State of the NCO Corps July 2015

State of the NCO Corps July 2015

State of the NCO Corps  July 2015


Greetings Marines!


As we head over to the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO Club, please note that despite the weather and the rather difficult intervening terrain, it still doesn’t qualify you for the Wilderness Challenge ribbon, and the Special of the Day is “pretty much anything that doesn’t require a hot stove to make.”

You have probably worked out already that, yep, it’s still summer here, and the same holds true for where most of you are living. And, you’ve probably guessed what’s coming next, because it’s a “community service” that’s often overlooked.

Dress appropriately for the weather, and please, keep an eye on each other for signs of distress.. 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.” And, while you’re at it, keep an eye out for others in your community that may be having problems due to heat, storms, or any extreme weather, and if you can lend a hand, even in some small way, I’d appreciate it.

There are times you must think that the next bit is tattooed on me somewhere, but it‘s something often overlooked, and so I‘ll keep reminding you: community service doesn’t 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.”

Speaking of recognizing outstanding effort, this past month, I had the privilege of being a part of the Honor Awards process for the eighth year in a row.  I can’t be sure, but I think anyone who’s ever been on the SFMC General Staff might agree with me that it is one of the toughest parts of being a GS member, and yet, one of the most personally satisfying. To go over the various nominations and have sitting in front of you the accomplishments of the best the SFMC has to offer … and then having to CHOOSE among them, because there can be only one winner, involves a great deal of thought. Often the difference between who gets the ribbon and who does not comes to the thinnest of edges, maybe even just a few words in the nominations we receive, and making that call is never easy. So, well in advance of IC/IM, let me just say that, from where I sit, there are no “winners” or “losers”, and I hope that those whose names aren’t announced for the ribbons understand that, and keep up the good work.

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a very special, very big and elaborate Tip of Top’s Eight Point to all those fine folks who began the whole process  by taking the time to write nominations for their fellow members of the SFMC, whether it be for Corps level recognition like the Honor Awards, or even something as simple as some “unofficial” recognition at the unit or chapter level. Bravo Zulu (Well done!) and thank you for your service to the STARFLEET Marine Corps as a whole!

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.  Often in this space, I have introduced you to enlisted heroes, often those played a pivotal role in war, and displayed courage and devotion to duty and to their comrades in arms above and beyond what might be expected. Among them are some of my personal heroes, and I take inspiration from them as I perform my duties as SGM SFMC. This month, I have added a new hero to that list of those who make “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in Everything We Do” more than words to me, and it’s someone who did it without firing a shot or raising a hand in anger.

Just this past month, 39 year old Gunnery Sergeant Francine Jarrett was retiring after 20 years as a US Marine. She had most recently served as part of Enlisted Professional Military Education, Marine Corps University at Marine Corps Base Quantico, where she practiced what she preached: the importance of continuing education. Jarrett earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while in the military. Her coworker, Master Sergeant Zachary Bourgeois, had arranged her retirement ceremony, which featured letters from the President, and the Commandant, and speeches praising her leadership, honesty, and compassion. There were flowers, and cheers, and then it was Master Sergeant Bourgeois’s turn to present one last gift in appreciation – a gift from him.

Leading up to her retirement, he had asked her “100 times” about various Marine memorabilia, trying to get a hint of what might make the perfect gift for the “picky“ Gunnery Sergeant, and one conversation stood out. Jarrett’s face lit up every time she spoke about the poster that had inspired her to enlist 20 years ago. Instead of the usual “military” images, it featured three proud women in dress blues, and the caption “After years of fitting in, maybe it’s time to stand out!”   She recalled saying to herself “ They can shoot, they can do everything else, and they are gorgeous. This is it, I’m joining the Marines.” Bourgeois knew that he had his answer, and he acquired a copy of that poster to have suitably framed. But, he didn’t stop there.

He managed to track down those women, and after contacting them, and telling them about Gunny Jarrett‘s retirement, he drove to their homes himself so each of them could sign the poster that had inspired Jarrett all those years ago. When the large package, wrapped in simple brown paper, was opened at the ceremony by Jarrett, her hands flew to her face in delight and surprise. It was absolutely perfect and a jaw-dropping gift, but, Bourgeois wasn’t done yet.

You see, one of the women in the poster, who had retired after 22 years in the Corps, lived fairly close by, and she had asked the Master Sergeant if it might be possible to attend the retirement ceremony. At that moment, I’m guessing a light went on for Bourgeois, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got that Look in his eyes that for ages has signified a senior NCO with a truly inspired Plan.

As Jarrett received her framed poster, the other shoe dropped, as all THREE of the subjects of that poster came on stage, to gasps not just from Jarrett, but from other members of the audience when they realized what was happening. Jarrett couldn’t hold back the tears as she said “The ladies are here?” and she hugged each one of them.

“Marines take care of their own”. Master Sergeant Zachary Bourgeois went the extra mile to do just that for a fellow NCO. As she retired, Gunnery Sergeant Francine Jarrett received a reminder of why she had become a Marine in the first place, and a memory she will carry to her grave that, to a fellow Marine, her service demanded nothing less than perfection in a parting gift.

(Hat tip to Matthew Miller for drawing my attention to this story.)


In service and in friendship,

MGSGT Jerome A. “Gunny Hawk” Stoddard

Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET  Marines

State of FORCECOM July 2015

State of FORCECOM July 2015

At Ease, Marines,

First off I’d like to welcome LTC Leo Brunelle to the FORCECOM family.

He is stepping into the 11 Brigade Officer in Charge position. As always, my thanks to those who volunteered for this position. People willing to give of their time are what keep this organization running.

Now on to some points I’d like to make this month.

** Three simple rules to enact change in the SFMC.Rule One:

If it’s not written down, it doesn’t count. It’s not the responsibility of FORCECOM or your BDE OIC or your Unit OIC to have to dig or badger to get the information out of you. If you did something really cool, make sure your Unit OIC knows about it. If your unit did something spiffy, note it in your report.

Rule Two:

Please don’t wait until the last moment and expect things to happen on your time frame. We all have regular lives along with the time we spend with the SFMC and my abilities as a mind reader or precog have been greatly exaggerated. Remember the 5P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance [I’m using the shorter polite version]. If it’s an honest mistake and time critical, just let us know and we’ll work with you. But don’t go all ‘AARRRR! I’m gonna eat your face!’ on us if you forgot to bring up something that should have been done three weeks ago, but is now due this Saturday. And today is Friday 13 time zones away.

Rule Three:

If you ‘did’ bring it to someone’s attention and so far nothing has happened, double check with the first person you sent it to. Sometimes stuff happens. The Internet eats emails. An Internet provider may be blocking a particular service from time to time. Please give folks the benefit of the doubt. Don’t go postal on the individual. Don’t go postal on an email list about the situation. Don’t go over the individual’s head and come to me going postal or badmouth them to me. None of these are wining propositions.

So it’s simple as one, two, three.

** Reporting: Reporting date for Units is the first day of every reporting month [February, April, June, August, October, December]. If you need an exception of a day or so, contact your Brigade OIC /in advance/ and get approval. And remember, this grace period ‘is’ an exception. It should not be the rule. From the date you submit your Unit report, you know you have another one due in 60 days. Don’t wait until the last moment. This is not rocket science folks. Late reporting or failure to report at all not only deprives your Unit the opportunity to earn it’s ‘REPORTING’ streamer for that year depending on how much of a situation but may put the continued existence of the unit in jeopardy.

So please remember, reporting does not just affect the individual Reporting Officer or NCO, it affects everyone in the Unit, Battalion and Brigade.

** As usual, this is your reminder to double check your personal data, course listing and awards records on the database. With the Marine Muster coming up at IC it’s always good to know that things are up to date. If something seems wrong, get with me ASAP so we both have time to figure it out and track it down. If an award is missing, I’ll need something that shows it was awarded to you: a scan of the cert, a comment from the issuing authority, something.

** Please, please, PLEASE! Always use your chain of command. Jumping over your Unit OIC and/or your BDE OIC and coming directly to FORCECOM or one of the other Commands may not be the fastest way of getting things fixed.

That’s all for now. Keep it safe out there and be nice to each other.

Stand Easy, Marines.


BGN Jari James



State of INFOCOM July 2015

State of INFOCOM July 2015

Greetings Marines,

Not sure what happened last month, it kind of a blur.  I could give a list of excuses as to why I missed sending my report.  All that doesn’t really matter now, I shall try and not miss another report.  I heard a phrase a few days ago and I think it is fits.  When it comes to my reports “You certainly don’t want to fail to enjoy not missing out on that.”

I was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago that the reports on the SFMC website were not working correctly.  Thanks to all of those who sent me screens shots of the error they were getting when trying to submit the reports.  The screen shots were a big help, I was able to find and fix the issue within just a few minutes.  I ran a couple of test reports and it looks like everything is working well now.

If you run into any issues like these on the websites, the more information you can provide the quicker I can track down the issue and get it corrected.

I’m getting ready and looking forward to IC next month.  If you will be attending, I would like to meet you.  Flag me down at some point and say hello.  I will be leaving early Sunday morning heading home so catch me before then.

In closing here’s the pingdom stats for May and June 2015.

Uptime: 99.97%
Outages: 1

Downtime: 15 Minutes

Response time: 332ms

Uptime: 100%
Outages: 0

Downtime: 0

Response time: 313 ms

Mark “Slayer” Anderson
Major General, SFMC
Team Delta

State of FINCOM July 2015

State of FINCOM July 2015

The numbers for the month of June are as follows:

Opening balance for the month of  June  $5714.32

Credit –$307.58 PayPal transfer

Credit –$285.00 R3 quartermaster sales Debits total  – $70.97

USPS –  $58.33 QM postage

Wal-Mart – $5.32 envelopes for QM

Refund postage to B. Detamore – $7.32 Closing balance for the account was $6235.93

We had 13 orders last month.


MGEN Barry Jackson


State of the SFMC July 2015

State of the SFMC July 2015


Last month I was hosted by the Third Brigade on the occasion of their annual Muster. I can not say enough how much I enjoyed that trip and look forward to other such opportunities in the future. Though the weather in eastern Texas, which brought floods and mayhem to much of the region, prevented the Brigade OIC from being able to fly in to attend, the Muster and Mess were both conducted in exemplary fashion. These folks surely know how to throw a party. I have rarely been treated so nicely by so many people. I want to thank Jeremy Carsten, the Event Coordinator, and Ed Tunis, the Brigade OIC, and their respective staffs for the opportunity and the great time I had. I truly appreciate the chance to be there.

I will be speaking, via Skype at the 11th Brigade Muster in Adelaide, South Australia on July 11th. If any other Brigades are interested in having me attend via Skype, feel free to contact me and we’ll certainly set something up.

Revision of the MFM is coming along, albeit much more slowly than I would have liked. There is a lot of new material to be incorporated, so this is a pretty big job. It will be out in time for IC in August.

The period for Honor Award nominations has almost concluded. Once that is done, the GS will be making their recommendations to me for issuance.

Brigade OICs, if you have not yet sent the documents to nominate your Brigade Valor Award winners for the annual Honor Awards consideration, the time is NOW! Your Brigade requires recognition for its deserving marines. The Deadline is 6JUL2015. They should be sent to AND If I may quote the COFORCECOM, BGN James, on this subject, “We don’t know these individuals so explain to us what we should consider them ‘the best of the best of the best’.  We’ll be basing our decisions on what we’re sent so make it good.  Be specific. Be precise.  If you have a question, ask. None of the GS will write your nomination for you but we will certainly help if we have questions.”

Finally, Independence Day weekend is upon us here in the US. Highways are likely to be crowded and somewhat treacherous. Please be careful in your travels and keep this holiday weekend a safe and happy one.

For now, that is all.


Michael McGowan


OIC, 225th MSG