4 Ways to Improve Your Move (Features) (On Target)

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It’s moving season and Uncle Sam’s got your back. gave us all the info you need for a smooth transition from one place to another. Here are 4 things you (probably) didn’t know about moving in the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rocco DeFilippis)

It’s moving season and Uncle Sam’s got your back. We have all the info you need for a smooth transition from one place to another. Here are 4 things you (probably) didn’t know about moving in the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rocco DeFilippis)

It’s moving season and Uncle Sam’s got your back. Fred Hyden, the section lead for Personal Property and Passenger Transportation, oversees and writes policy for the Defense Personal Property Program, or as we may know it: the household moving goods program. Hyden gave us all the info you need for a smooth transition from one place to another. Here are 4 things you (probably) didn’t know about moving in the Corps.

Teach Yourself How to Move

Received orders and not sure where to get started? Visit www.move.mil. The Defense Personal Property System provides personalized online “self counseling” instructions for how to move. All you have to do is visit the site, click on the “before you move” tab and find “DPS How-to Guides”. Open the “Self Counseling” link and walk through the rest of the instructions. The important thing about moving is making sure you’ve got everything ready to go. There are little things, like disconnecting your washing machine or dishwasher, that need to be done before the movers arrive. Bottom line: if you’re not ready, you’re not moving.

How Much Stuff Can You Move?

Marines are allowed to move a specific weight of household items, depending on their rank and marital status. For example, a single sergeant is allowed to move up to 7,000 lbs, while a married sergeant would receive an allowance for up to 8,000 lbs. The same goes for officers, with a single captain being allowed 13,000 lbs and a married one allowed 14,500 lbs. On the contrary, if your prescribed weight limit doesn’t fit your needs, you can always send in a request for a higher weight allowance at your  transportation office. Check out the DPS Weight Allowance Chart.

It’s Your Stuff, and You’re in Charge

Have you ever been skeptical about the movers or anyone else breaking your stuff?  Don’t worry, according to DPS regulations, you are the supervisor and can make sure no one is mistreating your things. Also, if anything is damaged during the move, DPS will reimburse you for the current cost, or replace it with an equivalent item.

What if I’m moving, but don’t have a place to move into, yet?

Say no more. You can store your goods for up to 90 days in a storage facility at the government’s expense. As long as the member’s order and/or transportation authorization is valid, delivery out of storage — regardless of how long it has been there — is on the house. This includes shipments that have been converted to storage at the member’s expense.

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4 Ways to Improve Your Move (Features) (On Target)

My Steps for Bataan (Corps Connections) (Marines Uncovered)

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Sgt. Maj. Justin Lehew, the Training and Education Command Sergeant Major, and two other Marines looked at the dunes making up the White Sands National Monument, New Mexico March 21. These dunes of white spread for 200 miles in all directions and can be seen from space. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Boling/Released)

Sgt. Maj. Justin Lehew, the Training and Education Command Sergeant Major, and two other Marines looked at the dunes making up the White Sands National Monument, New Mexico March 21. These dunes of white spread for 200 miles in all directions and can be seen from space. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Boling/Released)

A few weeks ago, I edited a commentary written by Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Maj. Justin Lehew, sergeant major of Training and Education Command at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The story was about his experience walking the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sand Missile Range, New Mexico in 2014.

It was a well-written piece and I enjoyed reading it. Little did I know, in a few weeks I would have the opportunity to share the experience with him and two other Marines.

Land of Enchantment

The topography of New Mexico is similar to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, but with more rocks and desert vegetation. It looked like the place was sort of removed from time. Old vehicles from the 1950s and 60s sit in the yards of rundown houses and shutdown businesses.

Upon arrival at the airport, I rode with Sgt. Chris Parnelli, a financial management resource analyst for Training and Education Command and Cpl. Cody Jones, a driver for the commanding general of the same command, on a trip from El Paso, Texas. We joked about the state of New Mexico being the land of enchantment. You see scant life until you pass through Las Cruces, New Mexico. Rundown buildings and broke down vehicles are seemingly misplaced in the mountainous, desert landscape.

My cohorts and I rode through the desert toward White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. To say the installation is secluded would be an understatement. It is nestled at the base of two large mountain ranges with nothing around it for 50 miles. Its isolation is expected since it was the testing ground of the Trinity Project, the test of the Atomic Bomb during World War II.

Glistening White Sands of New Mexico

Sgt. Maj. Lehew arrived the following evening and contacted us; he referred to us as his boys. We made plans to go and visit some of the sites, which I thought was a novel idea seeing there was nothing around within view.

Sergeant Major said that after our first stop we would understand why they call this place White Sands. We packed into Sergeant Major’s black ram pick-up he was renting and started to make our way to White Sands National Monument.

After about 30 minutes or so, we started to see 12-foot-tall dunes dotted with desert vegetation. You could see through the scraggly plants the purest white sand beneath. After a short stop at the museum located at the national park, I learned the color is a factor of the sands consisting nearly entirely of gypsum, the mineral found in dry wall. These dunes of white spread for 200 miles in all directions and can be seen from space. The sand is held in place due to the large underground lake, so these pristine dunes never shift outside of the circumference of this white blemish on the face of the planet.

Ham the Astrochimp

The next point of the tour was hidden in the city of Alamagordo, New Mexico, which, although secluded and out of the way, actually holds a vast treasury of history.

We parked in front of a beautiful, golden-glass-gilded, cube-shaped building in the hills overlooking the city time forgot. Walking up the steps toward the building there were numerous static displays of rockets, engines, and observation equipment. After getting an eye full of the outside, we entered the New Mexico Museum of Space History.

The museum is home of the International Space Hall of Fame pays tribute to all who dedicated their lives to space exploration or at least contributed to the overall idea. Every single artifact, from engines the size of cars to space toilets, could be observed or touched. I didn’t touch the toilet, of course.

The museum is also the final resting of arguably one of America’s greatest heroes, Ham, the ‘Astrochimp.’ Ham was the first Hominidae launched into space by NASA, Jan. 31, 1961.

His remains are buried under a small monument stone. Sergeant Major said, “It truly is a shame what happened to this American hero. He was the first monkey in space and he gets buried in Alamogordo.”

The Little Engine That Could

I will preface this with saying although I enjoy staying active and outdoors; this event was, to date, one of the hardest physical experiences of my life. My heart goes out to my brothers and soon to be sisters in the infantry, who hike like this on the regular.

Every painful step of this 26.2-mile hike gave me only a small taste of what the 60,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war experienced at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army in April 1942 in the Philippines.

The opening ceremony of the event culminated with an honorary roll call of the Bataan Death March survivors. Before this segment of the ceremony, the men were pallid statues covered with blankets being assisted by their accompanying caregivers. As soon as their names rang out breaking the pin-drop hearing silence of the cool desert morning air, their voices mustered so much power. My back straightened and the event took on a reality I had not experienced while training or traveling around Southern New Mexico.

Not long after, myself and the other Marines from the National Capital Region began our long trip on foot wearing plate carriers and whatever else we thought we might need to overcome our small taste of Bataan Death March. Of course I wore my trustee camera bag armed with my weapon of choice, a Canon 5D Mark II.

The first seven miles, the speeches, survivor roll call, taps and the cannon fire invigorated me. Soon I wore palm size blisters across the balls of my feet, which slowed me to a near snail’s pace. At this point Sgt. Parnelli, an avid marathon runner, took off like he had wings on his feet and I would not see him again till the end of the march. I had to keep going. I wanted to finish and I knew it was going to get worse. I had entered the “little engine that could” mode.

Members of a Navy JROTC program participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sand Missile Range, New Mexico March 22. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Boling/Released)

I walked with Sergeant Major for the majority of the march. We spoke about leadership, family and the future. I am not much of a fan boy, but I can honestly say he is man I am proud to look up to for the rest of my life. The humility, care and strength he exudes is something I want to grow and emulate in myself. My personal favorite trait is a realness, which I think can be often lost as you gain rank and stack up accomplishment after accomplishment. Also, his father was part of the D-Day invasion in World War II, and his brother managed the Grateful Dead, yes Dead Heads, you just read that.

After about the first nine miles you start heading up a road toward the mountains. I thought the place was desolate but as I continued to walk up and down the sandy inclines, which circled a small mountain, I was certain I was not in Kansas anymore. I sat down to change boots when Cpl. Jones caught up and he saw my feet. We laughed when he said, after seeing the giant blood filled blisters on feet that his encouragement was halfhearted and really he was saying, oh man this guy is not going to make it.

The cool morning air was violently ripped away from me and replaced with the baking heat of the desert. I emptied and filled up my camel back three times through miles 16 to 20. The water was mainly mental and to maintain a healthy core temperature. Any nourishment I put into my body at this point was not going to help my aching back and cramping legs.

I chugged along slowly until mile 20. Sergeant Major had warned all of us about the two-mile-long inclined sandpit, which came up swiftly after the mile marker. True to his word, this segment of the course was a game-ender for many marchers. Search and Rescue, border patrol and medical personnel patrolled this area constantly. It was not an uncommon sight to see them load up with the body of a broken marcher.

After a grueling hour or so I made it to the long road toward the missile range. My legs had all locked up. My feet were numb from pain. My face was hot to the touch, but I still continued. I wondered how the men on the Bataan Death March felt. They knew that any slowing down or outcry would earn them a bayonet in their ribs or sound blow courtesy of their captors.

I finally made it to the low stone and mortar wall, which separated base housing and I could see the two water towers marking the last mile or so of my trek. At the first water tower I caught up to Sergeant Major, who looked pleased to know all his boys made it to the end. He later let me know he could tell how much pain I was in, because I would shut my mouth long enough to grunt for a few hundred yards or so and then continue with pleasantries. I love to talk, okay, anyone, who knows me will tell you I am loud and I love to learn about people.

I could see the final stretch. It was in site I could hear the beep of the chip tracker signaling the record of my journey through the desert. I saw Cpl. Jones, who yelled, “Good job, Sergeant!”

People were cheering and screaming.

After finishing the race, Sergeant Major and his boys, which I am proud to be, formed a reflexive security perimeter of sorts and laid on our packs next to the finish line. We all just passed out right there. We woke up 30 minutes later to Sergeant Major smiling as he said Marines could sleep anywhere.

In Memoriam

After 10 hours spent wandering through the desert, sleep did not come easy when I laid down that night. My lower body ached and all I could think about was, “What if I had to march knowing I may never see my loved ones again, like the prisoners, who walked the 60 miles urged on by the Japanese Imperial Army?”

All I had to do was reach the finish line. The men, who survived the death march in 1942, were loaded onto unmarked boats. Some boats were sunk by U.S. vessels, which had no idea fellow Americans and Filipino troops were aboard.

I finally found sleep and when I woke up I could walk again. I took steps much like a baby gazelle first learning to walk, shaky and knocked-kneed. My limp reminded me of the physical and mental trial I endured, the minuscule taste of pain I shared with the Marines from TECOM, and the memory of the Battling Bastards of Bataan.

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My Steps for Bataan (Corps Connections) (Marines Uncovered)

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Medal Of Honor (Features) (On Target)

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March 25th, has been designated as National Medal of Honor Day, marking the date that the first Medal of Honor was awarded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration by Sgt. Fareeza Ali/Released)

March 25th, has been designated as National Medal of Honor Day, marking the date that the first Medal of Honor was awarded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration by Sgt. Fareeza Ali/Released)

“Conspicuous gallantry…selfless bravery…undaunted courage…unwavering devotion…above and beyond the call of duty” — These are common phrases found throughout the Medal of Honor citations for Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, Cpl. Jason Dunham and other Marine recipients of our nation’s highest military award.  These Marines displayed the qualities of the ultimate hero through their actions and sacrifice, but they’re not the only ones who have these traits.  There are many others in our nation’s history whose actions were found deserving of this award.

In fact, the Medal of Honor was first authorized for Marines and sailors in 1861, and while more than 3,400 of them have been given out since then; 297 of those awards have been earned by Marines.

March 25th, has been designated as National Medal of Honor Day, marking the date that the first Medal of Honor was awarded.  In recognition of all who have earned our nation’s highest military honor, here are five things you probably didn’t know about the award.

What’s in a name?

The “Congressional Medal of Honor”?  Yeah, that thing doesn’t exist.  Contrary to popular belief, the award is simply titled the “Medal of Honor”. The media often refers to it as the “Congressional Medal of Honor”, probably because the citation states “in the name of Congress” or because there is a Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Making the ultimate sacrifice

In 1863, four Union Army soldiers who were a part of Andrew’s Raiders were hung as spies, eventually being awarded the Medal of Honor for their service in the Civil War.  This made them the first recipients to make the ultimate sacrifice.

1 in 3,486

Mary Edwards Walker is the only female recipient of the Medal of Honor for her actions during the Civil War.  In 1917, the Army reviewed its Medal of Honor Roll and redacted her award, but President Jimmy Carter restored her medal posthumously 60 years later.

The one and only

At one point, the Medal of Honor was the U.S. military’s only award. If you fought valiantly during the Civil War, chances were you got a Medal of Honor.  Almost half of all the Medals of Honor ever given were awarded during that conflict.

 Keeping it in the family

Five sets of brothers and two father-son pairs have been recipients of the Medal of Honor.  One of the father-son pairs is former president, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and his son, Theodore Roosevelt III.

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5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Medal Of Honor (Features) (On Target)

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Our New SMMC (Features) (On Target)

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Features, On Target  //  February 27th, 2015  //  By Marine Corps Social Media

Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green relieved Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Feb. 20, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ally Beiswanger/Released)

Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green relieved Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Feb. 20, 2015 at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ally Beiswanger/Released)

Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green relieved Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Feb. 20, 2015.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. chose Sgt. Maj. Green for his leadership skills and dedication to his Marines.

“His dynamic leadership is well known throughout the ranks of our Corps. His wide range of experience in both peacetime and combat, and his record of performance make him extraordinarily well-qualified to serve as our senior enlisted leader,” Dunford said.

 Here are five things you might not know about him.

Fast Burner

Green has been meritoriously promoted an impressive five times (there are only six ranks an enlisted Marine can be meritoriously promoted to). That’s meritorious private first class, lance corporal, corporal, sergeant, and staff sergeant.

Green attributes his success to the leaders who have helped pave the way.

“The great leaders around me have influenced me, mentored me, and given me pointers on how to succeed,” Green said. “From the day I went to boot camp, to working with Sgt. Maj. Barrett.”

Tony Hawk 

Believe it or not, Green loves to skateboard. Getting out on his board is one of his ways of spending quality time with his children.

While he won’t be headed to the X Games anytime soon, it’s still an activity he enjoys today.

“I’ve been skating since I was a young boy, and my kids skateboard, too, so I get out there every now again and hop a curve, but I get off real quick,” Green said.” My wife tells me not to.”

King of the Road

If Sgt. Maj. Green wasn’t in the Marine Corps, he said he could see himself as a truck driver.

When he made the move from Camp Pendleton to the Pentagon, he elected to drive his personal vehicle across the country instead of flying, taking advantage of the time on the road to listen to a recording of himself reading the Commandant’s Planning Guidance — a suggestion from his daughter.

“I love driving,” Green said. “That’s my time out there on the road.”

Power of the Blues

Green grew up in a military family. His father served in the Army and his grandfather in the Air Force. Green went to college before deciding he wasn’t ready for it at the time.

At that point, he could’ve joined any branch of service, but he joined the Marine Corps.

“I saw the dress blues, the 8th and I guys and I just wanted a chance to be a part of that,” Green said. “It was a chance to be a part of the greatest team in the world.”

Wolf Pack

One of Green’s leadership inspirations comes from the Law for Wolves in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Second Jungle Book.”

“Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.


As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

Green lives by this motto, which is why he believes in leading ‘through the eyes of the private.’

“Mission first, Marines always,” said Green. “I start with the private because if you can represent that Marine, you can represent everyone up to the general or admiral.”

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5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Our New SMMC (Features) (On Target)

Lessons from the First Sergeant (Features) (Marines Uncovered)

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1st Sgt. Frank O. Robinson received a Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2014 and received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for his actions in Afghanistan. Robinson was engaged by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades that sent rounds and shrapnel into the side of his vehicle. After repositioning his vehicle to gain positive identification of the targets, he engaged the enemy with his vehicle and the vehicle next to him. His actions lead to a successful engagement of the enemy while in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

1st Sgt. Frank O. Robinson received a Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2014 and received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for his actions in Afghanistan. Robinson was engaged by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades that sent rounds and shrapnel into the side of his vehicle. After repositioning his vehicle to gain positive identification of the targets, he engaged the enemy with his vehicle and the vehicle next to him. His actions lead to a successful engagement of the enemy while in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

1st Sgt. Frank O. Robinson, Company A 1st sergeant, Headquarters Battalion, took the responsibility of A Co., January, 2015. He has served nearly 20 years in the Marine Corps and hopes to continue to be a role model for all Marines. 1st Sgt. Robinson was awarded a Purple Heart and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat distinguishing device, Jan. 22, 2015. Robinson received the awards for his actions during combat in Afghanistan.

These are the lessons from the first sergeant; how he grew up, his love for the Marine Corps, and what he hopes to accomplish in his time left in the Corps.

(As told to combat correspondent Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo)

I was next to the youngest.

There’s a 17 year gap between my oldest brother and me. By the time I got old enough to realize, ‘these are my brothers and sisters’ it was really just me, my younger brother and my sister. So we were the only three left in the house at that point.

There are seven of us total in my family, four boys, three girls. I have three boys and two girls.

One thing I can say is my brothers, and my dad more than anybody, had a huge influence on me and my development from being a boy to a man. I could say that it was a great childhood. I grew up in a disciplined household. Discipline was the focal point and my dad made sure of that.

It wasn’t a shock factor for me, coming into the Marine Corps.

One huge thing that I learned growing up was to be held accountable for your actions and to make sure you think through situations before you make decisions. I think it definitely helped me throughout my career.

In my household, my dad gave us two options, ‘college or the military.’

It wasn’t going to be, ‘you work and then stay at the house,’ it was one or the other. I knew I wasn’t ready for college at 18 years old, so I decided just to look at all the branches of the military. The Marine Corps was the first stop I made. I was so thoroughly impressed with the mindset of Marines that I didn’t have to go any further.

I joined the Marine Corps in 1995. My first four years, I couldn’t wait to get out, and four years went by really quick, and I realized that one, I didn’t have a degree and two, I didn’t have any money saved up, so I re-enlisted. After I went to the drill field and became a drill instructor, I knew I was staying for the long haul.

Being on the drill field takes you all the way back to what it means to be a Marine, and what it takes to make a Marine.

When you’re going through boot camp as a recruit you don’t get to see that but when you’re a drill instructor you get to see the transformation first-hand. It completely changed the way I look at the Marine Corps as a whole.

I love going to the gym, and spending time with my family, no matter what it is. It could just be watching movies or out in the yard playing.

I love studying and watching military tactics. I love the military channel and I will stay up until two o’ clock in the morning, watching something and trying to understand military tactics.

Being a Marine means the world to me.

It means the same thing to me as the [air] in my lungs. I love the camaraderie, the brotherhood and the long, rich, illustrious history that surrounds the Corps. I couldn’t picture or see myself doing anything else.

I’ve been to a lot of units. I’ve been with base, I’ve been with the air wing, I’ve been with infantry and I’ve been in [the Marine Logistics Group]. I’ve seen a lot, so I think that bringing experience from all over the MAGTF will definitely assist with the mission here at Headquarters Battalion.

One thing I would want my Marines to know about me is that I care for each and every last one of them.

I want to see them successful at all costs. I don’t want to see any of them fail and even if I’m disciplining them, I still want them to know that I care about them.

I think one of the things that had the biggest impact on me was graduating my first platoon as a drill instructor and the sense of accomplishment I had behind that. That was probably one of the proudest days; it’s almost like a dad watching one of his kids graduate high school or something of that nature.

The second one was my time with [1st battalion, 7th Marine Regiment], Weapons Company. To go into Afghanistan with all of the uncertainty, against a determined enemy and be able to bring all 119 Marines back. That was huge for me because when you go into combat situations you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

One thing I can say about my wife is she is the most honest person to me when it comes to being a Marine.

She doesn’t hold anything back and she definitely keeps me grounded and on my toes. I go to her for advice in general and I think we have a great relationship in the aspect of communication.

I try to make sure that the Marine Corps and my family life are completely separate because it already affects them: the deployments, the long hours, things like that. My seven-year-old talks about it all the time, she actually says she wants to be a Marine.

I really got into physical fitness, five or six years ago. It extends far beyond being a Marine to me because one day you have to hang this uniform up and I still want to be healthy.

As a young Marine, I wanted to be a drill instructor, but I was kind of on the fence about staying in. I knew if I did, I wanted to be a drill instructor. My drill instructors inspired me as a recruit and you never forget those individuals who were a vital part in that transformation.

I want to be able to assist, mold, mentor, and teach, Marines

It does nothing for me to have 20 years in the Marine Corps and keep all of that information and knowledge with me when I leave. So I think the biggest piece is to help others reach their goals and try to be an inspiration to all Marines.

Frank O. Robinson, Company A First Sergeant, headquarters battalion, native of Baltimore, Md., received a Purple Heart and a Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California Jan. 22, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Frank O. Robinson, Company A First Sergeant, headquarters battalion, native of Baltimore, Md., received a Purple Heart and a Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California Jan. 22, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

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Lessons from the First Sergeant (Features) (Marines Uncovered)

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Unit Energy Manager Program (On Target)

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The Unit Energy Manager Program is part of the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Energy Strategy—  the Corps' attempt to reduce energy use Corps-wide. Here are 5 things you (probably) didn't know about the Unit Energy Manager Program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Caitlin Brink/Released)

The Unit Energy Manager Program is part of the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Strategy— the Corps’ attempt to reduce energy use Corps-wide. Here are 5 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Unit Energy Manager Program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Caitlin Brink/Released)

Fulfilling the Commandant’s Vision. 

The Commandant’s vision in the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy stated that “tenants and supported commands [will] identify an Energy Manager or representative at the individual unit or tenant level to coordinate unit and tenant involvement and actions as part of the installation’s overall Energy Program.” In 2013, Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM) released the Installations Energy Strategy, which titled this program the Unit Energy Manager (UEM) Program and called for the assignment of UEMs.

UEMs Will Drive the Energy Ethos.

The Marine Corps Energy Ethos is the shared vision that the efficient use of energy resources is a critical component of mission readiness. Marines who adopt the Energy Ethos create energy efficient habits that span from bases to battlefield. UEMs will educate fellow Marines about the many ways to conserve energy and water at work and at home.

| More: 5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Marine Corps Energy |

UEMs Will Have a Variety of Responsibilities.

A unit’s UEM will work to increase awareness on energy usage, cost, goals, and objectives; teach Marines specific energy-saving techniques; serve as the point of contact to Installation Energy Managers (IEMs), Marines, and operational leadership on unit energy matters; undergo energy trainings; identify potential energy saving opportunities; and generate work orders for facility energy efficiency projects. All of these efforts will enable operational and installation commands to have more visibility into the use of energy resources.

UEMs are Marines Working to Help the Unit.

UEMs will be appointed by their Unit Commander, and will be an E-4 or above. Ideal UEMs will have an interest in leadership, energy, or logistics and will apply those interests to support their unit’s mission. Marines can come to UEMs to point out leaky doors or windows, report broken or dripping faucets, request more efficient light bulbs, inquire about power strips, ask about energy use metrics, and more. UEMs will be able to work with IEMs, facilities staff, and other parties to respond to Marine inquiries.

Being a UEM Has Many Benefits.

UEMs will have an opportunity to develop expertise in the growing field of renewable energy; to receive promotion and award opportunities for excellent performance; to increase their knowledge of business, audits, management, communications, and planning; to gain exposure to leaders through reporting of energy data and communications efforts; and to experience being a unit leader, developing vital leadership skills, and gaining credibility.

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5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Unit Energy Manager Program (On Target)

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Marine Corps Energy (On Target)

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The Marine Corps wants your help in reducing the energy used Corps-wide. While October is Energy Action Month, Marines can make simple changes year round to help save energy. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alvin Parson/ Released)

October is Energy Action Month. If the Marine Corps reduces energy consumption at installations by as little as 10 percent, it could save $26 million. Your feedback can help during this month. We need active duty Marines to help out by taking this short survey. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about Marine Corps energy.

Energy Supply Lines Put Marines at Risk.

Energy is one of the Marine Corps’ most vulnerable commodities. When Marines and Sailors transport fuel, they are vulnerable to attack. Take care of your fellow Marines – use only what you need.

Energy is Mission Critical.

From training and support on base to transport and mission effectiveness on the battlefield, energy supports our mission. Battlefield conditions, natural disasters, and our enemies can limit access to critical energy supplies. Remember: The less energy-dependent Marines are, the more agile and lethal our Corps will be.

Energy is Expensive.

The Marine Corps spent $262M on installation energy alone in FY13 – that doesn’t account for the fuel required for training efforts or deployed environments.  Reducing installation energy use by 10 percent could save the Marine Corps $26M. That is almost the same amount of money it takes to fully execute five Integrated Training Exercises (ITXs), the crux of pre-deployment training. In a time when budgets continue to contract, using only what you need allows Marines to train longer, go further, and be more effective in executing our missions.

Small Steps Can Have Big Impacts.

Small changes in energy use can yield substantial results. Heating and cooling accounts for as much as one half of home energy use. Setting a thermostat back 10-15 degrees for 8 hours a day can save 15 percent of annual heating and cooling costs. Turning off lights at night, when leaving a room, or using natural lighting can also drive big savings.

October is Energy Action Month!

Energy Action Month is a federal program that encourages energy and water savings in federal facilities. Marines are encouraged to develop energy and water saving behaviors, and talk to their leadership, fellow Marines, and Energy Managers about energy use in their unit.

Read this article – 

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Marine Corps Energy (On Target)

Ending the Mission: Marines Complete Operations in Afghanistan (Continuing Operations) (Features)

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Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. The Marine Corps ended its mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan the day prior and all Marines, sailors and service members from the United Kingdom withdrew from southwestern Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson/Released)

Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. The Marine Corps ended its mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan the day prior and all Marines, sailors and service members from the United Kingdom withdrew from southwestern Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson/Released)

The final United States Marine Corps command and service members from the United Kingdom have departed Regional Command (Southwest) in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 27.

The lift-off followed an End of Operations ceremony held at the former command post of Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan aboard Camp Leatherneck, signifying the transfer of Camps Bastion and Leatherneck to the control of the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps. Regional Command (Southwest) is the first of the International Security Assistance Force commands to transfer authority to the Afghan National Security Forces as ISAF moves toward the Resolute Support Mission.

Marine Corps and Royal Air Force helicopters fly in formation after departing Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2014. The Marine Corps ended operations in Helmand province and transferred the base to the Afghan National Army. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson/Released)

Marine Corps and Royal Air Force helicopters fly in formation after departing Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson/Released)

During the past year, six additional nations ended their operations in RC(SW), including Bosnia, Estonia, Denmark, Georgia, Jordan and Tonga.

“This transfer is a sign of progress. It’s not about the coalition. It is really about the Afghans and what they have achieved over the last 13 years. What they have done here is truly significant,” Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan Commander Brigadier General Daniel D. Yoo said during the ceremony.

During his speech, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commander of ISAF Joint Command, stated, “We lift off confident in the Afghans’ ability to secure the region. The mission has been complex, difficult and dangerous. Everyone has made tremendous sacrifices—but those sacrifices have not been in vain.”

| More: Afghan Forces Take the Lead in Afghanistan |

International Security Assistance Force Commander General Joseph Campbell stated, “Helmand, as you know, has been a very, very tough area. We feel very confident with the Afghan security forces as they continue to grow in their capacity and they continue to work better between the police and the army.” 

| More: The Corps’ Afghanistan Transition and Legacy |

Following the completion of the tactical withdrawal from Camps Bastion and Leatherneck, the Marines, sailors and British service members flew to Kandahar Airfield where they will complete their deployment prior to returning to the United States and the United Kingdom during the coming weeks.

Originally posted here: 

Ending the Mission: Marines Complete Operations in Afghanistan (Continuing Operations) (Features)

How I Got Here: Master Gunnery Sgt. King (Marines Uncovered)

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Michael Walters/Released)

When she first encountered a Marine recruiter, Avril (Michelle) King made up her mind to reach the top of the enlisted rank structure. Now, after nearly 30 years of constantly bettering herself as a Marine and as a woman, King has reached the rank of master gunnery sergeant in the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Michael Walters/Released)

Early in her career, Master Gunnery Sergeant Avril (Michelle) King felt she had to prove herself every time she entered a new work environment because she was a female Marine. Undaunted, King strived to constantly better herself as a Marine and as a woman.

The chance was slim for King, from Harvey, Illinois, to achieve the rank she wears today within her small occupational field.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Avril (Michelle) King  lists the top four achievements that helped shape her career. PME  I know that the hands-on-training through all of the Enlisted Professional Military Education Resident Academies (Sgt’s Crs/Career Crs/Advanced Crs) were the building blocks that helped me hone in on my leadership abilities, focused my critical thinking, as well as taught me sound tactical skills. I understood the long-distance education through the MCI courses, but attending the resident PME courses, gave me an edge by doing the things I read about.  There is nothing like practicing for the real-time environment.  It builds your confidence in leading, thinking and truly making the right decisions at a moment’s notice.  It also gave me the opportunity to build camaraderie with fellow Marines in other military occupational specialties that I would have never had the opportunity to meet or learn from. Family and Friends My family and friends have always been the support and mentors in my life.  They provided a spark, or a simple path of guidance that pushed me to take that next step in accomplishing any goal I set for myself in the Corps.  Knowing that I had their support helped keep my confidence levels high so that I would always continue to move forward in the Corps. Off-duty Education Off duty education allowed me to do what I said I would do before joining the Corps.  I promised myself that I would get my education while in the Marine Corps.  Of course, I didn’t know how demanding that would be until I put forth the effort to get my undergrad.  It took every bit of 6 years to achieve.  I also decided that each time I reenlisted, that I had to be enrolled in continuing education.  I don’t think you can ever go wrong being better educated.   Congressional Fellowship/Deployment The Congressional Fellowship has been the highlight of my career!  Actually, working in Congressman Joe Wilson’s office, SC-2, as a staffer in 2012 allowed me to help shape legislation as well as give my military input on defense matters in Congress.    The ultimate achievement for me was my deployment to OEF!  Helping to build Camp Leatherneck and experience the camaraderie with the military members I served with while in theatre is like no experience I’ve ever had!  I’m sure this experience helped open doors for me to participate in the Congressional Fellowship.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Avril (Michelle) King lists the top four achievements that helped shape her career.
PME
I know that the hands-on-training through all of the Enlisted Professional Military Education Resident Academies (Sgt’s Crs/Career Crs/Advanced Crs) were the building blocks that helped me hone in on my leadership abilities, focused my critical thinking, as well as taught me sound tactical skills. I understood the long-distance education through the MCI courses, but attending the resident PME courses gave me an edge by doing the things I read about. There is nothing like practicing for the real-time environment. It builds your confidence in leading, thinking and truly making the right decisions at a moment’s notice. It also gave me the opportunity to build camaraderie with fellow Marines in other military occupational specialties that I would have never had the opportunity to meet or learn from.
Family and Friends
My family and friends have always been the support and mentors in my life. They provided a spark, or a simple path of guidance, that pushed me to take that next step in accomplishing any goal I set for myself in the Corps. Knowing that I had their support helped keep my confidence levels high so that I would always continue to move forward in the Corps.
Off-duty Education
Off duty education allowed me to do what I said I would do before joining the Corps. I promised myself that I would get my education while in the Marine Corps. Of course, I didn’t know how demanding that would be until I put forth the effort to get my undergrad. It took every bit of 6 years to achieve. I also decided that each time I re-enlisted, that I had to be enrolled in continuing education. I don’t think you can ever go wrong being better educated.
Congressional Fellowship/Deployment
The Congressional Fellowship has been the highlight of my career! Actually, working in Congressman Joe Wilson’s office, SC-2, as a staffer in 2012 allowed me to help shape legislation as well as give my military input on defense matters in Congress. The ultimate achievement for me was my deployment to OEF. Helping to build Camp Leatherneck and experience the camaraderie with the military members I served with while in theatre is like no experience I’ve ever had! I’m sure this experience helped open doors for me to participate in the Congressional Fellowship.

By pursuing her goals, King has achieved success many of her colleagues early in her career doubted was possible.

Today, King serves as the Special Assistant to the Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Initiative for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Office. Here we borrow fragments from King’s nearly 30-year career and how she’s overcome challenges and obstacles to reach where she is today.

(As told to combat correspondent Sgt. Melissa Karnath)

When I went in, I had this plum colored hair and polka-a-dot polished fingernails, not someone you would think could be a Marine. So I asked my recruiter, “What’s the highest rank you can get in this Marine Corps?” As enlisted he said E-9 and I replied, “Okay that’s what I want to do.”

I probably needed to grow up a little more, get my bearings, and the best way to do that was to go away to a branch of service and then come back after four years and go to school or even attend school while I was in the service.

I came in the Marine Corps as an Administration Clerk, 0151. I worked with service record book clerks at the Recruit Administrative Center at Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

One of my girl friends, who was also in the administration field, had done the stenographer program that the Marine Corps offered. I looked into it. I had actually put in for that program as a lance corporal and didn’t get selected. When I picked up corporal, I put in again for the program and was selected.

I completed the two-year civilian school that was very tedious. We started with 15, and there were five of us who actually became court reporters and served as court reporters in the fleet. It’s a very demanding program, very tedious.

In the court reporter field we couldn’t do B-billets, so what else would help you stand out?  The things that you personally do like going to school or helping in your community. If you’re not trying to take yourself down two paths, the path to succeed in the Marine Corps and the path to succeed in life, something is going to falter. I just thank God that I always was committed to work on myself personally as well as work on myself as a Marine at the same time.

I always knew that I had to get my degree. A college degree was huge on the list of priorities. I had been in the Marine Corps nearly ten years before I finally buckled down and worked toward my degree. I went to five different schools in order to get my general education classes so that I could get everything transferred to Southern Illinois University.

It took me six years to get my undergrad. I got it, on top of being a court reporter, mom and wife. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., were my self-imposed school hours in order to get it done. I was proud of myself to actually have stuck through that, six years is a long time to stick with it.

I didn’t qualify with a weapon when I first came in the Marine Corps. We (females) were different from the men in that sense. The first time I went to the range to qualify, I was so nervous. I didn’t want to have to go back to the office to the guys making fun. I made sure I came back qualified.

I married my husband who lived five blocks away from me at home. When I graduated boot camp, we married. He was also a Marine. It was a dual-military family for 20 years before we divorced. He’s still my friend today.

As dual military you might as well be single parents if you have children. If anybody’s going to be successful, you’re sacrificing time with your family. We’d send our oldest daughter to be with our family in Illinois. My family was very supportive in making sure that even though I missed my daughter when she was away, I didn’t worry about her.

The Marine Corps was very good to us as far as us being able to be stationed together. I would say that the difficulty we had was whose job was more important.

There is no blame to be laid, but the Marine Corps made it difficult as to whose job was more important. We never did get that right. The support system we had for each other, I think it faltered near the end.

I was the first female enlisted person chosen for the Congressional Fellowship Program. I actually applied for the program three times before I was selected. I was very happy when I got in and it was an exciting experience that I would highly recommend to others.

After you do your one year on the Hill, you have a two-year utilization tour that you do. That’s currently what I’m doing now, my utilization tour. You come back and give back to the Corps what you’ve learned with that Hill experience.

Most definitely, there have been challenges. The racist and lewd jokes or comments, all of that was alive when I came up. I didn’t have a problem telling someone when he or she had crossed the line. It caused me to stand out, and you didn’t really want to stand out. You wanted to be accepted.

I’d have to prove myself every time I dealt with a different environment. I like being a girly girl, so of course, I don’t look like the type who can do the guy stuff. But I showed them something different. I had to be a little brash at first to make sure male Marines were not going to walk over me.

Whatever ranks I achieved or whatever successes I have achieved, it hasn’t been by myself — none of them. Family, friends, fellow Marines, even civilians have helped me to achieve every stripe that I currently wear and I’m so thankful to all of them for all of their support over the years.

Today I’m very proud to be a female Marine in the Corps. I’m proud to have experienced the things I have experienced, to have opened doors for the females coming behind me and to be able to have made a difference.

King

Throughout her nearly 30-year career in the Corps, Master Gunnery Sgt. Avril (Michelle) King deployed to Afghanistan and was the first female enlisted person to be chosen for the Congressional Fellowship Program. King currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Initiative for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Office.  (Photos courtesy of Master Gunnery Sgt. Avril (Michelle) King)

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How I Got Here: Master Gunnery Sgt. King (Marines Uncovered)

First In, Last Out: A Corpsman’s Story (Features) (Marines Uncovered)

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Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Spaulding deployed to Afghanistan as the War on Terror kicked off in 2001. 13 years later, he's deployed there again to assist with security force assistance operations.

Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Spaulding deployed to Afghanistan as the War on Terror kicked off in 2001. 13 years later, he’s deployed there again to assist with security force assistance operations.

A day that many remember and few will ever forget – the day four planes were hijacked and America was attacked. It was a day that would change the lives of thousands of Americans, on that day and for many years to come. 

Born May 13, 1977, Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Spaulding’s life-long dream was to enlist into the Navy as a medical corpsman. He enlisted and left for boot camp July 30, 1999. He completed his training and checked into his first duty station aboard Camp Pendleton, California, and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, during July 2000. 

While serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, he deployed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as a company line corpsman on a Western Pacific Tour, during July 2001.

“We headed to Darwin, Australia, to conduct some training with the Australian Army,” said Spaulding, a Glendale, Arizona, native. “After the training we were going to get a few days of liberty. We came back to the ship following the completion of the training, cleaned up our gear, showered, put on our liberty clothes and headed out. I remember I was in a bar with a bunch of friends when all the lights came on and they started yelling for all the Marines and sailors to get out. We weren’t sure what was going on as we boarded some buses to take us back to the ships.”

| More: Corpsman trains to join the Recon community |

The plan was to travel to Australia, Singapore, Hawaii, Bahrain, and Thailand conducting training with the different countries’ military. Little did they know a tragic event would change those plans. 

“We were on the buses riding back to the ship, and on the radio you could hear them say, ‘Another plane just crashed into the Pentagon.’ I remember like it was yesterday,” said Spaulding. “People were freaking out, and we are all like ‘what is going on?’ There were chiefs and gunnies with us on the bus, and they said, ‘We are going to Afghanistan. We are going to war.’ I mean they knew right away who it was. It was crazy. They said, ‘We are going to get them.’”

An Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda, had launched an attack against America, Sept. 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked: two were flown into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; one plane was flown into the Pentagon; and the fourth was targeted at Washington D.C., but crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.

On that day, more than 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, from the people working in the buildings and the passengers on the planes, to the firefighters and police officers risking their lives to help those trapped in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

| More: One Marine looks back on the 9/11 attacks |

“We headed full speed North to Jacobabad, Pakistan, awaiting orders from the president to invade Afghanistan, beginning Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Spaulding. “We waited there for a little over a month or so.”

The United States of America responded to the terrorist group by launching the Global War on Terror. They invaded Afghanistan to seek out and destroy al-Qaeda, which was hosted by the Taliban.

Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Spaulding deployed to Afghanistan as the War on Terror kicked off in 2001. 13 years later, he's deployed there again to assist with security force assistance operations.

Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Spaulding deployed to Afghanistan as the War on Terror kicked off in 2001. 13 years later, he’s deployed there again to assist with security force assistance operations.

“On Nov. 25, 2001, we conducted an amphibious assault over 400 miles into the land-locked country of Afghanistan, becoming the first U.S. ground troops in the region,” said Spaulding. “We set new standards for Marine Corps amphibious doctrine. We landed at a remote airbase, 90 miles southwest of Kandahar, and occupied America’s first forward operating base, Camp Rhino, and maintained the first significant conventional ground presence in Afghanistan.”

Camp Rhino was an abandoned runway just southwest of Kandahar. The 15th MEU’s mission was to seal off the city, cut off incoming supplies and escape routes, and take over the Kandahar airport. At its peak, the Camp contained approximately 1,100 Marines and corpsmen under the command of, then, Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis. 

“From November 2001 until the end of January 2002, we lived in fighting holes,” said Spaulding. “Literally, big holes we dug in the dirt, in a perimeter to surround the entire camp, and we went outside the wire and conducted different missions to gain objectives.” Once they took the Kandahar airfield, the 15th MEU was replaced by the 26th MEU and the Marines and sailors headed back to their respective ships that were anchored and awaiting their return to the Arabian Sea. 

Since his first deployment with the first Marine unit into Afghanistan, Spaulding has completed two successful combat tours. One with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, during 2003 as the United States invaded Iraq and during the intense battle in Fallujah, and then with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, during 2005 to 2006.  

Now, 13 years later, Spaulding is once again deployed to Afghanistan as the senior medical department representative and serving with the last Marine unit in the country, Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan, under the command of Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo. 

The missions have changed from counterinsurgency to security force assistance operations throughout the years, and the Marines and sailors currently have the responsibility of retrograding all personnel and equipment out of the country. 

“It is such a substantial honor to be a part of the first group that was here as the War on Terror kicked off in 2001, and to now have an active role in the end of operations as the units exit the country,” said Spaulding. “It means a lot to me to be a part of this history 13 years later. I have two boys, and they will read about this in their history books and know that their dad was a part of it.”

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First In, Last Out: A Corpsman’s Story (Features) (Marines Uncovered)