May 31, 2006

Gen M.W. Hagee USMC

From one of my Marine friends. I thought you'd like toread it.Sempers,~K~
To: undisclosed-recipientsSubject: CMC "On Marine Virtue"“On Marine Virtue”By Gen. M. W. Hagee

Recent serious allegations concerning actions ofMarines in combat have caused me concern. They shouldcause you to be concerned as well. To ensure wecontinue to live up to General Lejeune’s descriptionof a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that ishighest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,”I would like to review the importance of our corevalues.

As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days inthe Corps about our core values of honor, courage andcommitment. These values are part of and belong toall Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, ingarrison, or on leave or liberty.

To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it meanshaving uncompromising personal integrity and beingaccountable for all actions. To most Marines, themost difficult part of courage is not the raw physicalcourage that we have seen so often on today’sbattlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the“right thing” in the face of danger or pressure fromother Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus oncaring for one another and upholding the great idealsof our Corps and Country.

The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, andits complex and dangerous battlefield will continue tochallenge us in the commitment to our core values. Wemust be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief inthe rule of law.

We have all been educated in the Law of ArmedConflict. We continue to reinforce that training,even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employforce just for the sake of employing force. We uselethal force only when justified, proportional and,most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws andregulations, Geneva Convention and Rules ofEngagement. This is the American way of war. We mustregulate force and violence, we only damage propertythat must be damaged, and we protect thenon-combatants we find on the battlefield.

When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind ofcounterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, wehave to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines havebeen involved in life or death combat or havewitnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and theeffects of these events can be numbing. There is therisk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a humanlife, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continuallythat Marines care for one another and do what isright.

The large majority of Marines today performmagnificently on and off the battlefield. I am veryproud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage andcommitment you clearly display every day. And Americais proud as well. Americans, indeed most peoplearound the world, recognize that Marines are men andwomen of the highest caliber – physically, mentally,and morally.

Each one of you contributes in your own unique way toour important mission; I am proud of your dedicationand accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I stillstand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me.Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that meanssomething to all of you as well. As Marines we havean obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, futureMarines and ourselves to do our very best to live upto these words.

As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry onour proud legacy by demonstrating our values ineverything you do – on duty and off; in combat or ingarrison.

Semper Fidelis. - USMC -


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