Swagger Stick


Title: Swagger Stick

Category: Remarks

Author/Presenter: General David M. Shoup, USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps

Date: 4 January 1960

Event/Occurrence: Presented to Staff


To all Marines, naval personnel and civilians who comprise our operating organization:

Good Morning. Although I speak only to this small representative group personally, provision has been made whereby these remarks will be either read or heard by the majority of Marines of all ranks at all posts and stations.

A few days ago, by taking the oath of office, I accepted the challenge inherent in the title of “22d Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.” I personally assume every responsibility connected therewith. I am mindful of this great burden and I know that I cannot properly discharge these responsibilities alone. I am indeed grateful for the highly professional character of our Marine Corps. It is upon this staff and my field commanders that I shall lean most heavily in the future to insure that the policies of my administration are intelligently implemented, effectively executed, and consistently maintained in force.

It is fitting, then, that I personally acquaint you with my views, designs, and policies.

I shall not adopt the massive new broomation policy. I hope that Divine Guidance and your help will provide me the wisdom to perceive the things that should not be changed and the courage to change those that should be.

Every individual leaves his own distinctive fingerprints. Thus each person makes a different impression on everything that he handles. So it is with this job that I am undertaking -- my way of doing things is bound to be different, and the officer who succeeds me will have his own particular way. But while the impressions which we make are peculiar to each individual, we all have one thing in common: to ensure that our Corps is always ready, willing, and able to carry out efficiently any mission that we may be assigned, and by so doing to continue to merit the trust and confidence of our people….


Non-combat type uniform changes now being processed will be the last such changes considered for some time unless directed by higher authority. Anything relating to the uniform of the Marine which better meets his needs in combat will be given high priority action.

In general I feel that a clean, neat, well-fitted uniform with the Marine Corps emblem is tops. There is no need for gimmicks and gadgets.

With respect to equipment we should emphasize simplicity, ruggedness and ease of maintenance. And in design and gadgetry the characteristics we demand should be a pattern of the necessary rather than the ideal. We shall continue to strive to obtain in a timely manner the best possible combat equipment

There is one item of equipment about which I have a definite opinion. It is the swagger stick. It shall remain an optional item of interference. If you feel the need of it, carry it…

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