State of TRACOM December 2013

State of TRACOM December 2013

Good Day and Happy New Year!

2013 was an interesting and productive year in TRACOM. We undertook a major project to renumber all of the courses to a 3 digit numbering system. This was done so that we can expand our offerings at the SFMCA.
As we move forward, we shall be expanding the number of courses, so be on the lookout for that.

We have had changes to the leadership this year, with myself taking over as COTRACOM from Gary Hollifield, Mark Polanis taking over for me as DCO-Admin and Josiah Smiddy taking over from Brian Pickett as DCO-Doctrine. We are currently looking for someone to fill the role of Sergeant Major that was vacated by Mark Polanis when he took the DCO-Admin job. I would like to thank everyone who has helped out at TRACOM this past year; all of your hard work has been greatly appreciated.

While we did have changes last year, we still have changes to come. Our new Commandant, Mike McGowan has stepped down as the Research and Development Director, and as the MOSC/MURP director, and I have stepped down as the Armor Branch Director in order to bring some new faces into TRACOM. I have solicited for applications for these positions, and will be announcing the names of the Marines that will be filling these positions soon.

On a related note, former Commandant Major General Bruce O’Brien has agreed to keep working with us here in TRACOM as the Leadership Development Director as well as the Xenostudies Borg Director.

With that said, here are some stats from the SFMCA from 2013:

232 students took 1494 courses
487 courses were scored Distinction (100%)
411 courses were scored Honors (96% – 99%)
596 courses were scored Pass (70% – 95%)
0 courses were scored Fail (0% – 69%)

13 new courses were created

1013ea -100 level courses were completed 416ea -200 level courses were completed 70ea -300 level courses were completed 2ea -400 level courses were completed 4ea -500 level courses were completed
11 College Graduations were completed

I have enjoyed working with y’all in 2013, and look forward to working with y’all in 2014 and beyond.

Travis Littou
Major General, SFMC
Commanding
Training and Doctrine Command

State of the SFMC – December 2013

State of the SFMC – December 2013

Greetings to all marines

As you will be aware, my term as SFMC Commandant comes to a close at midnight 31st December, when I will step down and be replaced in office by the most capable GEN Mike McGowan

In this my final address as Commandant, I would like to take a brief moment of your time to pass recognition to those that have served with me on the General Staff (GS)for the last three years and to also acknowledge that many of these very fine marines will be continuing to serve you through the next three years as well.

When we took office in January 2011, we knew not what quite to expect given that many of out team at that time, had not served on the GS previously and thus some of the learning curves were long but most educational.

We took a little time to settle primarily as we managed to ‘lose’ a few of our key people during the first 18 months or so, but by the end of these three years, I am very proud to say that every member of the GS team now in place has long since proven their capability, skill and professionalism at handling the tasks assigned to them. That the vast majority of these marines will remain in office under GEN McGowan, should give the Corps great confidence and the satisfaction that we will have some skilled and experienced personnel managing SFMC affairs for the years ahead of us In taking office back in 2011, I stated that one of my objectives was to see the GS introduce more “Starfleet’ into the mix with much less reliance on elements associated with any real-world military.
The introduction of SFMC-designed material such as our BOS devices, has gone a long way to achieve this, regardless of the recent impacts bought about by our ‘clash’ with the USMC and their concerns over our logo and seal designs.
These issues will be worked to an excellent resolution I am sure and the next GS will then be able to continue to move forward with the development and progression to this original goal

During the last three years, we also saw the SFMC celebrate its 30th anniversary, an achievement that every marine can be most proud of. It was during this period that we also were able to identify the significant growth in membership numbers – most especially those committed to serving as ‘Active Marines”
This development goes a very long way to acknowledge that the SFMC does indeed offer any new member of STARFLEET International, a worthy and personally satisfying manner by which to enjoy their fandom experience I would certainly hope that under my command, the culture of the Corps has continue to grow and developed to some extent, support to this growth of numbers

And while we cannot at this time easily announce exact numbers of Corps membership due to issues relating to the ‘new’ database, we can readily accept and identify that Corps membership now stands at its highest level since it’s establishment back in 1983

Thus we move to a new administration and governance of the Corps – but before closing this address, I wish to pass my personal appreciation and genuine thanks to those members of this GS and of the VCS and CS, who have supported and encouraged me in holding office, especially at those times when either the pressures of my real-world business activities interfered greatly with my duties (and here I make special mention to GEN McGowan who as DepDant stepped up more than once to pick up the ball when it was dropped), or other influencing factions that gave cause for some distraction to the tasks at hand.

I salute you all and thank you for serving with me on this GS where we certainly put forward our very best efforts and time into serving the needs of the SFMC as whole and wish each and every one of you the very best at maintaining these high standards you have already set

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the many private messages of goodwill and thanks that I have received from many of you. All of us serving in any capacity within STARFLEET, do so entirely as volunteers – and in pretty much al cases, at some detriment to our fan experience at times Acknowledgement of our efforts on your behalf, be it a simple “thanks mate” or a pat on the shoulder when possible, go such a long way to making us feel we are actually doing something that is of value to others.

I urge all marines to make sure you do acknowledge and support any SFMC volunteer you have chance to inter-act with, for without any of these marines doing these jobs, we would not be as strong an organization as we most certainly are.

Ladies and gentlemen – I now stand relieved.

Thank you

Bruce O’Brien
Major General, SFMC
Commandant, STARFLEET Marine Corps

State of INFOCOM November-December 2013

State of INFOCOM November-December 2013

Greeting Marines,

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. I can’t believe 2013 is almost over. Where does the time go? I wanted to get this combined report for November and December out before the end of your year. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it with all the extra holiday activities, but things worked out after all.

With the beginning of the New Year we will have a new Starfleet administration take office. We will also see some of our fellow Marines moving on to other things. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the outgoing administration for their service to STARFLEET. As previously announced most of the current General Staff will remain at our posts and I look forward to continuing my service to the Corps. For those that are standing down and especially Commandant Major General Bruce O’Brien, I want to say thank you for your outstanding service.

I’m working with the new STARFLEET administration and INFOCOM will be picking up our project list in January, I will cover the list of projects in the January 2014 report.

Please keep those who remain out there carrying a rifle and standing a post in your thoughts. We can’t thank them enough for their sacrifices. Being a veteran myself and spending many holidays away from home, I know how difficult it can be on the families.

I hope everyone has a happy, safe and prosperous new year.

In closing here are the pingdom stats for November and December.

November
Uptime: 99.58%
Outages: 4
Downtime: 1hr 45 min
Response time: 574 ms

December
Uptime: 99.66%
Outages: 6
Downtime: 2hr 30 min
Response time: 535 ms

Thank you,

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

State of the NCO Corps December 2013

State of the NCO Corps December 2013

Greetings Marines!

Please join me in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where so far this month, the stockings have been on our feet instead of being hung by the chimney with care because we’ll take any extra warmth we can get, and the kitchen staff had to put up a big sign over their soup kettles that said “No Swimming or bathing allowed” in spite of all the compliments they got about the improved flavor of their corn chowder.

For many if not most of us, we’ve been dealing with some fairly nasty winter weather lately, and that brings up two points as far as community service is concerned. The first is something I’ve been endorsing for a few years now, namely seeing what you can do in your own community about helping out those who may need warmer clothing right about now. It’s often not just a matter of being more comfortable, it could literally help someone survive. Remember HUGS: Hats, Underwear, Gloves, Socks. These are often in short supply, and sorely needed.

The second is a little less obvious, and concerns the “community” that we are all a part of: STARFLEET in general and the STARFLEET Marines in particular. Bitterly cold weather can affect all of us, and there’s often not a lot we can do about it. One thing we CAN do is check up on each other, or simply let folks know we’re doing ok. It may not earn you another star on your Community Service ribbon, but it may just set some of your fellow STARFLEET Marines’ minds at ease. If we can’t help each other, I’m not sure how much real help we are to others.

Remember, community service doesn’t have to be any part of any organized charity effort. Just giving of your time and energy to someone who needs a hand is the spirit of community service. Whatever you do, make sure that whoever is filing the report for your unit knows the details, and sends it up the Chain of Command in their official report so you can be given the recognition your efforts deserve.

As you’ve probably heard by now, I have agreed to stay on as Sergeant Major of the Starfleet Marines during the next administration. With MGN Bruce O’Brien stepping down in January, I have suddenly become the “old timer” of the General Staff. When I first became SGM, he and I were the “new guys” – both of us from “obscure” brigades stuck out in the “Badlands” of the SFMC. His quiet professionalism and good humor has been an inspiration to many, not the least of whom is yours truly. Here’s wishing him a fun and well deserved break from the action and a BIG tip of Top’s eight point for all his hard work over the years. As I have often reminded you, “Service before Self” and “Excellence in Everything We Do” doesn’t just apply to the SFMC NCO Corps.

Next month, I’ll reveal a few of the goals for my office in 2014, and probably end up asking some of you for help in meeting them. No hints at this time.

I’m going to do a classic “pre-emptive strike” right now and answer a question many of you may be asking yourselves after seeing the announcement about elements requested for the design of the new SFMC logo and seal – specifically “A Mer-goat? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” Here’s a little bonus History Lesson for you: notable in the legions of ancient Rome were a couple that used Capricorn ( depicted as a “mer-goat”- a goat’s front half and a fish’s tail) as their emblem. This was because these legions were originally units that were posted to the Roman navy. In short … they were Marines, and both of them used Capricorn to honor their naval roots. So, really, the oldest known identifier on Earth for “naval infantry” (marines) is a “mer-goat”- Capricorn. Anchors, etc came centuries later. It might be something for STARFLEET Marines to think about when designing their own logos, even at the unit level.

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. There is an amazing story I like to remember at this time of every year- a story all the more amazing because it’s a matter of historical fact.

Back in 1914, the heads of state on both sides of World War One, and even the power of the Vatican had proven unable to negotiate some sort of cease fire for Christmas. But, on Christmas Eve 1914, for a time , the guns fell silent in many areas along the Western Front in a spontaneous mass act of human decency that has become known as the Christmas Truce. The generals and leaders on both sides had no part in it- it was driven by the actions of common soldiers in the front lines- who gave their enemies leave to search for and bury their dead without fear, and even shared precious small luxuries from home.

They discovered that they knew many of the same Christmas songs – just with different words, and they sang them together. They shared pictures of their families, and despite the language barrier, they managed to get along. In one spot along the lines, they even improvised a soccer field and played a spirited game.

In the middle of a terrible war, they found time for “Peace on Earth – Good Will to Men” … and perhaps saw the soldiers on the other side as people not much different from themselves.

Needless to say, the high commands of both sides were a bit concerned about all this “fraternizing with the enemy”, and stern orders were passed down the Chain of Command. Soon, everybody was back in their own trenches, and the “War to End All Wars” went on. To give credit where credit is due, the politicians and generals tried to arrange a similar truce in 1915, but nothing came of it, and the unlikely series of events that led to the Christmas Truce never happened again.

If the Christmas Truce of 1914 teaches us anything, it’s perhaps that the person best able to treat those around us well is staring back at us from the mirror.

In service and in friendship,

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