MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
As an Eagle Scout from nine to 18 years old, he developed the skills necessary to take charge and command others. It was here that he first learned what it took to be a leader.
Major Eric J. Taylor, logistics officer, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, from La Habra Heights, Calif., has gone from leading fellow scouts on wilderness adventures during his high school summers in the Hukum Valley Scout Reservation in Big Bear, Calif., to planning logistics in support of major operations on a global stage.
Lieutenant Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force, presented Taylor with The Navy and Marine Association Leadership Award for 2012 in front of his Marines and peers during an award ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 19.
“It’s come as such a huge surprise to me,” Taylor said. “It feels great to be recognized by my peers, but really this is a reflection of all of my Marines’ hard work and dedication.”
Taylor was recognized by his peers for his outstanding demonstration of team building skills and overall leadership in his service.
“The Navy and Marine Corps Association [award] is a well-deserved honor for him,” said Lt. Col. John R. O’Neal, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “[Taylor’s] performance has been superb. He provides an outstanding example for our leaders, at all levels, and I was thrilled we were able to recognize him with such a prestigious award.”
Taylor’s ability to make those around him exceed and strengthen their leadership skills earned him the nickname “The People’s Captain.”
Those who have worked for him before attest to his reputation that inspired the nickname.
“He looks at you as a person and not just as a Marine,” said Sgt. Chester P. Ginter, motor transportation mechanic, 15th MEU. “He makes you feel valued to whatever project you’re working on. He’s given me an ideal to strive for.”
Taylor, in his modesty, attributes his success to the professional warfighters around him.
“It’s funny to hear that, but at the same time it’s endearing,” Taylor said. “Having Marines who know what they are doing and are reliable makes it a lot easier to get the job done.”
Taylor looks to build on this achievement and use his leadership skills to help the 15th MEU succeed during Exercise Iron Fist, a bilateral exercise designed to improve interoperability with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, which is slated to begin in January 2014.
“Adding all the different units from around the [Marine Expeditionary Force] along with the international units makes for a realistic training opportunity,” Taylor said. “It’s a good practice because as a young leader you’re going to feel the stressors of multiple people relying on you to accomplish your mission. It’s going to prepare you for when you head out on that next deployment.”
Over the years, Taylor has developed a recipe for leading his Marines to success. That recipe focuses on surrounding himself with winners.
“When I put a team together to accomplish a mission, rank and age are not important to me,” Taylor said. “I like to seek out Marines that are willing to do things on their own and generate their own enthusiasm.”
From there Taylor learns the needs and characteristics of his Marines to give them everything they need to accomplish the mission.
“The best attribute a leader must have is caring,” Taylor said. “Even if you’re not the best at what you do, as long as you care and you put forth the effort by making the team your own you’re going to succeed. Making those involved feel invested is the most important thing you can do as a leader.”
Although the Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis,” Taylor will never forget the first motto he took as an Eagle Scout, “Be Prepared,” which led him on the path to leadership.