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Integrity and Honor April 2, 2015

Posted by Nick Noll in Uncategorized.
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Honor

High respect; esteem. A privilege.

 

When you join the United States Marine Corps you will either take a bus to Parris Island, South Carolina or San Diego, California to attend Basic Training. As young men from various parts of the country arrive late at night they are greeted by a Drill Instructor yelling at them on the bus to get off the bus. There they get off onto the yellow footprints. They stand as young men some barely 18 hoping not to be singled out for further attention.

One of the most critical things you learn, as a young recruit is the 14 Marine leadership traits. Among those leadership traits one stands above all: “Integrity”. A quick web search will reveal Integrity to mean: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness and or the state of being whole and undivided.” Leadership within the Marines is extremely important and it is bestowed upon young men who make critical life and battle changing decisions. Recent movies such as Lone Survivor or American Sniper give the American public a glimpse into the split second decisions made by men of integrity and honor whom have been called upon by U.S. policy makers to act in the best interests of U.S. national security.

As the wars continue to wind down the American public continues to see a myriad of integrity violations that lead to a loss of public trust in the leadership of this nation from Cabinet level officials, news anchors, and our highest enlisted Marines who serve in positions of authority but continue to betray the public trust and in some cases the trust of their Marines and honor of those passed.

Integrity in the Marines over the course of a career breeds a level of honor that is often reflective of one’s rank. The highest enlisted rank within the United States Marine Corps is the Sergeant Major (SGTMAJ). Through the course of a 20-30 year career to attain such a high rank the 14 leadership traits are continuously in use and enhanced through experience and professional training. However, just as in the case of the recent Veterans Affairs director Honor has been lost and integrity violated. Having read the biographical profile of SGTMAJ Kenneth C. Lovell III of the 3rd battalion 2nd Marines. A few errors were discovered from colleagues who served alongside the upcoming SGTMAJ. As in the case of Brian Williams there appears to be an attempt to amplify ones accomplishments in the public eye for future albeit notoriety or career ambition.

His original bio stated he: “…attended the Scout Sniper Basic Course in which he was an Honor Graduate.”

SGTMAJ Lovell attended the Scout Sniper Basic Course 3-98 at Stone Bay in Camp Lejeune, NC. The Honor graduate for the class was Corporal Aaron Pine who attained the rank of Sergeant before being Honorably discharged. Once the SGTMAJ was called to task for this claim his official bio was changed where it stated he was a distinguished graduate. No such recognition was made for a distinguished graduate at sniper school in 1998. Additionally, it was discovered through his picture that the SGTMAJ appears to be wearing two stars on his combat action ribbon in lieu of third award. The bio again was changed and now reflects two awards for combat action. The SGTMAJ was recently relieved of his command.

In exploring all levels of public trust one can only think of the statement: “What worries me the most, is our ability to govern ourselves.” maid by former Director of the CIA and DoD, Mr. Leon Panetta. It would not be an assumption to say he knows exactly what he is talking about. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come under scrutiny recently for betraying the public’s trust as our nation’s most senior diplomat. Cabinet level officials such as Mrs. Clinton hold clearances at the highest level and by nature of their very position are dealing with classified information almost exclusively and of the most compartmented nature.

When you hold a security clearance you sign a secrecy agreement and you are not allowed to take home or hold on your private email server anything related to the work you do. She has compromised her integrity, violated classified handling of material protocols and likely handed over critical information to foreign intelligence services through the use of a commercial and unsecured server per standards set forth by the U.S. government for the handling of classified material. If she could only handle one phone at a time there is surely a team within the State department that would have been capable of integrating any and all features she required to conduct her duties both privately and professionally.

What the public is seeing today and should be gravely concerned over going forward is this sense of entitlement and lack of integrity by both appointed officials and government agencies. Quite simply “The government makes the rules and the government chooses whether to follow them”. Look no further than the examples of Mrs. Clinton and the IRS loosing emails that suggest selective targeting of citizens of opposing political views to that of those serving in IRS leadership positions such as Lois Lerner. This is clearly an arm of the government weaponized against a group of its citizens. It is profoundly more egregious than that of the Benghazi scandal.

Integrity is it becoming a lost art among those who are in positions of authority and entrusted by the public, peers, and colleagues to protect, inform, and lead? Here are but a few examples at the Government, Military, and Corporate levels where public trust is lost for personal gain. It divides a workforce, weakens a military unit, and a public that demands strong leadership to drive us through the grave national security issues that exist today is divided. The United States stands strong today because “United we stand, divided we fall.” Leadership is key!

RHIP- Sgt. Major of Marines (3/2) Embellishes his Record.. SgtMaj. Kenneth C. Lovell III March 19, 2015

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Lovell2UPDATED:  The USMC has changed the bio and the original BIO has been cleansed from the Google Cache.  I have updated the post with a link to the original Bio.. In the Marine Corps the phrase “RHIP” or “Rank Has Its Privileges” is common. Along with privileges comes responsibilities…This post is one of the most difficult I have ever had to write.  I had reflect on whether to write this post but I have written similar posts on civilians and veterans who have Stolen Valor and felt it only fair to address one of ‘our own’ brothers (a sniper) who, in my opinion, has stolen the valor of other brave Marines. I don’t feel it is equitable to take civilians to task for something I am unwilling to take my own brother to task for…

In this case a Marine Corps Sgt Major Kenneth C. Lovell III (the HIGHEST enlisted rank in the Military) has embellished his record for reasons that he will not or cannot explain.  It is frustrating, infuriating and tragic.  When we consider why the Lance Corporal at the neighborhood watering hole feels compelled to embellish his record to pick up girls, we need look no further than this Sgt Major’s actions.  Shameful is too polite a word to use for his actions.  As the senior Enlisted Marine in the Battalion and one of less than 2,000 E9s in the entire Marine Corps, it is his job to carry the standard for enlisted actions.  Sgt Major Lovell was not just a Scout Sniper but was also a Drill Instructor and on the President’s Detail at 8/I.  This Marine, more than any, knows the regulations and responsibilities associated with being a leader.  His actions are inexcusable.

Sgt. Major Kenneth C. Lovell III came to my attention quite by accident.  His original biography was posted when he was assigned as the (not promoted…thank you Msgt. Miller for the correction) Battalion Sgt Major (THE senior Enlisted Marine in the entire Battalion) of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines (3/2).  Some Snipers noticed his claims of being a Scout Sniper PineSchool Honor Graduate. His original bio stated he: “…attended the Scout Sniper Basic Course in which he was an Honor Graduate.” You can read his bio (the original) here.  Not only was Sgt Major Lovell NOT the honor graduate of his class, but the actual honor graduate, Sgt. Aaron Pine (picture to left) is a Marine Sniper who passed away after his service in the USMC.  It is disturbing that a Sgt. Major Lovell would steal the honor from such a valiant Marine.  It is shameful and disgraceful on many levels.  Sgt Major Lovell has since changed his bio to read “Distinguished graduate”.  Let me be clear for those who are not familiar with Marine Corps Scout Sniper School.  For those few Marines who manage to graduate from Scout Sniper School and transition from PIG to HOG there are only two types of honors in the course….there is THE Class Honor Graduate (I finished about 12 out of 15..so not me) and the Class High Shooter …everyone else is simply a HOG and honored to have passed such a rigorous training course.  There is NO ‘distinguished’ graduate…that is, to be polite, complete bullshit and the Sgt Major knows this. Even his ‘distinguished’ graduate description is still wrong and disingenuous, at best.

Sgt. Major Lovell also claimed to have 3 Combat Action Ribbons (CAR) (see pic to left).  His original bio stated that he had : “…CAR3the Combat Action Ribbon with two gold stars in lieu of third award.” For those who are no in the Navy or Marine Corps, the CAR is a defining decoration. It is a ‘by name’ award that indicates that a Marine has been in combat.  Only 1 CAR per theater can be earned.  For any Marine, having 3 CARS would be an accomplishment.  This raised some flags.  When confronted, Sgt. Major Lovell amended his bio to include only 2 Combat Action Ribbon awards yet his picture shows him wearing 3.  This is not a simple oversight or mistake.  A CAR is a personal decoration and is coveted by Marines.  This was clearly an attempt to assume an honor that was not awarded.

I work with various groups that see stolen valor on a daily basis.  Often it is a coach telling his young players he was a “Green Beret” etc.  Often it is some young veteran who is telling his girlfriend he was a SEAL.  These are unfortunate and frustrating but relatively harmless.  When we have a senior enlisted Marine embellishing his record, it not only hurts other Marines who may be competing for promotions but it sends a very dangerous message that lying about military service is acceptable.  Sgt Major Lovell has disgraced not only the Marine Corps but the rank of Sergeant Major.  He should be ashamed yet something tells me he is not.   Sgt. Major…in the words of a Master Gunnery Sergeant that I highly respect…..”Square yourself away!”

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