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Photo Information

Master Gunnery Sgt. Martin Duarte gives a speech to bring his retirement ceremony to a close, Feb. 11, 2016. Duarte steeped on the yellow footprints in May 1986 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and retired after 30 years of service with the Corps. As a leader of Marines, Duarte said he strived to lead by example and promoted service before self. An example of what inspires Duarte comes an Albert Pine quote: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. April L. Price/Released)

Photo by Cpl. April Price

Leadership 101: Sit down with MGySgt. Martin Duarte, 30 years of experience

17 Mar 2016 | Cpl. April Price I Marine Expeditionary Force

The Corps has a rich history of developing and employing leaders from the moments they step on the yellow foot prints as recruits, to the day they step off the parade deck and enter their next chapter of life. This development would not be possible without exceptional senior leadership.

In this interview, Duarte describes how his leadership style has developed and the legacy he leaves behind.

Q: Have you always been a good leader?

 A: “I wouldn’t say I was a good leader from the start, but I’ve learned to better myself over time. I did very well in high school with sports and played baseball in college. I think these helped me understand leadership and my time in the Marine Corps has helped me develop that trait.”

 Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

 A: “My leadership style has been constantly developing over the last 30 years . . . I now seek the input of my Marines to make an analysis of how to resolve problems that arise. A lot of young NCOs, including myself when I was a young NCO, reverted to the authoritative approach. In some cases it’s necessary, but I’ve learned there are other ways, such as listening to the input of your Marines that could solve said problem in a more efficient manner.”
 Q: What is the hardest part about being a good leader?

 A: “The hardest part, I think, about being a leader is leading by example, genuinely caring and being involved with your Marines. If I didn’t really care about the Marines being successful then what am I leaving the Marine Corps? It’s not about what I leave the Marine Corps with, but what I left for the Marine Corps. All it takes is a bit of extra time; to stay after work and walk step by step with a Marine in need, to ensure that Marine leaves that day with a solution. So a lot of time, effort, and sacrifices are made, but I believe it’s a duty of a good leader to do so.”

 Q: How do you balance being in the Marine Corps and your family life?

 A: “Balancing the Marine Corps and family life is very, very difficult. When it’s time to spend some quality family time, I make sure I do all I can to maximize it; the same goes for work and my Marines. My wife and children are very supportive because they know that I always have their best interest in mind. They know that I work hard at work, and they also know and appreciate that I always make time for them.”

Q: What do you hope your Marines take away from your leadership?

 A: “I hope my Marines ultimately take away the sense of service before self and be the example to follow. I want to encourage them to share the knowledge they have gained throughout their time in the Corps and pass it down to those future leaders; be better than what you started as. There’s a quote from Albert Pine that has inspired me personally, ‘What we do for ourselves dies with us.  What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.’”

I Marine Expeditionary Force