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SFMC News

State of TRACOM, July 2012

State of TRACOM
July 14, 2012

“Semper Eruditio, Semper Docens”

Kinda neat, huh? Its Latin and it means “Always Learning, Always Teaching” which, in my short time as COTRACOM (both acting and official) has become my personal motto for Training and Doctrine Command. I am always learning something new pretty much every day, and to an extent, I teach something to my shipmates or fellow Marines on a daily basis too. I am sure if you sat back and thought about it for a second, you would realize you do as well. It doesn’t need to be some fundamental, life-changing thing like teaching physics or quantitative theory to someone; it can be as simple as telling a friend where to click the mouse on a software program to get to a shortcut or learning a word in a different language (curse words don’t count!).

I really don’t have any numbers to report since my last “by the numbers” was only two weeks ago, but I do have something I wish to cover in-depth: course request and grading turn-around times. Please keep in mind as you read the next few paragraphs (and please read them) that we are all volunteers who all thoroughly enjoy what we do. However, and I have come to have a stigma about this myself from certain corners, real life can jump up and slap us in the face. Have a little patience when dealing with directors and directors need to have the same patience when dealing with students. We give you ten weeks to complete an exam; allow us at least 48 hours to grade the exam.

Now, on to the official verbiage (as taken from the 2010 TRACOM Policies and Procedures Manual):

To request a course from the SFMCA, go to the TRACOM website at sfmca.sfi-sfmc.org and follow the links to the Academy and the “Academy Schools” page to request the desired course. If a Marine does not have access to a computer with Internet access, they can request the courses directly from the School/Branch Director at their snail mail address above. A hard copy of the Manual for that course can also be requested from the Director and the Student will be required to pay the cost of printing/copying and mailing the Manual to the Marine as requested. In order to take a course, the student must complete the prerequisites for that course prior to submitting the course request. PD-10 (Marine Basic Training) is required before any student can request any other course from the SFMCA.

A Marine will have ten (10) weeks to complete the course and return it as instructed for grading. Failure to meet this ten (10) week deadline will require the student to re-request the course and begin the process anew. If a time extension is required, the Student should make contact with the Branch Director concerned. 

***Each Marine may request only one test from each of the various Branches/Academies/Schools within TRACOM at any one time, and the practice of requesting/taking more than one test at a time, regardless of Branch, is strongly discouraged by TRACOM.*** The reasoning behind this is that a Marine may not be able to devote the proper time and effort required by each course to pass it in a timely fashion and with a strong score due to unforeseen problems; for instance, the test may be more difficult than originally thought by the Marine and would require his full attention.

When a Marine returns tests, the appropriate staff member scores them. The grading scale is:
• 70%-95% Passing
• 96%-99% Honors
• 100%+ Distinction

The pertinent Branch Director, except in cases where the exam has been proctored by another TRACOM staff member, in the case of all –10/-20 level courses, will grade tests for their particular Branch. The only person(s) authorized to score a particular –10/-20 level course is the Branch Director for that Branch or a person who is proctoring the course as explained below. COTRACOM and DCOTRACOM are authorized to score the exams of any Branch if the Branch Director is going to be away for extended periods or has other difficulties that prevent them from fulfilling their role in this manner.

The –30 level tests will be graded by the pertinent Branch Director if they have also passed their Branches –30 course; if the Branch Director has not passed their particular -30 level courses, the topic will be approved (and the paper will be scored) by COTRACOM or DCOTRACOM, depending upon availability.

A Marine who does not pass a course will be permitted to retake the course, but must wait a minimum of six (6) months before requesting a retake of the course. The Branch Director will make every effort to help the student as much as possible without giving the answers; there will not be a FAIL entered into the database. The student and director must keep accurate records as to when the six month timeframe has passed.

Whenever possible, Branch and Course Directors are charged with honoring course requests and grading returned courses within 48-72 hours of receipt. This is what is considered an acceptable service and is the goal for all TRACOM directors. Naturally this is not always possible however, particularly when personnel attend regional/Fleet events or are away on vacation. If a school needs to be closed or will be slow in responding for a time, this will be announced on the Corps-l mailing list. If a Marine has a question regarding a long delay in a course request being honored or results being entered into the database, it is expected that the Marine will contact the course director first to determine if it is simply that the person has been unexpectedly unable to perform these duties (computer problem, family emergency, illness, etc.). If the course director does not answer, or is not able to solve the problem quickly, their next point of contact is the DCOTRACOM. If there is still no resolution, they should then contact the COTRACOM.

Every effort will be made by TRACOM staff to get the test out to the requesting Marine at a maximum of within one week of the request– but ideally, within the time frame listed previously should apply (48 to 72 hours from receipt). In this same vein, every effort is made to get the scores to the Marine within a maximum of one week of their submission. It is recognized however, that all TRACOM staff members are volunteers and may have other problems or commitments in their personal lives that prevent them from meeting this goal. 

End passage.

So now, you have hopefully learned something you mayn’t have known before. Please remember the Academy is here for your enjoyment, a possibility of learning something new about real life (PD and LD come to mind), or maybe even something about this show we’ve all seen parts and pieces of called…what is the name?...oh yeah, Star Trek.

Next month’s State of Address will have July’s graduates and more by the numbers. If you ever have any questions, my door, like those of all of your General Staff, is always open. Our individual email addresses can be located on the main SFMC website. Until next time…

“Semper Eruditio, Semper Docens”

In Service,
Gary “Tiny” Hollifield, Jr.
Major General, SFMC
Commanding Officer, Training and Doctrine Command
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State of the NCO Corps July 2012

State of the NCO Corps July 8, 2012

Greetings Marines!

Once again I am coming to you from in the booth in the back in the corner in the dark of my local NCO club, where these days the drink of choice is a simple di-hydrogen monoxide solution with a bit of flavoring added, and rumors of an official SFMC uniform proposal consisting of a Speedo with rank insignia on it are countered with rumors of the box of carefully labeled (with individual names) flash bang grenades locked in my lower left hand desk drawer. Nothing to worry about- in most cases the name is my own- a little temporary blindness might be called for.

Speaking of rumors, there is a persistent one that I would like to address right off the bat, namely that PD-10 is required to be a STARFLEET Marine. I will simply direct your attention to Section 1.1 of the MFM: “The only requirement to be a STARFLEET Marine is a positive mental attitude and a willingness to work with others. Paid membership in STARFLEET is required, however, if you intend to participate in the SFMC Academy (SFMCA), hold an OIC position, or be listed on the official Corps roster, just like in STARFLEET.” (MFM2010 page 1)

Would we LIKE you to take PD-10? Certainly, just as it would make things easier for FORCECOM if you have your affiliation in the database switched over to Active or Reserve so they can find you more easily there. But neither is a requirement to be officially on the rolls of the STARFLEET Marine Corps.

Every month I take the time to remind you that community service is something the SFMC encourages (and rewards), but I also want to remind you that the biggest encouragement and reward one can get from community service is the simple knowledge that you have made a difference for someone, however small. With that in mind, please remember that almost everyone can do a simple act of community service by looking out for your friends and neighbors in times of severe weather.

And, yes, the high temperatures so many of us are suffering through count as severe weather. This is not just about people being uncomfortable- heat events can be deadly. Picking almost at random, this past week there have been at least eight deaths in Maryland alone directly related to the heat. During a heat event in Chicago in 1995, over 700 people died in a span of just 5 days, Sources indicate that, in the US, heat related deaths every year are greater than the number of all other weather related deaths (lightning, flood, hurricane, etc) combined. Please take the time to learn what you can about recognizing and preventing heat related illness for those close to you.

IC is almost upon us, and that means I have recently been busy participating in the process of selecting the annual Honor Award winners. For me, this is the most rewarding, and the toughest job I have as a member of the GS, and it seems like it gets tougher every year, as the quality of the written nominations keeps going up. My eight point is tipped to all those who make the job of selecting from the best of the best the SFMC has to offer even tougher by presenting such compelling cases for their nominees. In the end, there can be only one winner for each award, but every nominee can be proud of the job those placing them in nomination did for them.

As usual, I will be discussing the winners of the Star of Honor and the Cadet Star of Honor in my next report. All I can say right now is how proud I am of these outstanding SFMC enlisted members, and of all the fine Marines nominated for these awards.

Speaking of IC, one thing I have always wanted to do (other than simply being able to attend) is to set up a panel that directly addresses enlisted members. Alas, I do not know when, if ever, I will actually be able to attend an IC, but I can tell you that plans are in place to have such a panel at IC this year/ This is thanks to the efforts and initiative of 1SGT Phillip Muller, who independently decided it would be a Good Thing and is working to make it happen, He has been in touch with SGM Polanis (SGM TRACOM) and myself for assistance, but he will be the man on site, and any credit must fall directly to him alone. I would take it as a personal favor if any of you reading this that will be attending IC would seek out 1SGT Muller and give him a Bravo Zulu and a hearty handshake on my behalf.

As always, remember that the SFMC General Staff is here to serve you. The email addresses are ALL on the SFMC web page, and their doors are always open. Your questions and input are always welcome and needed. And, remember that some of us tend to read and follow the SFMC group on Facebook, so feel free to comment and share with your fellow Marines there.

Now, it’s time for Top’s History Lesson. When you hear the words “Marine recruit” a lot of things may come to mind, but odds are a 31 year old former member of the British Colonial Civil Service recently arrived from Malaya is not going to be in the top ten.

Henry Lewis Hulbert was the first born of a prosperous Yorkshire family. After attending public school in Essex, his future with the Colonial Service seemed bright. But a scandal and divorce cut short that career, and he left Malaya for the United States. No one is certain what prompted him to enlist in the US Marine Corps in March of 1898, but it proved to be an excellent fit, and Hulbert proved to be an outstanding Marine.

During the Second Samoan Civil War, at the disastrous First Battle of Vailele (April 1. 1899), the 32 year old Private distinguished himself under fire helping cover the retreat of his unit, and was awarded the Medal of Honor. But, his career as a Marine was far from over.

Hulbert stayed in the Corps, and rose up the enlisted ranks due to his ability and leadership. By 1917, he was a Sergeant Major on the staff of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Just prior to the US entry into World War One, he became one of the first (if not THE first) US Marine Warrant Officers. At the time, he was 50 years old.

Gunner Hulbert volunteered for service with the 5th Marine Regiment in France, and soon proved that age had not slowed him down. The officers above him, from his company CO all the way to the battalion and regimental staffs wrote letters urging that he be made an officer and given a command. Their comments are best summed up by the 1st Battalion adjutant, who wrote: “If the Fifth Regiment ever goes over the top I want to go over with Mr. Hulbert."

At Belleau Wood, he was officially recognized for numerous acts of bravery, and earned the Distinguished Service Cross. No less than General John “Black Jack” Pershing, leader of the American Expeditionary Forces officially recommended that Gunner Hulbert be promoted immediately, but not to 2LT. Pershing felt that Hulbert should be a Captain at the very least.

After distinguishing himself yet again at Soissons, he was finally commissioned as a 2LT, and then immediately promoted to 1LT. He was killed in action on October 4, 1918 at Mont Blanc Ridge. At the time of his death at the age of 51, his promotion to Captain had just been approved. His final awards were a Navy Cross and the Croix de Guerre, both awarded posthumously.

The next time a fellow Marine tells you that they are getting too old, or that the odds of their ever being promoted are stacked against them, or that they may not have the background to be a really good Marine, feel free to remind them about the English gentleman who overcame all of that and more, and left his mark on Marine history.

Semper Fi!

MGSGT Jerome A. “Hawk” Stoddard
Sergeant Major of the Starfleet Marines
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State of TRACOM, June 2012

State of TRACOM
June, 2012

 

Greetings, Marines;

I have to apologize for the lateness of this State of address; I became a tad overwhelmed when I was asked to be Acting COTRACOM and continue my duties as DCOTRACOM at the same time. I have some very large shoes to fill as my mentor and close friend, LGEN Mike McGowan, has been called to step up into the role of the illustrious DepDant billet. Mike, I hope I do you proud for as long as I have this job!

 

I am excited to say your General Staff has been hard at work designing and having fabricated lovely new qualification badges! Thus far, we are proud to offer our very own and exclusive to the SFMC qualification badges for IN-20 Advanced Infantry Badge, IN-30 Expert Infantry Badge, and the BEAUTIFUL AE wings. The pictures just simply do not do them justice and the price point is extremely economical. If you are qualified to wear one of these badges, I urge you to cruise on over to the QM Site (qm.sfi-sfmc.org) and order yourself one or two! Your General Staff has many more ideas for qualification badges in the works, so pay attention to the Corps List for those announcements!

 

We here at the SFMC-A have been working hard to expand our offerings of courses (for those of you who have taken all of them), and I as I write this, there are SEVERAL courses going to be made available to you, the student, over the next few months. This is one of several things I am excited about.

I want to thank everyone for their offers of assistance while I am Acting COTRACOM. At this time, with the acting status, I cannot hire nor fire a staff member. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal and truly shows what being a Marine really means.

 

I'd like to mention again that, thanks to the dedicated folks at INFOCOM, the Course Request System is working without a hitch. I would encourage students who had their academic activities delayed by the previous difficulties to consider resuming their programmed activities. You can now access *all* manuals via the new and improved SFMC-A site as well, as well as the applications for MURP and MOSC. Head on over to www.sfmca.sfi-sfmc.org to check us out if you haven’t done so yet!

I want to give a hearty welcome to the nine new students who have taken PD-10 and earned the Initial Entry Training Award during the month of June. Our wishes here at the SFMC-A and TRACOM are that you will continue your studies at our academy as we have many branches of interest to choose from and even more in the works! If you ever have any questions, always feel free to drop the branch directors an email.

 

Now for some names and numbers:
For June, we had 33 grades of PASS, 19 grades of HONORS, and 35 grades of DISTINCTION. YEAH!!

Congratulations to Lieutenant Colonel Jordan Reinleib for earning his Advanced Studies Device in Military History and his Special Operations Branch device!! Congratulations are also due to Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hutley for earning his Advanced Studies Device in Combined Arms and to Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Billings for earning his Bachelors of Military Science in Aerospace! Lieutenant Commander Kevin Johnson is now a graduate of the SFMC War College. HOO-RAH Marines!!

 

One final note in closing: I want to remind all Marines that when you are authorized to wear a ribbon or a qualification badge, the Corps does not supply them to you. We do have most, if not all, of the ribbons available for purchase via the SFMC Quartermaster as well as a few of the qualification badges I mentioned earlier. When the Corps presents you with an award, it is an authorization to wear such award or ribbon; it is up to the individual Marine to acquire it.

As always, if you ever have any questions for your General Staff, we are here to serve. Our individual email addresses can always be found on the main SFMC site (www.sfi-sfmc.org).

 

In Service to the Corps,

Gary Hollifield, Jr.
Major General, SFMC
Acting Commanding Officer, TRACOM
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