"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
- Corporal Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994
Any discussion of the values, ethics, and qualities of Marine Leadership must start with its Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These Core Values were first officially adopted by our 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Carl E. Mundy Jr., in his publication of a memorandum titled the “Commandant’s Statement on Core Values of the United States Marines.” As an interesting historical side note, sometime after the publication of General Mundy’s memorandum, the U.S. Navy changed its Core Values from “Tradition, Integrity, and Professionalism" to match that of the Corps' “Honor, Courage, and Commitment," thus instituting a unified set of common values for the Department of the Navy.
Aside from our Core Values, the Marine Corps' Leadership Traits and Principles are the ethical standards by which all Marines are judged in accordance with our doctrine (MCWP 6-10 Leading Marines). The history of the traits and the principles actually begins in the U.S. Army - both the traits and principles were adopted from U.S. Army service publications and doctrinal materials.
The precursor to the Marine Corps' 14 Leadership Traits (Bearing, Courage, Decisiveness, Dependability, Endurance, Enthusiasm, Initiative, Integrity, Judgment, Justice, Knowledge, Loyalty, Tact, and Unselfishness) originally appeared in the Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 22-1 “Leadership” in 1948. This pamphlet, signed by then Chief of Staff of the Army General Omar N. Bradley, described 10 “qualities of leadership which are successful to leadership": Knowledge, Decisiveness, Initiative, Tact, Manner and bearing, Courage, Endurance, Dependability, Justice, and Enthusiasm.
Army Pamphlet 22-1 was superseded by the doctrinal publication Field Manual (FM) 22-10 Leadership, published in 1951, which listed 19 qualities that were re-labeled as “traits." It was superseded by FM 22-100 Command and Leadership for the Small Unit Leader, published in 1953, which reduced the number of traits to 12.
The 11 Marine Corps Leadership Principles were also adopted from the U.S. Army, though the history is less complex. The 1951 publication of FM 22-10 Leadership came with it 11 leadership principles, though they differed in small respects from the current list in that to “be technically and tactically proficient” was originally worded as “know your job.” The change from “know your job,” to “be technically and tactically proficient” appeared the 1958 publication of FM 22-100 Military Leadership. Finally, in the 1983 publication of FM 22-100, the 11 leadership principles appeared in familiar order, and they were adopted by the Marine Corps at some point thereafter.
The 11 Marine Corps Leadership Principles are:
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