The Hustler chats with General Glenn Walters, second ranking officer in Marine Corps

Nathan Kiker

On Saturday, General Glenn M. Walters, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, took time away from his official obligations at the seventh annual Marine Week in Nashville to sit down with the Vanderbilt Hustler. General Walters was on hand at the annual event to preside over the week’s festivities, which included a simulated boot camp workout, Air to Ground Task Force demonstrations and tank and aircraft exhibits. Throughout the week, locals were able to view military equipment, interact with Marines, and get a taste of Marine life.

General Walters discussed the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), life as a marine, and more. He began by praising Nashville residents for coming out and supporting the Marines Corp and explaining why the week is important to both the Marines and Nashville.

“We have gotten a red hot reception in Nashville––what a great city,” Walters said. “The Marines are ecstatic to meet the population here and to get to know them, and I hope everyone in Nashville has enjoyed getting to meet the Marines, because it connects our Marine Corps to the population and our population to the Marine Corps.”

When asked about the lasting impact of the event, General Walters expressed his gratitude that people were able to see the Marines in action.

“There are some people that just don’t know what we do or why we do it,” Walters said. “We got to show what we do, what are core values are and share that with the population.”

General Walters also discussed his own time in ROTC, describing how the program, an officer training program for the United States Armed Forces, allowed him to grow as a person and as a soldier, and how ROTC programs help develop the leaders of tomorrow. Walters graduated from an ROTC program in Charleston, South Carolina in 1979.

“I know there have been lots of changes, but the fundamental benefit of ROTC is that it gets officers in our ranks who did not attend a service academy,” Walters said. “That’s valuable because we want the leadership of the military to reflect our population, and you can’t do that by just generating officers out of academies. We have wonderful senior ranking leaders at colleges across the country. Vanderbilt even produced one of our best-known Commandants. The ability to go to a great university and encourage young men and women in the service is a key to our strength.”

General Walters also encouraged more Vanderbilt students to take part in the ROTC program, noting that it provides young students with countless lifelong benefits, such as leadership development and career advancement.

“(Vanderbilt students) will have world-class leadership training, they will have experiences outside their comfort zone,” Walters said. “It will make them more mature, better and quicker leaders. They will also have more responsibility. A student at Vanderbilt that goes into the Marine Corps and gains a commission will be in charge of a platoon of marines within a year. You are the one that would lead them and make those hard decisions on combat.”

After discussing Marine week and the need for further ROTC participation, General Walters remarked that he was looking forward to returning to Nashville and trying hot chicken for the first time.