State of TRACOM August 2013

State of TRACOM  August 2013

Greetings everybody,

First off, sorry for the tardiness of this. As Steve Miller said, ‘Time keeps slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future’

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that I have received, and accepted the resignation of Phillip Muller as the Sergeant Major of TRACOM, as well as the NCO Development Director.

I would like to thank Phillip for his hard work, and we wish him the best in his future endevours.

This means that we are currently looking for an NCO to fill his position.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, October 4 2013 at 2359 Central Daylight Time.

Here are the requirements:

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/-301 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 tjlittou@cox.net.

7. This billet must be filled by a Non-Commissioned Officer or Warrant Officer.

We are also looking for an assistant or two to work in the Doctrine department under the supervision of the DCO-Doctrine. These persons will be assisting with research, writing, fact-checking, editing and other duties as directed by the DCO-Doctrine. Just don’t let him try to get you to pick up his dry cleaning.

The requirements are the same as above, with the exception of #7.

Commissioned Officers are welcome to apply. Applications will be accepted until the same time as the applications for SGM TRACOM.

The renumbering project is chugging right along and will be completed very soon.

During the month of August, there were a total of 67 graduates from the SFMCA, 12 Distinction, 23 Honors and 32 Pass grades.

Until later this month…

TJL

*Major General Travis Littou*

COTRACOM

Armor Director

SFMCA Team Delta

tjlittou@cox.net

tracom@sfi-sfmc.org

ar@sfmca.sfi-sfmc.org

State of INFOCOM August 2013

State of INFOCOM August 2013

Greeting Marines,
Now that we have wrapped up IC and we are head into the second half of the year, some of us have started thinking about our plans for the upcoming holidays at the end of you year. I would suggest to take some of that time and plan on backing up your computer data. As an IT professional with over 20 years of experience, I get those panicked calls all the time with the person one the other end of the line either mad of frantic because their computer has crashed. They say “everything is on my computer”. Sometimes it a virus and sometimes it is a hardware failure. My first question is “Do you have a backup of your data?” and the majority of the time the answer is no. If your computer hard drive fails and that is the only place you have your important data, then 9 out of 10 times it is lost forever. If anyone has ever had this happen to them you know what I’m talking about. If you get a virus or have an issue with your computer and you take it into a repair shop they may or may not recover your data. Everyone needs to back up their important data, keep it in at least two places. A lot of people keep a backup on an external USB hard drive or a USB thumb drive. This is better than having nothing at all but when I say “keep the important data in more than one place” that can mean different locations as well. Ok let’s say you have your data backup to an USB hard drive attached to your computer, what happens if you have a fire or if your home is broken into and your computer is stolen? The two copies of the data didn’t really matter because they were in the same location and now both are gone. The new buzz word in the IT industry is “backup to the cloud” Basically these are companies that offer a service to back up your computer files to the “cloud” or internet servers. Most of these services are fairly inexpensive or free for home use and can give you an option for off-site back. The only drawback is you need a high-speed internet connection for this to work. Security is also a concern, look at how the company will encrypt and protect our data. Let me tell you this is a vast improvement in the old system of off-site backup, which was sending your backup tapes out to iron mountain in a lock box every day. This is something to really consider. Do some research and see if any of the several solution are right for you.
We are still having difficulties in filling key staff positions in INFOCOM. The G-3 Publications Officer and a Web Team staff. INFOCOM has several projects we will be under taking in the near future and these staff shortages will impact the time it will take to complete these projects. If you have any questions in regards to any INFOCOM staff positions please let me know.
We have added the new Special Operations Parachute Qualification Wings (SO-150, SO-13 old) to the SFMC QM site. I have also added the new Brigadier 4 diamond rank pins. There are available in the small and large sizes. Stop by the QM site and have a look.

And in closing here are the pingdom stats for August.

August
Uptime: 99.80%
Outages: 4
Downtime 1h 30m
Response time: 443 ms

Thank you,

BGEN Mark “Slayer” Anderson
Commanding Officer, Information Command (COINFOCOM)
STARFLEET Marine Corps

State of FORCECOM August 2013

State of FORCECOM August 2013

Good Day, Marines,

This will be a brief note from the Office of Forces Command.

First off, for those who may have missed the announcement on the email lists and of Facebook, COL Derek Allen of 4th Brigade has been assigned to the position of Deputy Commanding Officer of Forces Command. He can be reached at dcoforcecom@sfi-sfmc.org . Derek is already hard at work on a couple of specific projects already so don’t be surprised if you hear from him directly over the next couple of weeks. He will also be taking over the Reading Challenge, so any questions about that program should be addressed to him.

We are both here to serve you so please don’t hesitate to contact either of us if you have questions or concerns.

Now with another Marine Muster come and gone and with the major awards season over, now is a good time to check out your personnel records on the database. No one’s going to know something is missing but you so it’s a good to get in the habit of reviewing your personal records every couple of months or so.

And besides, you may discover an award or two you didn’t know you received. That’s always a nice surprise.

It’s a fact of life in electronic record keeping that sometimes things go missing. An email may get eaten by a spam folder. Records can be lost on a hard drive. It is the responsibility of the individual to keep a copy of all his personal records, awards received, courses completed, etc. If you find an error, it’s certainly acceptable to point it out and request the data be added, updated or changed. Just know that you’ll need to provide documentation so that the appropriate correction to the database. Documentation can be a scanned copy of the certificate, an email from the issuing authority, a copy of a Unit or Brigade report noting the award, etc.

I can’t emphasis this point enough: if it can’t be documented, it can’t be changed, corrected or added. If this all sounds familiar, it’s something I try to stress every few months or so. It’s never a good idea to wait until the last moment to discover something’s missing, especially if you’re getting ready for a formal dress event like your Unit Holiday formal dinner or an upcoming Brigade Muster.

Just think of it as ‘preventative maintenance’.

And now, to close with a few numbers.

Breakdown of Assigned Marines:
173 active Units
1 BDE: 27 Units with 250 individuals [169 Active / 81 Reserve]
2 BDE: 16 Units with 173 individuals [130 Active / 43 Reserve]
3 BDE: 23 Units with 221 individuals [143 Active / 78 Reserve]
4 BDE: 8 Units with 110 individuals [80 Active / 30 Reserve]
5 BDE: 11 Units with 101 individuals [50 Active / 51 Reserve]
6 BDE: 12 Units with 40 individuals [33 Active / 7 Reserve]
7 BDE: 9 Units with 110 individuals [80 Active / 30 Reserve]
10 BDE: 1 Unit with 12 individuals [9 Active / 3 Reserve]
11 BDE: 4 Units with 52 individuals [40 Active / 12 Reserve]
12 BDE: 13 Units with 115 individuals [73 Active / 42 Reserve]
13 BDE: 4 Units with 27 individuals [19 Active / 8 Reserve]
14 BDE: 1 Unit with 3 individuals [3 Active / 0 Reserve]
15 BDE: 7 Units with 74 individuals [32 Active / 42 Reserve]
17 BDE: 3 Units with 76 individuals [24 Active / 52 Reserve]
20 BDE: 5 Units with 70 individuals [49 Active / 21 Reserve]

2 new Units pending completion of paperwork
1 Unit Disbanded due to lack of unit activity and reporting – unit members moved to Unassigned status

Unassigned: 457 Marines
Spread over 16 Brigade

Stand Easy, Marines.

With Regards,

BDR Jari “Gato” James
COFORCECOM

State of the NCO Corps August 2013

State of the NCO Corps August 2013

Greetings Marines!

Let’s head on over to the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO Club, where the reserved parking slots are enforced by command detonated mines, and, in hindsight, that little drinking game we played during the broadcast of the International Muster (every time an enlisted Marine gets mentioned, down a shot of that cheap Arkellian tequila we‘ve been trying to get rid of for years) may not have been such a good idea after all, but at least we finally got that MP butterbar down from the flagpole.

I must confess that I may have even cracked a smile as the names of so many enlisted members of the SFMC were read out this year. As a fair warning, I intend to pretty much mention all of them, so this report may require a second cup of the caffeinated beverage of your choice to get through.

For the past six years, I have had the privilege of awarding the Star of Honor (NCO of the Year) to enlisted Marines nominated as the best that the NCO Corps has to offer. It’s always a tight race, and this year was no exception, but SGM Mark Polanis of the 1st Brigade emerged as the winner. His fine work at TRACOM is generally known, but what you may not know is all the other work he does behind the scenes at the unit, battalion, and brigade levels, his work in recruiting and retention, and his steadfast and fervent support of the SFMC NCO Corps in many ways.

Turning to the Cadet Star of Honor, there were two awarded this year. Cadet Honor awards are separated by age categories, with a larger number indicating an older cadet, and each age category may be given an award. Noah Cook of the 2nd Brigade was recently promoted to CDT 2LT, but his work as a cadet NCO earned him the Grade 4 award. This high school ROTC member participated in a wide variety of community service efforts. Cadet SGT Edward Tunis IV of the 3rd Brigade was represented by a nomination that went into great detail about not only his community service activities, but his activities in school, and as an important member of his unit and his brigade. The nomination would have been impressive for any NCO, but when you take into account the fact the Marine is question is EIGHT years old … well, let’s just say I think the future of the Corps will be in capable hands.

SFMC NCOs are expected to take an active part in community service efforts, so it is with great pride that I note that this year’s Shield of Honor (SFMC Volunteer of the Year) went to SGM Brian Chappell of the 1st Brigade. SGM Chappell doesn’t live in a large city, but he still managed to average over 20 hours per month on various community service projects of all types, ranging from simply helping a member of his community with chores to volunteer work on behalf of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and a host of projects at various local, state, and national levels. Wherever he sees a need for help, SGM Chappell seems to find a way to carve out a little time to do what he can to lend a hand.

CDT SGT Ben Mabbit of the 20th Brigade rounds out the Honor awards, winning both the Cadet Shield of Honor (Grade 2) and the Cadet Cross of Honor (Grade 2). This exceptional young Marine is very involved in his unit, and is noted for lending a hand wherever he can, beginning at home and going on from there. He even managed to find a way to combine something he does for fun with a community service endeavor when he participated in a karate challenge demo showing 1000 techniques that raised money for cancer research.

But, the list of awards announced at the International Muster for enlisted Marines didn’t end there. Let’s take a look at the rest of the awards (in order of precedence), with a note that if you‘d like to learn more about these awards, Section 8 (Awards) of the Marine Force Manual is a good place to start looking.

The STARFLEET Cross is unique among SFMC awards in that it is actually a STARFLEET award, given by the Commander, STARFLEET to members of the SFMC for exceptional service to the organization that we all belong to. This year, MGSGT John Kane and SGM Mark Polanis of the 1st Brigade, and SGM Marie Smith of the 20th Brigade were so honored. MGSGT Kane was also presented with the Commandant’s Meritorious Service Award for exceptional service to the STARFLEET Marines over an extended period of time at the highest levels of the Corps.

The SFMC Service Commendation is also given for service to the Corps over time, and SGM Polanis and SGM Smith were joined by 1SGT Phillip Muller of the 1st Brigade in receiving this distinction. The SFMC Achievement Award recognizes service to the Corps by performing a particular task or service to a high standard of excellence, and among those honored were SGM Smith, SGM Trenton Baum of the 3rd Brigade, GSGT Frank Stevens of the 5th Brigade, and former CPO (now 2LT) Marsha Beleigh of the 17th.

Last, but certainly not least, the ranks of the SFMC Academy’s elite Team Delta were increased by another enlisted Marine, with WO1 David May of the 3rd Brigade gaining the right to wear the black double knot attachment to his shoulder cord.

Now, at this point, my hat-tipping arm is getting a little worn out, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that each and every one of the award winners I’ve given a shout out to above got there because someone took the time and trouble to write up a nomination and get their name in front of the appropriate people so their good works could be recognized. They didn’t wait for the Other Guy to get the job done, and all those anonymous nominators deserve their own praise for getting the job done as well. Please join me in a massive collective “Bravo Zulu (well done)!” for all those concerned.

As reported at the International Muster (and in this report last month), a complete data set taken on 06/30/13 consisting of all STARFLEET member identified in the SFI Database as being part of the SFMC showed that enlisted Marines make up 23.5 percent of the total.

Please remember that not everybody listed in the unit, battalion, and brigade reports is shown in the database as a Marine, either active or reserve. Despite what some people think, it’s NOT a requirement for STARFLEET members that are part of SFMC units to be listed as a Marine in the database. So, the data dump almost assuredly missed some folks that could conceivably had a measurable impact on the totals. The 23.5 percent figure ONLY takes into account SFMC members who have a rank listed in the database. If you add in those people who have no rank listed , the numbers become:

Officers: 70.02 % Enlisted 21.54 % No Rank : 8.44 %

One could assume that “no rank” means “Recruit Private”, but that’s not a given. The lack of rank in the database could mean a new member, but it could also mean a long term member whose rank was never properly entered, or it may even be a database reporting error. Since there is no way of knowing from the data what “No rank” means, I chose to base the total sample and my percentages solely on those who have a rank listed. (In this case, no rank meant “no data”, making them an invalid member of the sample.)

In absolute terms, there were more enlisted members (grades E-1 to E-9, and WO-W5) than there were officers of “Flag rank” (Grade O-7 and above). The actual numbers for enlisted were 263, with 228 “Flag Rank” officers in the data set. If you wish to look at it another way, there are 250 STARFLEET Marines who can wear stripes on their uniforms (E-1 to E-9), and 157 who can wear stars (O-8 and above).

As a general, round number to use in planning purposes and discussion, it’s fairly safe to assume right now that, Corps wide, about one STARFLEET Marine in four holds an enlisted rank. Even the very worst case (adding in all those with “no rank” and assuming they are all officers) means just over one STARFLEET Marine in five holds an enlisted rank.

As always, the SFMC General Staff needs your input and ideas in order to properly do our jobs. Don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate GS member with your questions, comments and ideas. You can find all the email addresses at the SFMC website, and, of course, we monitor the Corps-l list, and the SFMC Facebook group.

Now it’s time for Top’s History Lesson. Given that the SFMC just issued its annual awards, it’s worth noting that last month, Staff Sergeant Clifford M. Wooldridge was recognized by the Military Times as the 2013 US Marine of the Year. It wasn’t the first such honor for the young weapons instructor who had been named the USO Marine of the Year in October of 2012. At that time, his company First Sergeant said “He’s one of my best instructors and a true professional.”

Wooldridge told the Marine Corps Times that his family was very happy and excited, and mentioned that he’d spent most of the day getting his uniform ready for the ceremony. Like most Marines, that uniform includes his decorations, which in his case are topped off by the Silver Star he was awarded for his actions on June 18 of 2010, while on service in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Then a corporal, Wooldridge was serving as a vehicle commander in a mounted patrol from the Weapons Company of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. His day had started off bad and gone downhill from there. The Weapons Company had barely left the secured perimeter when his vehicle ran afoul of an improvised explosive device. Nobody was seriously hurt, but Wooldridge and his men had to transfer to another vehicle … which soon ran into another IED. Still, the crew was alive, and after transferring to yet another vehicle, the Corporal probably figured it couldn’t get much worse. He was wrong.

His four vehicle patrol ran into a hornet’s nest of enemy fire, but they were able to dismount to close with the enemy. Wooldridge led his fire team on a fast, dismounted flanking sweep that killed about half of the fifteen opponents in the ambush they’d spotted and scattered the rest, and then stayed behind to screen his Marines as they fell back. So far, so good …then Stuff Happened.

Wooldridge heard voices coming from behind a nearby wall, and decided to take a peek. He found himself face to face with four of the enemy, and he instantly opened fire with his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Two of the enemy dropped immediately. A third got a few steps before falling, and then, the SAW ran dry., leaving one opponent with a light machinegun less than 10 feet away. In a very gutsy move, Wooldridge tried to bluff the enemy soldier into surrendering, gesturing with his empty weapon, but it didn’t work, and he had to quickly duck behind the wall again and hope he had time to reload. He didn’t.

Spotting the barrel of the enemy light machinegun poking around the edge of the wall, the young Marine from Port Angeles, Washington did what Marines throughout history have done: “Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.” He dropped the empty SAW, grabbed the barrel of the enemy weapon, and in a flurry of vicious hand to hand combat, killed the remaining enemy with the butt of his own gun. The citation for his Silver Star finishes the story with: “His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. By his bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Corporal Wooldridge reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”

To me, the story of Clifford Wooldridge serves as reminder that the defining quality of a marine NCO, whether serving on the deck of a Roman trireme or on some starship in the distant future, is not the technology that marine is equipped with, or their formal job description, but instead is that “bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty” that a 10 year old boy I recall meeting many years ago when I lived in Washington state grew into.

Semper Fi!

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

State of the SFMC – August 2013

State of the SFMC – August 2013

Greetings to all marines

IC/IM has come and gone and the Corps has once again have rewarded its most deserving marines with the endowment of appropriate awards and decorations. This is as it should always be with the prime announcement of our highest awards being given the dignity and honor of personal, verbal presentation rather than a simply email broadcast of congratulations
But acclamations of congratulation for any SFMC annual award cannot be made enough so I would like to add my congratulations to all 2013 recipients and acknowledge your personal achievements that have seen you so honored. Well done marines!

In speaking of thanks and congratulations, I would also like to make mention to the host Brigade for their great efforts and energy in assembling the components necessary for any such event, but especially more focused when it is part of the International Muster. While at time of writing I am still to get a debrief from the GS team “on the ground” so I am making mention quite blindly to all that was presented for the benefit of those marines in attendance. But notwithstanding that, I am certain that COL Carsten and the other supporting marines of the 3rd BDE managed to pull off an excellent series of events, especially given the commitment and enthusiastic approach that was visible from my office
I look forward to learning more of the outcomes of the weekend

I would also like to acknowledge the great work put in on behalf of this GS , by Commanding Officer, Information Command, BGN Mark Anderson, supoerted by DCOFinance Command BGN Barry Jackson – who gallantly stepped forward to fulfill the obligations and activities of the SFMC Commandant usually conducted at IC/IM. As much I would love to have been in attendance, distance and cost make such a journey difficult even at the ‘best of times’. Mark and his support team, worked with confidence and precision and purpose to carry out these duties and I thank him for doing so

During the Muster, a presentation made on behalf of the GS, reviewed some of the work done by this GS over the last two and a half years, and gave some presentation of plans to carry us through to the end of this year. For many varied reasons, we did not achieve all of the objectives we set ourselves back in January 2011, but we have had some good successes with some of the programs we looked to initiate.
One of these, was the plans to gradually replace our dependence upon the use of real-world military devices and badges as much as possible – with the intention of putting more “Starfleet” into our Marine Corps. We certainly have a gone a long way in achieving this objective, with the release over the last eighteen months or so of unique, SFMC-designed material that now adorn many marines uniforms.
We look to further extend this and at part of the Muster’s presentation, provided overview of the continuation of these designs as created by GEN Mike McGowan – the person responsible for all current metal BOS design work and other material we now have
The intention is to provide a full range of BOS devices that carry a common SFMC design element, and we are fully convinced that this will have been achieved once this material becomes available at QM store

In speaking of the Quartermaster, GEN Olson has reported a solid sales result from material taken to the IC, which will enable us to further review items we can stock – either replacement of good selling lines or to the addition of other new materiel that would be of value to marines. This too fits within one of our posted objectives, where we have been working to establish the SFMC QM store as much as a “one stop shop” service as much as possible. The more elements we can add to the QM store with associated fiscal responsibility, the easier/cheaper it is for marines to add the necessary items needed for uniforms. Savings on freight and convenvinece shopping alone make this a worthwhile exercise

I am constantly reminded of the need to look to ways to find suitable ‘entry level employment’ for the many marines who wish to offer their services to the Corps. And while some of the Commands (Tracom in particular) are working to establish roles or tasks that have actual meaning and would give any new ‘recruit’ an opportunity to ground-level work at Corp level, I would wish to reiterate that we long ago established the office under the DCOForceCom where ANY so interested marines could register their eagerness to participate in any programs within the GS commands. This option always remains open and I would suggest that if you have a skill or an interest to present whatever services you can on behalf of the Corps – known vacancy or not – that you do so by dropping a line to DCOForceCom, listing your area of expertise or interest
A simple action that may not necessarily lead to immediate ’employment’ – but if we have a register of interested and available marines, be assured we will use it

In closing this brief report – I wish to again bring attention and focus to something regularly bought up and often highlighted. This refers to questions that seem to float about from time to time, to which the standing response has always been “read the freaking manual”.
Many of the questions that do most commonly get asked can in pretty much 99.9% of the cases, be found in the Marine Force Manual (MFM) and we urge every marine to research that resource first. We say this not just because we don’t want marines asking questions, but because in doing so, marines then get the opportunity to perhaps read and learn more than the answer to the question they may have. Our manuals are such an excellent and important resource for us and I urge you all to take the time now and then, to simply run through them to find out in detail just what lies within.
But this does not detract from the fact that there MAY be issues with information that is either not contained , is possibly ambiguous or is not clearly stated and we would always want to know of this of course, so that corrections or additions can be made. Marines should certainly not hold back in asking questions at any time – but please, read the manual first…

As always – if any marine has any question or query of any member of the General Staff, they should certainly not hold back in firing off mail to the appropriate Command. We are all here to serve your needs and always stand ready to do so

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