Sometimes Marines think they are indestructible; to their own detriment.  Sometimes we have too much pride to say I need help or I cannot do everything.  Twice in my 30-year Career I had to tell my superiors they were giving me too much.

During 1992 I was an infantry instructor at 1st Marine Brigade, Schools Section.  I was the primary instructor for STA Course and an assistant instructor for the Squad Leaders and Jungle Warfare Courses.  It started with me being only a STA instructor (the only one).  The next thing I knew I was teaching Camouflage and Concealment, Radio Communications, Calls for Fire, etc. at each of the courses.  I was being overwhelmed with my primary job and all collateral instructor duties I was getting.  I went to the MSgt:

Me:  MSgt you are killing me.  I cannot teach at every course and maintain the STA course at the same time.

MSgt:  I thought you Grunts were supposed to be tough (he was an amtracker).  Stop complaining, the best instructor gets the job; you teach Camo, Comms, Call for Fire, etc. at the STA course, it should be no big deal to teach them at all the courses.

Me:  MSgt, this is BS.  I have to work twice as hard as any other instructor under you.

MSgt:  I do not care, SGT.  All I care about is that students get the best product possible.

Me:  But MSgt.

MSgt:  Stop SGT; it is how it is.

The OIC (Officer in Charge) heard the conversation and joined in.

OIC:  MSgt, what is going on here?

MSgt:  ……………….

OIC:  Sgt?

Me:  Sir, the MSgt is killing me with duties, way beyond my job description and it is hurting my primary duties with the STA course; and my non-existent family life.

OIC:  Are you saying you cannot handle your duties?

Me:  (Furious and about to lose my mind with these two)  Gentlemen let me put it like this.  I am like a finely tuned engine, they run great as long as you take care of them, but if you abuse them and neglect them, they BRAKE – sometimes forever.

Luckily for me soon after this I returned to 3/3 STA for anther deployment.

Fast-forward to 1995 when I was a Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST) Instructor at III MEF SOTG.  Being an HRST Instructor was good duty with plenty of time off.  That all changed when I became a Jump Master and took over all of SOTGs Airborne Operations in 1995.  To add to that, the DM (Designated Marksman) Course Instructors asked me to assist them from time to time.  Before I knew it was working at HRST, R&S and running Airborne Operations all at the same time.  It just got to be too much.  I went to the Colonel and MGySgt and told them it was just too much for me.  The MGySgt basically told me to STFU, but the Col listened.

Col:  What do you recommend SSgt?

Me:  Sir, I request to be transferred to R&S permanently and I will still run the airborne ops; just remove the HRST element and I think I will be good to go.

Col:  Done.

The next day I was transferred to the R&S Section.

The moral of the story:  If you are being screwed, and you do not say something, then shut up and stop complaining.


Photo:  FBI SWAT Course MTT 1993.  I was the primary instructor for US Army and Marine Corps PMs, SWAT officers from HPD and SEALs from SDVT-1.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By David Devaney

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

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