To: COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
From: Ian T. Robertson, MS, MBA. USMC: ’07-’11
I am a proud former 0351 Marine NCO who served on two deployments honorably with 2nd BN 5th MAR REGIMENT from ’07-’11. However, recent scandals involving staff officers of the Marine Corps coupled with the poor demonstration of leadership by the REGIMENTAL and Battalion Commander on down—within the Officer Corps of the most decorated Marine Regiment—have me shaking with rage. These are the latest examples of the disgraceful way in which leadership has continuously failed the Marine Corps in recent years.
I am writing you today in the name of common sense and decency to come to terms with the reality before us that what Battalion Commander Lt.Col. Olsen of 1st BN 5th Mar Regiment did in July of this year—by calling a battalion formation and in front of God, Country, and the birds making a public display of a private matter—was shameful.
The action gave the accused room to successfully and rightfully argue that their CONSTITUTIONAL rights as United States citizens had been denied and a fair trial would be impossible. Charges against several of the Marines have now been dropped, and they could have cause to sue for defamation. All of this is due to the undue influence of their own battalion commander who referred to them as “cancer.” This video surfaced online and reports swirl in the press that the Marines had somehow become smugglers. Facts get distorted with time and the media is the prime culprit of that, so the last thing we want to do is to create sensationalism that negatively affects the image of the Corps.
This breaks my heart for the many good men who gave everything only to watch incompetent and stupid officers damage the Marines, possibly beyond repair. Thus, I am writing to you today on behalf of not only myself but of all those Marines past and present who ARE of high honor and integrity to request that you remove bad and ineffectual leadership. Without this action, there will be no lessons learned from this, and similar disastrous incidents will repeat themselves all over again.
As a Marine Officer, you know that the responsibility of leadership is to do the right thing, not the emotional thing. It doesn’t take a 0-5 to realize that it is foolish to embarrass the rest of the Corps with a public display because of a few bad apples. What could have been a relatively quiet matter has now become NATIONAL NEWS. Anything less than “UNBECOMING” and “LOSS OF CONFIDENCE” is unacceptable. As a Marine Officer, it is your sworn duty to protect and defend the constitution of the United States against ALL enemies foreign and domestic. And THAT you MUST now do. Resistance to these actions only jeopardizes the Marine Corps identity of defending the constitution.
-Ian T. Robertson, MS, MBA