Sgt. Maj. Brad Kasal, a hero of the Iraq War, talks about the books he likes to read in a video spot for Marine Corps University. (Marine Corps)
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Want to know what’s on Sgt. Maj. Brad Kasal’s bookshelf? What about legendary retired Gen. James “Chaos” Mattis’ favorite book on the Marine Corps reading list?
A new collection of video spots produced by Marine Corps University gives Marines insight into the reading habits of the warriors they most admire. The university has already released videos showing enlisted leaders from sergeants to sergeants major—including Kasal—talking about the important role reading plays to the warfighter and why the Marine Corps reading list matters to them. Officials said they soon plan to add new videos showing Mattis, retired Gen. John Allen, retired Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper and other well-known Marines talking about reading.
Don’t miss what the lesser-known leaders have to say, though.
“When you have a Marine’s life in your hands, you have to have every piece of knowledge at your disposal,” said one gunnery sergeant, based at Norfolk, Va. “And the commandant’s reading list is a tool that you can reference at your disposal to lead Marines.”
Another gunnery sergeant based at Quantico, Va. said he found reading broadly was the best way to anticipate his Marines’ needs.
“Every Marine being a little bit different, it’s kind of hard to find the book that fits their needs,” he said. “The best way to go about it that I’ve found is the more I read, I can relate to whatever it is that that Marine might be looking for.”
Kasal, who received the Navy Cross as a first sergeant for heroism in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, summed up the significance of reading with an appeal to history.
“History repeats itself, and you can learn so much from history,” he said. “And I think it’s just going to continue to educate young Marines, well, all Marines, on the importance of how much they can gain by picking up a book and reading it.”