Browsing: Leadership

As a few dozen Marines watched, 1st Sgt. Curtis Rice stood stoic in the intimate courtyard at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as his regimental commander pinned on a Bronze Star medal, its gold “V” catching a glint of the sun. Col. Bruce Nickle, the Combat Logistics Regiment 17 commander, tapped him on the shoulder and stepped aside so Rice could address the crowd. “I’m almost at a loss for words,” said Rice, 35, a native of Worcester, Mass., who serves as company first sergeant with Food Service Company. “I was just doing my job, as anyone in this formation would do.” A…

With news quickly spreading that Army Gen. Martin Dempsey has likely been selected to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it’s time to make a prediction: Even with Marine Gen. James Cartwright likely retiring by the end of the summer, the military will likely retain four four-star Marine generals. That much seems obvious, even as speculation swirls over who will replace Cartwright as JCS vice chairman. No Marines are believed to be in serious contention for the four-star position, which Cartwright has filled since Aug. 31, 2007. Instead, rumors have centered mostly on Air Force Gen.…

If you browsed Marine Corps Times’ website today, odds are good that you saw my story about the Corps launching two new Marine expeditionary brigade headquarters capable of leading joint task forces in times of crises. Most of the information comes from an interview last month with Lt. Gen. George Flynn, deputy commandant for combat development and integration. As head of the Marine Corps Force Structure Review, he’s one of the few Marines around right now in position to describe some of the heavily anticipated changes expected as the Corps resets for life in the 21st century. Flynn said the…

Last night’s breaking news about the death of Osama bin Laden occurred well after this week’s Marine Corps Times was put to bed. Still, this week’s issue offers plenty of new perspective on someone you’ll hear a lot about in coming months: Lt. Gen. John Allen, President Obama’s nominee to become the next commander of the International Security Assistance Force and all U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Obviously, Marine Corps Times was part of the chorus initially reporting Allen’s selection last week, when Obama made his announcement. However, this week’s cover story offers a wide variety of details about Allen that…

Cross another item off Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent’s list. The Marine Corps’ senior enlisted Marine traveled to the West Coast this week for what could be the last time before he retires, speaking to Marines from I Marine Expeditionary Force and other commands. A brief Marine Corps account of the trip is posted here. As noted in this recent Marine Corps Times feature on Kent, it’s no surprise he’s making the rounds as the clock ticks down on his time in the Corps.

As noted here, Marine Corps Times’ cover story this week will introduce tens of thousands of Marines to Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, who will become the 17th sergeant major of the Marine Corps on June 9. One of the threads we explore in that story is Barrett’s life as a junior Marine at Twentynine Palms, Calif. He met his wife while stationed there, and still owns a home in the area. A friend of Barrett’s, former Lance Cpl. Mitchell Ybarra, passed along this photo of those early days in the Corps: The photo was taken outside Barrett’s mother’s house in…

As Marine Corps Times first reported last week, the Corps will soon have a new top enlisted Marine: Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, of 1st Marine Division, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. If you follow the Corps, you know that already. However, very little else has been published in the past about Barrett, a decorated infantryman who earned two Bronze Stars with “V” device for courage in Iraq and served as a scout sniper during the Gulf War. This week, Marine Corps Times’ four-page cover story profiles Barrett, his combat heroism, his leadership style and what he’s done behind the scenes…

As outlined earlier this week, Marines in Afghanistan have a new commander, Maj. Gen. John Toolan. He has taken command from Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, who led troops in Regional Command-Southwest for nearly a year. Marine Corps Times news editor Tony Lombardo pointed out this photo to me earlier this week. It shows Toolan during a Combat Fitness Test carrying Sgt. Michael Taggart, the noncommissioned officer in charge of II Marine Expeditionary Force’s special security office. It was taken Dec. 10 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., before II MEF (Forward) Marines deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Toolan has been in the…

Last week during an interview with Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, the outgoing Marine commander of Regional Command-Southwest, I asked for his thoughts on something hanging over everyone’s head in Afghanistan: The planned drawdown of U.S. forces. It was the kind of question I asked because it’s what people in my job are supposed to do, even though there’s an understanding he couldn’t answer it directly. Here were his thoughts: That decision will be made at a level much above mine. The way I see it, there will be a thinning out, a gradual reduction of coalition forces within a given area…

If you check out the above video clip, you’ll see Farzana Naz, a female singer with a large following in Afghanistan. She recently performed before more than 10,000 people in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The concert was cited last week by Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, the outgoing Marine commander in Regional Command-Southwest, as an example of progress in the war-torn region. The event was an obvious possible target for the Taliban, but was held without any major incidents, Mills said in an exclusive interview with Marine Corps Times. Better yet, that success occurred with Afghan security forces…

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