State of FORCECOM March 2012

State of FORCECOM March 2012

Greetings Marines,
I am would like to thank the 2nd and 3rd Brigades for the great Joint Summit and Joint Brigade Muster that your Brigades put on the weekend of the 15-17th of March.

It was great to meet some new friends and catch up with some old friends. I would like to congratulate the following marines on being awarded the Valour awards

2nd Brigade
Cross of Valour
Lt Gen Sunnie Planthold
Sword of Valour
General Barbara Paul
Shield of Valour
Brigadier Mark Anderson
Legion of Valour
645th MSG

3rd Brigade
Cross of Valour
Marine Captain MaxTriola
Sword of Valour
Brigadier Christopher O’Banion
Shield of Valour
Colonel Cathey Osborne
Legion of Valour
300th MSG

The following numbers were gotten from the Brigade Reports

The Corps has the following

524 Active Marines
453 Reserve Marines

105 units reported

48 Marines participated in the SFMC Reading Challenge

After going through the last Brigade reports the following was gleaned

The Largest Brigade is the 1st Brigade
The Largest Marine Unit is the 888th from the 17th Brigade

I would like to commend they marines that are participating in the Reading Challenge this year,

I have seen a increase in participants for example last year the 3rd Brigade submitted 49,000 pages and so for this year they have submitted over 85,000 pages

I thought I would share with you the stuff about SFMC Reading Challenge again

The STARFLEET Marine Corps Reading Challenge is a friendly contest conducted by FORCECOM of the STARFLEET Marine Corps to encourage reading at all ages. Members of the SFMC read as many books as they can in a certain set period of time and compete in categories such as most pages read by a single marine (Adult/Cadet), Marine Strike Group (Adult/Cadet), and Brigade (Adult/Cadet). To participate all a marine has to do is read books and report them to their MSG OIC for inclusion in their by-monthly reports. This information is then passed up the chain of command to COFORCECOM. For more details including eligibility and submission requirements please see the section below.

The Details
Who runs this contest?: FORCECOM of the STARFLEET Marine Corps runs this contest with the consent of the STARFLEET Marine Corps General Staff.

Contest period: COFORCECOM determines the start and end dates for the contest. Normally the contest runs from STARFLEET International Conference to STARFLEET International Conference. However this can change. Any changes in the contest period must be published at least six (6) months in advance in the Attention on Deck! Extra, Attention on Deck!, and the Corps email list. Please note that this contest may be discontinued at any time by COFORCECOM or the SFMC Commandant.

Contest Eligibility: Any and all marines of all ages in good standing in STARFLEET: The International Star Trek Fan Association Inc., andSTARFLEET Marine Corps may participate. Cadets (as outlined in the SFMC Cadet Manual) may participate in this challenge; however they compete against other Cadets and not adults. All submissions must be made through the chain-of-command; direct submissions to FORCECOM will automatically be discarded. To be considered an eligible submission all the following information must appear on a Brigade’s report to FORCECOM for each marine:

1. Marine’s full name
2. Marine’s SCC number
3. Marine’s age (for Cadets)
4. Title of Book
5. Author of Book
6. Page count
7. ISBN number or publishers information

Failure to include all the above information will result in that submission being discarded. COFORCECOM is not responsible for any lost or incomplete submissions.

Contest Eligible Material: Books in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, mystery, sci-fi, thriller, romance, etc… are eligible and can be either in printed or electronic form (Kindle, Nook, PDF, etc..). Books and materials such as newspapers, magazines, comic books, cook books, and other such books are not eligible. Audio Books can only be used if the participant has a physical impairment or condition (blindness, dyslexia, etc…) which prevents them from reading a printed book. Marines using audio books must include the same information as a printed book. Page counts for audio books are determined by using the page count from the latest printed edition of the audio book in question.

Contest Winners:
Adult and Cadet winners are chosen in categories for;
1. Most pages read by a single marine: Winners are determined by adding up all of an individual’s reported number of pages read.
2. Most pages read by a Marine Strike Group (MSG): Winners are determined by taking the total number of reported pages read by a MSG and dividing that number by the total number of marines on that MSG’s roster on the contest end date. This averaged number is then compared to other MSG’s numbers and the winner is the MSG with the highest average number of pages read.
3. Most pages read by a Brigade (BDE): Winners are determined by taking the total number of reported pages read by a BDE and dividing that number by the total number of marines on that BDE’s roster that participated in the contest. This averaged number is then compared to other BDE’s numbers and the winner is the BDE with the highest average number of pages read.

Note: There is no category for Battalions since many Brigades choose not to use them.

Contest Awards and Prizes: Any contest awards and prizes awarded to winners are determined by the STARFLEET Marine Corps General Staff.

Current Prizes:
Individuals: It has been decided that since it is a Challenge that the Individual winner of the SFMC Reading Challenge will win a SFMC Challenge coin.
MSGs and BDEs: For the Unit and the Brigade Level Winners they will receive a Reading Challenge streamer.

I would encourage all Marines out there to participate in the Reading challenge. Something suggested to me once that it could be used to by a unit to challenge another unit, or you could have a battalion in one Brigade challenge another battalion in that brigade Just remember it is all for fun and reading improves your mind and your general fund of knowledge.

If you ever have any questions about starting a marine unit or about marine awards or unit reporting or the reading challenge please email me

Yours in service to the corps

John Kiwi Kane
Master Gunnery Sergeant, SFMC
Commanding Officer, Forces Command

State of FINCOM March 2012

State of FINCOM March 2012

Another month, another report… Well, all is quiet here in the finance department of the STARFLEET Marine Corps, but that will change soon. We are confident that we will be able to fulfill some backlogged orders soon.

New items coming soon!! There will be some new devices ordered soon, so stay tuned to the QM for news on that.

I will be attending the IC/IM this year, and would like your input on what you would like me to present as part of my report for FINCOM. Please e-mail me your ideas to r5treas@hotmail.com as soon as possible so that I can compile my data.

I will be updating you all on financial data as soon as it becomes available. I am still experiencing some access issues with the bank, so please be patient with me while I get back on track with that.

Until next month, take care Marines!

MGN Patrick McAndrew, SFMCR

Commanding Officer, Finance Command

State of TRACOM March 2012

State of TRACOM March 2012

Marines,
This report is late, again, sorry. Here we go…

Numbers
During the month of February, the SFMCA Faculty issued 176 grades to 40 unique students. March promises to be back to our standard numbers by virtue of being a longer month.

Arrivals
As previously announced, Master Gunnery Sergeant James Maarsingh has been appointed to the Infantry School Directorship. He’s also been promoted to Master Guns lately, so congratulate him when you see him.

Departures
The Maritime Operations School (MO) is now vacant. As of now I am accepting applications for the post and will continue to do so until 30APR2012.

Requirements for are listed below.

1. All TRACOM Staff members must have completed PD-10 (Marine Basic Training), PD-20 and OTS;
2. Must be a member in good standing of STARFLEET;
3. Be at least 18 years of age;
4. Branch Directors must have completed every course offered by their Branch up to and including the –30 level coursework (Bachelor’s of Military Science);
5. If a staff member is appointed to a position within TRACOM, and that person has not completed the requirements for the position, he/she shall have 60 days to complete the requirements or be asked to resign the position;
6. All candidates should review the TRACOM Policies and Procedures Manual paying close attention to the duties outlined in sections 3.01, 3.02, 3.04 Doctrine Section sub-section Branch Directors, and section 3.05 IN FULL.

Please send your ‘Fleet resume, a letter of intent, and why you feel you would make a valuable addition to the Training and Doctrine Command Staff to me at tracom@sfi-sfmc.org.

Good luck to all candidates and I look forward to having to making a difficult decision in May.

That’s what I have at the moment. More will be coming under separate cover a bit later.

Mike

Michael McGowan
LGN, SFMC
OIC, 225th MSG
papabear@ussbortas.net
listmail@ussbortas.net

State of INFOCOM March 2012

State of INFOCOM March 2012

Greetings Marines,

With spring in full gear pretty soon it will be Easter and that means the members of the Datawarfare Center will be finding colored, oval shaped objects hidden on the most peculiar of places. The most notable has always been the file drawers.

Let’s talk about what going on shall we.

Pingdom:
The Pingdom report for February reported 0 outages for an impressive 100% uptime. The average response time was 351 ms. These results are better than last month. Way to redeem yourselves Dreamhost.

Attention on Deck Extra:
A new issue is almost ready. It should be available before the weekend.

Now Hiring:
Infocom is seeking a CGI/PHP Programmer role. We need a member with this knowledge to update the code for the Ribbon Rack Builder and Guidon Builder. If you can help in this area, then please send an email to michaelj.timko@gmail.com.

Communication Achievement Award:
The COINFOCOM awards the Communications Achievement Award. Have you done or do you know somebody who has done something worthy of this award? Submissions can be made for designing a website or newsletter, writing a story or song, composing music, making a video. The sky is really the limit. Some might say my work wasn’t good enough or significant enough. To that, I say, you won’t know until it gets submited.

Well, thats all I got for this month.

Semper Fi.
BDR Michael Timko
COINFOCOM, SFMC
michaelj.timko@gmail.com

State of the NCO Corps March 2012

State of the NCO Corps March 2012

State of the NCO Corps March 11, 2012

Greetings Marines!

Once again I am here in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where a full investigation revealed the hot wings sauce was NOT responsible for the damage to the kitchen (but the recipe has been changed Just In Case), and after a recent unfortunate incident at the holographic shooting game, we request that all sidearms be checked at the door.

By now, you should all know that the MFM tasks the NCOs of the SFMC with taking a lead in their unit’s community service efforts. NCOs are also tasked with taking a lead in recruiting and more importantly, retention of new members. So, how do we accomplish those assigned tasks?

To help with the first, remember, community service need not be some large scale effort. No matter how small the community you live in, there is ample opportunity for Marines to make a difference. No effort is too small. Even a few hours here and there will help. Think outside the box, and encourage and help your fellow Marines to do the same.

Right now, the special campaign dubbed the March for the Disabled is underway, and I certainly hope you are taking your chance to do your part. Please remember, there are many members of STARFLEET in general and the SFMC in particular that daily have to deal with the effects of some sort of physical, mental, or emotional disability, either for a loved one or for themselves. In the larger view, then, whatever you do for this special campaign of community service will follow the old tradition: Marines take care of their own.

Now, as to recruiting and retention, I am going to sum it up first in two words: Have Fun.

One thing that people often lose sight of is that the STARFLEET is primarily a social organization, not a real world military command. People should be having fun, enjoying time spent with people of similar interests. Perhaps the biggest reason people leave any sort of club is that, for whatever reason, it’s just not fun any more.

Do not get so caught up in your real world duties and responsibilities that you lose sight of this. Let your enthusiasm be an example to others, whether it be taking classes from TRACOM or SFA, or simply refusing to let a gathering or event fail because poor planning is making everyone miserable.

As the saying goes: Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome. Refuse to be a source of negativity, but instead find a way to make things work. Most importantly, have fun yourself. You will do the rest of your Marines no good if you are constantly feeling over worked and burn out.

However, while you should be having fun, you should also remember that as a STARFLEET Marine NCO, you should always strive to lead by example. You should not only “talk the talk”, but you should also “walk the walk”. For instance, it is no use telling other Marines that they should take care in their appearance if you show up at meetings or events looking like an unmade bed, or advising a professional approach to a problem if you are constantly flying off the handle publicly. Remember the slogan of the SFMC NCO Corps: Excellence in Everything We Do.

As always, remember that the SFMC General Staff is here to serve you. The email addresses are ALL on the SFMC web page, and their doors are always open. Your questions and input are always welcome and needed. And, remember that some of us tend to read and follow the SFMC group on Facebook, so feel free to comment and share with your fellow Marines there.

Now, it’s time for Top’s History Lesson. Before I begin, I would like to give a special tip of Top’s eight point to PVT Jamie Spracklen of the 20th BDE, a fellow lover of history who pointed me towards a story I felt I just had to tell.

When you put the words “Marines” and “World War One” together, most of us immediately make a mental leap to Belleau Wood, a name that will echo through Marine history. But, there is another battle that should have a similar place of honor among the annals of the Starfleet Marines, a place where Marines struggled against heavy odds and bad luck: the Zeebrugge Raid

On April 28, 1918, a motley force of 75 expendable vessels of various sizes, including the obsolete cruiser HMS Vindictive, sailed for the port of Bruges-Zeebrugge in Belgium. The objective was to block the harbor used by enemy U-boats and light shipping and further secure the English Channel. The old Vindictive was the key to the plan. Her armament had been mainly stripped and replaced with howitzers, flamethrowers and machineguns to support the 200 Royal Marines given the key job of launching a critical landing at the entrance to the Bruges Canal.

As often happens, the plan did not survive contact with the enemy. A shift in the winds made the air-dropped smokescreen ineffective, and Vindictive came under heavy fire from shore positions. Worse yet, she came up hard against the mile long Zeebrugge Mole in the wrong position, rendering most of her weapons ineffective, and unable to support the Royal Marines. In fact, she was fighting for her own life as the enemy poured fire into her from the Mole. About the only weapons that could br brought to bear to suppress enemy fire were the “pom-poms”- Bofors light cannon with a high rate of fire- and the Lewis machineguns in her foretop. These were manned by members of the Royal Marine Artillery, and second in command of those Marines was 27 year old SGT Norman Augustus Finch, a 10 year veteran.

Vindictive was being hit by enemy fire every few seconds, and steel splinters were flying everywhere, but the Marines in the foretop kept pouring it on, shifting targets rapidly in order to suppress as much enemy fire as possible. Finally, two heavy shells hit the foretop, putting most of the guns and all but one of the Marines out of the fight. SGT Finch manned the remaining Lewis gun, in spite of being heavily wounded. He kept up his fire on the enemy guns from his battered and exposed position, ignoring the fire being directed back at him until another direct hit on the foretop put his gun out of action. His actions in suppressing and ultimately drawing enemy fire were to be credited with saving many lives

Although it was hailed in the press at the time as a resounding victory, the truth is the Zeebrugge Raid was pretty much a failure. Of the 1700 sailors and Marines in the action, over 200 were killed and 300 wounded, and poor timing of the scuttling of the block ships meant that the enemy could dredge channels past them in a matter of days. But the courage and discipline under fire displayed by so many involved could not be denied. For his actions in the foretop of Vindictive that day, SGT Norman Augustus Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, was selected by the 4th Battalion of Royal Marines, who were mostly Royal Marine Light Infantry, to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated 29th January 1856. Essentially, what this means is that the entire unit was held to have performed admirably, and they were given the chance to CHOOSE which of their members would receive the honor personally.

Finch went on to retire as a Quartermaster Sergeant in 1929. In 1931 he was made a Yeoman of the Guard. When World War Two broke out, he rejoined the Royal Marines and served quietly as a quartermaster throughout the war, In 1964 he was made Divisional Sergeant-Major of HM Bodyguard of the Yeoman of the Guard, He passed away in 1966.

Anybody can reasonably be expected to perform well when things are going according to plan. The real test is what you do when Stuff Happens. The next time the Stuff is flying at you, remember Norman Finch, who kept fighting until the enemy literally blew the gun out of his hands.

Semper Fi!

MGSGT Jerome A. “Hawk” Stoddard
Sergeant Major of the Starfleet Marines
sgm_sfmc@sfi-sfmc.org

State of the SFMC March 2012

State of the SFMC March 2012

Greetings to all marines!

Without wishing to appear as if there is some sort of “fixation” to our membership, I just wish to note in my opening that the database shows an increase over that as reported last month, of an additional 20 marines – bringing current membership of the Corps to 1128.

This would certainly appear to be in line with the flurry of membership increase reported throughout STARFLEET in the last month and it is great to see that the SFMC is able to continue to attract people. Long may that continue – but it only will provided we are able to offer personal satisfaction in one form or another, to our members. This GS will continue to work to that end I assure you.

MARINE OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY CERTIFICATION (MOSC) & MARINE UNIT READINESS PROGRAM (MURP)
And speaking on behalf of the MURP and MOSC Coordinator – a marine I know personally very well – this is then also an opportune time to raise the profile once again of these programs.

Recently, the SFMC Recruiting & Retention Officer published an incentive program under title of “Who’s the BOS”, which is geared to publish a series of articles highlighting and focusing on the fictional and fun elements associated with MOS certifications used in our role plays. It is suggested that for those of you – both Units and individual marines – who wish to know more of these programs, that they contact either the Recruiting & Retention Officer (RRO) atrecruiting@sfi-sfmc.org or the MURP/MOSC Coordinator at murp@sfmca.sfi-sfmc.org. We already have a large pool of marines with documented MOS certifications and many of our MSG’s and MEU’s are working through their MURP accreditation – with a handful having completed their General Combined Readiness (GCR) programs.
Might be worth a look – after all, you can never have too many certificates or streamers….

MARINE FORCES MANUAL
As reported earlier, we planned to have the 2012 edition of the MFM published early this calendar year. Due to some new graphic inclusions, this has been delayed a little as we finalize a couple of important projected inserts. However it is expected that the updated MFM will be ready for publishing within the next eight weeks or so.

SFMC WEBSITE
While the responsibility for the management and reporting of detailing pertaining to our website is that of InfoCom, I just wanted to make a few comments in regard to recent activities that caused some concern.

As many of you will be aware, our website fell victim to some disruption as PHP sites throughout Dreamhost’s customer base were “attacked” and both the STARFLEET International and SFMC sites were affected. This “attack” was not unique to us as literally hundreds of other sites using Dreamhost were impacted in identical fashion.
With both CompOps and InfoCom working together, the situation was quickly resolved and we were able to return our normal services fairly smartly. Nevertheless, this has given cause for concern and InfoCom is working on assessments and reviews of alternative measures that we can take to minimize any future repeat – something that I am sure we are all well aware cannot be completely guarded against.

If anyone has any questions or queries or suggestions in regards to our websites, please discuss these with COInfoCom, BDR Michael Timko at infocom@sfi-sfmc.org

INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES
Speaking myself as a member of one of the International Brigades (the “Off Worlders” perhaps???) the problems sometimes associated with the purchasing of uniform items can be something of a real mission. Not only is there usually a huge shipping cost attached – sometimes the cost of shipping is far greater than the cost of the goods being shipped – there are also instances where goods can simply not be acquired as a US vendor may have a policy of “no sales outside the US”.

The GS has reviewed and discussed this and the only conclusion that has been made so far, is that the SFMC QM has to first identify key components and then look to which and how many of these items can be carried by the QM – working under assumption that in doing so, we could then provide a single source point for International marines (and others of course).

The problems with this are quite varied however, most especially that of choosing just what is to be carried and then answering the question of how much volume.
Obviously, the QM could find itself in a position where an overly wide range of material was being held in stock to simply satisfy small demand, to say nothing of the huge variety of items in question (which enlisted marine rank pins should we hold for instance?) and the financial investment this would incur.

One alternative suggested was to support the establishment of “local” (International) QM stores, who could then hold such stocks of these items for their marines. The problems with this aspect however are those associated with the financial responsibility involved (who owns the stock? who pays for the goods? who takes fiscal responsibility? etc) and thus tend to direct us more to the former suggestion, whereby the SFMC QM obtains and stocks these items.

We will advise the International BDE OIC’s of our findings shortly, with the clear intention of providing a solid service. But in the interim, if any of the “Off World” marines wish to throw in some queries, comments or ideas, we would be happy to hear them. Drop a line to either myself (dant@sfi-sfmc.org) or the CO FinCom, MGN Patrick McAndrew at fincom@sfi-sfmc.org

ARE WE HAVING ANY FUN YET?
If nothing else, this has to be a question we all ask ourselves as members of the SFMC from time to time. We all likely came here for a wide variety of reasons, but nothing as important as that of our intention to “have some fun”.

We often hear that the SFMC is an “overly rigid organization” – but that is really more simply a case of misinterpretation of our need to have some solid policies and codes of practice, which is absolutely necessary for an organization our size. But at the end of the day, this IS supposed to be all about fun and the over-exposed SFMC Dress Policy aside, we would love to hear of your ideas and comments that could best reflect a “fun element” that could be introduced.

It may be that your Unit or Battalion or Brigade, are running some ‘fun programs’ that could be expanded upon and we would sure like to know of these. Drop us a line and let us know what it is that your marines enjoy doing, and we may be able to offer up a Corps-wide program of similar fashion.

Anything like this needs to be directed to Forces Command and a simple email to the CO and DCO over at ForceCom will be well received . forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org or dcoforcecom@sfi-sfmc.org
I have had the pleasure of receiving a couple of comments and suggestions from one or two brigades already and there are certainly some aspects that we could publicize that may be of benefit. So feel free to jump in and pass on your thoughts.

A REMINDER ON DRESS CODES
The STARFLEET Marine Corps has a wide variety of uniforms authorized in the MFM, suitable for any ‘Trek era, as well as designs whose primary value is that they are relatively inexpensive and consist of components widely available through a variety of commercial sources.

Remember that at no time is any uniform required, but if a STARFLEET Marine Corps uniform is worn, it should be one of the designs authorized in the MFM and the uniform should be worn “correctly”.

The MFM contains a caution that bears repeating often:
“Uniforms should not be worn to functions where the majority of attendees would not recognize it as some type of fan uniform. The Mess White and Class C uniforms are not readily recognizable as a non-military uniform. Marines should avoid wearing the uniform in any context where is may appear paramilitary or intimidating to the public.”

Bruce O’Brien
Brigadier General, SFMC
Commandant, STARFLEET Marine Corps
dant@sfi-sfmc.org