Sgt Major of Parris Island resigns following altercation with protester

Dear faithful members of Mitchell’s Militia,

This entire story makes me sad: Sergeant Major of Parris Island recruit depot resigns following altercation with protester.

I can remember getting pissed at Staff NCOs when I was in, who were enforcing — at times — ridiculous civilian attire standards even while off base.

But it breaks my heart to know this Sgt Major will soon no longer have a Corps to serve. And having myself gone through the brutal adjustment required to become a civilian, I can assure you that this man is headed for at least two to five years of serious pain and hell. (And honestly, I believe people who serve 20+ years and make a career of it have it even harder making that adjustment.)

Sergeant Major, thank you for your years of incredible service. You may have over-reacted, as even some Marines are saying, but your passion and love for the Corps motivate me to no end. And if that were my base and someone had been doing the same thing right out front of it — especially after I called them at their home the night prior — I would have done the same thing or much worse.

I might be wrong — I frequently am — but I’ll bet you in ten or fifteen years, that former DI feels bad about this entire episode. I understand why he was protesting the trade made by Obama, and I’ll bet he’s still super angry at the Sgt Major, but with about ten years and some distance from the event, I’m betting he’ll wish things had gone down differently.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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4 thoughts on “Sgt Major of Parris Island resigns following altercation with protester

  1. Stan,

    I saw the video. My question is why was that former DI protesting in front of Parris Island?

    Also read the former DI’s sign, and his take that the 5 released Taliban killed Marines is just false. Those 5 killed, no doubt, but they were nabbed late 2001 to early 2002. One was definitely a politician, and 3 were actually in the process of switching sides and that’s how we grabbed them. 1 was a legitimate bad-ass, but played a minimal roll during our initial invasion in 2001 and 2002.

    These 5 were let go because of the 20 or so Talibans that the Taliban demanded for the swap, these 5 were the least dangerous.

    But the actions of the former DI and Sgt. Maj. notwithstanding (I’ve seen a lot worst fights between seniors and junior ranks, where a blank slate was offered right after the altercation). My issue of the Bergdahl case all along has been of the vilifying.

    The trade for Bergdahl for 5 Taliban was necessary since no one wanted to rescue him to begin with (which is fair, given the facts). So the trade happened.

    Should it have been publicized, in the Rose Garden no less? Nope, but then again if the WH kept it under wraps then everyone would’ve accused them of hiding the trade. So there was no choice.

    So yeah, publicize the event, but the whole “honor & distinction” claim–Not a good idea, but Susan Rice in a way was right, not that she was right, but this whole notion of idolizing or lionizing military members is a sickness in our country. I’ve always preferred Heinlein’s take on duty, that basically it’s mine. So the WH said, honor & distinction, big wow, because most civilians especially in DC think that the act of joining up is something to be lionized, but god knows they won’t take up that mantle for themselves.

    Bergdahl’s coming home, should he have gotten a hero’s welcome, as planned by his town, that was all up to his town–and seems like his town really loves him, regardless of his walking out. Should he answer for his actions, ie leaving the OP for UA or desertion, yes–but not to us or his platoon mates, but to the Army. He broke his contract to the Army, his buddies he just left.

    But the question really is, is all this vilifying of Bergdahl really necessary? He left, he was imprisoned. No one “died” because he went missing. No, this was a media campaign to denigrate the WH via Bergdahl. Bergdahl is a tempest in a teapot, he’s just caught in the middle.

    That altercation between the former DI and Sgt. Maj. is emblematic of what we’ve become lately. Death threats to Bergdahl’s dad, because he studied Pashto and Islam, and probably single handedly got his son back thru his maneuverings–who wouldn’t do that for his son?

    This was blown out of proportion. At the end of the day, it is just a soldier who decided to walk out and was captured and imprisoned. He’s home 5 yrs later, so the question really is what are we further punishing Bergdahl for, for Obama? for Bush? for Afghanistan? for all the deaths in response to 9/11?


    1. “That altercation between the former DI and Sgt. Maj. is emblematic of what we’ve become lately.”

      Yeah, the depths that our political discourse and discussion have fallen to is pretty sad. That’s why I avoid even talking politics. It’s just not worth it anymore.


  2. Know your audience. When you wear a campaign cover right outside of Parris Island, people are going to notice. That’s the whole point of wearing it. But when you’re carrying an American flag with a cardboard sign protesting, no matter what the cause, active duty Marines will assume you’re some fucktard & treat you accordingly. It’s the wrong place to protest any sort of political gripe.

    As for avoiding politics all together, I think this is exactly what MSNBC and FOX want. I make it a point to keep in touch or talk to friends who have different views, simply because I know how dangerous group think, an echo chamber and confirmation bias can be (this is the first thing you learn in bootcamp, by direct participation).

    Today’s media, both liberal & conservative, is designed to squelch dialogue and dissent, by us acquiescing they’ve won. Richard Dreyfuss said it best here: But Marines have this tradition, as cult-like as our indoctrination, we talk about this out in the field, on watch, out in port, discuss with respect and able to carry conflicting views, we can definitely help out.

    The best example was Gen. Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket”, written awhile back, but you get a good sense of how the media can be used to foster discussion, as well as squelch it–Stan, your blog represents the former, it’s not owned by multi-national conglomerates.


    1. I’d like to see the blog do that if it didn’t descend into vitriolic anger on every topic. But maybe among primarily military members and an audience that basically knows each other — as is the case on this blog — maybe, just maybe, it’s possible.


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