The Marine Corps has faced its share of challenges since it was created in 1775. Whether in combat or in garrison, Marines have tackled those obstacles head on. As the institution faces recent adversity, brought upon by a few individuals with a skewed moral compass, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort reemphasizes his command philosophy to Marines aboard the air station.
Shortly after taking command of the air station in 2014, Col. Peter D. Buck issued his philosophy, a framework of behavioral values and expectations designed to guide Marines under his charge to make ethically and morally sound decisions.
“My command philosophy is built on a strong foundation,” said Buck. “When you read, consider, and think about the elements of the philosophy, you will understand the simple but sound logic behind it. The philosophy’s foundation or starting point is our core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
The philosophy is built on the 3-6-6 Warrior Ethos and is focused on the Marine Corps’ three core values and their flow into six habits of thought, and six habits of action. The premise is that all things start with your core values.
“We should approach all things guided by our core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” said Buck. “Our values need to inform our thoughts, and our values based thoughts need to inform our actions. We should ask ourselves three things in all endeavors: Is what I am about to do honorable? Does what I am contemplating demonstrate moral courage? And, is what I am contemplating a demonstration of my commitment to my nation, my Corps, and my fellow Marine?”
According to Buck, the goal of the philosophy is to sustain our commitment to our core values, demonstrate how they inform thought, decision, and action at all levels, and emphasize the absolute sanctity of the special trust and confidence that exists between Marines.
The core values of the Marine Corps and Buck’s philosophy are honor, courage and commitment.
The six habits of thought are: sturdy professionalism, know your surroundings, engaged and concerned leadership, vigilance and aggression, mission focus, and complacency kills.
The six habits of action are: obey the law, lead by example, support and defend the constitution, uphold special trust and confidence, respect yourself and others, and maintain high standards of integrity.
“Sometimes Marines look for something more complex to guide them in their decisions,” said Buck. “But it’s really simple. If you’re core values inform your thoughts, and your thoughts inform your decisions and actions, then you will have the proper foundation to make the right decision. When you remove or eliminate our values from that equation, it gets concerning.”
Buck said these attributes and values establish a behavioral foundation for his policies regarding hazing, sexual assault, equal opportunity and violence prevention, and also keeps Marines sharp, vigilant and effective in combat and garrison alike.
“We trust our fellow Marine with our life. That’s not just in combat,” said Buck. “I am looking to redeploy the warrior ethos from combat to garrison. We don’t shelve our ethos and values in garrison; we do not prey on each other in garrison. Instead, in all cases, we serve and protect our fellow Marine, including protecting their sexual integrity and their honorable service to our Corps.”
His command philosophy also provides perspective on what it means to be a Marine through what he calls the Marine Continuum; Marines earn trust in basic training and combat training, and continue to uphold and sustain that same trust throughout their service.
“The Marine Continuum emphasizes the sanctity of the special trust and confidence between Marines.” said Buck. “That special trust and confidence is earned the day you received the eagle, globe, and anchor and that trust must be upheld throughout active service to Corps and Country. Upon leaving active service, we remain Marines and sustain the same trust and confidence with our fellow Marine. Protect what you’ve earned.”
Buck reminds all Marines past and present, that through their efforts to uphold their core values and maintain the special trust and confidence bestow upon them, the Marine Corps will remain the finest fighting force in the world.
“The title Marine is very special; we are the only service where our service name also defines the individual. Rudyard Kipling described it best when he said, ‘For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.’ Don’t ever forfeit your core values of honor, courage, and commitment, and don’t ever give anyone reason to not trust, especially your fellow Marine.”