News: Marines listen to living history during SNCOA Lecture series
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
QUANTICO, Va - Marines of all ranks crowded into the Alfred Gray Research Center to attend the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy’s annual Sergeant Walter K. Singleton Distinguished Lecture Series.
The purpose of the lecture series is to broaden the leadership perspective of the Corps' future enlisted leaders attending the SNCOA by inviting distinguished combat veterans to be the guest speakers. This year’s guest speaker was Gen. Charles C. Krulak, the 31st commandant of the Marine Corps.
It was Krulak’s first time formally speaking to a group of Marines since 1999. The former commandant covered a wide range of topics during his hour-long presentation, mostly the policies and directives that he established when he was in command and how they are relevant today. Subjects that are intimately familiar to present-day Marines such as the three-block war, the strategic corporal, asymmetric warfare and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory were all introduced to the Corps during his tenure.
His message to those currently serving was that there always a need to plan for the future wars and not solely focus on the battles being fought today.
“Forget about where you are fighting now,” Krulak said. “Someone better be thinking about where you will be fighting next.”
For those in attendance, hearing a former commandant speak was an extremely informative experience that they can share with their Marines.
“I will continue to push the idea of thinking about the future to any Marine in my charge,” said Cpl. Stephen Thomas, currently a student in Corporals Course. “What can you provide to the Marine Corps and what can you provide to yourself in a future war?”
The lectures have been conducted since 1999 in honor of Singleton, a recipient of the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in Vietnam.
On March 24, 1967, while serving with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Singleton single-handedly destroyed a fortified enemy position after carrying numerous wounded Marines across open ground to a safe area.
Before he was mortally wounded during this daring attack, he killed eight North Vietnamese and caused the remaining enemy to flee.
Singleton’s sisters, Carolyn Murphy and Lucy Harvey as well as his niece Sandi King, traveled to Quantico for this year’s lecture and to visit Singleton Hall, the barracks named for the Medal of Honor recipient presently inhabited by Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion.
“I just appreciate all that Marine Corps Base Quantico has done and everyone has been so kind, generous, and welcoming,” said Murphy. “We really appreciate it.”