I don’t start any conversation without

talking about our number one priority,

and that is our Marines in contact,

our Marines at the point of the Spear.

-General James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps

The above comment was in the USMC Current Operations Brief. If only all of our senior leadership throughout the US Armed Forces could truthfully make such a statement. When his tenure as Commandant comes to a close, General Conway will be missed.

He is a warrior whose Marines, Officer and Enlisted alike, would follow anywhere. Into the gates of hell, in fact. And a good many of them have been there more than once. That is the true measure of a leader. It has been so since before Thermopylae, and will always be so.


The above applies equally for the Corps’ Sergeant Major, Carlton W. Kent. SgtMaj Kent would echo his boss’s words about Marines at the pointy end, not because his boss said them, but because he believes in them and espouses the same leadership philosophy. I had the pleasure of serving with SgtMaj Kent on Okinawa some years ago, and he was the finest SgtMaj I ever saw. The Corps will lose this incredible gem soon, as well, and he will be equally missed.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Marine Corps

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  • URR,

    I had the honor of sitting beside him for a dinner one night back in Iraq – I remember thinking he was (and is) the perfect balance of gentleman-scholar & warrior…a tough balance to strike indeed.

    “our number one priority…our Marines in contact…”

    absolutely essential.

    What will he do next? Do you have any insight?

  • UltimaRatioReg


    I wish I knew. He would be a dynamite Combatant Commander. I think he would puke in his cover if he had to be ACJCS, but maybe he would thrive there.

    He’s a Marine’s Marine. SgtMaj Kent, too. Served with him in Okinawa in the mid-90s and saw him again in Iraq with I MEF. Another leader who can’t be beat.

  • ‘Nuff said.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    One never feels adequate as a Service member when there are Marines aboard ship.

  • Jay

    lol…YN2 — speaking for yourself only as “one” I assume.


  • Old Air Force Sarge

    Thank God for the USMC! I’ve always slept better at night knowing that the Marines are out there watching over us. I once had the opportunity to travel back to the States on emergency leave from Okinawa with a group of Marines. They didn’t even give me (much) grief for being Air Force. It was a case of “we all took the same oath, we all salute the same flag”. From that point on, no one insults the Marines around me, no one. No finer comrades exist anywhere. Semper Fi to all my Marine buddies.