State of the SFMC – February 2014

State of the SFMC – February 2014

As the bulk of the SFMC digs its way back out from under a series of blizzards across North America, I would ask you all, first and foremost, to take all care and precautions in your travels. I would also ask you to look out for the elderly and disabled in your communities with continued donations of blankets, warm clothing, and time.

Logo/Seal Issue

The Logo/Seal Selection Committee completed its work in January and delivered its selection to the General Staff. The GS, in turn, affirmed the selection. We await word from the USMC Trademarks people indicating that the new SFMC Logo and Seal will be considered compliant. Once we have that word from the appropriate officials, we will be getting the new images out to the membership.

New SFMC Motto

One of the items objectionable to the USMC is the SFMC’s use of their trademarked and protected “Semper Fidelis” and “Semper Fi” motto. This being the case, we need to find a new motto. I know that there are a lot of marines out there with great ideas, so I’d like all of you to send your ideas for a motto to motto@ussbortas.net . We will be accepting suggestions from today to 10MAR2014 at 2359 CDT. Feel free to send as many as you like.

There are a few things we would ask:

If you are going to submit a motto suggestion in a language other than English, please specify what language it is and the English translation.
Mottos should be short. A phrase, a brief quote, a few words that conjure an image or feeling. A motto is rarely even an entire sentence, let alone a paragraph.
Please make sure that it is spelled correctly.
It must not be in poor taste.
It must be “Rated G”.

Online Availability

A few weeks ago I spent a nice evening in an online meeting with members of the USS Gygax and her Marine Strike Group, the 20th, answering questions about the Corps in general and specific programs in particular. It was an interesting evening culminating in a trivia contest and making some new friends. Thanks for the invite, guys.

I am also scheduled to speak to the Marines of the Second Brigade at their Muster, via Skype. I’m looking forward to that as well.

The reason I bring this up is that a lot of travel isn’t something I can do any more but I am available and only too happy to speak to marines about the Corps online via any technical means we can bring to bear. If you’d like me to attend something online, just drop me a line and we’ll work at getting something scheduled. If I get a month or two notice it makes scheduling a bit easier to arrange.

Other members of the GS may be able to be available as well depending on their own situations online.

Email Addresses

It is important to remember that Email Addresses no longer appear on the
STARFLEET Database. This being the case, it is of vital importance that
marines check and double check the email address entered on any form
being sent to the SFMC for any reason. If your email address is entered
incorrectly, servicing whatever request you are making, SFMCA Course,
Award Certificate request, etc., will be *significantly* delayed.

Suggestions and Ideas

People, the General Staff exists to make the SFMC a better place to be.
That being said, we never claim to have all the answers. If you have an
idea or suggestion of benefit to the SFMC please, by all means, send it
to one of us. I’ll give the addresses below:

Mike McGowan, Commandant: dant@sfi-sfmc.org
Jim Monroe, Deputy Commandant: depdant@sfi-sfmc.org
Jerry Stoddard, Sergeant Major, SFMC: sgm_sfmc@sfi-sfmc.org
Barry Jackson, COFINCOM: fincom@sfi-sfmc.org
Jari James, COFORCECOM: forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org
Mark Anderson, COINFOCOM: infocom@sfi-sfmc.org
Travis Littou, COTRACOM: tracom@sfi-sfmc.org

In closing, let me say that I appreciate all the hard work you all do
for your communities and for each other. Keep doing all those things
that make us all proud of you and of the STARFLEET Marine Corps.

Take care of yourselves and each other. We’ll talk again soon.

That is all.

Mike

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

State of TRACOM January 2014

State of TRACOM January 2014

Good Evening!

Well, another month has passed, and I was just beginning to get used to writing January on my checks. Ok, that’s a lie. I don’t write checks anymore.

Well, our first order of business this month is to say goodbye to Mark Polanis who has resigned as the DCO-Admin. Mark has taken on some new challenges in his day to day life, and in order to devote the time required to them he has decided to step away from his duties at TRACOM.
We wish him all the best, and hope to see him around the water cooler again someday.

With that, the position of DCO-Admin is open for applications. I will be taking applications until March 5th.

Also, the position of Sergeant Major is still open for applications.
This position will be filled as soon as a qualified candidate applies.

Here are the requirements for SGM TRACOM:

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.

Here are the requirements for Assistants to the DCO-Administration:

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.

The next item of business concerns SFMCA Certificates. Due to some recent changes, the ADC Officer, Shane Russell does not have full access to all of the student’s information. This is being worked on, but until it is fixed, if you have completed a course, but have not received your certificate in 7 days, please send Shane a message to adc@sfmca.sfi-sfmc.org with a copy of your graduation email from the SFI database. This will help speed things along.

Also in the ADC realm, the -301 level certificates are being reworked, and will include verbiage attesting to the fact that the student holds a Bachelors of Military Science in the branch studied. While completion of a -301 course has always carried with it the awarding of a BMS, the certificates will now attest to that.

As always, If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team. Wait, no, strike that. If you have an issue with any aspect of TRACOM, please let me know. I will be happy to help!

TJL

*Major General Travis Littou*
COTRACOM
SFMCA Team Delta
tjlittou@cox.net
tracom@sfi-sfmc.org

State of FINCOM, January 2014

State of FINCOM, January 2014

Since this is my first report, I will keep it to the basic financial information.

The SFMC checking account opened the month of January with a balance of
$4546.85
Paypal transfer – 48.08
There were debits in the amount of $67.06
USPS – 4.48 (quartermaster postage)
Check 1007 to Jari James for reimbursement
Closing balance for the account was 4527.87

There were 3 order placed with the Quartermaster in January.

Linda has mentioned that we may need to place an ad in the CQ.

Scholarship interest .07 . The current balance 2728.69

I have asked Linda to keep a running total of all items sold that have been
discontinued because of conflict with the USMC. She can subtract this amount
each month from the “cost of discontinued items” calculated from last month report.
This will give us a running total of how much “cost” we may lose or maybe make a profit.

BGEN Barry Jackson
COFINCOM

State of INFOCOM January 2014

State of INFOCOM January 2014

Greetings Marines,

Before jumping into the report I wanted to relay some information about my visit to Kennedy Space Center near Cocoa Florida last weekend. Although I have been in Florida for several years, I had never made the trip over to visit KSC. Now that they have the space shuttle Atlantis on display it was time to go. The space center was much larger than I expected, we were there all day and barely got to see everything. The Atlantis display is spectacular. The way they transition from the screening room to opening the screen and there is the shuttle right in front of you is very well done. After spending several hours at the Atlantis display and shuttle launch experience, it was time to take the bus tour. We headed over to the launch pads, passed the assembly building which is huge! A picture doesn’t compare to the real thing. It is hard to get the actual scale of the building in a picture. Heading back the main facility you stop by the Saturn 5 building. This building has everything Apollo missions and they have an actual Saturn 5 rocket on display. It is as long as a football field. Again seeing a picture of it fails to compare to the real thing. I hope to get the photos posted on my ships website this weekend. If you are interested in seeing the pictures send me an email off list and I’ll send you the link once I get them uploaded. Ok enough about my fun and on with the report.

Now that we have made it through the holiday season and we are thawing out from the cold snap INFOCOM will be getting started on our project list for the upcoming year.

Here’s a list of the first items we will be working on.

1. Update the photo rotating header on the SFMC website. I’m going to ask each active Brigade to submit an image file to add to the rotation.
2. Move the Photo section from the old SFMC website to the new one. Update the photo rotating header on the SFMC website.
3. Add a section to the for the AODE archive section.

No. 1, I want to update the rotating header on the SFMC website. I would like to ask each Brigade commander to send me a picture or graphic to represent their brigade. I will be adding one image or graphic for each of the active Brigades. The image or graphic will need to be at least 12.5 inches by 4 inches and as high a resolution as possible. I can adjust them to fit as long as they are close to the size as

No. 2, we will be adding the photo section to the new website.

In closing here are the pingdom stats for January.

Uptime: 99.93%
Outages: 1
Downtime: 30 min
Response time: 591 ms

Mark “Slayer” Anderson
Brigadier General, SFMC
Commanding
Information Command
Team Delta

State of FORCECOM Jan 2014

State of FORCECOM Jan 2014

Good evening, Marines.

With the start of the new year and the new Command cycle, I want to thank Commandant McGowan for his faith in my abilities and his decision to retain my in the position of COFORCECOM. For those who have worked with me the last 3 years, nothing has really changed. My job it to provide support and information to the individuals of the STARFLEET Marine Corps. My office door is always open. Usually because the cranky CW3 who’s now sitting in the front office playing ‘Hangman’ in my electronic appointment book and acting as ‘Chief Screener and Tea Fetcher’ forgets to close the thing. So that’s to your gain.

With some Brigades gearing up for their annual awards cycle, I’d like to touch on a couple of specifics.

Commandant’s Campaign Award: This is the reporting cycle for units to report activities for the Commandant’s Campaign Challenge. Don’t know what that is? To quote the ‘Marine Force Manual’: /This ribbon is given for completing or participating (certain criteria may have to be met to
qualify) in a Commandant’s Campaign. /Still not much? This award is issued by the Commandant for those who volunteer in support of ‘Toys for Tots’ and the ‘Special Olympics’. For the 2013 award cycle any hours spent in support of the Sargent Major’s ‘March for the Disabled’ will also be counts.

If someone wants to use another project, there is no guarantee that it will count – that will be on a case by case basis as decided by the Commandant.

The data collection period covers from 1 Jan 2013 through 31 Dec 2013.
It’s not enough to simple say ‘I and my unit did stuff’. I will be compiling the list to submit to the ‘Dant and will need the following:
who, what, where, when and why [marine’s name & SCC#, activity, where did it take place, the date, what all happened and how long did it take]. A minimum of four documented hours is required.

Please have this information to your BDE OIC in the Feb 2014 report.
This way I can make sure I get a report from every brigade and nothing gets missed. This info needs to be to me by 28 Feb 2014.

FORCECOM’s Reading Challenge: This is a year inter-Corps competition to encourage folks to read more and it’s honestly very simple to get involved. You can not count books that you are required to read for work. E-Books do count since you still have to read them.

Your Unit OIC will need the following data ASAP and the rest of the year until the June report: Unit #, Name, SCC# and then the book title, author, ISBN and page count.

It’s just perfect if I get it this way:
Unit #
Name, SCC#
book, author, ISBN, pages
book, author, ISBN, pages
book, author, ISBN, pages

Name, SCC#
book, author, ISBN, pages
book, author, ISBN, pages

The Reading Challenge runs from 1 June to 31 May. I will compile all the data submitted and winners will be announced at IC this year. There are winners for Brigade, Battalion, Unit and individual [adult and cadet]. The top three in each category will receive certificates and first place in each category will be authorized to add a streamer to the Guidon [white with black block letters that says ‘READING (year won)’].

Awards and Nominations: As mentioned above, it’s coming up on that time of year to start your thinking about award nomination. As the Sergeant Major is fond of telling me ‘If you can’t come up with a reason why your unit and it’s members are the best of the best, there are problems.’.
Okay – I paraphrased that a bit, but it gets the point across.

Here’s the URL for the online form: http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/awards.php

If anyone is having problems using the online forms, please report this to me ASAP. [We can’t fix it if we don’t know it’s doing it.]. If it’s a nomination for a Brigade level award, also let your BDE OIC know ASAP.
The person making the nomination should be getting an email telling them their nomination went through so if you don’t see that in your inbox, report the problem.

If you’re wondering what awards are out there, who issues what and if you’d be eligible for something, you can find descriptions of the awards on the SFMC website here: http://www.library.sfi-sfmc.org/ – or in the Marine Force Manual starting on page 57 – Section 8 – Awards, 8.2 SFMC Achievement Awards.

And if you’ve got questions, always remember to use your chain of command. Everyone from your Unit OIC up to the members of the General Staff are here to help you. Just run your thoughts and concerns up the chain and we’ll help you out.

Stand Easy, Marines.

BDR Jari “Gato” James
COFORCECOM

State of the NCO Corps January 2014

State of the NCO Corps January 2014

Greetings Marines!

Let’s take five in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where the HAZMAT and EOD teams have finally finished cleaning up after the New Year’s Eve party, and a lot of New Year’s Resolutions begin with “So help me, if I am ever tempted to do that again, somebody do me a BIG favor and hit me with a phaser on heavy stun … or a chair leg, whichever is handier.”

As I begin my service as Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET Marines under GEN McGowan, I suppose I should make the usual staff announcements. As has been true in the past, my staff pretty much consists of Staff Sergeant Bear, my beloved and patient dog. I have been asked why Bear is not at least a Gunnery Sergeant by now, given his long time in service and the hazardous duty of putting up with me every day, and the answer is simple: every promotion since E-4 that he has been given by my chapter has come after an encounter with the Polecat Liberation Front (Skunks), and frankly, we’d BOTH rather he didn’t have another one any time soon. Now that that’s out of the way, as I promised last month, let’s look at some of my goals for this office going forward.

If you were paying careful attention to my past few missives, you may have noticed my concern with “burnout” in general in the SFMC. I consider this to be one of the biggest problems facing the organization as a whole, and it comes into sharp focus in the NCO Corps, since we already have a smaller pool of talent to draw on (roughly 20-25 percent of the entire SFMC). So, how do we deal with it? One simple solution is “Recruit more STARFLEET Marines and encourage more of them to stay enlisted.” That will tend to be an ongoing, long term solution. In the short term, since SFMC NCOs have traditionally been charged with taking a lead in “recruiting and retention”, I’ll remind you again that “retention” may be the area we need to concentrate most on. It’s up to all of us to make the SFMC interesting, rewarding, and most of all, FUN for all of our members.

Another traditional responsibility of SFMC NCOs is taking a lead in community service activities. This year, the STARFLEET Marines will once again be including the March for The Disabled as part of the annual Commandant’s Campaign Award. In the month of March, 2014, members of the SFMC are asked to turn their creativity and energy towards projects that assist directly or raise awareness for those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. This month long campaign is deliberately left very open-ended as far as what constitutes “participation”. Like all SFMC community service, this need not be part of any organized charity or program. What matters most is putting in your time and effort for your chosen cause. The March campaign was left deliberately vague and broad in scope in part to allow even those Marines who live in small communities a chance to participate. If you look around, no matter how small the community you live in is, odds are you can find a way to make a difference.

Staying on the topic of community service, after shoveling out my doorway too darn many times this winter, I‘ve been very grateful for warm clothes, and that leads to something I’ve been endorsing for a few years, 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.

Whatever you do in the way of community service, 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 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. In 1954, the Saturday Evening Post ran a story that introduced America to a remarkable US Marine sergeant. How remarkable? Well for starters, this USMC NCO had compiled an impressive combat record, being wounded twice while hauling ammunition up to the front lines and hauling wounded soldiers back, navigating barbed wire in the dark, and participating in an amphibious landing, but never personally fired a single shot at the enemy. This Marine had received two battlefield promotions- first to Corporal and then to Sergeant – for coolness under fire, and was a well known and popular member of the First Marine Division, with a wide reputation as a “character” who would eat almost anything (including $30 worth of poker chips on one occasion) and enjoyed a beer with fellow Marines. The sergeant was, against all odds for that time, FEMALE, and fairly short, but she weighed in at a muscular 900 pounds (NOT a typo), and was simply known as “Reckless”.

Sergeant Reckless was a mare of Mongolian pony ancestry purchased at a Korean racetrack by LT Eric Pedersen for $250. Pedersen’s recoilless rifle unit needed a way to get the heavy ammunition for their weapons across rough terrain and he had received permission to buy a horse. The little (less than 14 hands – barely above pony size ) blaze faced chestnut’s owner wasn’t eager to part with her, but he wanted the money to buy a prosthetic leg for his sister, who had stepped on a landmine, so a deal was struck, and a legend was born.

The first time one of the 57 mm recoilless rifles she carried ammunition for went off next to her, she was obviously startled, but, like a good Marine, she simply stood her ground. She was, by all reports, very intelligent- needing only at most a few supervised trips to the firing positions from the supply area, and then ready, willing, and able to work her way there and back unassisted. In late March of 1953, during the battle of Vegas Hill, Reckless made 51 trips in a single day to the front, and carried 386 recoilless rounds (over 9000 pounds), and continued carrying ammunition despite being lightly wounded twice. For her actions that day, she was given a formal promotion to Corporal.

But perhaps her greatest contribution to the Marines was simply in the area of morale. She had the run of the camp, and would wander around, freely entering tents (and sometimes sleeping next to the stove on a cold night). She was noted for eating a wide variety of things, including bacon and eggs, candy bars, cola, beer, and the hats of people who she thought were ignoring her. I’ll let Randolph Pate, who commanded the First Marine Division, and later became Commandant of the USMC sum up her personality:

“I was surprised at her beauty and intelligence, and believe it or not, her esprit de corps. Like any other Marine, she was enjoying a bottle of beer with her comrades. She was constantly the center of attraction and was fully aware of her importance. If she failed to receive the attention she felt her due, she would deliberately walk into a group of Marines and, in effect, enter the conversation. It was obvious the Marines loved her.”

In 1954, while still in Korea, Pate promoted Reckless to Sergeant, and the Marines gave her a red blanket with her name and rank, and eventually the decorations she’d earned, which included two Purple Hearts, a Good Conduct Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation. The Marines did battle with government red tape, and when her unit rotated back to the USA, Reckless came along. She appeared on television, and was a guest at the Marine Corps birthday ball (where she sampled not only the cake but the flowers). In 1959, by order of the Commandant of the USMC, Reckless was duly promoted to Staff Sergeant, and in 1960, she was officially retired, and given free room and board at Camp Pendleton in lieu of retirement pay. She eventually had three sons (one of them named “Chesty“), and died after sustaining an injury in 1968. She was estimated to be 19 or 20 years old at the time of her death – a grand old lady.

In 1997, Life magazine included her in its list of 100 all time American heroes, and in July of 2013, a statue of Reckless, carrying ammunition for her Marines, was unveiled in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. There is a lock of her tail hair in the base of the statue.

STARFLEET Marine NCOs might be well advised to look to her as an example of not only “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in Everything We Do”, but also of the importance of simply being able to have a good time with your fellow Marines.

In service and in friendship,

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