USS RUSHMORE --
Non-commissioned officers are considered the backbone of the Marine Corps. Their leadership is what keeps the Corps moving to enable mission accomplishment. Each NCO has his own leadership style, and that diversity is what makes the Corps’ small unit leadership cadre so unique.
Sergeant Dereck Shockley, anti-tank guided missleman, Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is one of those Marines. He takes an empathetic approach to steer his Marines in the right direction.
To do this, Shockley always puts the welfare and success of his troops above anything else. If his troops’ lives are in order and they have had the best education and training, then he knows he can rely on his junior Marines when the mission comes.
“I model my leadership from those in charge of me,” said Shockley. “They always stuck by and stood for their Marines rather than themselves. That’s what I value most. I love my job, but what I like most is my ability to mentor Marines. Pretty soon my Marines will have the responsibilities of me. I want to see junior Marines grow into leaders. I want to leave my stamp on the Marine Corps’ future.”
As a team section leader, Shockley is in charge of carrying out all orders from his platoon commander. He also is responsible for his Marines’ accountability, the maintenance of weapon systems organic to his section and the control and employment of those weapons. Even though his schedule is busy, he still finds the time to connect with his Marines.
“[Sergeant] Shockley is the best NCO I’ve had,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony Mauss, a machine-gunner in the same section. “What I like most about him is he treats everyone fairly and doesn’t pick favorites. At the same time he’s not afraid to crack down on you if you are in the wrong. He tries to push us and cares about our personal lives. He often gives me advice about personal finance and asks about my family,” said the 20-year-old Springville, Utah, native.
Shockley stood on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., on Aug. 15, 2005. He started his career as an electronic intelligence analyst and then changed his military occupational specialty to anti-tank guided missleman. He has served on five deployments, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“I liked what I was doing, the guys I worked with and what I learned,” said Shockley. “The infantry was a side of the Marine Corps I had not seen and a great experience.”
Since he was assigned to CAAT I, Shockley has made friends and left a good impression with his peers who can attest to his dedication to duty.
“[Sergeant] Shockley is an excellent leader who inspires Marines,” said Cpl. Nicholas Childs, a machine-gunner in the same team. “I’ve known him for over a year, and he has always set the example of what an NCO should be. He’s an all-around good Marine. He raises the bar with his willingness to always do the right thing, take charge in the times of adversity and continue on to complete the mission.”
The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.