regarding the wear of t-shirts while in uniform.  Up until a couple years ago, I had never seen a Marine not wear a t-shirt in cammies.  I had a Marine show up without wearing one.  I told him to go put one on and he tactfully informed me that he was not required to wear one per the uniform regulations.  Yeah right, I thought.  Okay, I will play your game.  Show me.  He did!  It is there in black and white.  T-shirts are optional in uniform unless the commander specifies that you have to wear one in formation for uniformity purposes.  I am humble enough to admit when I am wrong.  I told my platoon what happened, that I was wrong and gave them the info on the wear of skivvie shirts.  Holy shit, a SNCO actually told Marines that they didn’t have to wear a skivvie shirt?  Yup.  Again, its not MY rules.  It’s the Commandant’s rules, I just enforce them.   If the CMC said that from now on, we are all going to unblouse our boots and grow beards……roger that.  Hey Devil, why aren’t your boots unbloused?  Why don’t I see hair on your face?  Again, SNCOs don’t make policy, we enforce it.  I cannot speak for every single SNCO, but I personally don’t give a flying fuck what the order says, my job is to ensure we are all in compliance.  Simple.

Long story short, it is important for all of you that are still in to understand what the regulations are.  There is a MCO governing every single thing we do.  Please educate yourselves.  Don’t listen to your buddy or your roommate because 9 times out of 10, they are wrong.  They haven’t actually seen it themselves or they heard it from someone else.  Research the orders yourself so you know what the actual info is.  If someone is telling you to do something that is contrary to an order, tactfully inform them what the proper regulations are.  That means you have to know your shit.  You can’t tell an NCO that you don’t have to field day because MCO 1234 says so.  You will look like an idiot and will have lost all credibility.  You have to actually read the shit and know the regulations.  BCP is another one.  That gets screwed up constantly.  Read the BCP order and you will know whether or not the proper procedures are being used. Do it, not because you want people to know you are right, but for the fact that you know something is being done incorrectly and you want to improve the organization.  You can complain about the Corps all day long, but if you are not doing something to improve it, then you are part of the problem.  I am passionate about Marines educating themselves and I can’t stand it when false information is being spread around.

If I hear an NCO tell a Marine that they have to do such and such because “the order” says so, I will take that NCO aside and ask them to produce the order and show that Marine where it states that. Every MCO can be found here: http://www.marines.mil/News/Publications/ELECTRONICLIBRARY.aspx

Hopefully, someone learned something by reading this.  Knowledge is power.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.

Semper Fi

Submitted by: Gunny