State of the NCO Corps May 2015

State of the NCO Corps May 2015

Greetings Marines!

Please join me again in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO Club, where we’re preparing for mosquito season in the usual fashion (20-liter jerrycans of bug repellent and a couple of Gatling phaser AA set-ups) and the rising level of the nearby river means the Catch of The Day just might be somebody’s garden shed before long.

It’s the time of year when your community service activities may well have you working outdoors, doing anything from manning a fund raising table to helping clear trash in a local park or along a local road. Please remember to dress appropriately and safely for those activities. The All Weather Work Uniform (aka Scotty C’s) found in the MFM 2012 beginning on page 47 was designed and approved with such activities in mind, and is probably one of the easiest STARFLEET Marine  uniforms to put together. It may well be worth your time and effort to have your unit look into them. (And, if I can put together a set on a limited, fixed income while living in the Middle Of Nowhere, Montana, odds are you may have an easier time of it.)

Please keep an eye on your fellow marines if you’re working out of doors, especially in hot or inclement weather. From personal experience, I can tell you that sometimes it’s easy to overlook the first signs of heat exhaustion or being too chilled in yourself, and those problems can escalate quickly. If one of your fellow marines suggests you take five, and maybe get some water or get into shelter for a bit, thank them, and DO it. Remember, it’s not just a good idea – it’s official SFMC policy. MFM 2012 p 48:  Our members are our most important asset and must be treated with care and respect for their safety and comfort. That includes YOU!

And also remember, community service doesn’ have to involve any sort of organized charity or cause at all. Just giving of your time and energy to someone who needs a hand is the spirit of community service. But also make sure that whoever is filing the report for your unit knows the details, and sends it up the Chain of Command in their official report so you can be given the recognition your efforts deserve. If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.

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. Graduates of the SFMC Armor Branch school will likely tell you that despite what the Aerospace types think, there’s no MOS group in the SFMC that has more in the way of colorful traditions than those in the Cavalry. The thing most people tend to forget is that cavalry traditions are just as rich and colorful from places far removed from the American West, and when it comes to that, you’d have to look hard to find a more colorful bunch than the Royal Scots Grays, who, if you count their late 17th century predecessors, had a long and storied unit history that covered nearly three centuries (up until 1971, when they became part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards). From their distinctive uniforms, to their trademark of being all mounted on gray horses (and when they became an armor unit in World War 2, their Sherman II tanks got painted in a dapple gray camouflage) the Scots Grays set a high standard for colorful traditions. And, two of their most distinctive bits of color – the regimental cap badge and the regimental nickname – owed their existence directly to the actions of one NCO.

James Ewart was born near Kilmarnock in 1769, and at the age of 20, enlisted in the cavalry. He was a big man, even by modern standards, reportedly standing 6 feet 4 inches in height, and possessed of Herculean strength. He was said to be a very good rider, and an absolutely top notch hand with a sword. By the time of the Battle of Waterloo, he served as the fencing master for the Scots Grays, and was a well respected and notably tough soldier. At Waterloo, the Scots Grays were part of the 5th Division, held in reserve on the right flank, backing up the Dutch-Belgian 2nd Division. The Dutch and Belgians found themselves being forced back over the ridgeline by the French infantry, spearheaded by the 45th Line Infantry. The Infantry of the 5th division, led by the famed 92nd Highlanders were ordered to stop this advance, and fierce fighting broke out. The French were veteran troops, and determined to break through, until, finally, the heavy cavalry (including the Scots Grays) that had been held in reserve out of sight, were ordered into the fray.

Despite any legends you may have read, the charge of the Scots Grays was actually more of a determined, orderly advance at a walk. The terrain, and the presence of the 92nd (still engaged with the French, but in danger of being forced back) ruled out the sort of thundering mass of horseman legend portrays, but even at a walk, the Grays were tough and able to punch through, rallying the 92nd as they passed through their lines to engage the French 45th, who had formed into columns in anticipation of breaking through the Highlanders. Suffice it to say, the presence of big men, on big gray horses, skilled and relentlessly drilled with their heavy sabers, was NOT what the 45th was prepared to deal with. The Scots Grays caught the French trying to switch back from columns to a defensive line, and rolled over them.

One of Napoleon’s traditions created for his troops, in order to link them back to the glories of France’s past, was the presence of Eagles like the legions of Rome had once carried as regimental standards. These were often proudly borne at the head of any regiment on the move, and this was the case with the 45th that day. Sergeant Ewart spotted the symbol of the French regiment and its guard in his path, and decided to try to capture it. He rode forward, and engaged the standard bearer and guard detail single handed. In his own words, recorded not long after Waterloo, this is what happened next: “One made a thrust at my groin, I parried him off and cut him down through the head. A lancer came at me – I threw the lance off by my right side and cut him through the chin and upwards through the teeth. Next, a foot soldier fired at me and then charged me with his bayonet, which I also had the good luck to parry, and then I cut him down through the head”.  He then rode off back to his own lines with the 45th’s Eagle in one hand.

The capture of their Eagle finished the job of breaking the 45th as an organized unit. Sergeant Ewart was ordered to take his prize all the way back to Brussels, to make sure the French had no chance of re-capturing it, and although history records he did pause to watch a bit more of the fighting from a safe distance, he carried out his orders like the good soldier he was known to be. The French never did get that Eagle back – to this day, it is proudly displayed in the museum of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Ewart was given the rare distinction of being promoted from the ranks, from Sergeant to Ensign (2nd Lieutenant), for his actions in seizing the enemy standard.

After that, an image of that Eagle became the main feature of the cap badge the Scots Grays proudly wore for the rest of their existence as a distinct regiment, and throughout the army, for the capture of that Eagle by Ewart, they became known as The Birdcatchers, all thanks to a big veteran sergeant, able to ride perhaps better than most and fight like few others could hope to match, who saw something important to enemy morale and decided he was going to take it away from them  all by himself. Never underestimate the effect of a bright shiny object on an NCO.


In service and in friendship,

MGSGT Jerome A. ‘Gunny Hawk’ Stoddard

Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET  Marines



State of the SFMC May 2015

State of the SFMC May 2015

Greetings Marines!

Today I depart for San Antonio to spend some time with the troops of the 3rd Brigade. I know I’ll enjoy the heck out of the experience. I’ll be out of the office, and out of easy communications, from this posting until Tuesday morning (19MAY25015). If you need to contact me during this period, you may do so through either Deputy Commandant Jim Monroe

( or SGM-SFMC Jerry Stoddard (

First, some housekeeping…


I want to thank everyone who applied for the post of Commandant’s Special Assistant for International Issues. After due consideration, I have appointed 1LT Jamie Spracklen to the post. Jamie will be helping me to find resolutions to the problems unique to SFMC members outside the United States that work both for those members and for the Corps as a whole. Thank you, Jamie, for stepping up.

Uniform Approval

The General Staff have approved the following uniform for wear. It will be included in the upcoming edition of the Marine Force Manual.

CLASS B Uniform: Duty Uniform, TNG TV Series

This is normally considered the third highest level uniform for purposes of Uniform of the Day planning. It is based on the standard uniform seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Occasions for Wear:

  1. On duty, as prescribed by local commanders.
  2. On other appropriate occasions, as desired.

Composition: The Duty Uniform is comprised of the Jacket and Trousers, and accessories and accoutrements as authorized below.

Jacket: The Jacket is a pull over style with collar as seen in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and early episodes of Deep Space Nine.

Keeping with the TOS SFMC tradition the color is charcoal instead of branch or departmental color as with the Fleet side.

Trousers: Duty Trousers are black in color, low waist, straight legged and with or without side and hip pockets. Simple black dress slacks without any product labels will do (they should be plain front unpleated). A 1  wide red  blood  stripe is worn along the outside of each leg. The trousers are worn bloused into or at the top of the boot.

Headgear: Headgear is optional for wear with the Duty Uniform, TNG Series. If worn all standard rules for wearing headgear must be observed. (only wearing outdoors or while under arms)

Footwear: Black boots may be worn with the Duty Uniform, TNG Series.

Acceptable options are high gloss black dress shoes (pants wouldn t be bloused in this case) or spit-shined combat/jump boots.

Insignia & Accouterments: Only the following listed items are authorized for wear with the Duty Uniform 1. Insignia of grade Worn at the right side of the Jacket collar. Be sure to consult the appropriate SFMC Manual for exact rank to be worn.

Due to the dimensions of Enlisted grade insignia, such are to be worn on its side, chevrons pointed toward the gig line.

  1. SFMC Insignia Worn on the left collar centered vertically.
  2. Combadge/Branch Badge Worn on the left breast 4. Distinctive items If entitled to do so, the wearer may wear one Type A Branch Device above the above the combadge and centered horizontally with the black yoke of the uniform.

Marine Force Manual Revision

The revision to the Marine Force Manual has had some bumpy road. This is due, in large part, to my ongoing difficulties with my email service. We will be getting a new MFM out as soon as possible. Please be patient.


Remember, please, that this is Summit/Muster season. This is the time of year when deserving marines receive the bulk of their available recognition. Both the GS and the several Brigades rely on marines who observe noteworthy operations and personnel to nominate those marines who meet the award criteria found in the current MFM. Please help us help you.


That’s about all I have at the moment. I’ll post something about the 3rd BDE Muster when I return next week.



Michael McGowan

OIC, 225th MSG

Commandant, SFMC

State of INFOCOM May 2015

State of INFOCOM May 2015

Greetings Marines,

As I mention last year about my decision not to ever purchase anything “on sale” during the Memorial Day weekend.  I don’t begrudge those that do, I just feel it is something that I want do myself.  I feel it like it is saying, sorry you lost someone in your family defending the country, but you can save 30% on a new washer and dryer set.  That’s just not for me.

As few weeks ago my mom called me and said she was going to visit my older brother, who lives in Georgia for his birthday.  It is on the 24th Of May.  Because I was off work on Monday my younger brother and I decided to surprise him and make the 8 hour drive.  My older is currently a sky diving instructor.  While he was in the Army he went to airborne school and then later started training for Special Forces.  He was selected for HALO training and he was one of the First classes to complete this training.  Back then the Army hadn’t established the HALO badge they currently use.  My Brother still keeps in touch with some of his old friends.  As a surprise one of his Friends who was then a Chief Warrant Officer submitted the paper work on his behalf and got his service record amended to include the HALO badge he had earned several years ago.  He presented my brother with a certificate and the badge when he came to skydive with my brother a few years back.

You may asked what all this has to do with Memorial Day, that Chief Warrant Officer last name was McGinnis.  He had a nephew that was serving in Iraq in 2008.  Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis. PFC McGinnis was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 5th 2008.  He was a 50 Cal gunner on patrol when an insurgent throw a fragmentation grenade into the gunners hatch.  PFC McGinnis yelled “grenade” and instead of PFC McGinnis jumping to safety he decided to protect his crew and throw himself on the grenade.  His actions saved his four crew mates. I didn’t know the rest of this story until this weekend.  Let us not forget, it is Memorial Day not national barbeque day.

In closing here’s the pingdom stats for April 2015.

Uptime: 100%
Outages: 0

Downtime: 15 Minutes

Response time: 469 ms


Mark “Slayer” Anderson
Major General, SFMC
Team Delta