Col Morgan Mann (Ret): “You Can’t Lead Being Afraid”

Col Morgan Mann was an exceptional commander and had a spotless record in the Marine Reserves. In March of 2017, he was assigned to the 25th Marine Regiment to oversee at least 4,500 Marines across 23 sites in 11 states, including overseas. His work earned him glowing recommendations. But one day in October of that year, he received a phone call that told him to pack up his gear and leave. He was fired and had no idea why. On February 21, 2021, the Navy cleared his record and expunged all negative information from that record. Now he is fighting to restore his honor.

Mann enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17 in 1987. He worked as a field artilleryman before being commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Course in 1989. He held numerous command positions and served two tours in Iraq in 2005 and 2007 and a tour in Afghanistan in 2013.


In May 2017, Col Morgan Mann learned about two equal opportunity complains from 2016 that claimed an “unhealthy workplace rife with conflict.” Even though those people had left the unit prior to his arrival, he counseled the Marines against the behavior that sparked the complaints.

morgan mann
Photo via Dvidshub

We were rock solid that this was not going to be tolerated in the headquarters and I gave the same message all across the regiment.

Col Morgan Mann in The Marine Corps Times

It seemed as if the problem was solved. But another incident which he knew nothing about caused him, his Sgt Major, and his personnel officer to be fired:

Another investigation was opened into the headquarters company that August after a Marine was prematurely recalled to duty after suffering a miscarriage. According to a report by the Board of Correction of Naval Records, the investigation found that Mann was not involved or made aware of the incident and that the “extremely poor” climate at the unit predated his arrival as commander.

Although the investigators determined that no adverse action be taken against Mann, he was removed from his position by Lt. Gen. Rex McMillan, who at the time commanded the Marine Forces Reserve. Mann never learned why that decision was made…

…Mann immediately began to fight the decision. In 2018, the Performance Evaluation Review Board decided that the incident did not warrant Mann’s separation from the Marine Corps and that his final, negative fitness report should be removed. Then this month, the Board of Correction of Naval Records ordered his record entirely expunged.


Even though his record was completely exonerated, the internet is forever. Now he fights to have his reputation repaired in the world of digital information. The service members who served under him remarked that he was the finest commanding officer with whom they had served. At one time he was “enthusiastically” up for promotion to Brig General. All that is gone now through no fault of his own. He retired from the Corps in 2019 without ever putting on the uniform again. He still loves the Marine Corps and doesn’t blame them.

My biggest concern is that they see people getting fired for things like this and think, ‘If I keep my blinders on and do exactly what everyone wants me to do on the super straight and narrow, then I’ll get promoted.’ When really, you can’t lead being afraid. You have to be true to yourself and willing to take risks in doing this job, or you’re not going to serve your Marines and sailors the way they deserve.”

Col Morgan Mann (ret)

Semper Fi, Sir. We wish you the very best, and that people will see your abilities, not the internet archives.


Featured photo: US Marine Corps

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