"In my 33 years, we've never had a better quality of life," he added. "We've never had it so good. If we don't get ahold of slowing the growth, we will become an entitlement-based, a health care provider-based Corps, and not a war fighting organization."
Let me preface what follows by saying that I have the utmost of respect for Barrett and consider him to be among the greatest Marine warriors in my generation of veterans.
But he’s dead wrong on this one.
In considering his claim, I'm reminded of something an outstanding Marine lieutenant colonel once told me about what makes the Marine Corps special:
“The Army talks about their tanks, the Navy talks about their ships, the Air Force talks about their airplanes,” he said. “We have all of those, what do we talk about? We talk about our Marines.”
Barrett’s remarks, and the proposed legislation, could potentially adversely impact the Marine Corps and, by extension, America’s national security. Beyond decreasing the morale of the current rank and file Marines, it also threatens the Corps’ ability to retain its top Marines, and the military’s ability to recruit talented people into its ranks.
Making active-duty members of the military the latest victims of political dysfunction in Washington shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is particularly hard to bear.
“They want to know about what new equipment are we getting, are we continuing to modernize," Barrett said. "Just because the budget sucks, does that mean we’re not going to get our new gear?”
In advocating military technological advancement at the expense of the financial welfare of lower ranking enlisted Marines, Barrett is robbing those Marines of his support as their senior enlisted leader, and that's tragic.
Barrett is the Corps' top enlisted Marine, and in that role, is supposed to represent the interests of the enlisted Marines to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and leadership in Washington. No one joins the Marine Corps for the money, and Barrett is right that "Marines don't run around asking about compensation, retirement modernization," but with all that they are asked to do, Marines need to be compensated fairly for their service. In his role as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Barrett’s should be the loudest of voices against these pay cuts. The answer is not to cut the benefits and pay of troops to fit the confines of the sequester; it is to repeal the sequester.
I love the Marine Corps' culture of austerity. It's central to the expeditionary nature of the Corps. But it is in no way tethered to troop pay. That idea makes no sense, because all troops across all branches are paid the same. Claiming that your discipline is connected to how little money you make is counter to the spirit of capitalism that is central to the American dream and counter to the meritocracy that is central to the military.
Your pay increases as you rise in rank, so by Barrett's logic, he's the least disciplined enlisted member of the Marine Corps.
An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.