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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Equal opportunity is a leadership issue

By Staff Sgt. Juana L. DeLosSantos | | September 14, 2012

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Retired Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman once wrote “the lifeblood of our Corps is Marines, and without Marines, there can be no Corps.”  The Marines Corps has prided itself in maintaining its traditions, customs and courtesies, and most importantly its leadership for more than 230 years. 

One of the ways the Corps continues to develop its leadership and team effort is through the Equal Opportu-nity program.  People here sometimes mistake the Equal Opportunity program with the Equal Employ-ment Opportu-nity program; however they are different. The largest disparity between them is that one applies to the military and the other to civilians. 

As military members, we have signed a contract to protect and serve our country, and therefore, cannot seek retribution against the government. It is also imperative to know the various protected categories that fall under each program. 

For instance, the military does not recognize disability as a protected category, but the civilian sector does. 

Just like any other agency, the military is governed by laws, policies and directives. 

As such, Marine Corps Order P5354.1D with Chapter 1 is the Equal Opportunity Manual that guides the Marine Corps in all equal opportunity matters.  It states the “policy of the Marine Corps is to provide equality of treatment and the opportunity for all Marines to achieve their full potential based solely upon individual merit, fitness and ability.” 

There is no tolerance for discrimination or sexual harassment in the Marine Corps and fostering a cohesive working environment ultimately assists in completing the mission.

Marines and Civilian-Marines have the arduous task of ensuring they provide the best of themselves for the mission and the support of the warfighter. 

In order to do that, individuals must be aware of the importance of their leadership roles and how those roles pertain to the dynamics of the units they are in.   Leadership is the foundation in which equal opportunity is created.

As Maj. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, stated in the Marine Corps Logistics Command Commanding General’s Statement of Equal Opportunity, “equal opportunity is a leadership issue - equal opportunity and leadership combined equate to mission readiness.” 

A combat ready force is necessary, but a mission ready unit will always be effective.  This is and will forever be the legacy of the Marine Corps.


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