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State of Forcecom, December 2011
As you were, Marines

This report is coming to you from the tiny officer just behind the front desk in the reception area of the Starfleet Marine Corps HQ Building where I'm currently sitting filing daily reports and pulling weekend duty as the Administrative Officer of the Day for the holiday season. There's a small replicator in the corner of the office and a cozy cot to crash out on in-between walking security rounds of the building with one of the small collection of enlisted staff who have managed to annoy their immediate NCOs enough to find themselves sharing this weekend duty with me.

For me, it was just my turn as 'Low Sentient Being on the Alert Roster'. I'm simply trying hard to ignore the fact that my immediate 'Boss' [COFORCECOM] is currently suffering through his 'Off Duty Time' visiting 'sunny Southern shores' testing local 'field rations' and making sure he keeps his fluids up throughout the trip.

I'm still trying to ascertain what the addition of a small paper parasol to the container brings to the overall testing protocol, but I'm sure he'll bring me up to speed on this when he returns.

Since I'm covering the FORCECOM Office this also means I'm filling in for this month's 'State of FORCECOM report'. The message of this month's report is 'PRTM'.

'PRTM' stands for 'Please Read The Manual' [which is the polite variant of that other acronym we all know and love].

'PRTM' comes into play in all sorts of things that happen in SFI in general and the SFMC in particular. Little things like 'How do I wear this?' or 'What does that color of shoulder cord mean?' up to larger things like '?'.  SFI has it's 'Members Handbook' which well all fall under.  The SFMC equivalent is the 'Marine Force Manual'.  

The MFM is chock full of tasty little bits of information.  Anything and everything from the steps you need to take to create a new unit to 'who qualifies for what awards'.  The MFM is the last and final authority for SFMC Policies and Procedures.  If you run into a conflict in another manual, you follow what the MFM says.  

Also, 'PRTM' can be extended to other things such as awards, reports, etc.  Sitting behind my current 'Desk In the Back Room' the major problem I'm running into are things coming to me incomplete. Little things like submitting an award request with a name misspelled or without an SCC# can literally make the difference between an easy submission and spending a lot of time and hair pulling just trying to figure out who everyone is talking about.  Believe me, there is a world of difference between 'LCPL John Snuffy III' and LCPL Jon Snuffy 3rd'.  So long as we up here in the Records Center have the SCC# we're still good.  But without something, it's a long hard data base haul.  Now multiply that by all the members of the SFMC.

Not a pleasant situation.  

Also, just because you call yourself a Marine [which, by the way, is the only real requirement for membership in the SFMC], that doesn't always mean we upstream know that. Take a moment to visit the SFI database and make sure your affiliation is listed correctly. It's simple.  Log in using your ID and password [if you haven't gotten your password yet, contact the very helpful folks at the SFI Member Services Help desk - http://helpdesk.sfi.org/ ].  Once in, look down the left column and click on 'Member'. You'll get a new list of options.  Click on the one that says 'Affiliations'.   You are now given three options: 'Active', 'Reserve' and 'None'. If you want to be a Marine your choices are 'Active' or 'Reserve'. 

If you have questions about the difference, just ask anyone in your Chain of Command or check the MFM.  If you check either of the first two [A or R], we here at the SFMC Personnel Office [otherwise known as FORCECOM] can find you and add things like awards, etc.  If you check 'None', it's a lot harder for FORCECOM to find you.  A little quirk of the database information access system limits the records we can access to Marine affiliated members only.

Finding you and your information isn't impossible, but it becomes a lot harder.  

Now some of your are probably thinking [or saying out loud] 'Hey!  It's not my job to keep track of things.  That's what my Unit OIC is supposed to do.'  Well yes, to a certain extent it is.  But why make it a lot harder for them and every single person up the Chain of Command who gets those reports? A few moments on your part can smooth the way for future entries and also give you the chance to review your records and see if everything is correct.

And as any Mud Marine who has been around the Corps for any length of time will tell you 'If you don't keep up with what's happening to your own records, no one else will.' 

With all of that said, it's time for me to go back to work making sure all the 'Building Entry Access' records are correctly filed and start clearing space for the upcoming year's 'Memo for Record' notices to start pouring in.

Time, tide and paperwork records wait for no Marine, let alone the Offices of Forces Command..

Stand Easy, Marines.

COL Jari James
DCOFORCECOM