A Retort to Mr.

Ricks and Major Slider
I was disappointed in Mr. Tom Ricks’ publishing of the letter from his friend, Major Slider,
who was lamenting his release from active duty from the U.S. Army due to a DUI he had received
earlier in his career. I am a Marine officer and I too received a ‘black mark’ earlier in my career due
to my failure to uphold the high moral code of the Corps. I knew my mistake would mean I would
not be assigned to select posts nor could I expect to be selected to command, and I wasn’t.
However, unlike Major Slider, I felt remorse only for the mistake I made and I harbored no ill will
towards the Marine Corps whose high standards I had failed to live up to.
I chose to join the Marine Corps and I was well aware of the high standards required for military
service. Military standards are and should always remain higher than those of civilian society and
so when I came up short, I accepted the consequences and continued to seek to serve as long as the
Marine Corps would allow me to serve. As I watched my peers get promoted and selected for
command the temptation to be bitter was always lingering, but I always reminded myself that it
was I, not the Marine Corps, that had failed. Serving the Marine Corps was an honor the Marine
Corps bestowed on me….it was not an honor that I bestowed on the Marine Corps. The permission
and right to wear the Marine uniform was a privilege bestowed on me by the Corps, not some
deserved privilege that I had acquired through my own self-absorption. Whether I served one year
or twenty years, the honor I had to serve was not a sacrifice, it was an honor that was bestowed on
me and I will always owe a tremendous debt to the Corps having taught me to be better then I
believed myself capable, even if I didn’t get to serve as I might have wished.
Like Major Slider, I failed my service; but unlike Major Slider, I don’t expect my service to
compromise its standards because I could not live up to them. The Marine Corps and the Army are
services of honor and pride because of the standards and moral code they uphold. And if soldiers
and Marines like Major Slider and I cannot maintain such standards there are thousands of fine
officers behind us with a stellar record who will gladly take our places and serve in a more
honorable fashion.
Semper Fi,
Lloyd Freeman
USMC LtCol(ret)

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful