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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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