BETTER THAN A SERGEANT?
The following is from Col Alexander's, "A Fellowship Of Valor" The Battle History Of The U.S. Marine Corps. This book is from the History Channel's presentation of the same title.
THE NCO WEAPON
The command responsibilities routinely given United States Marine NCOs would be entrusted to lieutenants or captains in the Soviet Army. Marine officers recognize the NCO's special abilities and accord them respect and room to operate on their own. New Marines principally learn Marine Corps values and traditions from their NCOs. It's why in the heat of battle, with officers dead and units fragmented, Marines have found formidible fighting leadership at any level.
That's why the legendary Colonel Lewis "Chesty" Puller reacted so calmly during the battle for Peleliu's Bloody Nose Ridge when an excited subordinate reported, "We've had such heavy losses we have nothing better than sergeants to lead our platoons!" "Let me tell you something, son," replied Puller quickly, "in the Marines, there is nothing better than a sergeant!"
The following is from LtCol Jon Hoffman's new book"Chesty...." Random House, 2001, page 365
"...The colonel put his arm around the platoon leader (who was wearing an NCO's jacket) and congratulated him: 'Great work, Sergeant.' Rickert recognized Devine and pointed out the mistake. Chesty was chagrined; he spat, said only 'Lieutenant?' and walked off. Devine, a mustang, was not upset. 'I knew, as most junior officers around me did, that he preferred sergeants to second lieutenants, but all the same, the junior officers were strong for him too.' A similar story circulated later about a captain who wanted to obtain a battlefield commission for one of his men because the NCO was 'better than a sergeant.' Chesty supposedly replied; 'Captain, there's nothing better than a sergeant.'35"
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