State of FORCECOM March 2014

State of FORCECOM March 2014

Good evening, Marines.

Here at Caldwell Station spring has finally stuck it’s confused head up among the the remaining piles of snow and dead leaves. It is still to be determined if it’s going to stick around or go back into hiding for another month or so. I’m waiting to see the true harbingers of Spring — the brightly colored ‘Yard Sale’ signs that begin to pop up everywhere.

Then I’ll know the weather has truly changed.

Right off the bat I can’t stress enough “PRTM” [my polite acronym for Please Read The Manual]. I’d say 90% of the answers to your basic questions are found in the pages of the Marine Force Manual or, for Officers in Charge, the Policy Manual. They’re on the SFMC website for download and worth the read. These are the two ‘working manuals’ for the administrative side of the SFMC. They can be found here:

http://www.library.sfi-sfmc.org/index.php?id=general

In case anyone missed the announcement on the email lists and on Facebook, BDR Duncan Cameron of 2BDE is my Deputy Commanding Officer here at FORCECOM. He can be reached at dcoforcecom@sfi-sfmc.org. He is the head honcho in regards to the Reading Challenge, so any questions about that program should be addressed to him. Expect to see his name attached to other projects as the months go by. He’s just too efficient for his own good.

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

LGN Douglas Mayo is still Acting OIC of 15 BDE until such time as a replace has been found for the position. The application process is open until 31 March 2014 so there’s still time for all you 15 BDE individuals.

3BDE OIC GEN Sam Black has hung up his OIC hat only to take up the position of Regional Coordinator for Region 3. DOIC Edward Tunis III is covering the position until a new BDE OIC is chosen. If you’re a 3BDE member and may be interested in this position, please get in touch with me for details. The application period will be open until 21 April 2014.

With various Musters taking place and the SFMC Muster coming in a few months I want to touch on awards.

It’s real simple: no one can submit you for anything if they don’t know something happened. Make sure your Unit OIC makes note of what you and the rest of your unit members have done in their Unit reports. The world of records and reports run on the theory of ‘If it ain’t in writing, it didn’t happen’. Make sure things get written down so your BDE OICs and the General Staff can find out what you’ve been up to.

Please know that both the Commandant, COINFOCOM and myself are aware that they online award nomination forms occasionally act up. If you’ve submitted someone for an award, and did not receive the auto-generated reply in your email inbox, it’s your responsibility to follow up to make sure that it got to the correct individual. FORCECOM has blank forms in text and document format that you can fill in and submit as an email attachment. And please, let FORCECOM or INFOCOM know things didn’t work so we can try to figure things out.

We can’t fix things if we don’t know they’re broken.

For those already wondering, the submission window for the SFMC Honor Awards is not yet open. Rest assured an announcement will be made when it is, but look for it someone where around the end of May.

In regards to the database: you may well be aware there’s still a fair amount of tweaking going on with the database right down at the code level so if you run across any problems [numbers not quite right, an award’s missing, you know someone is in your unit, but not on the unit roster, etc] please let either Duncan or myself know so we can fix things.

And always remember 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 INFOCOM March 2014

State of INFOCOM March 2014

Greetings Marines,
After helping the COFINCOM recover his computer by redoing his windows profile, he is now backup and functioning within normal parameters.  Luckily he maintained a backup his data and that made recovering his computer easier and we were able to get it back to almost 100%. Thank goodness he had listened me about keeping current backups.

Before we get on to the report, I want to say a few words about my chapter’s yearly time travel adventure.  For about the last 15 years my crew and I have ventured out to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, behind MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Tampa. Back before we joined Starfleet we had several independent Star Trek clubs in the Tampa Bay area and we had formed a Federation fleet and this was a successful organization for many years.  There were several Klingon chapters and they in turned formed a Klingon fleet.  We had many great interactions at several of the Florida conventions.  We had a captain’s challenge each year at the renfest.  Each captain from the federation and Klingon clubs who wish to participate would show up on a scheduled date and time to take part in the competition. We usually did three events, things like archery or the axe throw. Sometimes the Federation would win, sometimes the Klingons would win, but we all had a great time each year.  One by one the independent clubs decommissioned until my club was the only one left in the fleet and the Klingon fleet also disbanded. At this year’s renfest I was thinking about those events and how I would like to do them again sometime.  As luck would have it at this year’s renfest I ran into the former Tampa Bay Klingon fleet Commander and one of the Klingon club captains.   They used to participate in our challenges and I haven’t seen either in many years.  We started talking about meeting at up again at the Away Mission Tampa in April.  Who knows, maybe next year we will have the captains challenge again at renfest.  One can always hope.

And now on with the business. I was contacted by Colonel Tom Carroll the ADOE editor for the SFMC. It was with regret that he indicated he needed to step down as the ADOE editor. I would like to thank Colonel Carroll for his service to INFOCOM and the SFMC. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

I will be accepting applications for the staff position of editor attention on deck/ attention on deck extra until April 30th 2014. Here are the following requirements for the position.
Candidates for the position of ADOE Editor should meet the following criteria:
(1) Have passed OTS (OCC is recommended);
(2) Have passed PD-100 and PD-201 from the SFMCA; and
(3) Be a member of STARFLEET in good standing.
If you wish to apply for the editor position please send me your information and experience to infocom@sfi-sfmc.org
In closing here are the pingdom stats for March 2014.

Uptime: 99.56%
Outages: 10
Downtime: 3h 15m
Response time: 949 ms

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

State of TRACOM March 2014

State of TRACOM March 2014

Well, it seems that another month has passed into the past. (See what I did there? Passed/Past? Never mind.)

Well, we welcomed a new member of the TRACOM staff this month, SMAJ John Radle has joined us as the Sergeant Major of TRACOM as well as the NCO school director. Please make him feel welcome by taking NCO courses.

That leaves us with two more positions to fill, the Deputy Commanding Officer for Administration and the Infantry Branch Director.

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.

On to the next item of business. I have heard that there is some confusion surrounding the Database in regards to MD-10/MD-100. To clear up any confusion, here is the explanation. During the renumbering project, we decided that due to the nature of the existing MD-10 exam, it needed to be rewritten, and anyone who had passed MD-10 would be given credit for it. When the new MD-100 exam was ready, the MD-10 exam was closed, but not removed, and MD-100 was added as a new exam, so it is now possible to have both MD-10 and MD-100, and either will work as a prerequisite for further work in the Medical school.

Last month, I reiterated something that the Commandant had posted, and it bears repeating, so here it is again:

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.

For our final bit of business this month, if you see any problems with the SFMCA website, or have questions or concerns regarding the SFMCA or TRACOM, please direct them to me, and not to the SFI helpdesk, as they are not versed in the inner workings of the SFMCA or TRACOM, so they must forward the question on to me, which puts additional work on them, and delays the proper information being delivered.

Well, that about wraps it up.

Until next month…

TJL

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

State of the NCO Corps March 2014

State of the NCO Corps March 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 if the coffee isn’t hot, and the drinks from the bar aren’t cold in their proper season, you can get a weapons grade discharge of LNFP (Language Not Fit to Print), and some kind soul has affixed a Leader’s Commendation ribbon to the brand new sonic cleaner that blasts all the mud off your boots as you walk in … probably the last guy who had to clean up after some clown tracked half the drill field across the floor.

Since this is the State of the NCO Corps, let’s touch briefly on numbers. At the end of February, I received a data file that listed the ranks of every current member of the SFMC. Analysis of that data shows that 23.8 percent of the Corps holds some form of enlisted rank (from CDT PVT to CWO5). If we drop cadet ranks of all types from the sample, 18.7 percent of the SFMC held enlisted ranks. In more simple terms, if you pull five STARFLEET Marines at random from across the organization, there’s a good chance at least one of them will be enlisted.

By now, you have probably heard that the Commandant has declared that the March of the Disabled campaign has been expanded to cover the rest of the year. What began as a time limited effort a couple of years ago will now be recognized as a year round part of the Commandant’s Campaign. As a reminder, 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.

The simple truth is that there are a fair number of our fellow SFMC members coping with disabilities at close hand. So, in some ways, the “community” we end up serving is … ourselves.

Now, since we’re on the subject, you may recall that last year, 1SGT Russell Selkirk asked fellow members of the SFMC (and anyone else of a mind to help) to take a minute every day and cast a vote for him in a contest that would give him a chance at winning a new wheelchair accessible vehicle. The SFMC responded with a surge of votes, but, because 1SGT Selkirk had learned of the contest after it was already under way, we fell a bit short of the goal. It’s a new year, and a new run at the same contest. You can find the link on the SFMC Facebook group, but since not everyone that reads this report is on Facebook:

http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/russell-selkirk-lansdale-pa/

Take two minutes to watch the video he created, and then, if you’re of a mind, cast your vote daily and help spread the word about this cause. My thanks in advance for all your efforts.

Speaking of thanks, here’s a big tip of Top’s Eight Point to SGM John Radle, who has taken on the position of Director of the SFMC NCO Academy and SGM TRACOM (Sergeant Major, Training and Doctrine Command). The post of SGM TRACOM is one of only two “Corps level” posts in the SFMC that must be filled by an enlisted member, and that cut the pool of potential applicants down quite a bit. The “burn out” I’ve been discussing in this report for months now reduced that already small pool even more. Bravo Zulu (Well Done) for answering the call, Sergeant Major!

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 1965, in South Vietnam, an NCO “advisor” from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne was on patrol with members of a local infantry regiment when he stepped on a mine. They evacuated him back to the United States, and the doctors decided he would never be able to walk again, and began drawing up his discharge papers. But, Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez had other ideas. Late at night, he began dragging himself out of bed in a completely unauthorized and very painful self administered rehabilitation program. Slowly, sometimes fighting back the tears from the pain, he set out to prove the doctors and everyone else were wrong, and, a year later, he walked out of the hospital on his own two feet, with his wife at his side and still a US Army NCO that was determined to return to combat in Vietnam.

Now, you’d think that would be enough toughness for anyone to show in a lifetime, but Roy Benavidez wasn’t done yet. He applied for, and passed, the rigorous training for the Army’s Special Forces and return to Vietnam as a member of the 5th Special Forces, Studies and Observations Group (SOG).

On May 2, 1968, a small Special Forces patrol, augmented by a handful of Montagnard tribesmen got on the radio and called for help. They were surrounded and in combat against an entire enemy battalion, and in dire straits. Staff Sergeant Benevidez boarded a helicopter headed their way, and carrying only a knife and medical bag, jumped out and rushed to the aid of the patrol. What happened next was described as “Six Hours in Hell”, and years later, a very highly placed individual reportedly said “If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it”.

According to official documents, Benavidez “distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely glorious actions… and because of his gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men.” Only after everyone else was safe did he allow himself to be pulled into a helicopter, after reportedly sustaining 37 wounds from bullets, bayonets, and shrapnel. Back at the base, they sadly put him into a body bag, and waited for the doctors to pronounce him dead. But, when the doctor was getting ready to zip up the bag, Benavidez managed to literally spit in his face and prove, again, that the doctors were wrong.

Benavidez was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions, and the Army kept him stateside for the rest of his career. In 1973, more detailed accounts of the action finally became available, and there was a push for Benavidez’s DSC to upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Because the time limit on such an appeal had expired, Congress had to grant an exemption in this case. But, there was still a problem: the Army needed eyewitness testimony to upgrade the medal, and, as far as anybody could tell, other than Benavidez, there was nobody left alive who could provide it.

Benavidez retired from the Army as a Master Sergeant in 1976, and that would seem to end the story … except everyone had been wrong about Roy Benavidez before. It turns out that there was ONE survivor, a radioman named Brian O’Connor, who had been wounded and evacuated stateside before being fully debriefed. O’Connor had retired to Fiji, and by chance, while on vacation in Australia in 1980, chanced upon a newspaper story about his old Special Forces teammate, and he quickly stepped forward, providing a ten page report that resulted in that aforementioned “highly placed individual”, President Ronald Reagan, awarding Benavidez the Medal Of Honor in February of 1981.

If you’re looking for an absolutely jaw dropping read, I urge you to look up the text of that Medal of Honor citation. But, as you read it, remember that that citation never would have happened but for a bit of luck, and the loyalty of another NCO who was ready, willing, and able to help a comrade.

In service and in friendship,

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

State of FINCOM March 2014

State of FINCOM March 2014

We have been having some problems with the SFMC Quartermaster website. By some means, all of the PayPal information was deleted and “credit card” was the default means for payment. Linda is not set up to accept credit cards. The COINFOCOM has been working on this problem several days, but it is hard to regain all of the PayPal information needed to re-establish PayPal as the primary means of payment for merchandise.

The automatic check out via PayPal is still broken. You can still order from the Quartermaster site but have to use one of the following means of payment.

Linda will accept checks or money orders sent to:
Linda Olson
9020 N SR 53
Madison Florida, 32340

If you send a check or money order, please enclose a copy of your order, if possible.

Or you can email Linda the order and she will send you a total including postage and the address for the SFI PayPal account which is epayments@sfi.org. Be sure to include your mailing address in your email order.

Linda will work with you to ensure you get your order. When the Quartermaster site is up and running an announcement will be made.

It has been an exceptionally slow month for the SFMC quartermaster.

The numbers for the month are as follows:

The SFMC checking account opened the month of February with a balance of
$4527.87
Paypal transfer – $85.10
There were debits in the amount of $9.64 USPS – $9.64 (quartermaster postage)

Closing balance for the account was $4603.33

We still have over $5000 worth of the “old merchandise” and that is a cost figure, not the selling price, which is just a bit higher.

Scholarship interest $0.07. The current balance $2728.76

Speaking of the COINFOCOM, we are good friends and when we talk, he talks about networks, computer stuff, and software bla bla bla. He always tells me that if I have computer problem “There is a thing called Google. I’m sure someone else in this world has had the same problem.” Enter a corrupt Windows 7 profile on my computer. No profile no computer log on. Your profile is like a car key. No key, no start the car. Maybe I should have listened to his bla bla bla more carefully. I used Google as much as I could but still could not get the profile fixed. I bit the bullet and called him for help. Within 2 to 3 hours I have a new profile and had transferred about 95% of the original profile files to the new profile.

Moral of this story: When someone talks, you should listen.

Barry Jackson
COFINCOM

State of the SFMC – March 2014

State of the SFMC – March 2014

Greetings Marines,

Well, it looks like we aren’t quite through with winter, at least not those of us in North America. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I, for one, am pretty tired of snow, ice, and steely gray skies. I could do with some spring.

I do, however, have some things to discuss, so I’ll get to them.

Logo/Seal Issue

As you have, no doubt, heard by now, the USMC Trademarks Office has signed off on our new Logo and Seal, indicating that the new branding images are compliant with their trademarks. If you would like to see the new images, they can be found at:
http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/NewSFMCLogo-Seal.html .

Also on the USMC Issue, we have heard back from the USMC. As of today we must stop selling the old logo SFMC flags and old logo SFMC shoulder patches. We will be replacing stock on those items soon. The old stock will be disposed of in a manner decided by the General Staff. We may continue to sell off all other stock items until we exhaust our supply and then re-order them with the new logo. This is a very good result for us and will wind up costing us far less than it could have.

Colonel Jeremy Carsten and General Aaron Murphy are both to be thanked for their efforts on behalf of the SFMC in this matter.

New SFMC Motto

You still have until 10MAR2014 at 2359 CDT to send ideas for a new SFMC
motto to motto@ussbortas.net . 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”.

Changes to the Commandant’s Campaign for 2014

Each Commandant has the opportunity to change or increase the scope of
the Commandant’s Challenge Award to fit his preferences of community
service. I’m going to take that opportunity now…

My predecessors have selected, during their tenures, Toys for Tots,
Special Olympics, and the March for the Disabled. All of these are
worthy, deserving charity efforts, for whom I would never even consider
reducing our support. in fact, as the first portion of a scope increase,
the March for the Disabled is being expanded to encompass the entire
year, rather than just the month of March.

My particular weakness, however, is children’s charities. In my life I
have worked to raise funds, through various club events, for Children’s
Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities, and local
orphanages. While I will have more codified requirements next month,
this is the direction I intend to put forward as an increase in the
scope of the CCA program.

Bear in mind that these changes will not affect the CCA awards the data
for which was collected in the most recent reporting cycle. That data is
for operations conducted last year for issue this year. These changes
will be in effect for operations in this year for ribbon issues early
next year.

Online Availability

As I’ve said before, 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

As you may have heard, I have been suffering from flu for the last
several days. As soon as this report is completed, I’m going back to
bed. Take care everyone, I’ll see you again soon.

That is all.

Mike