MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Marine expeditionary unit represents everything the Marines Corps offers.
The Marines that compose the MEU are the first responders to crises around the world. Its success is carried out by young Marines dedicated to maintaining a force in readiness. However, this would not be possible without exceptional senior leadership at the MEU.
Staff Sgt. Clyde Harris knows about hard work and long hours. The 33-year-old from Richmond, Va., knows to always push his Marines to their limit. His experiences carved him into the Marine he is today.
In this interview Harris, the warehouse supply chief with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, gives insight on what helped him become the successful leader he is today.
Q: When did you come into the Marine Corps, and why?
A: I came into the Marine Corps Sept. 21, 1999. The reason I came into the Marine Corps was pretty much I had nothing else planned; no plans at all didn’t, want to go to college. I knew I was going to mess that up. So the Marine Corps was one of my options, and actually one of my football coaches, when I played recreational ball, was a recruiter and it all started from there.
Q: What is your leadership style?
A: I’m more of a laid back leader. I like to observe before I react to anything. I like to learn, I don’t like to do what everybody else does. I take the good and I take the bad. I take the bad leadership turn it into good and I take the good leadership and make it better.
Q: What leadership principle is the most important to you and why?
A: Know your Marines and look out for their welfare. The reason why is because I make sure I push my Marines and know how far I can push them and that’s exactly what it means. It’s not just about taking care of them if they’re sick or want time off - it means to push them to their limit and that’s what I do, I push them to their limit that way I know how much I can give them.
Q: If you could use one word to describe yourself as a leader what would it be and why?
A: I would say unselfish. I’m not one to say I did this or I did that. I’ll give credit to the Marines before I give it to myself, and I make sure if someone needs something I do whatever I can to do it. I wouldn’t be like, “No I can’t do it.” I’ll use my resources and I’ll help them out regardless of who it is from private all the way to colonel.
Q: What is something that you are very proud of that you have done in your career and why?
A: Probably being a drill instructor, because it is very challenging. It makes you push yourself and also shows you how to lead. Leading other fellow [staff noncommissioned officers] or [noncommissioned officers], puts you in a position where you have to take care of more than just yourself. You have to worry about drill instructors, then you have to worry about recruits too. I always wanted to be a drill instructor even when I was in boot camp, but once I graduated boot camp I definitely wanted to be one.
Q: As far as being a leader what is the most challenging situation you have faced?
A: Having a sergeant come to you that has a problem with another sergeant but we all hang out together and work together. I think that was the hardest: breaking it down to them the best way to compromise because both of you are working together, because it was difficult. The way I got through to them was I just sat down and talked to them and said, “Look this is what needs to get done even though he might be senior to you or the other way around you’re both sergeants you’ll have to work together despite the differences you guys have,” and it actually worked out.