Marine Corps Commandant: Arm Officers On Duty and Staff NCOs

Marine General Jim Amos (courtesy

The massacre at the U.S. Navy Yard has The People of the Gun protesting the existence of gun-free zones. Again. Still. Less well reported: the reaction of hundreds of thousands of military men and women; disarmed Americans not well pleased about losing their Second Amendment protections the moment they step on a military facility (if not before). Obviously, they can’t grumble publicly. Not about the Navy Yard shooting nor the workplace violence terrorist attack at Fort Hood. But this dissatisfaction with disarmament extends up the ranks. We caught a rare glimpse of this pro-gun position via‘s Commandant calls for new crackdown on barracks life, Marine behavior . . .

The Marine Corps commandant wants tough new measures put in place in barracks across the service to “reawaken” it morally and crack down on bad behavior, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Gen. Jim Amos delivered his plan Monday to his senior officers during the General Officer Symposium at Quantico, Va. It calls for a variety of new initiatives, including the installation of security cameras in each barracks, the incorporation of more staff noncommissioned officers and officers on duty, and the arming of all officers on duty and staff NCOs on duty at all times, according to briefing slides from the commandant’s address.

While the spree killings on military bases no doubt influence Gen. Amos, another lower profile shooting, reminiscent of ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ triggered his call to arms.

Amos’ presentation to general officers came six months after Officer Candidates School at Quantico was put on lockdown late March 21 following an apparent murder-suicide. Marine officials said Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, shot and killed Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, and Lance Cpl. Sara Castro Mata, 19, before turning his gun on himself. All three Marines were staff members at the school, considered a revered proving ground for prospective Marine officers.

No doubt the General’s push for arming his officers and NCOs will fall on fallow ground.

The decision to disarm military bases—DOD Directive 5210.56—was a political one implemented during Bush the Elder’s administration and allowed to continue to present day (just like Bush I’s Gun Free School Zones). It will take a major political push to repeal these affronts to common sense. Meanwhile, Marines and other servicemen and women will be [literally] sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. [h/t SS]


  1. You know how the President passes a law? He doesn’t… Congress Does!!!
    You know how the President raises taxes? He doesn’t…. Congress Does!!!
    You know President Clinton passed a Balanced Budget Agreement? Of course, all he had to do was wait 6 years for a Republican Majority and it was simple…. all he had to do was take the one that the Republicans submitted, put his name on it, and tell the Republicans that they would go down in history as lairs if they refused to sign it… so when they signed it, Clinton go the Credit.
    You know that George Bush repealed the Balance Budget Agreement? All he had to do was wait until there was a Democrat Majority in Congress and it was shoved up his ass…. about the same time Bush disarmed all of the soldiers on military bases.

    Question: When will people pull their heads far enough out of their asses to realize that the President is not the problem….CONGRESS IS!!!!!

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      You are half right (which does not make you middle of the road). Unless you have a super-majority in both houses of Congress with which to over-ride a presidential veto it takes the House of Representatives, the Senate, AND the president to pass a law.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      No, it’s a DoD Directive, not a law, which means whoever the proponent in the Pentagon was took it to the Secretary of Defense for signature to make it effective. It was certainly politically motivated, and arose from the best of intentions (protect those poor defenseless garrisoned soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines). Sound familiar?

      God speed, Gen. Amos!

    3. avatar Tarrou says:

      You are completely right, and totally irrelevant. The military is commanded by the president, and he doesn’t need Congress to issue commands to the troops. The president, not congress, gives the orders. The president, not congress, appoints the SecDef and chooses the generals.

      Congress can protest by not funding the military if they want, but the president has all the direct authority over military policy. This is why it is a dumping ground for social experimentation. Every president can fuck with it and not answer to anyone.

  2. avatar Some Guy says:

    I gotta say, I like this idea. I always felt kind of dumb doing “security” checks as an LT on staff duty. If there were any thieves or terrorists creeping around, its not like I could have done a whole lot besides calling the MPs and hoping they felt like responding instead of giving people speeding tickets for doing 17 mph in a 15 mph zone…

    The effect this would have would be to ensure that every battalion-sized footprint and above would have at least 2 armed personnel on duty, even if its only with M9’s. And since there’s no way in hell they’ll let us carry personal weapons anytime soon, it might be as good as it gets, since having every single person draw their rifle and ammo every day is just not feasible, and brings a whole new set of problems with it.

    Plus, it means all officers and NCO’s would have to qualify with M9’s, which means more range time!

    1. avatar Tyler3923 says:

      +1 For more range time with gov. ammo.

      1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

        I hear DHS has stacks of ammo…. To bad they wont share.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          I thought I read recently that they “can’t find” a lot of their ammo…

  3. avatar Roll says:

    Say it with me;
    I love the Marine Corps…

    1. avatar Jay1987 says:

      Wow leave it to the jar heads to come up with a simple and elegant solution… why can’t the rest of the armed forces go back a lil and pull stuff like this out?

      1. avatar ag189 says:

        The Navy already does this on all their ships.

        1. avatar Rick says:

          I wasn’t aware the Navy ever STOPPED doing this in port…

          “One for the Corps!”
          “One for the Commandant!”

          Let’s make E-6 and above and an officer’s commission MEAN something again.

      2. avatar USArmy1SG says:

        Jay1987, Can’t call ’em “jarheads” anymore, scientists figured out that you can grow a brain in a jar.

        1. avatar Dave says:

          Yea that make sense lets just sit on this website and just bash each other’s branch when there is a bigger picture going on with our government. Army of One, cause that’s all that you are thinking of is yourself. Good job

  4. avatar ensitue says:

    Wow. Like me, someone reached back in history to a Time Before Progressives and pull some common sense outa his ash!

  5. avatar Chad says:

    Sounds like typical military officer elitist bull to me. Arm the highest ranking and leave the rest of the troops defenseless. Thanks, but I prefer to defend myself instead of relying on the guys who sit in the rear while the fighting is going on.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Sounds like someone who wasn’t in.

  6. avatar MurrDog says:

    Good plan until a drunk marine just back from deployment gets in a fight with the duty and gets shot. Staff and officers get to carry because the marine corps doesn’t trust the people it sends to fight and win America’s wars with weapons in the rear.

    1. avatar Eric says:

      Exactly, as a loadmaster on a Marine C-130 I’m apparently trustworthy enough to ensure that a 70 million dollar aircraft won’t crash due to improper cargo loading, but I’m not trustworthy enough to carry a weapon for my own defense.

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          That was pretty fantastic.

  7. avatar Tactical Dad says:

    Want to get the Grunts back in line? Make the NCO’s live in the barracks. Opps… Make that “the Married NCO’s” live in the Barracks Monday-Friday to supervise their squads after hours behavior.

    Signed… Bitter Single E-4 too stupid to rent an apartment with other E-4’s / E-5’s off base on weekends who then turned off cell phones and ripped land line out of wall on Friday night.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Marines with guns? On a military installation? During wartime? What an absurd idea.

    1. avatar JeremyR says:

      The truth about the Tet Offensive is that the paymaster shorted a lance corporal 11 cents, and that kicked off the whole show that resulted in the destruction of Hue. Ho Chi Min was a fall guy.

  9. avatar 0351 says:

    In truth, the level of drinking in the military and especially the Corps makes having everyone armed at all times slightly problematic. Good luck solving the drinking problem. However, I decided long ago that to reinstate the marriage prohibition for E5 and below was essential. Move the NCOs back into the barracks and start taking constant responsibility. Then move the armory cage into the barracks and let the barracks duty as well as battalion duty have a key, and make sure you have ammunition as well. Also stop wearing cammies in non – field conditions. Some people wouldn’t like it. Screw em for being unprofessional. And that was from a Grunt E4’s perspective. I was not alone in thinking this.

    1. avatar Jay1987 says:

      Ahh the E4 mafia solving the world’s problems one innovative thought at a time I’m with you on the marriage ban I’ve seen too many Joes butt raped in a divorce after a deployment the drinking thing is simple blacklist the bars… as for civvies when not in a tactical environment how would Joe tell rank and too many higher ups would think Joe would be thinkin he’s SF.

      1. avatar JeremyR says:

        Jay, he wasn’t talkingcivies, he mean the old pickle suits from the 70’s and earlier. They were rugged, easy to clean, and looked sharp as hell when starched. I hung onto my sets until the very last day. BDUs belong in the field. In garrison, they are a nightmare. the grease and oli routine of the average motor pool destroys them for their intended use. They were cheaped as well, 1/3 the cost of the original BDU, and about 1/10 of a set of multicam.

        1. avatar Jay1987 says:

          Ahh the old pickle suits… only one small problem with those and the old black boots you’d have to re teach a lot of the newer soldiers ( post 2005) how to polish boots and iron uniforms its a lost art. as for the old salad suits i miss those as well they last a helluva lot longer than these damn acus and multi cams in the field i still have both my sets from basic back in 05 with no rips or tears yet every pair of acu i owned has been replaced at least twice. also for those in the motor pool they do issue coveralls at least my unit did.

  10. avatar tdiinva says:

    Back when my dad was in the Army before the Second World War officers and company NCO weren’t just allowed to carry their sidearms they were required to carry them while on duty. Traditionally the sidearm was the officer’s and senior noncom’s symbol of authority.

    During the war when my dad was airborne cadre when he took troops on a 20 mile forced march with full pack and equipment they carried the full complement of small arms ammo for their M-1s and 45s. The Machine gunners carried the standard of load of ammo as well. How else could you get ready for the physical stress of combat unless you trained that way. The grenades were dummies. They weren’t that trusting.

  11. avatar ST says:

    Another great idea which will die on the vine. Comissar Obama has enough problems without arming thousands of people stateside who hate his guts and what he stands for.

  12. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    As an officer, I don’t agree with arming only officers. I know a lot of soldiers I would feel perfectly safe with them carrying.

    1. avatar pyratemime says:

      Good thing they want to arm some of the NCOs as well then.

  13. avatar Jus Bill says:

    From a former officer and Pentagon policy wonk, arming *everyone* has three major drawbacks:
    An administrative paperwork nightmare
    Potential for an extraordinary number of NDs
    An amazing number of lost and stolen weapons (see #1).

    1. avatar JeremyR says:

      Simple solution, make noncoms buy their side arm. Most would do it in a heart beat. heck, some PFCs would have their bought before the first mention of them for corporal was ever made. Army here, for you jarheads, make that a Lance Corporal. Several units I served in, we had officers and NCOs who owned their own AR, and would bring their personal upper on training missions. Mine stuck out like a sore thumb, A-2 bbl with an A-1 rear sight, and the deflector bump.

  14. avatar David Hapney says:

    I entered the military years before this DoD directive went into effect and retired in 1988. I was military law enforcement…The same rules were in effect before this directive was ever signed by an UNDER SecDef.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      Those rules are part of the military “risk management” culture – which needs a root canal.

      I hate to say it, but I’m with the wehrmacht. 1% training casualties are acceptable, as long as it produces soldiers, noncoms, and officers, who will fight. And before I get a bunch of flak from the armchair generals who never deployed – I’ve deployed, and the officers have no idea their decisions have consequences, because the training cycle insulated them from that. Senior officers are no longer relieved.

      We have to fix our broken system of officer selection and training, and the only way to do that is to replace the unreal, PC, career process with one that’s based on real world outcomes. You make mistakes in combat, men die.

      Instead, we have soldiers, noncoms and junior officers who fight, and field grades who are so compromised by their career they either have to end it (aka Alan West) to do the right thing, or compromise to advance and become part of the problem.

      The officer corps needs an overhaul.

    2. avatar Rick says:

      And those were The Bad Old Days before Shall Issue CCW, so even if you DID carry on base, you’d have to disarm to go home.

  15. avatar DJ says:

    The chain of command, with the possible exception of this guy, are an unmitigated group of Papa Uniform Five Five Yankees.

    It’s becoming impossible for a person of conscience to serve. I’m not sure if that is coincidence or enemy action.

  16. avatar Stephen Rivera says:

    I saw some of Amos’ suggestions, and I don’t care most of them.
    as a former 03′ most you guys have no idea how miserable it is being a single enlisted Marine in the Marine Corps.

    E1-E3 tend to be crammed 3 per room in most barracks. They will share a single head with their neighbors next door. The rooms are about 15’x18 feet or so, and include one lockable desk/personal locker and one lockable foot locker.

    Since the CMC is forcing all single NCOs to move back to the barracks (which are overcrowded as it is)
    You’re going to see a mass exodus of NCOs leaving the Marine Corps instead of re-enlisting.

    I lived in the barracks for five years out of my eight years in the Corps. It was miserable. When you’re a “boot” you’ll have senior Marines pounding on your door and dragging you out for every police call and bitch working party imaginable. You also have no privacy.
    I don’t condone it, but I personally knew a lot of Marines who got “married” to some girl they didn’t live with or love simply to be able to live off base and make more money. Usually the girl would get free naval healthcare and maybe a few hundred bucks a month kicked back from the Marine she married.

    Long rant there. Regarding the whole Marines armed on duty, usually the OOD and SNCOD are armed. (at least for USMC grunts). The duty NCO and A/duty aren’t.

    Also, most Marines bases have “Camp Guard” which responds to emergencies which might go down on base. They are armed, and are comprised of Marines who are about to get out of the Corps or in some kind of in-between status where they aren’t with their parent units yet.

    I appreciate that Amos is trying to solve a hard problem, not only the threat of terrorism on bases, but also that of drunk Marines and rapes. The biggest problem in my mind is that the Marine Corps garrison life sucks. A lot. Forcing disgruntled NCOs to give up their weekends, and I’m talking guys who made 3-4 pumps to Iraq and Afghanistan to move back on base and putting them under the thumb of some bullshit rules is just going to force the smart Marines out of the Corps. I wouldn’t stay in. Just a few thoughts.

    1. avatar Chad says:

      Only 3 guys in a 15×18 room? Hate to hear all the whining if marines ever had to deploy on a submarine.

      1. avatar Louis says:

        Whatever happened to open bay barracks? Did that for quite awhile early in my Navy career. As for submarines, try living on a WWII destroyer with canvas bunks 3 men high, and a small locker area underneath divided into 3 compartments for them . The only advantage is I got to go out on deck. For those Navy vets, it was a Gearing class, the small one.

      2. avatar Stephen Rivera says:

        I agree that compared to subs I sound like I’m bitching too much, but the fact of the matter is that once you cram all the furniture and what little personal belongings you can into the room, it’s down to about 30 square feet of area in those rooms.

        I’ve never been on a sub, although I have been crammed into the berthing areas of a ship one WESTPAC, and I agree that it’s very tight. The problem is that the Marine Corps has this bad habit of making things more miserable than they need to be. For instance, when I was on that ship, after rising every day and eating Chow/getting PT in, we often didn’t have anything to do.
        This meant a lot of down time. Our command decided that it would be a good idea to enforce a policy forbidding Marines from laying in their racks until turn in time. Keep in mind that there was literally no place else but the berthing areas to hang out. this was a small deck. (Harper’s Ferry)
        So while we weren’t allowed to lay in our racks, we were allowed to sleep on the floor outside our rack. This resulted in 50 marines lying on the floor in one tiny berthing area clogging up the floors.

        I’m just giving this as an example. The Marine Corps does stuff like this all the time. I don’t really hate it, I just see it as a big, dumb animal that is very effective at fighting, partially because Marines are so pissed off all the time.

        So the entire point I was trying to make was that most Marines who are grunts are on (or were on when I was in) a 7 month cycle. 7 months deployed, and 7 months back home.

        Throw in desert training which is 5 weeks in 29 palms, and a myriad of other training packages crammed into the mix, and you’re actually only “home” about 2-3 months out of every year and a half. Privacy is a commodity, and Marines resent putting in that kind of time and effort to be treated like five year olds. Especially once you’ve had bullets flying past your head, you’ve dodged IEDs disguised as garbage had incoming 3x a day for seven months. /End of rant.

  17. avatar Yetteman says:

    I served with one of the Marines killed in the Quantico shooting(Cpl Wooley) before I left the Corps. He actually gave me my YetteMan call sign. That being said when I was at Quantico(we served together on a different base) it was already a requirement for the Staff and Officer duties to carry. With how little the Duty SNCOs are in the barracks(I don’t recall ever seeing the OOD in the barracks there) I do not think this will help at all. If they are going to disarm every Marine than every duty needs to be armed.

  18. avatar RLC2 says:

    Hmmm. I am going to defer to the actual Marines here. Semper Fi.

    Personally I dont see a problem with all ranks in weapons qualified MOS being armed on base, while on duty. We train them to go kill bad guys in far away places but cant trust them when home?

    A better solution to behavior issues is deal with the individual problem person, than top-down one-size fits all. Get drunk while armed, lose your weapon. Do it again, lose your job. Soves the down-sizing challenge and weeds out the nitwits.

    Say, Marines, isnt Gen Amos the guy who wanted to throw the junior Marines and Company CO under the bus over pi$$ing on the Taliban –

    Not to get too far off topic, but whats up with that?

  19. avatar Andy says:

    Give them an equal chance to protect them selves.Military use weapons when on exercises,or are in a war zone,and politicians think the military can’t be trusted while on base here in the States,ridiculous!Myself the way things are now-a-days it’s the politicians that I don’t trust,because every time we turn around they are passing laws that curtail more of our freedom,or spy on us to see who will be against their push for the government taking full control of this country.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  20. avatar shawn says:

    So GW came up with gun free zones and all those are blaming Obana for it. GW is still the worst President.

    1. avatar Col. Angus says:

      “Obana” (sic) has had five years to change the policy, but hasn’t. That makes him worse.

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Can someone tell me, where does the United States Constitution state that members of the military do not have a right to keep and bear arms?

  22. avatar SD3 says:

    “No doubt the General’s push for arming his officers and NCOs will fall on fallow ground.”

    Duh. Someone might get *hurt*.

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