State of the NCO Corps May 2013
Please join me in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where April showers sometimes mean some fool on the mortar range scored a direct hit on the water reservoir AGAIN, and May flowers aren’t an approved uniform item, but nobody much cares.
As I write this, I’ve been Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET Marines for over five years, and I recently answered two questions that I thought I’d share with you. The first was personal: What did I think was my greatest achievement after all those years as Top Soldier of the Corps?
In those five years, I’ve received a fair number of awards relating to my service, and helped many Marines either directly through sorting through questions or problems with them, or indirectly by working with the SFMC General Staff on various issues and programs. But, the thing that has meant the most to me is the large number of simply incredible people I have come into contact with while performing the duties of my office. I likely would never have grown as close to some of them as I have if we hadn’t been thrown together by my duties as SGM/SFMC, and that’s a side benefit of the job that nobody ever mentioned to me going into it. My thanks to all of you.
The second question was more general: If I could offer only ONE piece of advice to someone embarking on the path of an SFMC NCO, what would it be? After some thought, I decided my answer would be: Have fun.
That doesn’t mean be some sort of irresponsible jerk. It means approaching the SFMC with an attitude that every award you get, every act of community service, every minute you spend socializing with friends in STARFLEET, every class you take at SFA or the SFMCA, is just part of the fun you’re having. It’s supposed to be fun, otherwise, why are we doing it? I checked - SFMC has never stood for STARFLEET Martyr Collective.
Part of having fun, and helping others have fun is keeping a positive attitude, and refusing to take the “low road” when confronted with negativity or adversity. If you simply make being in the Corps fun for you and others, then things like recruiting and retention become easy, and community service becomes just another part of the game.
Just remember- the game does have some rules. As STARFLEET members, we have certain responsibilities that go along with our membership rights. One of those is to play by the rules laid out in various handbooks, etc. As STARFLEET Marines, we find our specific rules in places like the MFM, Policy Manual, etc., and we all have to do our best to follow them if we’re going to play the game. Where the rules aren’t clear, they point out where to go ask for clarification- such as asking the current Deputy Commandant about uniform items or awards.
If you’d like to learn more about the game we‘re playing together, I invite you to look over the SFMC website, Corps-l mailing list, or even the SFMC Facebook group where you can find reports, information, and comments from the SFMC General Staff and the Corps in general.
MGSGT Jerome A. “ Gunny Hawk” Stoddard
Sergeant Major of the Starfleet Marines