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Letters to the Editor: Reliefs, gay marriage, extremes

May. 26, 2013 - 03:54PM   |  
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Fallout from reliefs

Regarding the May 20 cover story “The new fine line for commanders:

Although my comments were accurately represented, a couple of important points were missed in the article. I was not relieved while on deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. I was relieved upon returning home following a very successful combat deployment to Afghanistan.

At the time, Gen. Jim Amos, who is now the commandant of the Marine Corps, was the Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general and also my reviewing officer.

As the MEF commanding general, he was involved in my relief, yet he never once called me onto his carpet and asked for my side of the story — he let the lawyers and his subordinates handle the relief process. Even a private first class gets his day in front of his commanding officer. This is a fundamental leadership responsibility.

I believe Amos has been involved in the relief of more Marines than any other officer in the history of the Marine Corps.

Using his example, instead of correcting my subordinates for wrong doing or poor performance, I should have just relieved them, thereby destroying their careers and families. In training and combat, rather than hold non-judicial punishments or courts-martial, I gave “ass chewings” — some well deserved and others not so — hence the reputation for being “too rough” on my subordinates.

It takes years to make an officer, mere seconds to end one’s career.

Leadership is holding people to standards and tasks — without destroying careers and lives. If there is proven misconduct or violation of the UCMJ, by all means hold people accountable and punish them accordingly. However, we need to stop eating our own through an “administrative and loss of confidence process.” Cannibalism is not what we are about.

Finally, we should not hold our junior officers to higher standards of accountability than our generals. Accountability starts at the top and works its way down, not the other way around.

Lt. Col. Asad Khan (ret.)


In the naval service, leaders are always responsible for the actions of their subordinates. Those Marine officers who were relieved were subordinates of Gen. Jim Amos. So, the entire chain of command up to the commandant of the Marine Corps should be relieved. By his rules, as the leader, he should also be relieved.

Master Sgt. C.B. Clement (ret.)

Tucson, Ariz.

Entitlement demand

I would like to reply to the letter submitted by Capt. M. Matthew Phelps, “Marriage deserves dignity,” April 15.

I fail to see where he is a victim. Homosexual marriages are not true marriages as presently defined.

The homosexual agenda is an attempt to redefine traditional marriage, defined as between a man and a woman.

This traditional definition of marriage has been accepted and respected for thousands of years, within all cultures. The purpose of marriage is to procreate. Same-sex partners cannot procreate. Therefore, homosexuals should not call their union a marriage.

Because Capt. Phelps’ opinions and desires differ from the norm, he feels discriminated against because he cannot meet the established criteria of marriage. What is his solution? To revise the definition that will meet his own needs.

This is another example of our nation’s evolving and increasing sense of entitlement.

We can’t afford to just make arbitrary changes to established norms for the sake of personal wants or conveniences. If we do this, it will produce a never-ending cycle of unreasonable demands for entitlements.

Instead of focusing on discrimination that does not exist, we should be focusing on our responsibilities to ensure the common good of our society, which traditional marriage provides.

Navy Cmdr. Robert A. Spencer

San Diego

Jumping to extremes

It seems the Marine Corps jumps from one extreme to the other without ever figuring out the problem. We see it in issue after issue.

In regard to the officer firings, if these officers are being held accountable and being relieved of command for things that happened on their watch (with no prior knowledge, of course), then wouldn’t this logic say relieve the commandant? Aren’t his officers screwing up on his watch?

How is it fair to ruin a commanding officer’s life if he had no knowledge of an issue? Is he supposed to install cameras in every barracks room and house of his Marines and monitor them 24 hours a day? No, that is ridiculous. If he knew there was a problem and he took no steps to try to resolve it, then yes, fire away.

The reason this has become an issue is because the Corps has continuously gone against everything it stands for to appease the “powers that be.”

In regards to the Marine Corps’ stance on hazing: No “hazing” is no way to teach Marines a lesson, especially when the substitute is a paperwork trail to ruin their careers and make them hostile.

Now let me define hazing. I do not think it is OK to put your hands on anyone, but ... when I was in the Corps, I worked on CH-46s. Let’s say one of my guys did something stupid and broke an instrument gauge by tapping on it with a screwdriver. I made the offender a necklace out of safety wire and hung the gauge on it and made him wear it all day. This was not hazing in 1999; today it is. Today, the choices are write them up or just yell at them. I promise that Marine never tapped on another gauge with a screwdriver again.

Finally, you can’t train people to be Marines in boot camp — and all that entails — and then throw them into the “new” Marine Corps and expect it to work!

This new era is not about the history and pride we are taught to love and desire in boot camp. Therefore you just end up disappointed and feeling betrayed.

Former Sgt. Tonya Moser

Richlands, N.C.

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