Non-commissioned officers stand as the Backbone of the United States Marine Corps. The Corps is among the most lasting institutions in America, though few understand what makes it so strong and how that understanding can be applied effectively in today's world. In her first book, Julia Dye explores the cadre of non-commissioned officers that make up the Marine Corps' system of small unit leadership. To help us better understand what makes these extraordinary men and women such effective leaders, Dye examines the 14 traits embraced by every NCO. These qualities-including judgment, enthusiasm, determination, bearing, and unselfishness-are best exemplified by men like Terry Anderson, the former Marine sergeant who spent nearly seven years as a hostage in Beirut, and John Basilone, the hero of the Pacific. To assemble this extraordinary chronicle, Julia Dye interviewed Anderson and dozens of other Marines and mined the trove of historical and modern NCO heroes that comprise the Marine Corps' astonishing legacy, from its founding in 1775 to the present day.