How To Join Marines As An Officer

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How To Join Marines As An Officer – WASHINGTON – It’s all the same, Col. According to Airman Anthony Henderson, the Marine Corps is highly talented: many tours in combat, leadership skills and the respect of those who commanded and many of those who commanded.

A three-time brigadier general, Colonel Henderson’s one-star rank put him on the path to the highest command of the Marine Corps. Last year, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer added some advice to the selection of Colonel Henderson: “The most qualified Marines we need now are BGs,” he wrote.

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But the Marine Corps has never had a white man in its top leadership positions in its history. Colonel Henderson is black.

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“Tony Henderson did everything you can do in the Marines except shake hands with Jesus Christ,” said Milton D. Whitfield Sr., a Marine sergeant major who served for the 21 years.

Proud and unhappy about their identity, the Marines have an identity problem that critics say is at the root of years of resistance to change. As the nation was rocked by anti-Semitism this summer, the Marines — long built a reputation as America’s most powerful military — are taking on a position where a handful of white men rule over 185,000 men. white. African American, Hispanic, and Asian men and women.

“Congress took action last year to add more people to the group,” said Representative Anthony G. Brown, Democrat of Maryland and a former helicopter pilot. the Army. “And now they’re perpetuating the 1950s vision of who a sailor is.”

Current Marine Corps officers have cited Colonel Henderson’s behavior as an explanation for why he was released. he said in his mind, and what they call his character – qualities that Colonel White of the Marines did not deny.

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Since 1942 the Marines last enlisted African-American soldiers, only 25 have achieved the rank of general in any capacity. None reached the top four stars, with the Mariners giving the honor to 72 Whites. Six African Americans achieved the rank of lieutenant general, or three stars. Others received a star or two, mostly in areas such as logistics, aviation and transportation, areas where the Marine Corps has not chosen its commander.

Of the 82 generals today, six are African-American generals and the most African-American general.

Black Marines installed equipment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 1943. The Marines first accepted black soldiers in 1942, the last military service to do so. Credit… Corbis, via Getty Images

Charles F. Bolden Jr., who led two space missions before becoming NASA’s first African-American, received two stars in the Marines.

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To achieve four stars, the candidate must have some fighting words in his background. (The word “she” is appropriate, because no woman has achieved four stars in the Marines, that is.) The commander has led troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, responsible for the lives of sailors who have bled to death. in poppy fields. mountains and deserts.

The Marine Corps made an exception to this military rule when it awarded only four stars to airmen James F. Amos, in 2008, and Gary L. Thomas, in 2018. But they were white men.

It’s hard for people outside the military to understand the honor of being a four-star or model. The four chiefs sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, oversee an entire branch of the military, or head a global regional command—Centcom, for example, which oversees all military operations of America in the Middle East. The officers report directly to the secretary of defense and the president.

Starting on Wednesday, the board of directors of the service will meet to evaluate the rest of the team. For the fourth time, Colonel Henderson argued. If he doesn’t get there – the results won’t be announced for a month – his friends say he might leave the Marines.

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Those who gathered on the ocean in February at Parris Island, S.C. About 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women are people of color, but that difference is not reflected in the leadership of the military. York Times

“As a united force, without discrimination, discrimination or prejudice, we can fully express our values ​​and become the essential part of the American military that is needed and needed,” said Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps. , in June He wrote a letter to the service members on the 4th after the protest after the death of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis.

Since the protest, senior Defense Department officials have launched an internal investigation into the growing percentage of minority service members between white officers. One of the steps announced by the Secretary of Congress, Mark T. Esper, is to remove the photos of popular candidates from the panel’s consideration.

Above all, the army has long established itself as one of the most diverse organizations in the country. In fact, about 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women in the workforce are people of color. But of the 42 top military commanders—those with four-star ranks in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard—only two are black: Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of the Air Staff and Gen. Michael X. Garrett, the chief of the Army Corps of Engineers. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, his Japanese-American father, is the head of the United States Cyber ​​Command.

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There is only one woman in the group: Ken. Maryanne Miller, the head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, is white.

Gen. was ordered. Charles Q. Brown Jr. this month is the White House Chief of Staff. He is the first African-American to hold the highest rank in the Air Force. Credit… Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Marines have the worst report of seniority disparity. In 2013, the branch released a photo of its four star generals, all huddled over cameras in the desert at the captain’s house at the Marine Barracks in Washington: John F. Kelly, Jim Mattis, Joseph F. Dunford Jr., James F. Amos, John R. Allen and John M. .Paxton. The men are smiling as they hold white Marine Corps coffee mugs.

All six have achieved political status. But in Black Marines, it reminds them of a different place than the pictures.

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“Look, I’m a dedicated Marine,” said Mr. Whitfield, first sergeant in the army. “But that image, I think, is similar to what they say: ‘Not all of us are qualified to achieve high levels of authority or leadership.’ And I’m ashamed.”

Senior naval commanders, when asked about diversity in the military, said they see it as a problem.

“The Marine Corps really thought about this because we were struggling with the issue of diversity,” said Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., a three-star Marine currently serving. But in explaining the lack of white men in senior positions, Marine officials first cited the small number of African-American Marines who went to war, which came to a head. -star.

“We have to realize that the bread and butter of the Marine Corps is weapons,” said Lt. He declined to speak specifically about Colonel Henderson, 53, citing privacy and personnel concerns. He said that 63 percent of African-Americans in the Navy are in support organizations such as logistics and engineering, 22 percent in aviation and only 15 percent in weapons.

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“Tony has an amazing record – he should be a great leader,” said Paul J. Kennedy, acting director. retired who headed the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

Colonel Henderson in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2008. A Marine in southern Afghanistan described the worst war he had ever seen. Description… United States Marine Corps

The colonel was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1989. In 1994, he received his law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, and plans to become a lawyer, a Corps attorney.

But Colonel Henderson urged them to move forward against the guns, a move the marines who saw him said meant he wanted to fight with his troops, and accept the risk and responsibility involved.

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Colonel Henderson rose through the ranks with lightning speed. He became a military leader and rose to captain six years after joining the navy. Five years later, in 2000, he did more. Three years later, he commanded the Iraqi Marines as an “XO.”

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