MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Jason Rother could be proudly serving today as a sergeant major in the United States Marine Corps – but due to a lack of accountability by his unit, he died alone in the desert, as a lance corporal, more than 20 years ago.
On Aug. 30, 1988, Marines were conducting night maneuver training near Twentynine Palms, Calif. Rother, a 19-year-old, was transported from Camp Lejeune to participate in the exercise. Most of the Marines were dropped off in the Mojave Desert in groups to direct convoys, but Rother was dropped off alone.
Two days later Rother was reported missing. His noncommissioned officers and fellow Marines had not accounted for him during the exercise. Rother’s remains were found nearly three months later just two miles from Twentynine Palms.
Accountability can mean the difference between life and death, and there is no reason why Leathernecks should be unaccounted for when the phrase, “no Marine left behind,” is at the heart of accountability.
This definition of accountability applies to many aspects of military life. Marines are charged with being accountable for their actions, military gear, fellow Marines and families.
The idea of being accountable for one’s own actions can make anyone nervous, but Marines must maintain their core values of honor, courage and commitment at all times.
Maintaining accountability is not limited to being dependable, meeting deadlines and completing missions.
It is each warrior’s responsibility to himself, the Corps and his family to be where he is supposed to be by reporting on time for all formations and places of duty.
Being accountable for equipment and fellow Marines promotes order, avoids risks and saves lives.