State of INFOCOM July 2014

State of INFOCOM July 2014

Greetings Marines,

Before getting into the monthly report I would like to mention something that happened to me last week.  My Mom called and told me she had received an email from her bank saying her account had been suspended and it required her login into the Bank with a link provided in the email to verify her account information.  Luckily she remembered me telling her to never click a link in an email, especially anything from the bank.  I had told her she should always use the link she had saved in the browser favorites.  I explained to her what was happening.  This was a Phishing email trying to direct her to a fake bank website and they would be able to get her account information.  I have received a few of these myself but they were from banks that I didn’t have an account with.  Here are a few things to look out for in these type emails.

  • Links that appear to be your Bank links but aren’t. If you place your cursor over a link in a suspicious email, your email program most likely shows you the destination URL. Do not click the link, but look closely at the URL: A URL that is formatted yourbankname.fakewebsite.com is taking you to a location on fakewebsite.com. Just because “yourbankname” is part of the URL does not guarantee that the site is an official Bank site.
  • Requests for personal information. Bank emails will never ask you to reply in an email with any personal information such as your Social Security number or PIN.
  • Urgent appeals. Banks will never claim your account may be closed if you fail to confirm, verify or authenticate your personal information via email.
  • Messages about system and security updates. Banks will never claim the need to confirm important information via email due to system upgrades.
  • Offers that sound too good to be true. Banks will never ask you to fill out a customer service survey in exchange for money, then ask you to provide your account number so you can receive the money.
  • Obvious typos and other errors. These are often the mark of fraudulent emails and websites. Be on the lookout for typos or grammatical errors, awkward writing and poor visual design.

If you are like me and need assistance with grammar and punctuation I would suggest you check out Weird Al’s word crimes video on YouTube, it the best thing since conjunction junction what’s your function.

With less than two weeks until IC, I’m scrambling to get everything ready to go for my trip.  Time is ticking down fast and this coming weekend is the last one before I head out to IC.  So I’m a bit stressed out.  I should be calmed down when I get to IC.  If you are attending IC/IM this year please flag me down at some point, introduce yourself.  I would love to meet a lot on folks this year at IC.  Also if you have any questions feel free to ask away.

Please join me in welcoming to the INFOCOM staff Major David Anderson Jr.  He will be the new ADO/ADOE editor.  I will be working with him to get up to speed as fast as I can after IC.

In closing here are the pingdom stats for June 2014.

Uptime: 100%
Outages: 0

Downtime: 0
Response time: 420 ms

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

State of the NCO Corps July 2014

State of the NCO Corps July 2014

Greetings Marines!

Welcome once again to the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where tossing in a repainted dummy grenade will probably get you a good seat in a hurry, but you‘re also likely to get something less desirable and a lot less comfortable soon thereafter, and the cook has trotted out a new “Fast Food“ menu, but if you slap it hard enough you can stun it and keep from crawling off the plate.

It’s getting on to that time of year again: the STARFLEET International Conference and SFMC International Muster. It’s a time to officially inform the membership of what the various departments of STARFLEET have been up to, what their plans for the coming year are, and for those lucky enough to attend to enjoy the company of other members of the organization we belong to, and for those of us unable to attend … well, if your “IC/IM Pity Party” is a fraction as interesting and fun as some of those I’ve … err …heard rumors of … just remember that the General Staff will probably disavow any knowledge of your actions if need be. (As a certain fictional television NCO was often heard to say “I see nuthink …NUTH-INK!”) Have fun, marines, because that should be the main reason we’re all here.

Now, another facet of IC/IM is the announcement of annual awards, both STARFLEET and SFMC, and I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who obviously put a great deal of time and effort into writing award nominations – not just for annual awards, but all through the year. This marks the seventh time I have been part of the SFMC Honor Awards process, and the overall quality of the written nominations that I have been privileged to read each year just keeps getting better and better, making for a lot of careful thought  and some tough decisions. No matter what names are announced at IC, just be aware that those who didn’t “win” are still the “best of the best” that the STARFLEET Marines have to offer, and from where I sat, there were no easy decisions. Here’s a Tip of Top’s Eight Point and a loud and long “Bravo Zulu!” (“Well Done!”) to every nominee, every person who wrote a nomination,  and the folks behind the scenes who inspired them to excel.

Turning to community service, I’d like to address a common misconception. SFMC doesn’t stand for STARFLEET Martyr’s Collective. Community service activities can and should involve an element of fun as well, if only the fun of getting together with fellow members and lending a hand where needed.  Although the SFMC is very generous with awards and recognition for such actions, don’t do it for another bit of ribbon or another entry under your name in the database. Do it because you ENJOY it, and the rewards you’ll gain both from somewhere inside yourself and the thanks of the people you’ve helped will far exceed anything the SFMC can give you to pin on your Class A’s.

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. 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 continues to remind us: “If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.”

(And, speaking from my “other hat” as a Unit OIC myself, keeping track of what your Marines have been up to, and reporting it up the Chain of Command so they can be recognized isn’t just a job requirement- it’s part of what makes submitting those reports every two months worthwhile to me. The fun of explaining to a stunned member just WHY they got that unexpected award can’t be beat.)

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. When you say the words “Seventh Cavalry”, most folks will immediately make the mental leap to Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. As someone born and raised (and currently living) in that general area of Montana, I’ll have to concede that the association is a natural one. The “Seventh Cavalry” and “getting your tail kicked by enemy forces that heavily outnumber you” seem to have become almost interchangeable when seen through the lens of popular culture, and in 1965, in the Ia Drang valley of South Vietnam, it looked like history was getting ready to repeat itself.

At a place simply known as LZ (Landing Zone) X-Ray, elements of the Seventh Cavalry (who had long since traded in their horses for airmobile operations from helicopters) found themselves up against overwhelming enemy forces – about 200 of them versus an estimated 1600 of the enemy. It was the first major battle between regular forces of the US Army and regular forces of the enemy, and the fight for LZ X-Ray was the major focus of the action. The Seventh managed to hold on through two days and nights of desperate fighting, reportedly inflicting heavy casualties against the enemy, before they finally had to pull out. In the opinion of the officer in charge, then LT. Colonel Hal Moore, one of the reasons the Seventh was able to hold out was the presence and leadership of his Battalion Sergeant Major, the man his troops called “Old Iron Jaw”- Sergeant Major Basil Plumley.

Plumley was no stranger to hard fighting. He’d served in World War Two as one of the new Airborne soldiers, and when Korea rolled around, he was there as well. All told, he had FIVE combat drops to his credit, and none of those could be termed a walk in the park. But, at Ia Drang, the big NCO seemed to be everywhere at once when he was needed, leading by example and pushing the troops to do their best. He was a man of few words, and reportedly a lot of those weren’t fit to print here, but he made the most of them, and let his actions do his talking more often than not. When, on the first of those nights of fighting, a parachute flare came down right in the middle of a stack of munitions, everyone more or less dove for cover, but Plumley simply walked over, grabbed the burning flare, and tossed it away (earning a Silver Star for that simple action.)

Moore recalled later, in a book co-authored with  civilian photographer Joseph Galloway (We Were Soldiers Once … And Young) that he remarked to Plumley at one point that it was the Little Big Horn all over again, to which “Old Iron Jaw” replied “Custer was a (censored). You ain’t.”

When Plumley finally retired from the US Army in 1974, after rising to the rank of Command Sergeant Major, he had received some 40 decorations, and had fought in the front lines of three wars. For the next 15 years, he continued working for the Army in a civilian capacity before finally retiring for good in 1990. He passed away in 2010 from cancer, only about 10 months after the loss of his wife of 62 years, and one obituary of him stated “To this day, there are veterans of the 1/7 CAV who are convinced that God may look like CSM Plumley, but HE is not nearly as tough as the Sergeant Major on sins small or large.”

I have said before that one of the greatest burdens I bear as SGM SFMC is trying to live up to the example of some of the great NCOs of history in terms of courage, professionalism, and leadership. Basil Plumley is one of those that set the bar so very high.

In service and in friendship,

MGSGT Jerome A. “ Gunny Hawk” Stoddard

Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET  Marines

sgm_sfmc@sfi-sfmc.org

State of FORCECOM July 2014

State of FORCECOM July 2014

At Ease, Marines,

My apologies that real life stepped in the way of my getting this report out in a timely manner. As all of you know sometimes ‘stuff happens’. Or in my current case ‘health happens’. Nothing drastic, but just enough to totally throw my usual schedules off.

Now on to business. With the International Marine Muster on it’s way, I want to focus on two things: records and awards. You’ll see how the two are tied together.

** Personal Records:

Let’s face it. We all want to look our best at the International Conference. You want to make sure your uniforms are in tip top condition and all your ribbons, badges and such are in their proper places. 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 been issued but, for some reason, were not entered on the database 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’.

** Awards:

I’d like to take a moment to review the requirements for four of the more misunderstood awards that often come out of this event. We’ll start with the simplest and work our way toward the more complex. [Please note that all of this information is available for review on the SFMC website under ‘Service Awards’ :

http://www.library.sfi-sfmc.org/awards.php?p=service

<http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.library.sfi-sfmc.org%2Fawards.php%3Fp%3Dservice&h=tAQEGzdl_&enc=AZPhSfkceuwl-rqq7Q9GTWPz8-Q3IjEX0liFF6KYCludchipaXbFAou7VfA4CSVWXNsQDErbmq6NUkCZznpHyThpq2vWbuVqa3jpItJKsLw_K_gnFs0c3qk70vtpXsfJdKc9UAUiVhimqeHgPBaLHEMV&s=1>

and in the Marine Force Manual, SECTION 8 – Awards, 8.3 SFMC Service Awards, pg 63 – pg 66 ].

While you’re at IC and the Marine Muster, look for specific sign in sheets so your Brigade OIC and myself can expedite your awards.

* International Service Award:

Issuing Authority: COFORCECOM

Frequency: Once per year

This one is simple: it’s issued to any member of the SFMC who attends an International STARFLEET Marine Muster. Think of it as the Brigade Muster Ribbon, but for the International Muster. You can not request a Brigade Muster award for attending IC by the way, even if it takes place in your home Brigade.

* Honor Guard:

Issuing Authority: Brigade OIC

Frequency: As Needed – one award per marine per year maximum This award is issued to individuals who service as Honor Guards, Color Guards or as part of the ‘Final Journey’. When you submit your request to your BDE OIC, please indicate what activity you were a part of.

* Embassy Duty:

Issuing Authority: Brigade OIC

Frequency: As Needed – two awards per marine per year maximum This award is issued to individuals for actual participation at a STARFLEET function, such as a Regional Summit or the International Conference as a Marine. Simple attendance at the event does not make one eligible for the Embassy Duty. Serving on a panel, working Security, etc. does. You need to be visibly recognizable as a Marine during these activities.

* Great Barrier:

Issuing Authority: Brigade OIC

Frequency: As Needed – two awards per marine per year maximum To quote the website ‘This award is given to Marines who have undertaken extreme or lengthy travel on behalf of the SFMC.’ Please note: there is a two part requirement: extreme/lengthy travel ‘and’ on behalf of the SFMC.

The first part requires a judgment call by the Brigade OIC. [A possible standard might be 5 hours travel time, for example.] The last part is more precise. Going on a long road trip or flight just to go to the event does not qualify. Going long distances because you are doing something at that event as a Marine [presenting a class, standing Honor Guard, etc] would qualify.

Please let your BDE OIC know the distance you traveled as well what activities you were a part of.

**

To close I want to welcome the new Marines who have joined the Corps over the last couple of months and the new units that have joined our ranks. I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you.

 

As you were, Marines.

 

BGN Jari James

COFORCECOM

State of FINCOM July 2014

State of FINCOM July 2014

We had approximately 24 Quartermaster orders in the month of June.

From the Quartermaster

Flags-New SFMC flag are in and are starting to ship.  They are $35.00 each.

Patches – The new patches have arrived.  The new patch is selling at $5 each which is $1 less than the old one.

Aerospace Wings – The new Aerospace wings have arrived and are $8.00 each.

New Challenge coins have been ordered and will be here shortly.

 

The numbers for the month are as follows.

Opening balance the month of June was $4602.36

Credits

PayPal transfer -$492.11

PayPal transfer -$22.34 (order for April paid into SFI PayPal account
[now reflected on actual bank statement for June)

Debits

USPS – QM postage – $51.93 includes postage for shipping SFMC items to R3 Summit

Stadri Emblems – $201.50  (Patches)

Flags – $580.50

WalMart – $19.36 – envelopes for shipping quartermaster items.

Closing balance for the account was $4,263.52

Scholarship interest $0.03.  The current balance $2729.02

About two weeks ago Dream Host, web site host, did an update to the site code.  This caused the Quartermaster site to go down.  It was discovered by INFOCOM and within 24 hours after this discovery, a patch was installed and made the Quartermaster site operations.

In Service

BGEN Barry Jackson

COFINCOM

State of the SFMC July 2014

State of the SFMC July 2014

Summer is in full swing and SFMC activities are on the rise. Reports are coming in from all quarters telling of outings both for fun and for service around the Corps. We love hearing about these sorts of things.

Keep it up.

 

Things have been busy here at HQ as well. Let’s go over what’s been going on.

 

Preparations for International Muster

 

We are running at full speed getting ready for IC/IM. The Honor Award

recipients have been selected for this year and certificates are being

generated for presentation at IC. This year’s selections were

particularly difficult thanks to a really good set of nominations sent

in by the several Brigade OICs. Well done! Your Brigades were very well

represented this year.

 

We are also preparing the presentation to be given at Muster

highlighting the changes made in the past six months and outlining our

goals for the next year.

 

The Quartermaster’s Office has acquired and is now servicing orders for

the new SFMC shoulder patches, Aerospace Wings, and SFMC flags. All of

these products turned out beautifully from the various manufacturers.

These will be among the items the SFMC Quartermaster will have for sale

at IC for our members to enjoy.

 

In addition, new SFMC challenge coins have been ordered and, if the

manufacturer is correct, we will have them in hand in time to offer them

at IC as well. I can’t wait to see the new coins in person.

 

Awards

 

As I said above, the Honor Awards have been selected and are ready to

  1. If, however, any of you know of any marine deserving of recognition

in the form of any of the awards for which either the GS or I am the

Issuing Authority, please speak up and get those nominations in NOW!!

 

The Corps level Award Nomination Form is found at:

http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/awards.php?p=corps

 

Accounts

 

As of last report, the SFMC general account has a balance of $4263.52.

The scholarship account has a balance of $2729.02.

 

Suggestions

 

The General Staff is, as always, open to suggestions of new and

interesting things to do as well as ways to do things we already do. As

always, you may contact any member of the General Staff for suggestions

regarding their areas of responsibility or you may contact me with any

suggestion and i’ll happily route it to the appropriate GS member. Email

addresses for the GS follow:

 

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

 

Again, there are a few things that bear repeating, so I’ll do so.

 

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.

 

That’s about all I have for you this month except to remind all you OICs

out there to make sure you report not only what your unit is doing, but

who among your marines is doing it, how long they each are spending on

the project, and who such projects are benefiting. Making sure your

reports are complete and thorough is the responsibility of each OIC.

Failing to do so  ensures that deserving marines will not get the

recognition they deserve. These are your friends, take care of them.

 

Thanks for your time, see you next month.

Mike

Michael McGowan

OIC, 225th MSG

Commandant, SFMC

papabear@ussbortas.net