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The ethos of the Royal Marines: the precise application of will
University of Exeter
The current debates about ethos in the military have been wrongly conceived. Ethos is not an intangible spiritual substance which is related in some unspecified way to the moral component of fighting power. Ethos refers simply to what a group does and how it does it. The ethos of the Royal Marines refers to their role and the way they achieve it. Since the Second World War, the Royal Marines have developed a three-fold role. They are a commando force specialising in amphibious, mountain and cold weather warfare. This difficult role requires certain characteristics which are developed in training; unity, adaptability, humility, standards, fortitude and a sense of humour. It is by means of these qualities that the Royal Marines are able to fulfil their role successfully. The ethos of the Royal Marines might be summarised as the precise application of will.
Commandant, Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines, Lympstone.
Independent report commissioned by the Commandant, Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines, Lympstone, July 2004.