MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The scene of taillights stretching as far as the tired eye could see glowed devilish red, as if taunting drivers’ tempers, as the pace of the homebound traffic leaving Marine Corps Base Quantico slowed to a crawl. That scene is the typical afternoon at the Crossroads.
What isn’t typical is what an anonymous driver saw while leaving work, Nov. 18, 2013.
“On my way home tonight, I see a Marine running in utilities, flak jacket, pack and carrying a (rubber training) rifle while heading toward TBS....it is the sergeant major,” wrote the driver in an Interactive Customer Evaluation comment. “I figured Q-Town to The Basic School and back is about four plus miles round trip, and he is running it just about the time everyone else is headed home for the day.”
The source continued his comments by highlighting the almost instant connection Sgt. Maj. Justin LeHew, sergeant major of Training and Education Command, made with those in his command.
“The sergeant major gave a rousing speech his first week here to all TECOM personnel in which morale problems were once again being addressed,” wrote the driver. “After the sergeant major was done speaking, the entire theater was applauding in unison. All they could talk about was who this new sergeant major was. They loved him instantly.”
The northwest Ohio native has served more than 25 years in the Marine Corps serving in various job fields from Assault Amphibious crewman and mechanic to drill instructor. He has served in various points of the globe including South America, Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Col. Nathan I. Nastase, assistant chief of staff, G5 Marine Corps Forces Pacific, who worked with LeHew from 2011-2013, explained why he thinks Lehew’s leadership style is so effective.
“Sergeant Major LeHew epitomizes engaged leadership, and it’s inspirational because it is always from the heart, always focused on encouraging Marines to grow and always for the right reasons,” said Nastase in response to written question. “Despite being demanding, he is revered because he takes pride in maintaining the high standards of our Corps, and Marines respond positively because they know he genuinely cares about them and our institution.”
LeHew, having served as an assault amphibian crewman, assault amphibian mechanic and drill instructor, has a simple definition for his leadership style.
“It’s firm but fair with a balance between authoritative and persuasive,” said LeHew. “Earning the right to be called a United States Marine does not stop after boot camp or Officer Candidates School. It must be earned every day, throughout your entire career regardless of rank, billet or time in service.”
LeHew shared his estimation of success on a day-to-day basis in this way.
“If you put forth 100 percent in your daily duties in educating, training, mentoring and taking care of your people, then you can go home at the close of business each day with a general sense of accomplishment in everything that you do,” said LeHew.