You know, after 18+ years in the Corps and 12+ years in this field, you can still learn a whole lot.  I am considered to be a subject matter expert in my field, but I’m still learning this new aspect of the field in my now 18th month.  Many equate an inspection to just another “haze exercise” and this week couldn’t have been any further from one.  In my world, there aren’t too many people who know it better than I do, but I had the fortune this week to get some sage advice, understanding, and training from a ‘Jedi Master’ if you will. CWO4 Hank Cooke is a long time friend going back to when we were both enlisted and though he crossed over long before I did I have always respected his knowledge, leadership, and poise.

  I was pretty obstinate during day one because almost everything anyone said we should be doing, we were already doing. I wasn’t until Hank broke a couple of things down to me in a way I probably couldn’t have taken from anyone else on the planet that it made sense and I dropped my guard a bit.  It’s not always what you do that’s important….. Just because you ‘know it all’ doesn’t mean you can do things in any order you want to.  Even if you know exactly what and why you are doing something, you must ensure that you demonstrate that you are only willing to focus on what’s important at that moment or you risk allowing less important and cloudy issues to obstruct the process.  My Marines deserve a clear and consise message without all of the other long range thoughts clouding the moment.  Let others do their part and don’t overwhelm the process.

  I am extremely thankful to you Hank for coming and spending the time with my team and I; also too for the talk at the end.  I know we’ve come a long way and I really think we can get this to the next level.  Don’t forget where you came from and know I respect the hell outta you…

Semper Fidelis, Shannon