Aug. 2012: Editorial

In this month’s issue of the Gazette we feature the winning entries in the Hogaboom Leadership Writing Contest. There were numerous thought-provoking and interesting entries. The winner is on page 12 and is titled “Leading With PTSD” by LtCol Michael D. Grice. LtCol Grice is no stranger to readers of the Gazette. Over the past years he has written 19 articles for the Gazette, and his entries have won the Hogaboom Contest previously and the Chase Prize Essay Contest. In his entry that won first place in this year’s Hogaboom Contest, LtCol Grice tackles a tough and almost intractable leadership challenge facing Marines today—posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His article has a unique and interesting perspective. Not only are leaders in the Corps today faced with the reality of subordinates with PTSD, but a not insignificant number of Marine leaders suffer from PTSD themselves. That is the nexus of LtCol Grice’s article. How do you lead when you yourself, the leader, suffer from PTSD? I believe this article will provide readers with an interesting perspective and, in many cases, interesting introspective.

Our second place entry was penned by Capt Byron Owen. It is on page 10 and entitled “A Letter to Our Young Combat Leaders.” Although it is addressed to the young infantry lieutenant who is about to go into combat as a leader of Marines for the first time, the article contains universal truths about leading Marines in combat. His advice and guidance are just as germane to a lieutenant who is a logistics officer in charge of a convoy as they are to a combat engineer NCO who is leading a squad on a route-clearing mission. The nonlinear and diffused nature of combat today makes his article valuable to any Marine leader, no matter what his MOS, who is moving out of the forward operating base and leading Marines on the other side of the wire.

The honorable mention in this year’s contest was won by LtCol Chris Richie for his article, “SPMAGTF Leaders in Action.” It appears on page 18. Using a humanitarian assistance deployment as a template, he relates how leaders at every level can make a difference in a difficult mission for which there is no checklist or template for success. His article contains points that are useful tools in any leader’s toolkit and points to ponder on how Marines rise to the occasion for some intangible reason that can only be labeled ethos.

There are several other articles on leadership as well as articles on tactics, counterinsurgency operations, amphibious operations, strategy, and more.We hope you find this issue engaging, informative, and useful. Once again, I encourage you to visit our blog at You will find interesting and provocative discussions on a range of topics that affect the Corps. Also visit our website at We post several articles each month, and by clicking on the comments section, you can comment on articles and agree or disagree. Unlike the old days in fire support, today silence is not consent. Let us hear your voice on issues that are important to the Corps and Marines.

John Keenan