FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Feb. 27, 2020) -- "The name above your left breast pocket (U.S. Marines) is who you are; never forget that. Being a Marine is the most awesome thing in the world."That was the message of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black as he spoke to over 100 young enlisted Marines Feb. 20, at the Marine Barracks. Virtually all of the Marines were Advanced Individual Training students at the Marine Cannoneer School.The Fort Sill Marine Artillery Detachment was one of Black's stops as he was out meeting the force.Black recounted his career, spoke about the future of the Corps, and answered questions from the
students.Ronald Reagan was president when Black enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1988, Marines were still assigned to ships; and the enemy was the Soviet Union. That's relevant because the Soviets were the last peer threat the Marines faced, he said.Today, the Marine Corps is undergoing a force design to again fight a peer enemy -- one who can match the U.S. military across every domain, Black said."The Marine Corps that has been fighting since 9/11 is a much different Marine Corps than we will need about 10 years from now, said Black, an infantryman. "During your career, whether it is four years or 30-plus years, you're going to see massive changes in how the Marine Corps looks," said Black, who will have 32 years of service in April."You're going to see new weapons systems, you're going to deploy to places you've never deployed to before, you're going to places that we were at 75 years ago," he said.Black said he is frequently asked when the next war will be.No one can know that, however, about every 10 years the U.S. finds itself in a significant conflict, the sergeant major said."Combat ended in the Middle East for the Marine Corps and the United States of America in 2014, 'officially,'" he said. "So, do some math."Black made time to answer questions and to provide his perspective developed
over his decades of military service.What can I do to stand out as a leader?, asked a young Marine.When you get up in the morning do what you can, as fast as you can, as best as you can, and don't take no for an answer until chow, then repeat the process throughout the day, said Black. "My recruiter, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Clarence White, told me that and that's kind of what kept me
going."What did you remain in the Corps for so long?"There a lot of reasons to get out of the Marine Corps, but there are 186,546 reasons to stay in the Marine Corps as of this morning's report," Black said. "There really is no other reason to stay in the Marine Corps except the Marines who are around you right now."A woman Marine asked the sergeant major's opinion on having females in combat arms."There is no difference between any Marine here," said Black, who is married to a retired Marine. "I know that you got the same recruit training as every male here, so Rock On!"Black concluded by speaking about standards."Remember the standard is the floor, it's what got you into the club," he said. "How well you perform above the standards will determine your success in the Marine Corps."