Whatever it Takes

By | November 25, 2020

[November 25, 2020]  My best Italian friend goes by the name Marco Polo.  He’s a real go-getter, Vietnam veteran, and family man.  In Vietnam, he was with the 1/4th U.S.  Marines.  Their motto, Whatever it Takes.  In a nutshell, that describes the U.S. Marine Corps and my friend Marco.

His life’s story should someday be a book.  If that happens, you won’t’ be able to put it down when you read about his humble beginnings in Italy and later as a hero for the U.S. military in Vietnam.  Like the 1/4th Marines, the man is a powerhouse.

What it takes is, however, more than a motto.  It’s a lifestyle based on the idea that nothing will stand in your way once you decide upon a mission or goal.  Psychologists have suggested that humans must have specific, achievable, realistic goals to pursue in order to live a useful and happy life.

Where did it Begin?

Marco Polo spent the first few years of his life in northeast Italy.  To have a better life, he immigrated to the United States.  After making good money on a commercial ship, he decided that he wanted to give back to America.  So, he joined the U.S. Marines Corps and requested assignment to a combat unit in Vietnam.  At the peak of the war, the Corps leaders were happy to send him on his way.

After four Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in battle and many months in a military hospital, it was time for him to change careers.  Marco never changed.  If he wanted something, he would go for it.  After a few years working in casinos, as a waiter and cleanup guy in restaurants, and finally, as the owner of a pizza joint, he retired and began helping other veterans.

Whatever It Takes:

Marco and I speak often.  The conversation always turns to helping other veterans and what we can do to educate the American public about military service.  If there is a veteran advocate that does more for veterans than Marco, I’m not aware of that person.  There is no problem he cannot solve or go around to help.

This past weekend, he called me to talk about a statue honoring World War II medics.  This statue had been in the works for a long time and was faltering.  Someone from the group that wanted the statue called Marco, and now we are on our way to get it done.  Marco became the sparkplug for the organization.

Marco Polo is defined by the words, Whatever it Takes.  I have found that many Marco Polos are waiting in the wings to be asked to help.  Find them, and you will find the solution to the problems you might have.  And that, my friends, is why I have Marco as a friend.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Whatever it Takes

  1. Lonnie ala Yale Univ

    Gen Satterfield, doing what it takes is what everyone should have as their main M.O. to get on with being a leader…

  2. Paul D. Sanders

    Another excellent article from Gen. Satterfield’s desk – and thank your for it. Let’s not overlook his theme that doing those things leaders do, they must do it with a moral basis, else destruction is sure to come.

  3. Fred Weber

    An interesting life this Marco Polo friend of yours certainly had. Maybe you could devote a bigger article on him at some point. Thanks, Gen. Satterfield for another spot-on article. Also, I recommend everyone read the Daily Favorites. Its Gen. S. opportunity to point us toward what is important in the news today. The article on Dr. Jordan Peterson is really interesting.

    1. Kenny Foster

      Yes, I read it almost daily. These are, indeed, good articles that are free and yet provide a snippet of a look into the lives of senior leaders (for the most part).

  4. Dead Pool Guy

    The importance of morality and good sense (two recent articles by Gen. Satterfield) must also be taken into account here.

    1. William DeSanto

      Yes, my dad was a Marine and brought us kids up to love the military, to be gung ho, to love our country, God, and family. I’m very proud of him. The Marines defined his life and it was what he wanted. Their motto “whatever it takes” makes plenty of sense to me when you look at the USMC core values: Honor, Courage, Commitment

      1. Lynn Pitts

        To understand how to do what is right, recruits and Marines are taught about ethics and the core values of the Marine Corps. The Corps’ core values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These values make up the bedrock of a Marine’s character.

        1. Darryl Sitterly

          Good info on the Marines, Lynn. Well said. That’s why we respect the US Marines so much and defer to their best judgment how to carry out the orders of the Pres of the US.

  5. Wendy Holmes

    As pointed out by Doc B. below, morality must be also considered. I recommend re-reading yesterday’s article “The Importance of Morality in Leadership.” It will help put today’s blog post into perspective.
    “A great leader teaches mentors, and coaches. That means being there for others, learning to inject the moral fiber necessary to make their lives better.” – Gen. Satterfield

    1. Ronny Fisher

      Yes Wendy, and MORALITY is only part as well. Morals are the prevailing standards of behavior that enable people to live cooperatively in groups. Moral refers to what societies sanction as right and acceptable.

  6. Xavier Bordon

    Another excellent article from you General Satterfield. Just wanted to say that because it’s true and I just love this leadership blog you’ve created. And, I’m amazed at how long it’s been in existence and still going strong.

  7. Doc Blackshear

    Doing “whatever it takes” must be tempered with moral character and good judgment, else you create Mao-like people that are evil.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Excellent point, Doc and not to be overlooked, or you are in deep dodo.

    2. Max Foster

      Yes, excellent point Doc. Like all traits of a leader, none work well in isolation but together they make for a powerful leader. All things we do in life are never standalone but must be viewed in the context of what surrounds us. That is why, I don’t like the news media these days – they fail to put things into context and do so purposefully in order to mislead and misdirect.

  8. Doug Smith

    This Marco Polo guy must be a really great person! Good for you. Most folks today you meet aren’t worth the time of day because they are all-in on the leftist propaganda machine and dissing the USA. Too bad we put up with their neo-Marxist rantings.

    1. Emma Archambeau

      Four Penguin Random House Canada employees, who did not want to be named due to concerns over their employment, said the company held a town hall about the book Monday, during which executives defended the decision to publish Peterson while employees cited their concerns about platforming someone who is popular in far-right circles.

      1. JT Patterson

        Thanks emma for getting this key quote. SHows us that some people are not willing to do whatever it takes when it is clearly the right thing to do.


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