Protect What You’ve Earned (PWYE) is a simple decision-making framework, not a program.  By orienting the Marine on his or her own actions, PWYE promotes internal individual accountability.  PWYE reinforces key elements and standards of our Corps’ warrior culture: discipline, leadership, teamwork, action, accountability, excellence, and esprit.  PWYE lives within our Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.  Leaders may use PWYE as a catalyst for frank kneecap-to-kneecap dialogue with Marines, Sailors and family members about the risks and consequences of their individual actions.

Marines work hard to earn and uphold the title of Marine.  The primary goal of PWYE is eliminating high-risk decision-making; thereby reducing sexual assault, domestic violence, suicide, alcohol and other substance misuse-related incidents.   PWYE encourages Marines to safeguard their lifetime investments through low-risk decision-making.

  • Increased openness in leader to led communication regarding force preservation topics and help-seeking behaviors that affect the well-being of our force in order to share accurate information and increase awareness and understanding.


  • Increased awareness and understanding of resources available to strengthen individual decision-making and leader to led engagement in order to positively impact the overall command climate.


This toolkit provides leaders a “one stop shop” for accessing evidence based prevention and resiliency building  resources and best practices that aid in facilitating  small group discussions and guided kneecap-to-kneecap mentoring on subjects that can sometimes be difficult to communicate.  Open and regular conversations will increase understanding, demonstrate to the Marines and Sailors that their leadership cares and is engaged, and could contribute to a decrease in incidents that negatively affect the force.  Some of these topics are emotionally charged and may cause discomfort for some leaders to discuss openly with those they lead.

Leaders can initiate conversations with their Marines about good personal decision-making and about how to maintain what they’ve worked so hard for. Leaders should also maintain a mindset that helps inspire good behavior among their Marines.

General Robert B. Neller, 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps has identified alcohol misuse as a serious problem within our Corps.  Alcohol misuse undermines personal and operational readiness.  It leads to losses in time and personnel through alcohol-related incidents, injuries and fatalities.  MARFORCOM and II MEF initiated the concept in FY 14 - initially focused on alcohol misuse, PWYE has expanded to emphasize good decision-making in all aspects of a Marine's life.


Single Marines answered the following questions during the January 2016 Single Marine Symposium:

(** Information gathered during II MEF PWYE Focus groups supports the following as well)

  • Don't Engage in Risky Behavior / Know your limits, do's and don'ts
  • Police Your Own / Group Effort / It's not just about you, consequences affect all
  • Have a plan / Stay on track / Put right foot forward
  • Engage Leadership / ORM
  • Protect Heritage / Organization
  • Think before you act / Protect your wallet
  • Remember why you joined the Marine Corps (Core Values, Earning the title, "Brotherhood")
  • Pride in being a Marine / Family reputation
  • Worked hard to get where you are, protect and maintain that
  • Don't just look at being a Marine, look at your whole life
  • Guided discussions / PMEs
  • LCpl, Cpl, and Sgt's Course
  • Welcome Aboard Briefs, Safety Briefs, TRS
  • Trips Centers, Trips, and Special Events
  • Boot Camp
  • Social Media
  • Workplace, Formations, Mentorship / Counseling, and Promotions / NJP's
  • MCCS Involvement
  • Teach with basic leadership
  • Where alcohol is sold
  • Everywhere
  • Mentorship / Coaching / Counseling
  • Self-Reflection / Hold yourself accountable, Practice what you preach
  • Find ways to connect, Be involved, Interact with each other, Don't be a bystander
  • Leadership, Lead by Example
  • Safety Briefs, PME's, Courses, Guided discussions
  • Trust in each other / no judgement
  • Not a language, it's an action
  • Build good habits
  • Warrior Weekend (Miramar)
  • SMP Events
  • Incentivize positive actions (i.e. awarding a 72, LOA, Commander's coin, etc.)