United States Marine Corps

My thoughts on Marine Colonel Anthony M. Henderson….

Colonel Anthony M. Henderson, commanding officer of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, addresses Marines and Sailors aboard the USS New Orleans, Arabian Sea, Apr. 4, 2016. The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group/13th MEU team is currently deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility to support regional stability and security.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols/RELEASED)

The day a man of color is bestowed Edson’s Eagles will signal a paradigm shift in the Marine Corps.

The public won’t know when this happens, nor will all but a select few Marines. However, for this event to occur, the culture of the Corps must change to include the belief that the expression of the human biological proclivity for ethnocentrism weakens the individual Marine and the service as a whole.

To achieve this cultural shift, Marines such as Colonel Anthony M. Henderson, must be promoted beyond O-6. To create the most benefit to the Corps and our country, those promoted must be exquisitely qualified. Wide spread, authentic respect for the Marine officer is required.

Looking at Colonel Henderson’s bio from my amateur knowledge of the Marine Corps, I see a Marine worth considering for selection to O-7. He commanded the 1/6 so well he was promoted to O-6, plus his tours as an O-5 were treacherous and demanding.

As an O-6, Henderson was given command of a Marine Expeditionary Unit . The Marine Corps doesn’t trust command of a MEU to just anyone. At a moment’s notice the powerful unit may be called upon to deal with the world’s most extreme incidents. You can’t risk giving that command to anyone but the best.

Some have said Henderson is abrasive. Let me invalidate the idea that abrasive, forthright Marines may be more difficult to promote above the rank of O-6. The Marine Corps, over the centuries have embraced these qualities; I’m thinking in particular of the difficult relationships between Edson and Puller on Guadalcanal, and Edson and Shoup during the run up to Tarawa. I’m pretty sure I could dig up more examples; these are simply off the top of my head.

Some “political savvy”, the ability not to be abrasive, is required as a General Officer. But after watching General Neller’s confirmation hearing for his appointment to Commandant of the Marines Corps, it’s clear that what constitutes “political savvy” is broadly defined. General Neller’s responses to Congress were brief and on occasion curt.

Now then, I’d be interested in knowing how retired LtGen Vincent R. Stewart’s promotion to Director of Marine Corps Intelligence, followed by his appointment to Director of the DIA , influenced the MOS selections of non-white Marines. Did he inspire non-whites to pursue a career in intelligence? I suspect so. I hope so.

Colonel Anthony M. Henderson has been labeled a fierce warrior by the Marines he led. From my limited perspective I consider him real deal. He’s most certainly already inspired non-white Marines to follow him into combat arms. His selection as O-7 will further expand his influence.

If it were my decision I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to enrich, enhance, and strengthen the ability of our precious Marine Corps to fight as a more diverse, yet cohesive team by promoting Colonel Anthony M. Henderson to O-7.