Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Marine Corps' 14 leadership traits - UNSELFISHNESS

UNSELFISHNESS is this week's Marine Corps leadership trait, and it means that, "you avoid making yourself comfortable at the expense of others.; are considerate of others; give credit to those who deserve it."

I honestly believe this trait has pretty much vanished from the vast majority of our society.

In today's day and age of "give me whatever I want whenever I want it," the mere mention of UNSELFISHNESS is sure to draw strange looks and calls of being "old fashioned".

So prevalent is selfishness in our society (and by extension in the Marine Corps), that some of us have repurposed the motto "Semper Fi" into "Semper I".

No matter how jaded I am about this, the fact remains there are acts of UNSELFISHNESS committed every day by Marines across the world. It's unfortunate that these acts are not noticed and appreciated by those who benefit from them (actually a further sign of the disgusting level of selfishness found in some people).

A couple weeks ago, I was reminded of one such UNSELFISH act by a 25-year-old Marine sergeant. An award citation reads:
Clearing scores of houses in the previous three days, Sergeant Peralta’ asked to join an under strength squad and volunteered to stand post the night of 14 November, allowing fellow Marines more time to rest. The following morning, during search and attack operations, while clearing the seventh house of the day, the point man opened a door to a back room and immediately came under intense, close-range automatic weapons fire from multiple insurgents. The squad returned fire, wounding one insurgent. While attempting to maneuver out of the line of fire, Sergeant Peralta was shot and fell mortally wounded. After the initial exchange of gunfire, the insurgents broke contact, throwing a fragmentation grenade as they fled the building. The grenade came to rest near Sergeant Peralta’s head. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away. Sergeant Peralta succumbed to his wounds. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Sergeant Peralta reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Sgt Peralta was nominated for the Medal of Honor, the country's highest award for valor; however, it was later "downgraded" to a Navy Cross and posthumously presented to his family, who refused to accept it.

This act of UNSELFISHNESS reads like it came from a hero novel and gives me goose bumps every time I read it. Sgt Peralta's UNSELFISHNESS saved lives, plain and simple, and every one of us should strive to exhibit that level of dedication to our fellow Marines and fellow man.

1 comment:

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