'To instill the qualities of good citizenship and high moral values in our young people by using the Skills, Ethos and Corps Values of the Royal Marines'
ETHOS & CORPS VALUES
There is much written about ethos and it is often wrongly conceived. However, far from being complex, ethos is actually straightforward; defined simply it is what a group does and how it does it.
The ethos of the Royal Marines refers to their role and the way they fulfill it. They have developed a specific function as a commando and amphibious force, undertaking operations in harsh environments be they mountain, jungle, cold weather or desert. This difficult and unique task requires certain personal characteristics, which are nurtured at CTC during training and then maintained and developed throughout the service.
Whilst it is not the role of the Royal Marines Cadets to directly emulate RM commando training, it is the adoption of their ethos and the use of their Corps values that makes the RMC a unique and special organization in the cadet forces and youth training.
The Commando Spirit
The four elements of the Commando Spirit; Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity, are well known to all recruits by the time they complete commando training. But these constituents of the 'Commando Spirit' are what make individual 'commandos'. What shapes the way they then work as a team, giving the RM its special identity, the way they carry out their duties, is a second set of group values set out below. It is the combination of individual Commando Spirit qualities, coupled with these group values, that together forms the RM ethos.
Cadets cannot directly copy the regular corps. We are not training commandos and it is right that they do not. But it is by adopting the qualities of the Commando Spirit, and the group values, with some adaption, that the RMC also attains its special identity, and earns the privilege of the title Royal Marines Cadets.
Royal Marines Ethos = Individual Commando Spirit + Collective Group Values
Although courage is readily recognized as a value in the RM, its' relevance to the RMC is less obvious. But think for a moment of the pressures facing young people from peer groups and the like in the context of what is fashionable, what is the 'in' thing to do, and worse, the gang culture. Our cadets have the courage to choose to be a cadet. The courage to wear a uniform, and not have the 'fashionable' hairstyle. The courage to say I want to be a part of the Royal Marines Cadets.
There is a unity within the Corps that crosses all ranks and is unique to the RM. Unity is bred into recruits and young officers at CTC by the proximity of their training together and by the hardship of the Commando Course; both not only share the same training and the same hardships but they see each other doing so. The emphasis is always on completing everything as a team. So it can be for the RMC. The staff training is more difficult to reflect the differences in cadet training when compared to other cadet forces.
The relaxed and 'so what' attitude often prevails in our modern society. It must be a part of our aim to develop determination in both our cadets and in our staff. We need the determination to succeed if we are to reflect our parent corps and maintain the status of the RMC as the cadet force that is that bit 'special'.
Unity and solidarity across the ranks allows the Corps to be adaptable; open to information and opinion from every available angle and able to adapt to this new knowledge. The RMC must follow this approach to maintain our edge in increasingly difficult times.
Unselfishness can be seen as simply as being a team player. But it is more than that, it means putting the need of the team before your own, giving your all to the ultimate objective regardless of personal gain or acclaim. Something we should all be prepared to do, and very desirable in our young people in our current society of celebrity & materialistic values.
The RM is an organization that is sometimes criticised for its understated approach. This is not just false modesty; arrogant organizations believe they have little to learn from others, and arrogance leads to inflexibility and rigidity. In order to adapt and innovate it is essential that we take the same approach as the Corps and, while proud of our standards, we remain sufficiently self critical - humble enough - to recognize and adopt the good practices of other institutions. Humility also contributes to the essential bond between all ranks and will allow us to achieve success.
Smile in the face of adversity, an often used saying but nearly always appropriate. It maintains individual and team morale, and when morale is maintained, adversity is usually overcome.
Our training is intended to develop common procedures, which will be instantly and collectively followed. Professional standards generate an individual and collective response to any situation. RMC training standards must guarantee a level of professionalism that contributes to success in whatever we do.
Whilst there are many qualities that contribute to success, it is often fortitude that underpins achievement rather than simply physical fitness or some other component. The strength of a good Marine is in being a good all rounder and giving their best in the worst of situations. This is dependent on mental stamina and the strength of will. A quality we should instill throughout the RMC.
How better to endure than with humour? One of the four Commndo Spirit characteristics, cheerfulness in the face of adversity is made possible only by humour, which although not readily recognized as a quality anywhere else is actually fundamental the way the Corps operates. All ranks across the RMC benefit from adopting this unique trait of the Corps.
Threats to Ethos
So that is ethos, not quite so abstract after all. But ethos needs to be maintained and we must guard against those things that threaten it. We must beware of arrogance, of contempt for others, of belief that we are special simply because of what we are. We are special because of what we do and the way that we do it, not what we are - that is our ethos and we must guard it fiercely.
'What we do and how we do it'