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Memo from the Commandant of the Marine Corps

Marines Don’t Do That
By: L. F. Chapman, Jr.Commandant


From: Commandant of the Marine Corps
To: All General Officers and All Commanding OfficersActive and Reserve
Subj: Marines Don’t Do That

1. Early this month I received the following note from a distinguished friend:

General Chapman:

“Recently I was in an air terminal……(Most people there presented a pretty sloppy appearance)coats unbuttoned, ties loosened, etc. There was a Marine Corporal (in uniform) who was just the opposite. I spoke to the Marine and pointed out the difference to him. I asked him why it was so? His answer was: ‘The Marines don’t do that.'”


2. “The Marines don’t do that.” A simple statement of fact which leaves no question in the mind of the listener.


  • Marines don’twear a scruffy uniform.
  • Marines don’tslouch around with their hands in their pockets. Marines don’twear long hair.
  • Marines don’tfail to respond with a “Yes, or No, Sir” when speaking with a senior. Marines don’trender a half-hearted or sloppy salute to the Stars and Stripes or to their seniors. Marines don’tgang up on each other.
  • Marines don’tquestion lawful orders.
  • Marines don’tlie or cheat or break their word.
  • Marines don’tabandon a fellow Marine in time of need.
  • Marines don’tlet down their fellow Marines by succumbing to drug temptation.
  • Marines don’tmeet problems with “It can’t be done” or questions with the easy answer “No.”
  • Marines don’tknock the system without recommending appropriate change. Marines don’t(the list is all but endless).

4. Marines don’t do that. But why not? Because they are a breed apart. They are not the run of the mill; they are but a few good men. They are proud members of an elite Corps. They are as well trained as-if not better than-any military outfit, anywhere. They have led the way, in war and peace, for 196 years. And they know that today they are ready-combat ready-to move out, any time, with the Navy, go anywhere, take on anybody, fight and win.

We must keep our balance, raise our quality, maintain our standards, and be ready to serve our Country. Marines do that!

/s/ L. F. Chapman, Jr.

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