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Corps Values and Business Ethics

Sixty five years ago today, one of the transcendent moments in American history occurred – the raising of the American flag over Mount Surabachi.”  Every Marine who has served this country since that day has the image of the second flag raising, immortalized by Joe Rosenthal’s photograph, seared into his or her memory. It is the most famous photo of World War II and that depiction was used to create the largest bronze statue ever made, the Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the “Iwo Jima Memorial.”

When I was in Boot Camp, there was very little time wasted during the entire eleven weeks of training. Even when we were waiting for the next training session, we were either doing more physical training, cleaning our weapons, or studying our essential subjects. In the U.S. Marine Corps, the history of the corps is an essential subject. No Boot graduates as a Marine without knowing the history of this famous battle. I, along with every Marine before me and every Marine since me are connected by defining moments as this. Through those connections, Admiral Nimitz is speaking to us the words “uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

It’s no accident that valor and virtue are mentioned together. Marines are drilled from the beginning in code of conduct, leadership traits, leadership principles and values. These bind us together and create our character.

Given the recent moral and ethical collapses in business, which had a “Shock and Awe” effect on our financial markets and economy, I think more business leaders and politicians could use the same character building. Enron, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and others are examples of what happens when morals and values are sacrificed for financial gain. Even after the bailout, excessive bonus payouts prove that some people still do not get it.

This country has never been perfect and never will be. That is an impossible outcome. It is a great country though and has the potential to be even better.  This blog is dedicated to discussing the Corps Values that can make a difference in our business culture and effect positive change in our lives.

I look forward to this journey and hope my readers get as much out of this as I have.  Semper Fi!

  1. March 10, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Very timely and relevant. The Marines exemplify discipline, and they are known for self-sacrifice and serving a greater good, not a personal gain. Strong business tie-in. Good luck to you!

    • March 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks Scott! I’ve watched too many people struggle with their moral compasses. I could no longer bite my tongue.

  2. March 29, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Marty, this is excellent and I look forward to future posts. Perhaps sometime you would submit as a guest blogger at The Intersection of Purpose and Now as well? http://purposeandnow.com Please let me know if this interests you.

    Your timing is good, too. I just finished reading “Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood” by Donovan Campbell. The subtitle is accurate – an excellent read if you haven’t read it yet. Campbell illustrates much of what you describe in your article.

  3. March 29, 2010 at 7:29 am

    I am a subscriber now.

  4. March 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks Mark!! I’m quite flattered by your response. I would love to collaborate with you.

    I have not read Joker One yet. I have not caught on reading since before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. I’ve only kept up on professional materials.

    The last Marine book I read was Leadership: Achieving Life-Changing Success from Within, by Alfred McMichael, the first African American Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. He was one of my Instructor/Advisers during Marine Security Guard School.


  1. March 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

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