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State of TRACOM, July 2010
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 11:00

Greetings to all Marines and students of the SFMCA

If you have heard me say this once or twice before, then hear it again.... time travels FAST.  It may be that as I get even older than dirt that time IS speeding up faster than for 'normal' folk (reader 'younger' there) or I simply could be stuck in some kind of a space/time anomaly that hovers over my office - or maybe it is just because my life at this time is just so darn busy that I hardly have time to eat my lunch before it is dinner time... Who knows - who cares.. The point is, it certainly does NOT seem like four weeks since I last sat down to write this report.

But on the other hand, look at why life is flashing me by at the moment. TRACOM has become a constant hive of activity over the last few years. Doors opening and closing constantly. A steady stream of people up and down corridors. Communicators singing their little hearts out almost in unison. People gathered in groups excitedly (and in the case of some of the R&D people, quite loudly) discussing various and myriad topics of HUGE interest. And just the steady buzz of action and activity that has made this command a busy, busy place.. (and in all that read : LOTS of emails; LOTS of Skype conversations: LOTS of online chat: just LOTS of inter-action between the staff at TRACOM).

Manual Revisions
On the subject of new material, there will be quite a few revisions that will get published and available after this year's Muster. However, because of the sheer volume of new material and because of our desire to ensure that all TRACOM manuals are kept in sync with each other content-wise, not every manual we had hoped to revise in this first Cycle will be available.  This will slow down some new exam releases but be assured that with the assistance of the G-3 officer, we are working to get publications completed before this calendar year ends. We offer up a huge thank you to the directors involved for their great work and to those marines who over the year have provided us with many ideas, concepts and material. Keep it coming folks - we have plenty of room in our library for your good ideas! 

SFMC Devices
With the changes in ownership to New Moon Props (NMP) has sadly come the decision to drop around 95% of the SFMC devices they offered - and while this is a huge blow to those purchasing the  'readily available' and  cheaper resin devices for their uniforms, it also means that the SFMC-designed  Infantry devices (awarded for successful completion of IN-20 and IN-30) are now now longer available. NMP was the only place that these could be obtained and we will now have to find an alternative supply somehow. In the interim, this device is withdrawn even though it will still be shown in the MFM. Be assured that we are working hard to come up with a replacement design/device/whatever.

MOSC Certification
The MOSC program continues to be very popular with many Marines seeking certification. This is as it should be! The program was designed to give every Marine some personal satisfaction to have certification for those roles to which they have applied their study. Be advised however, that with the pending release of a VERY updated MOS Manual in a few weeks, that certification will have changed quite considerably in many cases.  This has been done not to make certification any more difficult, but to give clear recognition of the study and qualification needs that really do apply for some of theme roles. MOSC is meant to not only provide evidence of your individual qualification, but is also about adding a fun element to your role play as a member of the Corps. If you haven't done so already, check out your service records in the database and make comparison to the qualification criteria in the MOS Manual. You may be surprised to find just how qualified you are ! Applications can be found on the SFMCA website.

Student of the Year Award
For those attending the IC/IM in Oklahoma in a few weeks, if you are also attending the Marine Mess, you will be present when the Student of the Year is announced - along with announcement of some other new TRACOM incentives. Without giving anything away, all I would like to do here is to reinforce both our congratulations to this worthy Marine and to reinforce the concept that these Student of the Month and the ultimate Student of the Year awards, do have significant merit. All this will make sense post the Muster - but irrespective of this, any Marine winning any of these monthly and annual awards, is to be congratulated for a job very well done. As the SFMCA continues to expand its curricula with worthwhile, intelligent courses, the achievement to such acknowledgment is something that each Marine so awarded can take some significant pride from. Well done those Marines!

New Courses and Ideas
TRACOM is always keen to hear of any new ideas for courses or resource that Marines feel we should have. Do not hold back with these no matter what the content may be as we are always interested in looking into new concepts and new ideas. We can easily keep churning out our own courses ad infinitum at the moment (and probably for a long time into the future too) but it is always refreshing to hear of concepts and ideas that others are looking to see available. Contact any of the SFMCA Branch/School Directors if you have ideas for their area of study, or simply drop a line to COTRACOM. We would love to hear from you. 

SFMC Scholarship
Another year has ended and yet again, there appears to have been no application to this very worthwhile fund. There is a significant amount of funding accumulated now and yet there have been no interested persons making application. Are there no Marine students out there? Does the advent of study cost assistance have no interest? Surely there must be Marines to whom these funds would be of huge value - so if you know of any Marine who could find some value in this Scholarship, make application today. We would love to hear from you! Applications to this fund for year 2010/11 are now open so if you have interest, follow the link to http://bit.ly/9ksNBU and apply.

OK that's it from me again. I have a lot of work to get back to and that clock is ticking. See you all on campus!

Brigadier Bruce O'Brien