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Corporal Thinks Commander Should Listen to Him

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My wife doesn't get it because she doesn't believe in me or our marriage anymore. All I want is for her to continue to support me.

I've been a Marine for two years, and I've had three different commanders. Because I come from a long line of military family members, I can't sit back and not voice my opinion. If it's a commander or a gunny, I will tell them that I disagree with their policy because I'm the one who has to carry out those orders and policy. I know what "right looks like," and they don't.

Just because they are commissioned or went to OCS and I'm a corporal, they should listen to me too.

I had a non-judicial punishment (NJP) shortly after I reported to my first duty assignment for speaking up. I lost rank because of it. My wife was very upset because they reduced me to no rank and I had extra cleaning duties.

I regrouped but approached my gunnery sergeant about some of the same issues. That ended in a shouting match between us and with me grabbing him around his collar. He said I punched him in the face, but that's a bold lie. I don't remember punching him, just yelling and grabbing him.

Ms. Vicki, I don't want my wife to give up on me. It's just hard for me to sit back and pretend everything is OK when it's not. I only want the same respect as everyone else.

Respect Me Too

Dear Respect,

I hope what I'm about to say will help you. First of all, you really sound like a 19-year-old who is narcissistic and entitled enough to think he can walk in, take over and rule the company with an iron fist. However, you haven't "paid the cost to be the boss."

There is a reason for having commanders and non-commissioned officers in the Marine Corps. They have experience, training and education. They should have a lot of great wisdom, too, which is something you are lacking.

You can have wisdom at any age, at your age. Great wisdom can tell you when to speak and when to shut up.

Secondly, I think you need some assertiveness training and anger management. You can find these classes at the MCCS building. Assertiveness skills could be gained with a communication class. You can learn to control your temper with anger management.

Communication is reciprocal. It's give and take. You give respect you get respect. This should also help you win favor with others Marines in your unit.

I would highly recommend marriage therapy for you and your wife. This latest situation may be too much for her to bear and could potentially irreparably harm your marriage.

Lastly, I don't agree with your behavior (e.g., trying to intimidate your leaders, grabbing, yelling and punching others): It's unacceptable. As you may know, you have probably ruined your career as a Marine. Yes, I believe in second chances, but it will be interesting to see if you are given treatment and remediation or told to do the "duffle bag shuffle" (that's short for "go back where you came from.")

At any rate, I don't mean to sound harsh. Please keep in touch with me and let me know what happens.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.