15th Marine Expeditionary Unit


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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit
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Featured Photo


Paying their respects

Recent Photos

USS Anchorage replenishes at sea USS Anchorage replenishes at sea
The Marines and Sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Essex Amphibious Ready Group conduct replenishment at sea with USNS Rainier (T-AOE-7) in the Pacific...
Marines aboard USS Essex maintain readiness Marines aboard USS Essex maintain readiness
U.S. Marines Cpl. Irving Alvarez, left, and Cpl. Andrew Ramirez conduct routine maintenance on a Humvee aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2) at sea in the Pacific Ocean, May...
Warrior Ethos: Mind, Body, Spirit at sea Warrior Ethos: Mind, Body, Spirit at sea
U.S. Marines and Sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Essex Amphibious Ready Group practice Marine Corps Martial Arts Program drills in the hangar bay...
Never Forget: 15th MEU, Essex ARG pay respects Never Forget: 15th MEU, Essex ARG pay respects
U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit take a moment of silence in front of the memorial of Cpl. Joshua Barron and Lance Cpl. Matthew Determan aboard...
USS Essex maintains combat readiness USS Essex maintains combat readiness
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nathan Baungartner, left, and Staff Sgt. Wayne Makinen work on an MV-22B Osprey in the hangar bay of the USS Essex (LHD 2), at sea in the...
15th MEU Marine gets promoted 15th MEU Marine gets promoted
U.S. Marine 1st Sgt. Arturo Cisneros reads the promotion warrant during Sgt. Jose A. Lopez’s promotion ceremony aboard the USS Anchorage (LPD 23) at sea in the...


Recent News Stories

15th MEU MRF gets back to the basics in Hawaii 15th MEU MRF gets back to the basics in Hawaii
U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force participated in sustainment training aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Bellows Air...
First in last out: MRF security element First in last out: MRF security element
Salt water splashes into the faces of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force as they cruise toward their objective aboard combat rubber raiding...
Leadership 101: Marine from Queens, New York Leadership 101: Marine from Queens, New York
The Marine expeditionary unit represents everything the Marine Corps offers. The Marines that comprise the MEU are the first responders to crises around the world....
MV-22 Hard Landing Mishap aboard Marine Corps Training...
One Marine was killed when an MV-22 Osprey from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit experience a hard-landing mishap while conducting training aboard Marine Corps...
15th MEU: Certified to deploy
U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed Certification Exercise, or CERTEX, while aboard the Essex Amphibious Ready Group’s three ships off...
State of Readiness: Force Reconnaissance Marines
Reconnaissance Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit wake early for a busy day of mission preparation and execution. With no time to waste, they begin their...



Leadership 101: Marine from Queens, New York


Story by Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos

Leadership 101: Marine from Queens, New York USS RUSHMORE, At Sea – The Marine expeditionary unit represents everything the Marine Corps offers.
The Marines that comprise the MEU are the first responders to crises around the world. Its successes are carried out by young Marines dedicated to maintaining a force in readiness. However, this would not be possible without exceptional senior leadership throughout the MEU.

At a glance Staff Sgt. David Long looks a man who’s close to retirement. His hands are callused and rough from years of working with his hands. His hair starting to turn gray from the stressors of a mentally and physically demanding job, his face careworn, and his voice slightly hoarse from the countless Marines he’s instructed over the past 16 years of service in the Corps.

The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” applies to Long; make no mistake he is very much in his prime. He’s a Marine who can still run and gun with his platoon, and demands that his men give their all every day. His leadership style commands the attention of those within ear shot and inspires those who listen.

The 35 year-old from Queens, New York, believes Marines perform better when they have a Marine leading them that they can emulate. He demands the best of himself and knows how to get it from those he leads.

In this interview Long, platoon sergeant with Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, shares how his leadership style developed, and how he’s managed to stay on top of his game for all these years.

Q: What inspired you to enlist in the Marine Corps?

A: I always wanted to be a Marine. I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was, but every time I saw a commercial I would think that that was what I want to do. For me, it was the best thing in the world, because I wanted a challenge and I knew I would get that as a United States Marine.

Q: You’ve served 16 years, why have you stuck with it?

A: Because I love it. The camaraderie you get, the experiences you get to share with other people, and the opportunities that are available you can’t find anywhere else. We get to ride around in helicopters, fire big guns, and be in the same maneuver space as tanks and [AAV-7 Assault Amphibious Vehicles]. A lot of people only get to see these things on T.V. I couldn’t have gotten to see the places I’ve seen anywhere else. Nowhere else would I have been able to visit different countries and train with their military and see how they operate. Even the rough times create a bond with your Marines that you won’t experience anywhere else. I’ve never had better friends than the ones I’ve had in the Marine Corps.

Q: Why did you decide to go infantry?

A: Really I just wanted to defend my country. It’s a little bit of that patriotism that I think everyone has, and if I was going to join the Marine Corps then I was going to go infantry. At the time I didn’t know why you would want to do anything else. The whole Marine Corps is developed around the infantry, why would you want to be a Marine and not want to be in the fight. Of course, as I got older I realized that everyone plays a role in the success of the Corps. We couldn’t do our job if we didn’t have the support we have from other [military occupational specialties]. If I had to do it again, I’d pick the same route.


Q: You are very outspoken and when you speak people listen. Was that a trait that the Corps instilled in you?

A: I’ve always kind of been like that. I think it’s kind of a family thing. In my family, if you had an opinion on something you spoke it, and backed it up with facts, or else you were never going to do what you wanted to do. That’s something I try to teach all Marines. It’s not enough to have an opinion on something; you have to be able to back that opinion up with facts. Do it tactfully, but know your job so you can bring something to the table. Nobody’s perfect. I don’t mind if a [private first class] tells me something as long as their tactful about it, and they can back it up with facts. To be a good leader you have to be outspoken. You have to be able to bring things up to people that you may not want to in an uncomfortable situation, because there may come a time in the battlefield where there is a better way to do something, and you have to be able to back it up with facts from doctrine, because that can ultimately lead to saving lives.

Q: What would you say is your style of leadership?

A: I’m not sure I can put a word on it. I can tell you that I demand the best from everyone, because that’s what I demand from myself. I want every Marine to know their job and perform it to the highest standard, because that’s what ultimately leads to success. Success can mean anything from winning on the battlefield to bringing everyone home from a mission.

Q: What is one of the most important lessons you preach to your Marines?

A: To know their job and to execute it as best as they can. As grunts, we rely on each other to accomplish the mission.

Q: Is being a staff noncommissioned officer harder in an infantry unit harder than a non-infantry unit?

A: I don’t think it’s harder. It’s just different. I’m not going to say one job is harder than the other. For example, [amphibious assault crewman] work extremely hard to keep their vehicles operable. I always see them down in the ramps working long hours to make sure they are mission capable, and they do an outstanding job of it. Everyone does their job to their best of the abilities. I will say that in the infantry the [staff noncommissioned officer] and officer relationship is different than other [military occupational specialties]. The platoon sergeant and platoon commander relationship plays such a crucial role in the fight. They have to be in sync to have success. Whereas in other fields that I’ve seen staff NCO’s take care of the day-to-day operations and get things done, and officers are separate and maybe they’ll come together once a week. In the infantry we are out there every day together training and enduring the same hardships. In that way, we’re different.

Q: What is your expectation for your Marines on this deployment with the 15th MEU?

A: My expectation for this deployment is that my Marines don’t become complacent while on ship. It can be a challenge being on a ship. I don’t want them to forget why we’re here and what’s expected of us. It’s hard because we don’t know where we’ll be or what we’ll be asked to do, so it’s important that they stay ready to act on a moment’s notice. I also want them to walk away with a better understanding for how important the nature of our job is. Not just to America, but to people around the world.

Q: How have you managed to keep going and not lose any of your speed or desire for your job?

A: I love what I do, and when you love something it really does bring out the best in you. It pushes you to stay on your game. I want to leave this institution better than what I joined. I want to give the next generation of Marines an ideal to strive for. They are the reason why I give it my all every day.

Correspondent: ramos.emmanuel@rushmore.usmc.mil

Recent Video

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U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit load onto MV-22B Ospreys aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2) off the coast of Hawaii, May 19, 2015. These Marines...
15th MEU Marines Demonstrate Raid Force Capabilities, Part 4 15th MEU Marines Demonstrate Raid Force Capabilities, Part 4
U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit load onto MV-22B Ospreys aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2) off the coast of Hawaii, May 19, 2015. These Marines...