By Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Set the example.
This time 38 years ago it was damn cold in Quantico, Virginia.
Marine Corps officer candidates had to break ice to negotiate the Quigley concluding the Endurance Run.
Crawling into the trench of frigid muddy water, following some 50 minutes of running and negotiating obstacles while clad in utilities and boots bearing light combat load and rifle, triggered an involuntary heavy gasp and shiver (and expletive or two) - then forward movement through the water and water-filled culverts.
All the while company staff paced the banks barking "encouragement" and quietly went about their serious business of evaluating candidates for commissioned service - to lead Marines.
Charlie 2 - 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company - started with about 60 candidates (as I recall).
April 25th, 10 weeks after reporting, 18 candidates pinned on the gold bars of second lieutenant.
Before the morning graduation parade our platoon sergeant handed each candidate a 3 x 5 inches lined index card ...
Learn to control your emotions, don't let them control you.
Speak firmly, simply & directly, avoid sarcasm & profanity.
Observe & study the bearing & demeanor of experienced leaders.
Know & adhere to regulations, thus setting an example of self-discipline.
Remember that 'spit & polish' is the immediate advertisement of a good Marine.
W. C. Cooke
Succinctly, Gunnery Sergeant Cooke summarized the round-the-clock example he set for his platoon of candidates - men he'd later in the day salute, address as "Sir," and inevitably later follow.
The Quigley is vivid in memory.
More vivid is Gunnery Sergeant Cooke and his leadership - a model to emulate still.
Reviewing his 15 square inches of timeless leadership again yesterday it dawned on me many - in uniform and not, Marine or not - serving our country just might benefit by making a copy and keeping it close to heart in coat pocket.
Gunnery Sergeant Cooke was the epitome of 'spit & polish' - immediately advertising he a good Marine.
In all on his hand-written charge, he practiced what he preached.
He set the example.
He retired a Chief Warrant Officer 4.
Semper Fi, Marine.