NEAR KARMAH, Iraq --
The legendary battle posture of the ancient Spartan warriors holds a legacy of unparalleled discipline … until now. Marines from Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1 hold military discipline in the utmost, and the practice has brought them great success in the Al Anbar province here.
To this day, the company has uncovered numerous Improvised Explosive Devices and weapons caches, taken insurgents into custody and maintained three combat operations areas – without a scratch.
A glance around the companies’ present location, Combat Outpost Lincoln, is an indicator of the high mark of discipline. Sandbags almost excessively fortify living areas, battle art warns trespassers of impending doom, and the Marines are always clean-shaven.
The discipline, according to 2nd Lt. Joshua Hotvet, a Kilo Company platoon commander, is a critical aspect to succeeding in a hostile area.
“Obviously, there is a standard of discipline throughout the Marine Corps, and we definitely meet or exceed that,” said Hotvet, a native of Albany, N.Y. “Through our training and how the Marines act –even when bad things aren’t happening – (success) comes down to the Marines doing the right thing.”
Hotvet said he has been impressed with the Marines’ discipline not only in Iraq, but since his arrival to the command.
As a platoon commander, Hotvet oversees the conduct of his Marines reflecting that of his squad leaders, who all hold their Marines to high standards.
Sergeant Brady Perdue, a second platoon squad leader, said that in addition to maintaining a 24-hour presence in the area, local citizens are not only receptive, but overjoyed when visited by Kilo Marines.
“The people know who we are and they like us out here - we’re keeping them safe – and it’s not just because of tactics, it all boils down to discipline … getting down on one knee and watching out for the guy next to you.”
Looking around, Perdue gave immediate examples of his Marines’ excellent posture.
“As you can see,” said Perdue, “they keep their area clean, they bring out little knick-knacks to make the place more comfortable … and the biggest thing is that they separate work from play.”
Perdue stressed that Kilo Company Marines know when to relax with each other, but are peerless in battle.
“It doesn’t take an NCO or fire team leader to correct another guy … if someone is messed up, we let them know and that’s how we work.”
As a side note, Perdue also credited the undying support of the American people to the high motivation of his Marines.
“The support of the American people has been amazing, and these guys know their job over here isn’t for nothing.”
At the top of the discipline chain in any company stands the first sergeant. The company first sergeant is always the poster Marine – square-jawed and steel-eyed. The kind of guy you give up your bar stool to. First sergeants are historically notorious for booming corrections across expansive areas, parade fields and, in this case, combat outposts. Kilo Company’s first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Edward Kennedy, is relatively quiet. He doesn’t have to repeat himself, because he knows his Marines are “locked on.”
“I’ve heard rumors that this is the company the battalion never has to worry about,” said Kennedy. “Our (accountability) numbers are always correct, any administrative issues are always taken care of … in that regard, I know we’re doing well.”
Kennedy, a native of Las Vegas, said he believes basic attention to detail allows for battlefield success.
“It all goes back to the basics of discipline,” Kennedy said. “Wearing your uniform properly, wearing the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), hygiene … “ Kennedy paused, “I mean, success, the rest of the stuff just takes care of itself.”
The results, said Kennedy, are a testament to the success of individual Kilo Marines.
“I can’t even recall off the top of my head how many Kilo Company Marines have won meritorious boards.”
Kennedy, admitting that discipline starts with the Company Commander, said much of the credit also goes to his staff of outstanding leaders.
“It starts high, but I’m fortunate,” he said. “In twenty-two years, I’ve never had any one as great as (Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Murcia, company gunnery sergeant). I’ve got great staff NCOs, and I’ve got great squad leaders … they’re the ones responsible.”
Kilo Company Marines, like the warriors of ancient Sparta, will march into battle every day until their mission here is complete. And like the Spartans, the level of discipline in Kilo Company will bring the unit, along with BLT 3/1, unparalleled success.
For more information about Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, or the Fighting 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the Unit’s Web site athttp://www.usmc.mil/13thmeu.