Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Sean Yates, a 27-year-old Puyallup, Wash. native and former member of the Marine Corps Color Guard, gets staff sergeant chevrons pinned on his color by his brothers during a meritorious promotion ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., April 2. Yates previously served as the guide for the Color Guard and was the honor graduate of Corporals Course, Martial Arts Instructor Course, Foreign Weapons Instructor Course, and Sergeants Course. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Larry Babilya/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Larry Babilya

Patterns of excellence

2 Apr 2014 | Cpl. Larry Babilya

Staff Sgt. Sean Yates is a firm believer in standing out amongst his peers and being known for going above and beyond. Doing so has paid off.

Yates, a 27-year-old Puyallup, Wash., native and a former member of the Color Guard section, was meritoriously promoted to his current rank April 2, after spending just 8 months as a sergeant. 

“It’s well deserved,” said Sgt. Timothy Spreder, Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps and Yates’ former platoon sergeant. “He’s an outstanding Marine and has really excelled among his peers. He is the ‘go-to’ guy when the job needs to get done. I met him when he was a corporal two years ago and he’s becoming a staff sergeant now. That says a lot.”

“I look forward to accepting new responsibilities and assuming that next billet up like I did as a corporal and sergeant,” said Yates. “Now that I’m a staff sergeant I’m looking to fill that gunnery sergeant role.”

Yates has been stationed at the Barracks on two separate occasions. It was his first duty station in 2006 after graduating from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. After leaving the Barracks in 2008, Yates was sent to 2d Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment on Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Later he deployed with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment to Afghanistan, and participated in the 2010 fight for  Marjah.

After returning from Afghanistan with a re-enlistment pending, Yates returned to the Barracks.

As a corporal, Yates assumed the billet of guide for the Color Guard, which is normally reserved for sergeants.

“Serving in billets above you is the greatest reward ever,” said Yates. “That shows your leaders entrust you to fill that billet and do it well.”

Yates’ responsibilities included ensuring the welfare and training of his Marines.

“My primary responsibilities include overseeing the ceremonial training for the platoon,” said Yates. “In addition, I also arrange the schedule and teach all of the classes to maintain their infantry proficiency.”

Outside of his stellar reputation within his section and company, Yates has left his mark in several other places as well.

He was the honor graduate of Corporals Course, Martial Arts Instructor Course, Foreign Weapons Instructor Course, and Sergeants Course. Yates was also the recipient of the “Gung-Ho” award during Corporals Course, which is given to the most motivated student.

“You have to perform to the capacity that you want to be known for,” said Yates. “Establish a pattern of excellence. You can have that one moment where you do something great, but it’s the repeated moments where you do great things. Not that you’re doing it for something, but you do it because you have a passion for excellence and a passion for the Marine Corps.”