MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – An ethical warrior is one who protects life, empowers the weak, and humbles the strong. This mindset, shared among those in our esteemed Corps, cultivates an impelling sense of responsibility for Marines to train consistently and vigorously, while at the same time displaying their exemplary physical, mental, and moral traits as a show of force to the enemy. The success of our nation starts with the development of the ethical warrior.
Commonly used as examples of ethical warriors, Spartans were challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at a young age in order to develop a mindset committed to winning wars and strengthening the bond between the individual and country. Their extreme methods, introduced early, gave the children the adversity needed to ensure the strong survived and joined the fighting force. The obstacles that were thrusted upon them were the main reason they have their reputation of being superior fighters.
While his hardships were not the product of societal customs and traditions, U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Mikael Marcy is a modern day warrior who knows first-hand the value of adversity. Marcy was born in Bountiful, Utah in 1988, and shortly after his birth he and his family moved to Saint Louis, Michigan. At three years old, his parents got divorced, leaving him to be raised by his mom and two older sisters. Eventually, his mother remarried, but his new stepfather was regularly in and out of jail and frequently abused his mom. Eventually, Marcy’s mom filed for divorce and his stepfather went back to jail for drug use and theft from 2001 to 2002.
“My mom didn’t trust him and I didn’t either,” Marcy said. “The last time he tried to visit, he threatened to kill her.”
After being in jail for over a year, Marcy’s stepfather went back to Detroit, Michigan to stay with his parents. Cautiously, Marcy’s family visited him from time to time, but one day his mother broke the news that she was seeing someone else, and Marcy’s step father didn’t take it well.
“The weekend after seeing him, he overdosed and passed away,” Marcy stated. “Looking back, this set the stage for [me as] a teenage boy to go in a downward spiral.”
Marcy would quickly descend down that spiral in the 8th grade, when he started partying and underage drinking. As his alcohol use became more frequent, his performance in school and sports suffered, and he was kicked off the basketball team for missing too many mandatory practices. As someone who deeply values the benefit and joy of sports, this would be one of the main reasons he decided it was time for a change.
His sophomore year, he focused on fitness, sports, and personal development. While spending time with his friend Kara, he met her dad, Mr. Scott Nemeth, who eventually became a father figure to Marcy. Mr. Nemeth, having four daughters and understanding the importance of family, would often let Marcy tinker in his garage, and the two would play golf together.
“Little did I know, this guy that took me under his wing would be baptizing my son 21 years later,” Marcy expressed.
With Mr. Nemeth’s help and support, Marcy excelled at sports and was eventually offered to be a walk-on for a college football team. Unfortunately, however, he separated his shoulder one day during wrestling practice and was unable to continue to play football. Instead of pursuing sports, Marcy decided to act on his interest in criminal justice and enrolled to Muskegon Community College. While learning criminal justice, he developed a new interest in law enforcement. Speaking to one of his professors about it, they informed him that having a military background could help his future in that field. Conveniently, a Marine Corps recruiter was visiting the college, and Marcy enlisted in April of 2007.
He started off his career as a private first class with the military occupational specialty of correctional specialist. As a correctional specialist, he processes, manages, transports, and supervises prisoners in and out of the brig. Slowly Marcy made his way up to the rank of gunnery sergeant and now serves as a brig supervisor. Along the way, he served in and challenged himself with many additional billets and qualifications, including controlled force instructor, Corporals Course faculty advisor, drill instructor, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor, and eventually, a fourth degree black belt MCMAP instructor trainer.
“Where I come from, not too many people are successful, and the Marine Corps has allowed me to escape that lifestyle,” Marcy said. “If I remained in it, I’m not sure where I would be right now.”
As a MCMAP instructor trainer, Marcy has led many belt advancements and instructor courses. On his journey to become an instructor, he learned the MCMAP disciplines, tie-ins, and techniques that improved his skills for his duties as a corrections specialist and as a leader. With this training, Marcy was better prepared to have leadership conversations with his Marines, something he wish he had more of as a junior Marine. These conversations allowed him to share his knowledge and ensure his Marines were given the necessary training to protect themselves while assigned to a military correctional facility. However, MCMAP doesn’t apply to Marines in just military police jobs.
“One misconception of the program is that combat conditioning is the sole purpose of MCMAP,” Marcy states. “This course equips you to become an instructor that teaches Marines how to survive in combat.”
MCMAP instructors are taught many lessons specifically chosen to reinforce the concept of the ethical warrior and allow them to train Marines so that they can conduct safe, realistic, and beneficial training events – training events that provide MCMAP students with the tools to both defend and develop themselves.
In the Marine Corps, leaders are expected to mentor, coach, and counsel Marines to better the organization and the individual Marine. As the days continue to count down in a Marine’s career, the wisdom shared between leader and follower should be continuous because one day that follower will replace the leader and will be expected to do the same. When Marines are inevitably called to fight, it will not be the experience of one Marine that will keep them alive and accomplish the mission, it will be the wealth of knowledge shared by generations of Marines that will guide them.
The events we experience in life, good or bad, shape who we are whether we like it or not. One of the most important things we can do is identify certain elements of the events and learn from them. For Marcy, not having a real father figure makes him want to be there for the four children he now has, and the lack of mentorship he had as a junior Marine makes him want to give back to the Marines he leads.
“I have done a lot in my career and am only a few years from being eligible for retirement,” Marcy explains. “They are the future of this organization and I want to give them everything I know to ensure they are fully equipped to take on greater responsibilities and challenges to be successful in the Marine Corps and when they return to civilian life.”
|IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JP
|BOUNTIFUL, UT, US