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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Equal opportunity for all Marines

By Cpl. Liz Gleason | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | May 13, 2013

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Capt. James Sherwood, series commander, Company  F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, teaches recruits about  equal opportunity aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 26.  Recruits are encouraged to confide in their drill instructors if they experience discrimination so that proper measures may be taken to resolve the issue.

Capt. James Sherwood, series commander, Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, teaches recruits about equal opportunity aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 26. Recruits are encouraged to confide in their drill instructors if they experience discrimination so that proper measures may be taken to resolve the issue. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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A recruit with Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, follows along in his textbook during the Equal Opportunity class aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 26. During the class, recruits learned about the resources available to them in case they experience discrimination.

A recruit with Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, follows along in his textbook during the Equal Opportunity class aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 26. During the class, recruits learned about the resources available to them in case they experience discrimination. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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SAN DIEGO --     After carefully stacking their weapons, recruits with Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, quickly filed into the classroom and waited for their second class of the day aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 26.
    “Today the recruits had a class on equal opportunity,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Jackson, drill instructor, Platoon 2129, Co. F, 2nd RTBn. “They learned about the Marine Corps’ Policy on equal opportunity and that they are all afforded a chance to obtain the same privileges and rights. It’s important that they know early on that we all treat each other equally in the Marine Corps—we’re a brotherhood.”
    As detailed in Marine Corps Order P5354.1D, the Marine Corps will provide equal opportunity for all military members without regard to age, color, gender, race, religion or national origin, consistent with the law, regulations and the requirements for physical and mental abilities.
    If recruits experience discrimination or any other equal opportunity issue they are encouraged to bring it up to their senior drill instructor so that correct measures can be taken to resolve the issue, according to Jackson.
    Unlawful discriminatory practices within the Marine Corps are counterproductive and unacceptable. Discrimination undermines morale, reduces combat readiness, and prevents maximum utilization and development of the Marine Corps’ most vital asset its Marines. 
    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, according to Marine Corps Order P5354.1D.
    “Unfortunately, I have dealt with some discrimination in the past,” said Jackson. “However the Marine Corps has done a good job at educating Marines on equal opportunity. If a problem does arise they have a good plan in place to mediate and resolve cases of unequal treatment.”
    Just as recruits can entrust violations to their drill instructors, Equal Opportunity representatives and advocates are assigned to every command for Marines to turn to for help.
    “The Marine Corps has become very diverse and has no tolerance for discrimination,” said Jackson. 
    During the class recruits are taught about the informal and formal complaint procedures. 
    The informal resolution system includes three different approach methods; the first is the direct approach in which the offender is confronted in person or through a letter stating the facts, feelings toward the behavior, and the expected resolution. Secondly, the informal third party in which a third person stands present during the confrontation. The third consists of the offended person requesting training or resource materials for presentation to the work place in areas of discrimination, harassment or inappropriate behavior.
    If Marines decide to use the formal resolution system they have the option to Request Mast, file a complaint through Article 138 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, redress of wrong committed by a superior, communicate with the Inspector General or individually communicate with Congress. 
    In the Marine Corps, diversity isn’t seen as a determent but instead as an advantage.
    “Diversity is an asset to the Marine Corps,” said Jackson. “We’re not all from the same place; we don’t all have the same backgrounds, upbringings or life experiences. We all bring something different to the table. By coming together and sharing our diverse values we can help each other and offer more to the Marine Corps.”
    Recruits arrive on the yellow footprints with their own unique story and learn to accept diversity from the beginning of recruit training. 
    “The first couple weeks of training were so busy and we were so taken up in the process that we weren’t focused on getting to know each other well,” said recruit Connor Borak, Plt. 2130, Co. F, 2nd RTBn. “We’re just now starting to get to know each other and are beginning to realize how different we really are. It’s a crucial moment now that the process is starting and we are discovering that the diversity is great and that all differences aside we are all here to achieve a common goal to become a Marine.”


1 Comments


  • Kim 1 years 98 days ago
    My moral values and ethical standards differ from many. Especially in the hard reality and harsh environment of the military, or even this world.

    To mention but a few: I'm Vegan, Virgin and Virtuous . If that disqualifies me for the services, then so be it. Because my integrity on those issues so all important to me mean more to me than inclusion in the services!

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