State of FORCECOM August 2015

State of FORCECOM August 2015

Good day, Marines.

Quick reminder.  There are two positions open at Forces Command: 7 Brigade Officer in Charge and Electronic Certificates Officer.  Even though both position are titled ‘Officer’ any qualified member of the SFMC may apply.  The positions close on 18 September 2015 so please contact me ASAP if you have an interest.

This month I’m going to focus on some concerns I have about the reporting process.

** First off , ‘please’ do not make changes to your Unit’s information without clearing it with FORCECOM first. No changes to unit name, nickname, slogan, branch of service, etc. By this I mean do not simply make a change to your unit report. You need to send me an email asking about the possibility of making your change.

It’s not an automatic that this can happen.  There may be another unit in another Brigade that is already using that name.  That means no matter how much energy and enthusiasm you’ve already invested in it, you can’t have that name.  If someone is already calling themselves ‘The Lollypop Guild’, you’re out of luck.  I’m sorry if you’ve asked the SFI ship registry to change your ship’s name so it ties in with you unit [and it was approved]. Equally sorry if you’ve already invested a lot of bucks in have a friend who’s a graphics designer come up with a new logo.  Check first.  We may be able to come up with something fairly close, but it’s right of prior domain.

** When submitting reports the online reporting for asks for Unit.

Please just use the unit number.  Do not use your Unit name, use special characters [1st, 53 rd, etc], etc.  Your report is logged in and archive by unit number.  Anything extra you add or change has to be fixed manually on my end and just adds extra steps no one needs.

Don’t use unit names. Believe it or not, I don’t have you all memorized. ;}

And there are only two unit types for administrative records: Marine Strike Group [MSG] or Marine Expeditionary Unit [MEU]. Ignore the MUC and MTU options.  We don’t use them.

Acceptable: 305 MSG, 88 MSG, 920 MEU

Not acceptable: 305th, The Jolly Rogers, The 299th MTU

** Now with another International Marine Muster come and gone and with the major awards season over, now is a good time to check out your personnel records on the database.  No one’s going to know something is missing but you so it’s a good to get in the habit of reviewing your personal records every couple of months or so.

And besides, you may discover an award or two you didn’t know you received.  That’s always a nice surprise.

It’s a fact of life in electronic record keeping that sometimes things go missing. An email may get eaten by a spam folder.  Records can be lost on a hard drive. It is the responsibility of the individual to keep a copy of all his personal records, awards received, courses completed, etc.  If you find an error, it’s certainly acceptable to point it out and request the data be added, updated or changed.  Just know that you’ll need to provide documentation so that the appropriate correction to the database. Documentation can be a scanned copy of the certificate, an email from the issuing authority, a copy of a Unit or Brigade report noting the award, etc.

I can’t emphasis this point enough: if it can’t be documented, it can’t be changed, corrected or added.  If this all sounds familiar, it’s something I try to stress every few months or so.  It’s never a good idea to wait until the last moment to discover something’s missing, especially if you’re getting ready for a formal dress event like your Unit Holiday formal dinner or an upcoming Brigade Muster.

Just think of it as ‘preventative maintenance’.

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 August 2015

State of INFOCOM August 2015

Greetings Marines,

I made it back safe from IC this year.  It was a great trip.  I have always wanted to visit Niagara Falls and with IC 2015 there this year the old saying two birds with one stone comes to mind.  It was great seeing some old friends and meeting a few new ones.  The International muster and SFMC panels went well.  My thanks to Colonel Russell Witte-Dycus and Lt. Colonel David Anderson Jr. for their assistance with the SFMC panels.  I can’t believe how fast the time flew, seems I only got there and it was time to leave.

I am in the process of moving and testing the SFMC websites to the new host, site5.  I have the files moved and I’m currently testing the functionality of the sites on the new host.  Chief of Computer Operations Admiral Laura Victor was able to get the SFMC quartermaster site moved and it looks like it is functioning within normal parameters.  The major issue will be the reporting as the current site uses the old SFMC website for reporting.  This may be the biggest issue with the site move.  More details to follow as they become available.


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

Uptime: 100%

Outages: 0

Downtime: 0

Response time: 337 ms


Mark “Slayer” Anderson

Major General, SFMC


Team Delta

State of the NCO Corps August 2015

State of the NCO Corps August 2015

Greetings Marines!

Have a seat in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO Club, where EOD and Hazmat teams are helping with the cleanup for our annual “Pity Party” for those who couldn’t attend IC/IM, and we’d really appreciate your keeping your voice down for the next few days out of sympathy for those suffering through Weapons Grade Hangovers.

At the IC/IM just passed, it was announced that I had the privilege of awarding the Star of Honor to CWO4 Adam Hudson of the 3rd BDE. Gunner Hudson’s commitment to community service (over 500 hours in one year documented on his nomination) and his leadership role on the 3 BDE staff, requiring a level of professionalism and diplomacy always expected but sometimes not seen in senior enlisted members, more than met my expectations for what the Star of Honor stands for. Bravo Zulu (well done!), Marine.

But, there are NO “losers” in the Honor Awards process, and I would like to also give a Tip of Top’s Eight Point to SGT Paul G Dyl of 1st BDE. SGT Dyl, at just 16 years old, is showing himself to be an exemplary SFMC NCO in terms of leading by example and community service, and a clear sign that the future of the SFMC NCO Corps is a bright one. In the end, it was a close race for the Star of Honor, and although the award ultimately tipped in CWO4 Hudson’s favor, I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from SGT Dyl in the future. In recognition of all of that, SGT Dyl was issued a Leader’s Commendation in my name by the Commandant. Bravo Zulu, Marine!

And, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the always hard charging CDT SSGT Edward Tunis IV (whenever I read the reports of all this eleven year old Marine does,  I swear he’s bucking for my job some day) had his leadership skills rewarded with the Cadet Sword of Honor. Bravo Zulu, Marine!

CWO4 Hudson and SGT Dyl were also both granted the SFMC Achievement Award in recognition for their efforts, along with GSGT Tim Barrington (10 BDE). CWO4 Hudson, GSGT Barrington, and SMAJ Russell Selkirk (7 BDE) were also among those awarded the STARFLEET Cross for their service to STARFLEET in general. If you haven’t worn out your “Bravo Zulu” switch yet, hit it again for these outstanding examples of what we expect SFMC NCOs to be.

Finally as regards the annual awards, I’d like to express my personal thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate their fellow SFMC members for the recognition they ultimately received. From where I sit, the most important part of the SFMC awards process is NOT the “Issuing Authority” that decides whether or not an award should be given, it’s all those individual Marines who take the time and effort to write a nomination and send it up the Chain of Command to explain WHY that award should be issued. As I often say (quoting the Dant) “If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.”

Since this report is already running long (even for me), next month I’ll try to go into some of what the Dant covered at IC as regards my office, but I wanted to touch upon an important community service reminder, in addition to my usual reminder that 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.

As those of us in western North America are all too aware, the wildfire season is proving to be a very bad one, and not only are the skies being choked with smoke even out here, with hundreds of miles and some very tall mountains between me and the fires, but people have already lost their homes, three firefighters lost their lives, and whole communities have been evacuated. I know that simple financial contributions don’t qualify you for any sort of SFMC award, but the organizations best qualified to deal with the problem generally request that you send them the money they need to do their work, and let their people and supply contacts do the rest. But, I will point out that time spent RAISING funds for these organizations would, in my opinion, count towards “community service” hours. Also, if you put in time for your local branch of, say, the Red Cross, doing whatever you can, you free up resources towards helping folks in the affected areas out. So, if you want to help out besides just sending money, there are ways to do so.

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 March of 1940, a 25 year old British Columbia man named Ernest Alvia Smith joined the Canadian Army, becoming part of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. By October of 1944, Smith, who was generally referred to by the nickname “Smokey”, had managed to be promoted to Corporal and busted back to Private nine times, for reasons history chooses to remain silent about. It can be inferred that he was something less than a model soldier, but there was something about him that kept him bouncing up in rank, even if it was only to slide down again. Perhaps the events of the night of October 21, 1944 in Italy can help explain just what that “something” was.

That night, Private Smith was in the spearhead of an attack across the rain swollen Savio river. The high waters meant that no friendly armor or cross could cross, and  the steep, soft banks made laying a bridge impossible at the time. The infantry would have to take and hold that bridgehead alone, with a clumsy, spring loaded weapon called the P.I.A.T as their only hope against enemy tanks. Private Smith was part of a two man P.I.A.T. team deployed forward of his company when things went south in a hurry. An enemy unit consisting of heavy Panther tanks, with self propelled guns, scout cars, and half track mounted enemy infantry to support them, were coming down the road. “Smokey” Smith and a companion, Private James Tennant, scurried across the road to snag another P.I.A.T. and things went from bad to worse, as the lead tank opened up with its machineguns to rake the roadside ditches, and Tennant was wounded. Smith dragged him to cover, and then popped up, in full view of the enemy, and fired his anti-tank weapon at a range of  only thirty feet, taking the lead tank out of action. Ten enemy infantry riding the rear deck of the tank dismounted, and charged Smith with submachineguns and grenades, but he stood his ground, and  returned fire with his Thompson, killing four and driving the rest off.

Another tank opened fire, and more infantry attacked, but Smith was able to scrounge more magazines for his Thompson from the ditch, and he held his position, protecting the wounded Tennant, driving the enemy away in disorder again. He managed to damage another Panther enough to cause it to retreat with the second P.I.A.T, and by now, the enemy had lost a tank and both of its self propelled guns, but they weren’t done yet. As another tank raked his position from long range, Smith got Tennant to a nearby aid station for treatment, and then went back out to keep his position secure against another expected attack. That attack never came – having lost three tanks, two self-propelled guns, a scout car, a half track, and at least thirty infantry, the enemy decided to pull away from the Highlanders’’ position, and Smokey Smith was held to be a major reason for that decision.

For his actions that night, Smith was personally presented with the Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace. The last line of the citation is worth quoting: “ Thus, by the dogged determination, outstanding devotion to duty and superb gallantry of this private soldier, his comrades were so inspired that the bridgehead was held firm against all enemy attacks, pending the arrival of tanks and anti-tank guns some hours later.” However, it is also worth noting that legend has it that Smith spent the night just before the ceremony in a jail cell in Rome “to keep him out of trouble.” For the rest of his life, Smith would neither confirm nor deny this rumor, which is probably all that needs to be said.

The “poster boy” for Canadian War Bonds left the service in 1945, but re-enlisted for the Korean War in 1950, where he was held out of combat due to his “iconic status”. He retired as a recruiting sergeant in Vancouver, BC in 1964, and he and his wife Esther eventually opened a travel agency, often visiting sites associated with World War II. He retired for good in 1992, and enjoyed four years with Esther before her death in 1996. By 2000, he was the last living Canadian VC recipient, and despite his age, devoting much of his time to veteran’s issues and speaking all over the world at Remembrance Day ceremonies. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995, and a Member of the Order of British Columbia in 2002.

Smokey Smith passed away quietly in his Vancouver home on August 3 of 2005 at the age of 91, and his country mourned his loss. He lay in state at the Canadian House of Commons on August 9 (only the ninth person at the time to be so honored) and government flags flew at half mast. Then, on August 12, he lay in repose at Vancouver’s Seaforth Armory for a day to be further honored by his home town, before a full military funeral on August 13, 2005.

And yet, in researching this story, my mind keeps drifting away from the images of the grand old hero, beloved and honored by his country, and coming back to a photo taken around 1945, of Private Smith, in his Seaforth Highlanders kilt and Glengarry, looking mischievously at the camera as if to say “So? What are you going to do about it? Stick me out on point? Make me take on a Panther with a stupid P.I.A.T.? Been there, done that.”

In Service and in Friendship,

MGSGT Jerome A. “Gunny Hawk” Stoddard

Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET  Marines

State of the SFMC August 2015

State of the SFMC August 2015


This is going to be a brief message, but I’ll have another shortly after IC as well.

Well, preparations continue apace for IC 2015. The Honor Awards have been decided and will be announced at IC’s Marine Mess. Various other award lists are currently being compiled for issue at International Muster. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I WILL be at International Conference this year. Unlike last year, I’ll be there for the entire weekend, so if you have a topic you wish to discuss, please feel free to stop by for a chat.

The 2015 Edition of the Marine Force Manual is nearing completion and will be released at IC. It has been a lot of work, but it is finally coming close to completion. Many marines submitted list of corrections and errors from the previous edition for me to use to make corrections.

Thank you to them all.

The next manual up for review is the SFMC Policy Manual. Work has begun on this project as I write this.

The participation levels of the Marines of the SFMC in the lists and social media has been gratifying to see. There have been 234 posts to the Corps list. The SFMC Group on Facebook has been more prolific, posting 338 pages of posts in the last calendar year from 555 members.

Better still, the SFI-SFMC organization page on Facebook has received

1067 likes.  Our message is getting out. You marines out there doing your thing to have fun and help your communities, you are WRITING that message. Well done!

I’ll be back after IC to keep you up to date as to what happened there.

That is all.



Michael McGowan


OIC, 225th MSG