Civilian employee thanks Marines for dedication

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Civilian employee thanks Marines for dedication

by: Robert D. Eldridge | .
published: March 08, 2013

I just finished reading a book about the Marine Corps published recently by a friend who is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and currently serves as a history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. I am certain it will generate much discussion and debate among current and former Marines.
I learned a lot about the Marine Corps through reading his book and taking time to reflect on it and discuss it with those in uniform.

This editorial, however, is not about his valuable and insightful book, “Underdogs,” but is a way to tell my Marine colleagues how very proud other civilian employees and I are of you and cherish the opportunity to work with you. The Marines have an unparalleled history and meaningful set of traditions that make you unique and leave the civilians here in awe of your past and current accomplishments.

Of course, this may not be news to you or some of the civilians who are former Marines. According to Civilian Human Resources Office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, approximately 60 percent of the U.S. civilians working on the staffs of MCIPAC and III Marine Expeditionary Force have previous military experience, with most of that group having served in the Marine Corps. You lived and breathed that culture, and personally experienced many of the things that have contributed to the present-day Marine Corps.

I do not have a Marine Corps or military background, but the transition from a civilian academic career to my current position as the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-7 government and external affairs, MCIPAC, was an easy one. This is because of the welcoming community and flexibility and open-mindedness of the command to welcome an academic into its fold.

I tell those who visit MCIPAC installations about the high standards and intellectual rigor of the Marine Corps and how stimulating the work environment is. Most universities think they have a monopoly on such qualities, but I found, when I did my first sabbatical with Marines from 2004-2005 at Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, that Marines leave academics in the dust when it comes to intellectual honesty, analytical thinking and dedication to mission. I wrote about these qualities as well as my unique sabbatical experience in 2006 for an essay in our university journal, “My One Year with the Marines, Reflections on Bridging the Gap.”

I was hooked on the Marine Corps instantly, and did not want that year to end. I am glad that, by some good fortune, I was able to come back again several years later and work full time for the Marines. I know that feeling is shared by many other civilian employees.

Your dedication to country, duty and  teamwork, pursuit of individual excellence, and constant improvement through training and education make the Marine Corps an organization envied around the world. All of this, it should be stressed, takes place amid tight budgets, limited personnel and high operational tempo. You simply do more with less. You bring relief and hope wherever you go because of your history, reputation, decency and ability to accomplish
the mission.

I was most impressed with all of these qualities during Operation Tomodachi following the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred
March 11, 2011. You represented all that was great about the United States, and there truly was no greater friend for the people of Japan during recovery efforts.

As we approach the second anniversary of the tragedy, the Marine Corps’ friendship with many communities in the disaster area continues, and we have expanded our relationships to many areas throughout Japan, sharing lessons learned from the disaster and building cooperative working relationships
in the event another disaster strikes. This is being done all thanks to you.

We civilians, Americans and Japanese alike, are indeed honored to work with you. Thank you, Marines, and keep up the great work!

Eldridge is the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, MCIPAC.