FRONT AND CENTER
Vol. 1, No 2, February 2022
Honoring the legacy of Carolina Marines and Sailors, Sustaining the ideals that are the foundation of our nation, Inspiring principled, committed citizens.
Al Gray Civic Insitute
The fundamental mission of Al Gray Civic Institute is to sustain the ideals that are the foundation of our nation and build principled committed citizens. Al Gray Civic Institute is developing and offering courses and resources that equip citizens to:
- Appreciate the history of our nation empowered by private energies and public responsibilities,
- Develop critical thinking skills that support civil discourse and effective civic participation,
- Recognize and respect our differences while valuing what we all have in common as Americans, and
- Celebrate our enduring form of government and the individual.
Professor James Danielson, PhD, has delivered an initial Institute course to students at Swansboro High School and recently presented to Marines at Camp Johnson the Institute’s Critical Thinking for Leadership and Civic Engagement course. Professor Danielson, a Marine veteran and professor of ethics for more than thirty years, is also developing additional Institute courses and he has written extensively. Courses under development include, among others, Leading Self, Leading Others; Ethics at Home, School and Work; and History of Political and Economic Thought.
We hope that you find it informative and thought provoking as Professor Danielson explores concepts that are as relevant today as they were at our Nation’s founding.
On Reason and Emotion
James Danielson, PhD
Speech pathologists in several parts of the country are reporting as much as 300% increases in their business from children struggling to learn to speak correctly because the adults around them are so often masked. It appears that when little ones are learning to talk, they need to see the moving lips of talking adults. This phenomenon is an example of the unhappy and usually unforeseen consequences that can follow disruptions in the natural order of human life. When we see disruptions of orderly function in society, there are also disruptions in the internal order of individuals, and the more people who are afflicted with internal disorder, the worse the social disorder will be. One of the features of our present social distress is a large and seemingly growing number of people who are under the control of emotion, unable to think clearly or to engage in disciplined conversation with others, especially others who disagree with them.
For society to function effectively, philosophers have understood for millennia that it is important for emotions to be under the guidance of reason. What follows is a discussion of a long-held understanding of the natural order of the human psyche that has proven to be useful to those interested in critical thinking, productive discourse and effective civic engagement.
In his Essay on Man: Epistle II, English poet Alexander Pope, seeking to set out a system of ethics in poetic form, writes: “Know thyself then, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man.” The admonition to know ourselves is surely sound advice for people who would govern themselves. In the history of reflection on our human nature as moral and intellectual beings there are three constants: intellect, will, and emotion. Intellect is the seat of reason and its powers are understanding and willing, and importantly, it is the ability to give reasons for what we believe, and in this way the intellect serves to guide human action first by understanding what is our highest good, and from this to making the practical distinctions between good and evil in conduct that determine the will and guide the emotions.
QUOTES FROM INSTITUTE STUDENTS
“This class helped me understand that I can overcome the cycle of poverty in my family. I’m applying for scholarships and working. I will be the first person in my family who who went to college.” (High School Senior)
“I learned that my friend and I can disagree on something important but still be friends.” (Cpl, USMC)
“Leaders have to be as good at listening as they are at speaking. It is just as important to understand as to be understood.” (High School Student)
“Mistakes are part of living and learning from them can make us stronger and able to make better decisions in the future.” (High School Student)
Conversations with SgtMaj Joe Houle, USMC (Ret)
FRONT AND CENTER holds conversations with SgtMaj Houle and others involved in the design and construction of the Museum and Institute.
FRONT AND CENTER: Sergeant Major Houle, you’ve been with this project from its inception in 1999. When the Museum and Institute opens its doors, what do you want its visitors to experience?
HOULE: I think the most important thing is for people to come away with an understanding of the history of the Carolina MAGTF (Marine Air Ground Task Force) as important defenders of our Nation’s Constitution and as the World’s First Responders.
FRONT AND CENTER: Could you describe how the Museum might evoke that understanding?
HOULE: The exhibits and artifacts will combine to create an immersive experience for our visitors. Exhibits and simulators will take the visitor on a journey through the sights and sounds and smells of WWII, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Storm, and the War on Terror. Marines throughout those battles experienced vastly different temperatures, weather, tactics of the enemy, had different weapons to use, different vehicles and aircraft. As you progress through the exhibits, you will feel, see and hear those changes and you will witness the many firsts and innovations of the Carolina MAGTF.”
FRONT AND CENTER: What are some of those firsts and innovations?
HOULE: Expeditionary warfare and amphibious operations started here. The development of Maneuver Warfare Philosophy. The first Black Marines trained right here at Montford Point. The first women Marines trained here. Wounded Warrior Barracks began here. The first War Dogs were trained at New River, soon after designated Camp Lejeune.
FRONT AND CENTER: Why do we hear the United States Marine Corps called “The World’s First Responders”?
HOULE: Together with Carolina Sailors, Carolina Marines have been “boots on the ground” in direct response to natural and made-made disasters…hurricanes, wildfires, floods. Marines and Sailors lead the way in humanitarian assistance.
FRONT AND CENTER: So, the Museum will feature Marines and Sailors serving – and who have served – in the Carolinas. Does that include Parris Island?
HOULE: The yellow footprints? The sweet voices of the drill instructors? The sand fleas? (chuckling). Of course!
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station New River
Marine Corps Camp Geiger | Marine Corps Camp Johnson
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
This issue of FRONT AND CENTER features
Marine Air Corps Station Cherry Point, M
authorized by Congress on July 9, 1941 on an 8,000 acre site.
- 9,033 Active Duty personnel
- 26,374 Family Members
- 5,164 Civilian Employees
- 12,810 Retirees
Units Stationed at Cherry Point
- 2d Low Altitude Air Defense Bn (LAAD)
- 2d MARINE AIRCRAFT WING (MAW)
- Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC) Cherry Point
- CNATT MARUNIT
2021-2022 Board of Directors
BGen Dick Vercauteren, USMC (Ret) – Chair
Mr. Mark Cramer, JD – Vice Chair
CAPT Pat Alford, USN (Ret) – Treasurer
Col Joe Atkins, USAF (Ret) – Secretary
Col John B. Sollis, USMC (Ret) – Immediate Past Chair
General Al Gray, USMC (Ret), 29th Commandant – At-Large Member
LtGen Gary S. McKissock, USMC (Ret) – At-Large Membe
Mr. Terry Branton
Mr. Tom DeSanctis
MyGySgt Osceola Elliss, USMC (Ret)
Col Chuck Geiger, USMC (Ret)
Col Bruce Gombar, USMC (Ret)
LtCol Lynn “Kim” Kimball, USMC (Ret)
CWO4 Richard McIntosh, USMC (Ret)
CWO5 Lisa Potts, USMC (Ret)
Col Grant Sparks, USMC (Ret)
GySgt Forest Spencer, USMC (Ret)
Carolina Museum of the Marine and Al Gray Civic Institute is a nonprofit organization that is rigorously nonpartisan, independent and objective.