View Full Version : Serving For The Right Reasons

07-17-04, 07:43 PM
Serving For The Right Reasons

by Master GySgt. Billy Stewart
Special to Henderson Hall News

During my recent move to the Pentagon, my wife and I made many stops across this great nation. Enjoyably, we met and talked with a wide variety of people. After seeing my Marine haircut, the conversation usually turned towards the Corps, or their past personal service in the military. On the surface it might not seem like much, but my experience is one that I believe can help all service members that read this week's column. I was extremely fortunate to encounter a large number of Americans that could not stop thanking the military for dedicated service to our nation. Their personal sincerity and genuine appreciation to service members was touching. The level of thanks that each displayed to me personally was meant for all who serve in the United States Armed Forces.

It is obvious that the majority of those serving have the vigor and understanding concerning the word service that is expected by our nation. Conversely, many Marines are not convinced that all serving possess the understanding of the word "service." More importantly, there is a concern whether or not each individual really comprehends what the phrase "military service" really means. Each Marine is serving their country by default simply by enlisting or commissioning into the Corps. More so, serving one's country, the Corps, and their fellow Marine holds a much deeper meaning. The meaning of "service" has many different interpretations when defined by individual Marines. However, what "service" should mean can easily be described by an example that we have all encountered.

When a person goes to a restaurant to eat, often times, a "server" greets them. This "server" is responsible for every aspect of the customer's dinning experience. Many times the "server" has to operate outside of their comfort zone to ensure that the customer maintains an acceptable comfort zone. In addition, the server's own individual needs and wants usually take a back seat to their customer's. Hence, how does this relate to military service? Our country's standards of life and freedom must be preserved no matter how much it removes us from our "comfort zone." It cannot be about our own interests, but the customer's interests. In this case, the customer is the United States.

When applicants join the Marine Corps, the word "service" is not always the primary reason for entering the recruiting office. Other catchy phrases and answers accompany their reasons for joining. These responses are sometimes personal and self-centered. These motivators include educational opportunities, learn a trade/skill, desire for teamwork, travel and adventure, pay and benefits, pride, a sense of belonging, and of course the coveted opportunity to wear the "dress blues." There are many different other reasons, but the primary driving force behind military service should never be anything else but to give something back to this great nation; an understanding that surfaces after a Marine begins serving. All other benefits are just by-products of wearing the uniform and "serving."

A business owner once told me, "service men/women are the reason that I can go home to my wife and family every night." This statement has always reminded me of our purpose. He was simply stating that the military defends his privileges as an American. Although there is a Bill of "Rights" within our Constitution, there are freedoms that must be viewed as privileges. Therefore, we as Marines must display a servant's attitude in all that we do while serving in the Corps and after the fact as American citizens. I believe that this can be done using three attitudes. While these attitudes are not all encompassing, they certainly will lay a solid foundation for proper "service."

First and foremost, view your military service as payback/deposit to a bank account. We all take so much for granted living in America. We enjoy privileges in our daily lives that people in other countries only dream of. You cannot expect to continually withdraw without frequent deposits of service. Secondly, you must always place the country and Corps' interests before your own. This is the key to selfless "service" and a true sense of duty. The words "I am prepared to give my life in its defense" echo our Code of Conduct and the extreme limits that our service commitment may take us. Sadly, the war in Iraq has now made this a reality. Finally, always remember that your part of the puzzle is significant to the welfare and security of this country. No matter how mundane your job may seem, it links to an ending force that is ready to defend, maintain, and ensure the freedoms that we so enjoy and often take for granted. In addition, it may prove to secure these luxuries for those who cannot defend themselves.

When the operational tempo seems too fast, when the Corps is giving you more than you can handle, or when it feels like no one appreciates what you are doing, remember to keep serving. Americans are deeply appreciative for your service and are thankful for every waking moment that you protect and preserve this country and its way of life. Ensure that you take an inventory this week of your personal attitudes and feelings towards the phrase "military service." More so, make the effort to speak to a war veteran, and browse the list of those injured and killed in the line of duty. Rest assured, a grateful nation is praying, cheering, and appreciating you. Semper Fi.



07-17-04, 08:14 PM
Our Drill Instuctors taught us that we are in "The Service...hell the gosh darn Boy Scouts could be considered as part of the The Military. If you graduate you are part of The Service."