Is the Marine Corps Changing into ‘Animal Home’?

The opinions expressed on this op-ed are these of the creator and don’t essentially replicate the views of If you need to submit your individual commentary, please ship your article to for consideration.

Civilian dorm advisers are being added to Marine Corps barracks. What’s subsequent? Fizzies within the base swimming pool? A useless horse within the commandant’s workplace? Is the Marine Corps changing into an “Animal Home”?

The latest exposé on the deplorable situations in barracks at Camp Pendleton‘s Faculty of Infantry West is alarming, however the response of senior Marine Corps leaders is disgraceful. As a substitute of relieving the complete chain of command of the Marine Corps coaching institution, the service’s management has undertaken a managerial response.

The senior management at Camp Pendleton apparently had no thought of the situations on the Faculty of Infantry barracks till preparing for an introduced go to by the overall officer accountable for the Marine Corps coaching institution. The native management was shocked — shocked — to search out out that the barracks have been riddled with filth, vermin and graffiti, although this had apparently been the case for a number of years. As a substitute of holding the chain of command accountable for failures of essentially the most primary management features, the Corps ordered that civilians be introduced in to repair issues that ought to by no means have occurred within the first place.

Again within the days when the Marine Corps was nonetheless the Marine Corps, high quality of life was thought of a primary management accountability. Each Thursday night was a area day cleanup and upkeep effort supervised by the noncommissioned officers and workers NCOs, which platoon commanders then inspected. On Friday morning, the corporate commander would examine the dwelling areas. It was common for battalion and regimental commanders or the overall officer commanding the set up to make shock “heath and luxury” inspections of varied items. If unreported upkeep or cleanliness issues have been discovered, the proverbial excrement flowed downhill instantly. If a squad’s space was discovered to be unsatisfactory, it was common for a regimental commander to have the complete chain of command standing tall in entrance of him. The squad chief, platoon commander, firm commander and battalion commander would then all participate in a really disagreeable dialogue of how “we” had failed.

The trendy response to this newest failure has been telling. The senior management has promised to throw more cash on the drawback and herald civilian housing specialists to repair a state of affairs that was most likely years within the making. However this isn’t the primary time the Marine Corps, and the navy as a complete, has confronted a tough patch tied to self-discipline.

As a younger lieutenant in 1973 to 1976, I skilled a Pentagon and Marine Corps below assault by a post-Watergate Congress and a nationwide management adrift. Brought on by insurance policies pushed by Protection Division management, the Marine Corps and the remainder of the companies have been affected by a breakdown in self-discipline aided by the post-Vietnam anti-military temper within the nation. The DoD-mandated “New Age” administration approaches exacerbated the issue, particularly when it got here to dealing with felony actions.

Miscreants with a number of prices in opposition to them couldn’t be put in pre-trial confinement. It was common for a Marine with a number of prices in opposition to him to point out up at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to gather his paycheck after which promptly disappear till the following payday, thus avoiding a desertion cost for which he is perhaps incarcerated pending a court-martial. Congress bought its peace dividend by slicing navy budgets. Issues bought so dangerous that my regiment needed to chain rest room paper rolls to the partitions to forestall pilferage. Many excellent potential future normal officers give up the Corps in disgust.

As is the case as we speak, the rot began on the high, however the cloud began to carry when Gen. Louis Wilson — a Medal of Honor recipient from World Struggle II — took over as commandant in the midst of the last decade. He instantly approved the Marine Corps to expeditiously discharge the worst disciplinary issues and took different measures to carry the drug drawback within the ranks below management. Human relations applications have been changed by management lessons, and issues circled virtually instantly. He swore that he would repair the Corps, and he succeeded.

As we speak’s issues can be tougher to reverse.

— Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps colonel who commanded a number of battalions and was the commander of Camp Hansen, the biggest Marine Corps set up on Okinawa, Japan.

Story Continues