Our Moral Compass

by | September 14, 2020

There is an axiom in the U.S. Marine Corps that clearly states, “A good leader never leaves his or her dead and wounded on the battlefield.”  

Simply put, every Marine who goes in harm’s way and is either killed or wounded deserves to be brought home by their fellow Marines with great honor and respect – even if they must come home on a hospital litter or in a flag draped casket.

Today my belief in that axiom has been sorely tested by the words of our Commander-in-Chief, as reported in The Atlantic magazine. 

To apply the words “Losers” and “Suckers” to those who have given the last full measure to our Country and to question the intelligence of those men and women who have volunteered to “protect and defend the Constitution” are the comments and actions of someone who is the antithesis of what is expected of a good military leader, much less of the Commander-in-Chief.

As a military officer, I have tried to steer clear of politics.  My name does not appear on any letter supporting any candidate.  I support those who I feel are best prepared to serve, whether as a County Sheriff or President of the United States.  Overriding even policy matters is the character of the man or woman running for office.  Policies can be tempered or reinforced, but character is a trait built over years and is inviolate.  It is on display during good times and bad, and serves as the moral compass for anyone holding a position of trust.

This November our Nation will exercise the right to vote – a right guaranteed and protected by the men and women who have served, or are serving, in our Military.  I understand that the vast majority of Americans have already lined up behind a candidate, but I urge that those who have not committed remember that both the world, and history, will be watching how each of us uses our most fundamental democratic right. 

Are we still a nation that believes that character counts? Are we still guided by a strong moral compass?  

Charles C. Krulak, General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps

Filed Under: Featured . Politics

About the Author

General Charles C. Krulak served 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.  His last position was as Commandant of the Marine Corps and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He commanded a platoon and two rifle companies during two tours of duty in Vietnam and then held a variety of command and staff positions.  These included Deputy Director of the White House Military Office, Commanding General, 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigade during Desert Storm, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and Commanding General, Marine Forces Pacific. During his military service, General Krulak was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star Medal, three Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V”, two Purple Heart medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the French Legion d’Honneur Commandeur rank, and many other decorations and medals. Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, General Krulak joined MBNA America Bank as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MBNA Europe Bank, Ltd.  After four years in this position, he returned to the United States and served as Vice Chairman, MBNA America Bank as Head of Corporate Development, Mergers and Acquisitions.  General Krulak retired from MBNA in June, 2005. General Krulak was introduced as the 13th President of Birmingham-Southern College on March 21, 2011, and retired as of June 30, 2015. In addition, General Krulak currently sits on the Board of Directors of Union Pacific Railroad Corporation. He is an advisor to the Center for Naval Analysis, Human Rights First and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and The Altamont School, also in Birmingham. General Krulak is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has a Master’s Degree in labor relations from George Washington University.  He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Military Science, from Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences; and Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from both Pace University and Birmingham-Southern College. General Krulak is an active speaker at various national and local events and has published numerous articles related to Education and Human Trafficking. General Krulak and his wife of 52 years, Zandi, have two sons and five grandchildren.

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