State of TRACOM February 2014

State of TRACOM February 2014

Good Evening Folks!

Well, the good news is is that spring has got to be just around the corner, right?

We are currently hiring for the following positions:

Sergeant Major – TRACOM/NCO Branch Director (Awaiting qualified applicant) Deputy Commanding Officer – Administration (Application period closes
4MAR14)
Infantry Branch Director (Application period closes 4APR14)

The requirements are as follows:

1. All TRACOM Staff members must have completed PD-100 (Marine Basic Training), PD-201 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. The SGM/NCO Branch Director billet must be filled by a Non-Commissioned Officer or Warrant Officer.

To reiterate what our illustrious Commandant stated in the State of the SFMC report regarding emails,

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.

Ok, so I didn’t reiterate, I just copied it. But, the message is the same, you gotta make sure your email address is correct, or we can’t get stuff to you in a timely manner.

With the new Logo and Seal that has been announced, we are currently in the process of updating the covers of all of the manuals, so expect to see an announcement on their completion soon.

Until later this month…

TJL


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

State of INFOCOM February 2014

State of INFOCOM February 2014

Greetings Marines,

Before we get started of this report, I would like to point out some pieces of information that I came across earlier this week.

Microsoft has announced the end of support for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 effective April 8, 2014. Now this doesn’t mean that the products will cease to function after that date but it does mean that Microsoft will no longer publish security patches and updates for these products. There will be security vulnerabilities that will not be fixed after this date. I would recommend that if you haven’t updated from these products you should make plans to upgrade as soon as you can. The one problem you can run into sometimes when upgrading is the new operating system or program will not work with your older computer hardware. Therefore you may need to upgrade your hardware as well. Depending on how you use your computers or devices this can be an expensive proposition.

And now for you Apple folks, you’ve got some issues as well. Apple has issued a security update for OS X. It patches a bug that would let hackers eavesdrop on supposedly encrypted connections and steal everything from usernames and passwords to location data. You can find this information with a quick Google search and make sure you update all your devices regardless if its and Apple or Microsoft whenever security patches are available. This will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
And now on with the report. As the Commandant announced our new logo and seal are now approved and available. I have already started updating the graphics on the SFMC website and other locations that I’m responsible for. I also have uploaded a zip file with different resolutions of the new SFMC logo and seal at this link. http://www.library.sfi-sfmc.org/downloads/sfmc_logos_complete.zip. We are currently planning on other updates, there will more information on my next few weeks.

I have started replacing the banner rotation on the SFMC website. I had requested each active Brigade send me a banner to represent their Brigade and I would add it to the rotation. The only brigades that has responded as of this date are the 12th and 5th brigades, their banners has been posted. You can check it out by going to the SFMC website and watching it roll through the banners. Although I’m not a graphics designer, I can use Photoshop a little, so if you have any questions or need assistance with your banner design please let me know and I’ll do what I can to help. Please send your banners to infocom@sfi-sfmc.org.

In closing here’s the pingdom stats for February.

Uptime: 100.00%
Outages: 0
Response time: 632 ms

Mark “Slayer” Anderson
Brigadier General, SFMC
COINFOCOM
Team Delta

State of FORCECOM – February 2014

State of FORCECOM – February 2014

Good Day Marines,

Although February isn’t a late month, it ‘is’ a short month, so this SOR may be late, but in keeping with the month, it will be short.
It’s the time of year when we not only look toward the bright colors of spring flowers, but all the bright colors we get to wear on our uniforms. With various Brigade Musters on the schedule and the Marine Muster coming up at IC this is the perfect time of year to log on to the database and check to make sure your records are up to date. If there is something missing, please contact me ASAP and we’ll work together to see what’s needed to get your records updated.

Also, in regards to award nominations, I’m still hearing about the occasional problems with using the online Awards Nomination forms found here: http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/awards.php
The individual making the nomination copy of their nomination letting them know the form went through. If you don’t get the email, please report it to me ASAP so the problem can be forward to the correct individuals. As previously mentioned if it is a nomination for a Brigade level award, also let your BDE OIC know ASAP.

I have copies of the nomination forms in document format and can send them to you as needed. Your Brigade OICs have them as well.
There have also been some changes in the Brigade Command structure since last we’ve talked.

LGN Bran Stimpson has taken command of 17th Brigade. I want to thank him for stepping forward on this and to also thank BDR Doug Davenport for his hard work as past Commanding Officer 17 BDE.
BDR Kathy Mullins has stepped down from the command of 15th Brigade to concentrate on Real Life pursuits. LGN Douglas Mayo is Acting OIC until such time as a replace has been found for the position.
There are still a few ongoing problems showing up as to the numbers the database is showing for the number of units in a brigade or the number of members in a unit. This is being addressed by the Code Masters even as I type.

We’re also aware of the problem with the same individual showing up as assigned to a unit and also listed as ‘unassigned’. This is something I can ‘usually’ fix at my level so if you find someone being listed in two places at once, please email me and I’ll see what I can get done.
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

From the Deputy Commandant, SFMC February 2014

From the Deputy Commandant, SFMC

This was not now I would have liked to start the year, but such are the facts of
life–it does not always play fair! Drawing a blank for my first note to the
Corps, I turned to the Dant for gentle guidance and suggestions. And the rest
is history!
While this may have been covered prior, it is till needed to stress that one of
the duties of any CO is to make sure that his/her Marines are recommended for
the awards that they merit and deserve. Here you will find some of the finer
points of writing such a recommendation. Not everyone will know of the actions
of the members of your Unit and it is your duty to see that they are
acknowledged for their actions.

Writing Award Nominations for the SFMC
(applicable to any other nominations also!)
Jim Monroe, GEN SFMC, Deputy Commandant

The secret to making certain that those deserving of recognition actually
receive it is the proper writing of award nominations. No matter the award or
the means you are using to call attention to a need for an award, the purpose of
the nomination is many-layered.

You must convey the significant information identifying the nominee. In our
organization, both the FLEET and Corps, this means:
a) the nominee’s full name as it is shown in the STARFLEET Database

b) the nominee’s SCC number
You would be amazed how often the SCC number isn’t included in less formal
nominations. It can not be stressed highly enough that no one in STARFLEET or
the Corps is adept enough at mind reading to use it to divine details you forgot
to include.

You must fully identify yourself, i.e.:
a) your full name as shown in the STARFLEET Database

b) your SCC number

You must clearly identify the award you are requesting for the nominee.
You must clearly and completely describe what the nominee did deserving of the
requested award. Be as specific as possible. “Joe is a great guy who helps
little old ladies across the street” won’t get very far. Joe would be better
served if you wrote, “Joe spent the afternoons of 8 consecutive weekends at busy
pedestrian intersections, assisting the aged and heavily burdened across the
streets as their need arose.”
You must tell us where this action took place, again being specific.
You must tell us when this action took place, remembering to include not just
dates, but times as well.
You must tell us who was benefited by the action, again being specific to
class/type of person but not, necessarily, names.
You must tell us if there were any particular techniques that were developed by
the participants to better allow the action to be taken.
Finally, and this is as important as anything else in the nomination, you must
show us how the details you have provided are applied to the requirements of the
specific award showing that the action actually meets the award criteria.
While nothing will ever guarantee that a nominee will receive the accolade you
are requesting, following these few instructions will significantly increase
your chances of success. You, the writer of the nomination, are the conveyor of
facts and deeds to merit the award being submitted for. Be a good voice for
your Marine!

With a very hearty “Thank you” to the Dant for his gentle words of advice and
guidance on this matter!! He is the Past Master of this subject and to whom I
bow.

State of the NCO Corps February 2014

State of the NCO Corps February 2014

Greetings Marines!

You may recall that in our last VERY exciting episode, we were in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where Groundhog Flambe is a pretty popular dish right about now, and the odds are pretty good that few Marines other than Top and the Dant will get the reference in the opening of this paragraph. (Your favorite search engine probably won‘t help.)

If you’re a part of the Eleventh Brigade, I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. For almost all of the rest of us, well, if I said what I was thinking right now about the weather, it wouldn’t be fit to print. We all have different perceptions of what “cold and nasty” means when it comes to weather, and we’ve probably all seen that definition met or exceeded several times this winter already. So, perhaps the most important “community service” we can give at times like these is simply taking care of ourselves, and doing what we can to help others suffering from Mother Nature’s sense of humor. In the end, that’s really what community service is about: lending your time and energy to help someone else.

I’ll take time now to remind you of what has been a personal cause of mine over the past 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.

As you may be aware, I’m also associated with another cause I’d like to bring to your attention: the March for the Disabled campaign. I covered it in more depth in another post, but the short form is that, during March 2014, all STARFLEET Marines are being asked to turn their energy towards projects that assist directly or raise awareness for those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. This can be in support of some recognized charity, or simply assisting someone in your own community. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Remember that while the SFMC is very happy to recognize the efforts of its members in areas such as community service, that Omniscience Module that “Eight Ball Command” (SFMC R&D) has been promising is “just around the corner” for years now still isn’t ready to be deployed. That means you need to make sure whoever in your unit is writing the reports gets the information on what you’ve been doing, and sends it up the Chain of Command for action. While in my experience, a good unit OIC keeps their ear to the ground as much as possible, they can’t report what they don’t know about. Keeping folks in the loop starts with each and every one of us. Over the past several years, I think I’ve been clear on what I think of assuming the Other Guy will get something done. (Hint: it’s not exactly positive or complimentary.)

If you’ve been paying any sort of attention over the past several months to this report, you’ll know that the amount of “burnout” the SFMC has been experiencing, especially in the ranks of senior enlisted members, is one of my biggest concerns going forward. The NCO Corps has been traditionally charged with leading the way in the matter of Recruiting and Retention, and I am specifically charged with helping the NCO Corps grow and remain strong. Recently, I had a long chat with the Commandant about this subject, and I shared my thoughts with him. Now, what I’d like to be able to do is share YOUR thoughts as well. What can STARFLEET and the SFMC do differently to encourage and support those members who have made the personal decision to remain in the enlisted ranks? Please contact me privately with your ideas through any of the accustomed communications channels.

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. If you look in the Marine Force Manual (MFM2012 Section 6.2 – Page 31) you’ll find a list of “Garrison” (planetary surface) duty assignments a member of the fictional Starfleet Marine Corps might be assigned. About halfway down that list, you’ll find “Embassy Duty”, which is described as: “ Marines serve as a visible representation of Federation military commitment and potential by serving at any of the many Federation embassies throughout the quadrant. Site security, courier duty, and protocol functions are common duties during this assignment.” Sounds like a nice job, if you can get it, doesn’t it? Of course, here in the 21st Century, we can all probably think of many instances of Marines assigned to “Embassy Duty” that had the proverbial Sierra hit the fan, often with tragic results.

But, you may not know that it’s not exactly a new phenomenon. In the summer of 1900, a relative handful of troops, including US Marines, fought a desperate battle to defend the foreign embassies in Peking (Beijing) China against an overwhelming force that included members of a anti-foreigner, anti-Christian organization known as the Righteous Harmony Society (called “Boxers” in the Western world, due to the martial arts they practiced) and the Qing Dynasty’s regular army. 409 professional soldiers, along with 473 civilians, and some 3000 Chinese Christians fleeing from the Boxer fanatics managed to hold out for 55 days until a relief force from the “Eight Nation Alliance” consisting of Japan, Russia, Great Britain, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, managed to fight their way into Peking and rescue them.

The defense of the legations was carried out by an international force as well. In fact, their sole piece of artillery, an old muzzle loading cannon, was known as the “International Gun”, because its barrel was British, the gun carriage was Italian, the shells were Russian, and the gun crew was American. Of the legation guards, about 40 percent were killed or wounded during the siege, but they managed to hold out. Of the US Marines involved in the defense of the legations, over 20 of them earned Medals of Honor during those 55 days. One of those so honored was a Private you may have heard me speak of before: Daniel Joseph Daly, who went on to win an almost unprecedented second Medal of Honor later, and became perhaps the standard against which all Marine NCOs of any nation or era measure themselves. Another private became the first US Marine to have the Medal of Honor awarded posthumously. Private Harry Fisher was killed in action on July 16, 1900, manning the barricades against the Boxers and the Chinese army. The citation notes Fisher “reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country”. There was only one small problem. Technically, Private Harry Fisher never existed.

His real name was Franklin J. Phillips. He had served in the US Army during the Spanish American War, and contracted malaria. The Army refused to give him sick leave, so he deserted, and was given a dishonorable discharge when he requested a return to duty. Two months later, he enlisted in the Marines as “Harry Fisher”, and served honorably until his death.

All of this came out after the Medal of Honor had been awarded to “Harry Fisher”. His mother, Mrs. W.C. Means wrote to the Commandant of the USMC, requesting the records be changed to reflect her son’s true name. The request was refused on the grounds that “no change can be made in a man’s record after his death”. However, at the official ceremony in August of 1901, Mrs. Means was allowed to accept the medal “on behalf of Harry Fisher.”

Officially, the name “Harry Fisher” remained on record for decades. In 1985, the M.V. Harry Fisher entered the Military Sealift Command, named in his honor. But, finally, in 1988, the case was reviewed again, and by order of the Commandant of the USMC, “Harry Fisher” was removed from all official records, and Franklin J. Phillips was given his proper place in Marine history … and, yes, they renamed the ship as well.

In service and in friendship,

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