MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - While motivation is a
trait that most Marines have, it is an attribute that stands out in
some Marines more than others.
According to Sgt. Maj. Peter
W. Ferral, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major,
his motivation started from birth.
Sergeant Major Peter W. Ferral, Headquarters and Headquarters
Squadron sergeant major, gives Pfc. David S. Dignetti, H&HS aviation
operation specialist, a positive counseling for his Hard Charger of
the Week achievement on August 19, 2013. Growing up in a Marine Corps
household, joining the Marine Corps out of high school, and due to
positive leaders and role models throughout his days as a junior
Marine, Ferral has been equipped with the tools to give him the
ability to lead from the front and motivate younger Marines. When
Ferral sees younger Marines leading from the front and motivating
all Marines, regardless of rank, he said that is what keeps him
motivated. (U.S. Marine Corps. photo by Pfc. David Walters)
“I come from a Marine Corps family. My father was a Chief
Warrant Officer 4 and he spent close to 34 years in the
Marine Corps and instilled in me what it's like to be a
Marine,” said Ferral. “The honor, courage and commitment are
what he gave and taught me as values.”
to follow in his father's footsteps and begin his own Marine
Corps journey after a motivated childhood.
reported to his first duty station, Marine Barracks
Washington 8th & I, after graduating from Marine Corps
Recruit Depot San Diego and Infantry Training School, where
he continued to develop his love for all Marine Corps
Esprit de Corps is defined by Merriam-Webster
Dictionary as “the common spirit existing in the members of
a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong
regard for the honor of the group.”
de Corps is what Marines live and breathe in the Marine
Corps, according to Ferral.
“There was one saying I
was taught when I was a (private first class) and that was,
‘The best unit in the Marine Corps is the one that you're
in,'” said Ferral.
Hearing that phrase influenced
Ferral to start taking more pride in himself, his unit and
his title of United States Marine.
With pride came
more motivation. Ferral said when he was a young private
first class and lance corporal, he was accused of being too
On one account, when Ferral was a lance
corporal, he was presented with a challenge.
lance corporal said to me, ‘You know, if you're so
motivated, then why don't you wear your Alphas out on
liberty,'” said Ferral.
“You know what, that's a good
idea. I'll wear my Alphas out on liberty tonight,” Ferral
Ferral changed into Alphas that night
after liberty call sounded and went to a club in downtown
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Ferral became a drill
instructor later in his career where he saw the principles
of leadership, which his previous leaders taught him, become
more clear and meaningful.
“All those little things
you learn about leadership reinforce motivation and that's
what I have been doing for the past 27 years,” said Ferral.
His motivation is reinforced when other Marines show
motivation by improving themselves, learning new lessons and
showing it the same way he used to at a younger age, said
“Every Marine fails from time to time, but
when I see that lesson learned and I see the growth of a
Marine from the transition from a lance corporal to a
corporal and they realize why their higher ups did what they
did, that reinforces my motivation,” said Ferral.
Ferral said, his family is one of the largest factors to his
motivation and his drive to carry on as far as he has today.
“Without my wife and daughter and their support through
the past 17 years, I don't think I would be where I am
today, even with the motivation of Chesty Puller,” said
Ferral with a chuckle. “What a wife and family do really
puts it into perspective of what it is to be a Marine, and
why I'm serving the Marine Corps.”
Master Sgt. Lionel
A. Saulsberry, department chief and station postal chief,
has worked with Ferral since his arrival on station in July
Saulsberry compared Ferral's motivational
impact on the Marines under him as steel sharpening steel.
“The fact is that (his motivation) is not fake, it's
genuine,” said Saulsberry. “Sergeant Major Ferral is
genuine. It's good to be surrounded by people who constantly
bring up the morale. In my opinion, it challenges me and
other Marines to step up their game.”
Ferral comes from his life experiences, Chesty Puller and
family, but overall Ferral concluded his Marine Corps
motivation in a simple phrase: “It's for the love of the
Marine Corps over many years. I love what it stands for, and
I love being a Marine.”
By USMC Pfc. David Walters
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