MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Good conduct is a pillar of the United States Marine Corps, a foundation of honor, courage and commitment.
A good conduct medal is awarded to each Marine every three years as long as they uphold the standards and regulations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and does not receive any Non-Judicial Punishments within those three years. Therefore, if a Marine receives an NJP within those three years, the clock starts over.
Throughout her 15 years of service, Gunnery Sgt. Latrice Todd, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 aviation supply response division, has proven that it is possible to stay on the right path and not sway from what is right.
"It's taking what your parents taught you and applying it to your career in the Marine Corps," said Todd. "It's those ethics and morals that help you uphold the fact that, as Marines, we do right even when no one is looking, and hold ourselves to higher standards than others."
The Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment help each Marine tune their personal moral compass.
But often, being a part of a group or organization encourages one to think of more than themselves and helps strengthen the basic values foundation laid in childhood.
"Most Marines will pay attention to how the people within their own shop behave and try to take the best part of each one and apply it to themselves," said Todd.
Todd warns that while emulating others can be effective in making good behavior decisions, it’s smart to not follow someone doing the wrong thing.
"The bad part is that some Marines might see something that isn't considered right from someone who is a higher rank and think 'since it's ok for them then it must be ok for me," said Todd.
Remembering the drive to do the proper thing just because one should isn’t enough; personal conduct affects what happens in the workspace and in one’s career.
"With bad conduct you may have more formations and you might have to micromanage a little more. By the actions of one Marine everybody has to sit there and suffer for a while," said Gunnery Sgt. Mauricio Gallego, the squadron gunnery sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
All Marines are taught how to conduct themselves. These teachings should also be applied when one is on liberty.
"Some people believe that doing what’s right when no one is looking while at work is enough," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Curt Denham, the operations chief for Headquarters and Service Battalion aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. "A proper Marine would know that doing what is right even when no one is looking is continuous, whether you’re on or off duty."
Being the recipient of five good conduct medals, Todd credits success to the support she receives from her family.
"My main motivation was my two girls and my immediate family," said Todd, a native of Birmingham, Ala. "They have supported me every step of the way. If it wasn't for them I don't think I would be able to do the things I do."
Throughout life most people personify qualities and ideas that are both taught and observed. These qualities affect our behavior and conduct.
The way people conduct themselves not only affects what others think about them, but it also affects the decisions that are made and the consequences of those decisions.