MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Distinguished by their responsible nature, 52 Marines from units throughout the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing participated in a two-day Committed and Engaged Leadership Seminar in Washington, D.C., April 25-26.
Small unit leaders throughout the Marine Corps take charge to ensure mission accomplishment. These Marines serve as the binding between the staff noncommissioned officers and junior Marines.
“Since the founding of the Committed and Engaged Leadership [initiative] in the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to take junior Marines, lance corporals, corporals and sergeants, to different points of interest around the United States,” said 2nd Lt. Benjamin Goldfarb, adjutant for Marine Aircraft Group 13 and a Long Beach, Calif., native.
On the first day of the trip, Marines received a tour of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., commonly known as “8th & I,” where they learned about its rich history.
“My favorite part was the officers’ quarters where we looked at a book that was signed by [Lt. Gen. Lewis ‘Chesty’ Puller],” said Cpl. Kofi Dodi, aviation ordnance specialist with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 and a San Francisco native. Dodi added that he felt humbled knowing he held the same book that Chesty Puller once held.
Following the tour, Marines headed to the National Mall and visited various monuments to include the U.S. National World War II Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The first day ended back at 8th & I, giving Marines an opportunity to speak to Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. Angela Maness, sergeant major of Marine Barracks Washington. The discussion was followed by a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps, known as “The Commandant’s Own,” and the Silent Drill Platoon.
The trip provided an opportunity for the Marines to better understand the reasons why they should be proud of who they are and to take it back to share with their peers who were unable to attend this trip, explained Goldfarb.
Marines witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery then headed south to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., on the second day.
“The Marine Corps is all about traditions,” said Dodi. “We always talk about history; we always talk about the past. You learn from history for a better future.”
Marines explored the museum, finding the true meaning of not only being a Marine, but about also being a committed and engaged leader.
“Committed and Engaged Leadership means, to me, being there for your Marines, sharing history and rekindling that flame that you got in boot camp,” said Dodi. “Just inspire [your Marines] to do better.”
Sergeants major throughout 3rd MAW handpicked Marines to attend the trip and it was easy to see why each was selected.
“All of the Marines I’ve met so far all seem pretty incredible and take the initiative to make sure they’re on time, their fellow Marines are accounted for, and they’re getting as much as they can out of this trip,” said Goldfarb.
With a new sense of motivation, Marines soaked up the history of the nation’s capital had to offer and had one piece of advice for Marines who could not attend the trip.
“Be the best Marine you can be, and you’ll get your opportunity,” said Dodi.
The 3rd MAW leadership plan to continue these trips for deserving Marines and hope to spread this opportunity throughout the Marine Corps.