Are we really trying to get every Marine deployed?
As a combat arms officer who has not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, I have a biased opinion as whether or not the Corps is really serious about deploying ALL Marines to support the war. I have other peers that are in the same boat; it really is all about timing. If the CMC was really serious about deploying everyone, so we all could do our share, shouldn't there be a more concerted effort to get us all to the sandbox?
While I think I understand the Commandant's intent on this issue, I have to point out that there is a perception among a lot of Marines that somehow their service (or lack of service in Iraq/Afghanastan) is viewed as less valuable then those who have. I am certain that there ae instances of Marines "hiding out" in units not deployed to theater; but I am equally certain that the majority of the 60 some odd thousand just have not had the opportunity to go yet. I agree that commanders should work toward getting these Marines to units that are deploying when it comes time for the Marine to PCS, but I disagree with a lot of people that say that they should automatically be transferred once identified. It is unfortunate that some have had to deploy multiple times while some have not, but it is also inevitable.
My fear is that we will breed a contempt for those who have not deployed; this will also inevitably foster significant future problems. We will end up with a them/us mentality that will lead to hazing incidents and unfair promotion/career opprtunities. A Marine's service in a non-deployable unit is of no less value then any other. Every Marine who serves honorably contributes something valuable, let's not forget that.
This overlaps a bit with FSRG-type questions, but perhaps we need to take a hard look at what billets those who have not deployed are filling and determine if those billets can or should be civilianized or eliminated. This is by no means an argument as to the importance of any one billet (or the need to have places to put Marines so they don't deploy for a while), rather a suggestion that we've got four pretty solid years of data to look at. We also should take a hard look at those units that haven't deployed, or have only partially deployed, and figure out if there isn't a better way to employ those units and Marines (ie HQ Bn, 3d MarDiv, MHG, III MEF, H&HS 1st MAW, CLR 37, 3d MLG).
I recall a 1stLt (0302, USAFA grad) that decided to get out because there were no wars. Gad. That was in 1988. Note that LtGen Mattis' first war was Desert Storm. Lots of folks "miss" combat for a while, but the history of the world would indicate that there will be lots of conflict. Recent History - 1940 to present - shows that there are more conflicts vice less. There, sadly, is more than enough war for everyone.