State of INFOCOM May 2014

State of INFOCOM May 2014

As I started working on my report for this month, I realized Memorial Day was coming up soon.  I noticed as I was driving to and from work, I started seeing the Memorial Day sale signs at the car dealerships between my home and office.  I also was throwing out all the fliers I received in the mail for the various Memorial Day sales going on over the weekend.  Being a veteran and I have attended the Army’s Last Role Call for soldiers in my unit that were killed, I have decided not to buy anything during these Memorial Day sales.  I find myself torn, I don’t think we should be having sales during Memorial Day but those we are honoring gave their lives so we could have Memorial Day sales.  I wish my grandfather was still around so I could get this opinion.  When I was growing up he didn’t talk much about his service in World War II.  He served in the Navy aboard the USS Nashville, a light cruiser in the South Pacific and shipped out just months after my mother was born.  All his brothers served. One joined the Marines and served in the South Pacific, two were Army and fought in Europe, One also landed in Normandy on D-Day.  I remember he had a small book about the USS Nashville during WWII.  We he passed away I received that book.  I have it on a shelf next to the shadow box with the flag that was on his coffin, his medals he earned during his service and an old black and white photo of him as a young sailor.  By reading the book and internet research, I found the following information.  General MacArthur used The USS Nashville as his flagship on several occasions including his famous return to the Philippines and The USS Nashville earned 10 battle stars in WWII.  My Grandfather was a gunner’s mate 1st class and served on a Quad 40mm antiaircraft gun starboard side aft of the superstructure.  I think I found the reason why my grandfather didn’t like to talk about his service.  The USS Nashville on December 13 1944 was hit by a kamikaze off Negros Island.  The plane hit port amidships and killed 133 and wounded 190 sailors.  When I read that, I thought that was the other side of the ship were my grandfather was stationed.  He came that close to being one of those sailors that were killed.  My mother came that close to never knowing her father and I came that close to only knowing that black and white photo of that young sailor on the shadow box was my grandfather.  On Memorial Day I think of those soldiers from my unit that were killed and those 133 sailors that died, the children and grandchildren that will never get to know them.  I’m sure that are a lot of stories out there but I felt I should share part of mine with you on this Memorial Day.

INFOCOM is currently continuing to update manuals and other material in relation to the corps new Logo, Seal and Motto.  In order to speed up the process if you have some bandwidth and assist with some short term projects please get in touch with me at nfocom@sfi-sfmc.org and I can explain what we are working on.  We are also looking for a permanent ADOE staff position to fill.  Here’s the 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 April 2014.

Uptime: 99.97%

Outages: 1

Downtime: 15m

Response time: 565 ms

 

Mark “Slayer” Anderson

Brigadier General, SFMC

COINFOCOM

Team Delta

State of FORCECOM May 2014

State of FORCECOM May 2014

At Ease, Marines,

First off I wish to thank members of my direct Command [both up and down] as well as the Promotion Board [EC] for have the trust in me to advance me to the rank of Brigadier General.  And like anything else in life, just when you think you’ve got things settled, changes occur.  Or, in my case, getting my four diamond pins to update my Class A uniform just in time to get to change them out for stars.

No, that doesn’t mean it was a meteoric promotion.  It means I haven’t worn the thing for a couple of years. I really need to get out more. ;}

Now on to business.

** Please Read the Manuals:  I can’t stress this enough.  Most of the questions I’m asked are already covered in either the Marine Force Manual [general topics] or the Policy Manual [for Unit, Battalion and Brigade OICs]. It’s not that any of us on the General Staff are adverse to answering questions, but you’ve got then entire working policies of the SFMC available to you in those two manuals. Please take the time to look through them and consult them if you have a question.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then certainly contact me.

** Personal Records:

Up here in the northern hemisphere the Summer Season is coming and Fall’s bite is in the air ‘Down Under’. You all know what that means: IC is coming.  With this in mind I want to remind everyone this is a good time for a records review.

I’m sure everyone out there wants to look their best, with their uniforms in tip top condition and all ribbons, badges and such in their proper places.  But it’s amazing how fast the time will fly by.  It’s never a good thing to wait until the last moment to review your database records to make sure everything is there that should be on there.

There are policies in place to enter awards that you have already been issued but, for some reason, were not entered at that time. But it needs to be made clear that the responsibility of proof rests on the individual themselves.  If you request an award to be entered, you will need to produce a copy of the award certificate, an email statement from the original issuing individual, a notation pointing to where it was announced in a newsletter, something that shows it was issued.

I am always willing to discuss things and will do everything I can to assist the individual, but one of my personal guidelines has always been ‘Trust, but Verify’.

** Disasters:

Suffice it to say that disasters seem to be occurring just about everywhere.  If you find yourself in a place where you can lend a hand, please do so.  And keep your Command informed as to what you and those around you are doing.  Please step up and ‘Pay it Forward’ because no one knows when it may be their neighborhood next.

** Personal Communications: For those out there who ask me from time to time ‘Why don’t you encourage phone calls’ there are reasons why I don’t conduct day to day FORCECOM business via phone or Skype. this is my personal preference.  I prefer a paper trail do help me remember the various discussions and decisions.  Also, I have a fairly odd wake/sleep schedule. In my ‘Verse there is only one 7 O’clock and it’s when the sun’s going down.  Sometime around 1900 MDT.

Those specific individuals who are on my ‘Approved to Call’ list know who they are.

Other members of the General Staff have their own policies but it’s only polite to email the individual and ask if they want a phone call about something and when would be a good time.  People have work schedules and may not be able to take calls at work.  People may work weird hours and may not appreciate a phone call in the middle of the day when that may be their only sleep time

To close I want to leave you with some fast statistics. As I wrote the rough draft of this the first of May  the SFMC Strength was listed on the database as 1432 individuals [856 Active and 576 Reserve] spread out through 153 units or on unassigned status.

We just keep on growing and growing. ;}

 

As you were, Marines.

BGN Jari James

COFORCECOM

State of the NCO Corps May 2014

State of the NCO Corps May 2014

Greetings Marines!

Time for our monthly trip to the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where if you don’t feel like wiping your boots when you come in, plan on walking on your hands the rest of the night, and when two dozen 660s (Aerospace Crew Chiefs) had a little contest to see who the most arrogant pilot they could think of was, it ended up in a 25 way tie for first place (some clown voted twice).

Let’s start off this time with a few numbers- this a “report” after all. According to the latest information pulled from the database, as I write this, 27.4 percent of the members of the STARFLEET Marines hold some form of enlisted rank. In other words, about one Marine in four is enlisted. And, since the SFMC makes up a bit over a quarter of STARFLEET, that makes about one member in sixteen of the larger organization we all belong to an enlisted Marine. The actual number is a bit higher – about eight percent of all STARFLEET consists of enlisted Marines. The numbers for non-Marines aren’t available to me, but if even two percent of the whole organization are strictly Fleet that also hold enlisted ranks, that means a tenth of STARFLEET is enlisted.  So, for my fellow enlisted members, you’re NOT alone in your decision to avoid a commission and play our common game your own way.

Six years ago, when I became the Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET Marines, the best guess that anybody had was that MAYBE one Marine in ten or so held enlisted rank, and the total in the whole organization was perhaps a few percent. I can’t say for sure whether it’s simply having real data at last, or if, for whatever reason, the number of enlisted personnel has actually grown over those six years. All I can say is that, today, enlisted Marines form a significant part of our numbers, and I am proud to be YOUR voice on the SFMC General Staff.

Let’s face it – remaining in the enlisted ranks in STARFLEET isn’t exactly an easy path. There are a lot of good things about our organization, but the deck is stacked against enlisted members at times. As a high profile example,  the basic STARFLEET Academy course that gives one an introduction to the club we all belong to is called “Officer’s Training School”.  The assumption seems to be that everybody wants to be an officer, and there can be a fair amount of subtle pressure (or sometimes not so subtle pressure) felt by those who prefer, for reasons of their own, to NOT be officers to join the mainstream and accept a commission.

I’m sure you can come up with your own examples of “Officer Centric” culture in STARFLEET, but I’m not here today to gripe about officers or demand that the Powers That Be do something about it. Instead, I’m here to tell you that all of this can lead to an “Us vs. Them” situation, and that’s never a recipe for success in any group of any size. It doesn’t matter which side starts it, the result is the same: people who joined a club to have fun end up sniping at each other, and soon, nobody is having any fun any more, and people find someplace else to play.

To be blunt, there are jerks on both sides of the Officer – Enlisted equation. Don’t be one of them. It’s ok to poke gently poke fun at one another, such as the plethora of old jokes about “butterbars” or about the anonymous enlisted crewmen in the various incarnations of Star Trek who exist mainly to die horribly before the commercial break or give the stars of the show someone to save. We’re all friends here, and friends often engage in teasing banter. But, let’s avoid crossing the line from teasing into sniping, and from pride in our own perceived place in STARFLEET to insulting someone else’s place and their personal decisions.

As usual,  I simply can’t stress enough is that “community service” need not be part of some organized charity or done on behalf of some national or international organization. Any effort made to help others that simply involves you giving up your own free time and energy to make a difference probably counts. The MFM (Marine Force Manual) goes into this in a few different places. And, please, make sure your unit OIC is aware of your efforts and includes the information in the bi-monthly report that goes up the SFMC Chain of Command. As the Dant mentioned in the State of the SFMC this month: “If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.”

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the three words that will stand for the STARFLEET Marine Corps going forward: “Virtus, Vis, Decretum”, our new and unique motto. The Commandant has told you what that motto means, and how to pronounce it. I simply ask that you embrace it, along with our new logo and seal, and remember that we are the STARFLEET Marine Corps both as a real-life and a fictional organization, and NOT simply a pale copy of the US Marines in space.

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 this space, over the years, I’ve introduced you a lot of remarkable “forgotten heroes”, enlisted members of their nations’ armed forces (mostly human) that may not be household words but who all did something exceptional, often an act of heroism in battle, that means that perhaps we can all learn something from them – not so much about the art of War, but perhaps about the art of Life itself. Well, this month, I’d like to introduce you to a total screw-up, a British Cavalryman that could well have his portrait hanging next to Prigal’s in some “Foul-up’s Hall of Fame”.

In 1831, Samuel Parkes was a 16 year old Staffordshire lad who lied about his age to join the Army, probably figuring that being a cavalry trooper was a more glamorous and better paying career than staring at the south end of a northbound plow horse for the rest of his life. To say his service to Queen and Country was undistinguished for the most part would be perhaps kinder than the facts warranted. He served in the First Anglo Afghan War, and managed to earn and then be stripped of a good conduct badge FIVE times between 1838 and 1850, and in that period spent 2 months in jail for being drunk on duty. During a career that spanned 26 years, he never rose above the rank of Private.

In 1854, he somehow managed to get a “soft” job as an orderly to the commander of his regiment, the 4th  Light Dragoons when they were posted to Crimea for the latest war. And there, during one of the biggest foul -ups in military history, one of the biggest foul-ups in the Army did something remarkable. During the Charge of the Light Brigade, he got his horse shot out from under him, and was there when a trumpeter’s horse went down nearby. Two Cossacks swept in for the kill, only to be driven off by some furious sword work by Parkes. The two Englishmen tried to get back to their own lines when six more Cossacks came at them. Parkes’ sword started flying again, keeping the trumpeter safe as the two kept backing away. That ended when someone very unsportingly shot the sword out of his hand, and the two were taken prisoner and held for a year as captives by the Russians. Parkes reportedly didn’t have much of a problem with that. They were well treated, the food wasn’t bad, and nobody was shooting at him, or trying to part his hair with a few feet of sharp steel, But one strange thing did happen there.

Word had gotten out about his fight with those Cossacks, and Parkes became not only the oldest recipient of the Victoria Cross from the Crimean War, he became the first VC recipient to have been a POW. Surely that changed everything! Well, not so much …

After his discharge in 1857, Parkes eventually ended up working with the constables in the Hyde Park area. He got married, but left no descendents, and died at the age of 49 of “apoplexy”. His VC was supposedly traded for several pints of beer one night, and was eventually purchased at auction by officers of his regiment in 1954. And, for some reason, there was apparently a second VC owned by Parkes that was also auctioned off after his death, and was subsequently destroyed.

I’ll be honest. There isn’t much one can learn about the art of War, or the art of Life from the story of Private Samuel Parkes, unless it’s that even a foul-up can fight like a cornered rat if he’s cornered. And, perhaps that’s a lesson in and of itself. Sometimes the line between screw-up and hero can get a bit blurred, and only History can help us see the difference.

In service and in friendship,

MGSGT Jerome A. “ Gunny Hawk” Stoddard

Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET  Marines

sgm_sfmc@sfi-sfmc.org

State of the SFMC May 2014

State of the SFMC May 2014

Marines,

April was a pleasant end to the nastiness of winter weather here in the Midwest. Like all of you, I have been greatly concerned for our fellow members through the killer storms that have swept through the Midwest and South. I am really hoping that May shapes up into a warm, and reasonably dry, month for us all.

Let’s get down to business…

The following awards were approved in the month of April and were presented prior to this report:

SFMC Achievement Award

Bobbie Baxter

Lea Morgan

I also have the privilege of presenting an SFMC Service Commendation to Julie Rickard.

Finally, I’d like to offer my congratulations to COFORCECOM Jari “Gato”

James on her recently announced promotion to Brigadier General.

It has also come to my attention that BGN James has also been recognized for her efforts in saving the life of an elderly lady in her community.

She recognized that this lady was suffering the very earliest onset stages of a stroke and took charge of the situation. She managed to get the lady and her sister situated in the beauty shop and calmed down. She also called 911 and summoned medical help, waiting with the two ladies and keeping them both calm and under control until that medical help had arrived on scene. At this past weekend’s 5^th Brigade Muster, for her efforts in this incident, BGN James was also awarded the Comet Award by 5^th Brigade OIC Bobbie Baxter.

Congratulations one and all! Well done and well deserved!!*

*

*

Motto*

Well, I can finally announce that we have a new motto. The new motto is three words, “Virtus, Vis, Decretum” (VIR-toose, VEESE, Day-CRAY-tum).

In its basic form it means “Strength of Mind, Strength of Body, Strength of Purpose” in Latin. It has been brought to my attention, however, that these three words also have some nuanced meanings that are also appropriate. I will quote Jerry Stoddard, who knows much more about Latin than I, in explaining some of these more subtle meanings:

“…I realized with a grin that sometimes having Latin words that

carried specific shades of meaning that didn’t easily cross to

English could HELP.

Virtus implies a strength of will or character – in other words

moral and mental strength

Vis is more about physical strength, might, power…

…Decretum is a strong conviction to an ideal, resolve, a code to

live by – I rather like all these meanings and more to stand for

Strength of Purpose.”

 

Now that we have a motto, we’ll start swapping it in on all of our sites and publications. I want to thank everyone who sent in their motto ideas and everyone who offered help, support, and suggestions.*

*

*Summit Season*

This past month I spoke to the marines of the Twelfth Brigade at their Muster in Tulsa, OK. We had a great time even though tech limitations kept us on speaker phone, for the discussion. We did have an engaging conversation and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If any other Brigade would like to arrange a via Skype visit with me, or other members of the General Staff, please feel free to contact us the addresses listed below. Speaking for myself, I enjoyed it and am willing to do so again any time.

A couple of items from last time that bear repeating:

 

*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

 

The SFMC continues to grow and its the marines of the SFMC that make the Corps an attractive option to more and more STARFLEET members each month. We’re getting to the time of year, at least here in North America, where the temperatures are more and more welcoming to the kinds of activities we enjoy doing, both for fun and to help our communities.

I look forward to reading about the things you do.

Finally, there is a little saying that I’d like you all to remember from here on out. It goes like this: “If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.” It really is just that simple. And this isn’t a concept just for OICs or even just for officers. If you do something that merits recognition of some type, you MUST take some responsibility and let your OIC and DOIC know about it. Unit officers, you must take that information and pass it up the chain. If you know that your marines are doing something of note but don’t have all the information, call them up or email them! Get the information and put it in your report.

Remember that we need who, what, where, when, and why. If you’ve tried something new and different, ‘how’ is a great thing to pass up the chain as well. The details you include can help another unit do better for their communities as well.

When I get complaints, the one I hear most often from marines is that they don’t feel they have been recognized for their work. During the conversation, however, it normally comes out that they simply didn’t tell anyone what they had done. There just isn’t any way that the officers of the Corps, at any level, can report and arrange recognition for actions about which they know nothing.

We, as an organization, can get better about recognizing the efforts of our members, but its going to take a concerted effort by all levels of the Chain of Command from the General Staff all the way to the individual marine.

Have a great month! Enjoy yourselves and stay safe!

 

Mike

Michael McGowan

OIC, 225th MSG

Commandant, SFMC

papabear@ussbortas.net

State of FINCOM May 2014

State of FINCOM May 2014

Opening balance in April – $4664.98
PayPal transfer -$160.55 in March
PayPal transfer – $5.72  in April
Closing balance in April – $4831.25

Sales for month
Total merchandise total – $5.50
Postage collected – $0.70
PayPal fees  – $0.48

Scholarship interest $0.07. The current balance $2728.89.

Great news.  The Quartermaster site is now working again.  INFOCOM, Mark Anderson, got the information he needed to fix the checkout section of the site.  After getting it fixed, he placed an order himself and checked all of the different PayPal transactions sites to ensure it was working correctly.  From what he was telling me, all of the PayPal transactions notifications are working as well as all of the transactions notifications on his personal PayPal account.  I have told Mark that at IC, the first round is on me.  Also I will be presenting him with a golden calculator award.

MARINES – ORDER AT WILL.

If you read the State of INFOCOM, Mark gave a pretty good explanation of heartbleed which is a vulnerability to computer systems.  Once again, if you do online banking, you should look at your banking site to ensure the heartbleed vulnerability has been fixed.  If you don’t see this, call your online banking institution and talk to their online department.  One you have determined that it has been fixed, please change your password.  If someone steals your money, you can’t buy from the Quartermaster site.

Looking for a DCOFINCOM

Duties include:

Assisting the CO in overseeing all operations of the FINCOM Command and is ultimately responsible for all Command duties and responsibilities. The DCO must be ready to take over the duties of COFINCOM as needed or on an interim basis in the event that COFINCOM is unavailable to perform their duties as required.

The following qualifications will apply:

  1. Must be at least 21 years of age;
  2. Any staff member who handles SFMC funds, must be bondable in the amount of $25,000
  3. Have regular and reliable internet access;
  4. Have completed OTS, PD-100 and PD-201. OCC is also recommended;
  5. Be identified as a Marine in the STARFLEET Database.
  6. Must be familiar with and have used online banking programs.
  7. Must be able to use and familiar with word processor and spreadsheet software, preferably MS word and Excel or similar.
  8. Must be familiar with the use of PayPal.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send you qualifications to:

fincom@fi-sfmc.org

Please put “DCOFINCOM” in the title line of the email.

Applications for this position will end on Wednesday June 4 @2359 hrs.

BGEN Barry Jackson

COFINCOM