MMEA Roadshow Monitors educate Marines in career paths, discuss future assignments
By Nathan L. Hanks Jr.
| Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | January 18, 2013
Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany leathernecks met with Headquarters Manpower Management Enlisted Assignment monitors during a visit held at the Base Conference Center, Jan. 10.
The MMEA team conducted 100 interviews during the one-day session, which was sponsored by a collaborative effort between MCLC and MCLB Albany. The monitors also traveled to Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla., and conducted 34 interviews and two from Recruiting Station Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 11.
“The purpose of the visit was to afford enlisted Marines the opportunity to have direct contact and personal communication with their respective occupational field monitors for future assignments,” Master Sgt. Jason E. Spangenberg, career planner, MCLC, said.
According to Marine Administrative Message 301/12, Fiscal Year 2013 Enlisted Retention Guidelines, retaining the best Marines is vital to building and sustaining the Marine Corps’ enlisted career force. The Marine Corps’ emphasis on retention as a function of command and the demonstrated willingness of proven performers to stay Marine has yielded an unprecedented level of retention achievements since Fiscal Year 2007. These achievements have been critical to shaping the enlisted career force while also contributing to meeting key end strength missions.
The command-sponsored trip was led by SgtMaj. John Armstead, sergeant major, MMEA, Headquarters Marine Corps, Quantico, Va.
“We want to meet with the Marines to help shape their careers,” he said. “We want to set each Marine up for success by mentoring and educating him or her on what he or she should do when it comes to requesting orders for future assignments.”
Armstead said he was concerned about sergeants who are close to their service limitations.
“If Marines are between the 8- to 10-year window and there is no opportunity to get promoted in their military occupational specialties, they need to seriously consider a lateral move,” he said. “Marines should look at MOSs that are in need of personnel. The promotion potential is greater if they lateral move rather than stay in their current MOSs.”
Armstead advises Marines to check the requirements and make sure they are qualified before submitting their requests.
“Some MOSs have a minimum of 36 months obligated service,” he said. “If a Marine waits until his or her 10-year mark, we are probably not going to give him or her an additional 36 months for a lateral move. The sooner a Marine makes a decision, the better.”
Marines should consider special duty assignments, Armstead said.
“Senior leaders throughout the Corps need to focus on taking care of young sergeants and make sure they are given every opportunity to succeed in the Marine Corps, whether that is an special duty assignment or lateral move so they can be competitive for staff sergeant,” he said.
Armstead said anytime he could sit down and talk to one or a hundred Marines, it is a successful trip.
“Meeting one-on-one with a Marine is one of the most important functions of being a monitor because the Marines get to learn so much from hearing and talking to their individual monitors,” he said.
Sgt. Irvin Stalls, license examiner, Fleet Support Division, Distribution Management Center, MCLC, was among several Marines who lined up early to meet his monitor and go through the screening process.
Stalls, a motor transportation operator, said he did not have a duty station preference just as long as his next assignment fulfills the MOS roadmap he needs to have a successful career.
A MOS roadmap is intended to aid Marines in making intelligent decisions regarding their career paths, regardless of whether that career spans four years or 30 years, according to Stalls.
“The monitor recommended I extend my contract one year and stay here with hopes of being in zone for promotion to staff sergeant next year,” he said. “We also talked about my next duty station possibly being with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.”
Stalls’ career assignments include 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Okinawa, Japan; 1st Tank Battalion, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, Indian Head, Md.; 2nd MLG, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and here.
Stalls has been in the Marine Corps for more than 10 years and considered the MMEA visit a success.
“Now I know what is available outside of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and where I stand in my career,” he said. “Now it is just waiting on the staff sergeant promotion board.”
Stalls met with Master Sgt. Sean M. Weeks, motor transportation maintenance monitor, Headquarters Marine Corps, Quantico, Va.
“My job is to look at the big picture around the world, as well as the Marine’s individual career, to make sure the next assignment will help shape his or her future by giving him or her a different kind of job,” Weeks said. “This will give the Marine the next level of supervision as a noncommissioned officer or the next level of experience he or she will need to help progress in a career in the Marine Corps.”
Spangenberg said the MMEA made his job easier.
“As a career planner, it is my job to talk to MMEA on behalf of the Marines,” Spangenberg said. “After talking to the monitors, I tell the Marines where they can go and what vacancies are available.”
Spangenberg and Sgt. Joshua Loflin, career planner, MCLB Albany, said the visit removed them from the middle and allowed the Marines to interact with their monitors one-on-one.
“The MMEA visit helps the Marines understand the critical role career planners play in their futures and that we are the ‘middle man,’” Spangenberg said.