The Marine Corps is America’s expeditionary force in readiness, thus requiring all personnel to maintain a high state of readiness for whatever challenges may come. Safety is central to readiness, whether we are engaged in combat, training, or on liberty. All leaders must guard against reckless behavior, both at the unit and individual level.
Marines and Sailors in CLB-13 will inevitably operate under high risk conditions while performing their duties. Expeditionary operations are inherently dangerous. Our Marines and Sailors will also be exposed to hazards while off duty. Ensuring the safety of our personnel is no small challenge, and it demands awareness, leadership, and supervision on a continuous basis. Leaders must connect with our Marines and Sailors on a personal level, ensure we are aware of the risks that are present, and take prompt action to mitigate those risks. Leaders are responsible for unit-wide understanding and compliance with the Marine Corps Safety Program, and they must foster a safe environment at all times and ensure adherence to command safety regulations.
During real world missions and training, unit leaders will effectively implement and use the operational risk management (ORM) process. ORM will be incorporated into standard operating procedures, operations orders, and training plans. Leaders will ensure proper safety equipment is on hand and conditions are as ideal as possible for safe mission execution. Everyone in the battalion is responsible for identifying and calling attention to unsafe conditions is authorized to cease training if they determine conditions to be unsafe, and will immediately report the incident via the chain of command.
An emphasis on safety is equally as important during liberty, leave, and off duty hours. The loss of even one Marine or Sailor to risky and neglectful behavior off duty is unacceptable. Alcohol and drug use and abuse, fatigue accompanied by poor judgment, and unsafe operation of vehicles and motorcycles are just a few examples. Over time, laziness, overconfidence, poor preparation, inattention to details, and negligence will inevitably lead to injury or death. Strict discipline and attention to detail will always be used to enforce safety regulations. There is no excuse for taking shortcuts that violate safety standards.
We are a nation at war, and our duty is to operate on the forward edge. Marines and Sailors are bold and aggressive by nature. Risk and dangerous conditions will always be present in our lives. Strong leadership, sound thinking, and solid planning will ensure risks are mitigated regardless of operational complexity. These safety programs and policies are about you, the individual. My primary concern as your commander is your livelihood and your ability to live a long, prosperous life and to serve your country with pride and professionalism. Be smart and understand your environment. Taking care of each other is paramount to success. Help or advice is never more than a phone call away.
Lieutenant Colonel George W. Markert, U.S. Marine Corps