Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Clyde Harris, the warehouse supply chief with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit here, knows about hard work, long hours and leadership. Harris, 33, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, said his experiences have carved him into the Marine he is today.
Joining the Marine Corps
Harris said he joined the Marine Corps on Sept. 21, 1999.
“The reason I came into the Marine Corps was pretty much I had nothing else planned,” he said. Going to college, he added, wasn’t in the cards.
“Actually,” he said, “one of my football coaches, when I played recreational ball, was a recruiter and it all started from there.”
Harris said he developed a “laid-back” leadership style.
“I like to observe before I react to anything,” he explained. “I like to learn; I don’t like to do what everybody else does. I take the good and I take the bad.”
He added, “I take the bad leadership and turn it into good, and I take the good leadership and make it better.”
Taking Care of Marines’ Welfare
Taking care of Marines and challenging them to do better are important components of successful leadership, Harris said.
“Know your Marines and look out for their welfare,” he explained. “The reason why, is because I make sure I push my Marines and know how far I can push them and that’s exactly what it means.
“It’s not just about taking care of them if they’re sick or want time off,” Harris continued. “It means to push them to their limit, and that’s what I do. I push them to their limit -- that way I know how much I can give them.”
Harris described himself as an unselfish type of leader.
“I’m not one to say I did this or I did that. I’ll give credit to the Marines before I give it to myself, and I make sure if someone needs something I do whatever I can to do it,” he explained. “I wouldn’t be like, ‘No, I can’t do it.’ I’ll use my resources and I’ll help them out regardless of who it is.”
Drill Instructor Duty
Harris said his time as a drill instructor was a career highlight because of the duty’s inherent challenges.
“It makes you push yourself and also shows you how to lead,” he explained. Leading others, he added, “puts you in a position where you have to take care of more than just yourself.
“You have to worry about drill instructors then you have to worry about recruits, too,” he continued. “I always wanted to be a drill instructor, even when I was in boot camp.”
Harris said a past incident in which he resolved some personal differences between two other NCOs was one of the most difficult leadership challenges he’s experienced.
“Having a sergeant come to you that has a problem with another sergeant, but we all hang out together and work together” was tough, he said.
“I think that was the hardest [thing]: breaking it down to them the best way to compromise because both of you are working together, because it was difficult,” Harris added. “The way I got through to them was I just sat down and talked to them and said, ‘Look, this is what needs to get done even though he might be senior to you or the other way around. You’re both sergeants. You’ll have to work together despite the differences you guys have.’”
With the National Football League’s all-star game in the rear-view mirror, anticipation for the league’s championship -- the final pro football game of the year -- begins.
The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the teams preparing to square off Feb. 1 in Super Bowl XLIX, shared their appreciation for U.S. service members serving overseas during media availabilities here yesterday.
Pete Carroll, head coach of the defending champion Seahawks, assured troops the team understands the sacrifice they are making.
“We want to make sure that you understand that the Seahawks know the work that you’re doing,” he said. “We just want to be more like you guys -- we herald the work that you do and the attitude that you bring. I know that the Super Bowl is really exciting to watch. It’s extremely exciting for us too, but if we could be a little bit more like you guys, we have a chance to win this thing.”
Carroll promised his team’s best effort. “So enjoy the heck out of it, and we’ll be thinking about you, and I hope you guys really enjoy the game,” he said.
Several players from both Super Bowl teams also joined in expressing their appreciation.
Kam Chancellor, a strong safety for the defending champs, offered not only his thanks, but also the gratitude of the team’s fans, who have a moniker that reflects their contribution to the efforts of the 11 Seahawks who are on the field at any given time.
“All the love from the Seahawks, [and] from the [12th man],” he said. “Kam Chancellor right here, man, wishing you the best.”
K.J. Wright, a Seahawks linebacker, said the team plans to “come out there Sunday and put on a good performance for you guys. Stay safe out there.”
His teammate, defensive end Cliff Avril, offered a “big” shoutout on behalf of the team and said the Seahawks hope to put on a show for the troops during the Super Bowl in appreciation of everything they do.
Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty also said his team hopes to put on a good show and thanked service members for everything they do. Matthew Slater, a wide receiver and special teams player for the American Football Conference champions, shared his gratitude for being able to play football for a living.
“Just want to give you guys a big hello,” he said. “And [we] appreciate all that you do for us, allowing us the freedom to play this great game of football that we love so much. You guys are the real heroes; we tip our hats to you. God bless you guys, and stay safe over there.”
Vince Wilfork, a Patriots defensive tackle, said U.S. troops are the “true patriots.”
“Thank you for everything you guys do for us,” he said. “You guys are the true patriots. You are everything we want [to be], so thank you for all the service you guys provide for us.”
“Brothers in arms” is a common expression among military members, but rarely do actual siblings directly complement each other's contributions to the mission.
At the 388th Fighter Wing here, Air Force 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush from the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are doing exactly that.
When it comes to the relationship between aircraft maintainers and pilots, Lieutenant Rush said, it’s important to maintain a close, professional relationship with the crew chief, because his life depends on the work done by the maintenance team every day he steps into a jet.
A Playful Rivalry
"We definitely joke about pilot versus maintenance," he added. "It is a playful rivalry, but we both realize that we 100 percent rely on each other."
Sergeant Rush has served in the Air Force for more than 10 years and was assigned to Hill AFB in January 2010. As a child, he said, he developed an interest in working with his hands, so when he was asked to build his list of job preferences, he filled all five slots with positions that fell into the mechanical career field.
"The opportunity just kind of fell into my lap," he said. "My grandpa was also in the Air Force, so it has always been in our blood."
Lieutenant Rush also followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, who also was a fighter pilot. While studying at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, he simultaneously worked toward a commission through the ROTC program at the University of Utah through a crosstown agreement.
First Salute Upon Commissioning
"With Brandon going to the Air Force, a lot of things came together that definitely made me want to fly," he said. "My brother actually gave me my first salute when I commissioned three years ago, so that was pretty cool."
After completing their training, Air Force pilots get a list of available bases to choose from, based on their respective aircraft training.
"There was one slot to Hill, and everyone knew I wanted it," Lieutenant Rush said. "I really like Salt Lake City, and my wife wanted to go to school at the University of Utah, which she is doing now. With Brandon being here, it was definitely an added bonus."
A Rewarding Tour of Duty
Sergeant Rush's tour at Hill AFB is coming to a close, as he recently received orders to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. But the brothers agree their time spent here together has been rewarding.
"My brother went out to help me launch my first flight here at Hill," the lieutenant said. "I am proud of him and what he has done. Having him be there made it more special for me than your average sortie. For him to launch me and give the salute -- that was pretty special."
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