Response to Col Thomas Greenwood’s Letter to the Editor

by Dr. A.J. “Tony” Piscitelli

Let me begin by thanking you for reviewing my book, The Marine Corps Way of War {MCG, Marl 8), and for your response to Col Mike Wyly {MCG, Jull8). Your thoughts and insights have given me a new yardstick to further frame this important part of the Marine Corps’ history. I am in the process of completing a sequel to this history, and your review will, in some ways, help me to shape a more complete history of the Marine Corps’ warfighting philosophy, as you noted in your recent Gazette reviews.

When I started this work, I was encouraged by your late father to write my then-doctoral dissertation on maneuver warfare and how this topic became a lightning rod within the Corps. His guidance was, and still is, most valuable for my future work. As stated by Gen Alfred M. Gray, this was not a doctrinal but a philosophical renaissance, or evolution, in the Marine Corps.

As I stated in my preface, all errors and omissions belong to me. I apologize for any and all of those which you highlighted, which were cut from the first printing, reinserted incorrectly elsewhere in the book, or even omitted completely by the editor and, subsequently, the publisher. I am embarrassed, and this is an understatement, to say the least. Rest assured this will be rectified in my next work on Marine Corps maneuver warfare.

Again, thank you for your time spent in this important review of The Marine Corps Way of War and for all subsequent letters to the editor.

As for your latest missive regarding Col Wyly, let me address the following points.

It was never my intent to showcase the opposition and the negative tactics used to ward off the inevitable acceptance of a Marine Corps-centric maneuver warfare, as this, in my estimation, was conduct unbecoming of any officer in the Marine Corps. As far as halos are concerned, those who did offer opinions and recollections were forthright in the guidance that they gave me. You are responsible for the hagiography, not those who contributed to The Marine Corps Way of War. I wrote about the process, not the egregious detractions on and/or off the record.

As for the issue of a Marine Corps DNA and its contribution to this evolution, it must be noted that the ethic and ethos of the Marine Corps coupled with the notion of a Marine Corps “exceptionalism” uncovered the pre-existing environment for FMFM1.

Next, please re-read my conclusions and observations; I am an outsider looking into a fishbowl created by Marines. I am not calling for stagnation. I am more than aware, and have written, that the process must be ongoing and developmental if the Marine Corps is to maintain its preeminence as the world’s best fighting force. In essence, I did give credence to your “multi-domain battle” requirements, to those who now have the responsibility of carrying on the legacy of Gen Cray, Gen Bernard Trainor, Col John Boyd, USAF, and, most assuredly, Col Mike Wyly.

Lastly, you may consider the significance of the concept of military evolution and education as it applies to the Marine Corps. A narrow view cannot define the ownership of this change; a broader view of the situation is achievable. If the Marine Corps is, as you stated, sans concepts and doctrine while trying to attain a better operational performance and win in the battlespace, then all concerned can acknowledge the Marine Corps’ prior history and its contributions to the art and practice of maneuver warfare.

Again, thank you for your time and thoughts expressed in all of your comments.