April 10, 2014 --
Developing young Marines into future leaders in the Corps is not new; however, the leadership and example here of one, exemplary Marine staff noncommissioned officer paid off April 2.
Gunnery Sgt. Daniel G. Walters, company gunnery sergeant and postal chief, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, pinned on an additional rocker that day during a meritorious promotion ceremony; one of only two meritorious promotions to take place in the entire Marine Corps this year.
Maj. Brent Richardson, commanding officer, Aviation Squadron-1, Marine Aviation Training Support Group-21, Pensacola, Fla., and Walters’ former company commander on the drill field in San Diego, Calif., served as the promoting officer during the ceremony.
A platoon of Marines, base leadership and officials, as well as Walters’ wife and son watched the new rocker placed on his collar by Richardson and Sgt. Maj. Conrad Potts, sergeant major, MCLB Albany.
“Gunnery Sergeant Walters is just what we (the Marine Corps) need right now,” Richardson said. “When we talk about back to the basics, leading by example, owning your Marines and trust and confidence, there stands Gunnery Sergeant Walters.
“I look forward to watching him grow in his present rank,” Richardson added.
In keeping with the Marine Corps’ tradition, a meritorious promotion, at any rank, does not come without complete embodiment of what the Marine
Corps considers the whole-Marine concept. Marines sum that up basically as fully exemplifying the Corps’ ideals of honor, courage and commitment, 24/7/365, whether in uniform or out.
Walters does that, and more, according to Marines who have served side by side with him.
Since joining the Marine Corps in January 2003, Walters has served in a myriad of roles and leadership positions, both within his military occupational specialty, postal clerk, and outside of it.
Not only does Walters mentor junior Marines aboard the base, he spends his time within the community as well. He regularly volunteers and is involved in mentorship opportunities outside the fence line.
A native of Texas, Walters enjoys playing softball, four-wheeling, spending time outdoors and occasionally, just relaxing with a cold beverage.
Walters mainly attributes his success to two things: the support and sacrifices made by his wife and son to allow him the time to lead and develop Marines, and the two words, “trust and confidence.”
Trust and confidence were the words that hung above Richardson’s office door while then-Staff Sgt. Walters served alongside the company commander on the drill field, Walters’ recalled.
“I have carried those words with me and continued the cycle of leading young Marines,” Walters said. “(Major Richardson) had the trust and confidence in us (drill instructors) to develop recruits and that is the same type of leadership and mentality I use with my Marines today.
“When leading those junior to you, trust in them and have the confidence they will lead as you have shown them through action and example,” Walters added.
Walters is the type of Marine all commanders hope will receive orders to their units, Richardson said, noting his leadership, dedication, discipline and total devotion to the Corps and each Marine.
Walters’ leadership portrays those ideals.
“The day your Marines stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them,” Walters said. “They have either lost confidence you can help them or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
He emphasized, Marines and their development into well-rounded leaders is his responsibility; anything less is unsatisfactory.
MCLB Albany officials echo Walters in his belief of developing Marines into well-rounded leaders.
“Gunnery Sergeant Walters makes my job easy,” Potts said. “Every commander, every sergeant major, every noncommissioned officer and junior Marine hopes to be stationed with a staff noncommissioned officer like our newly-promoted gunny.
“They know what a Marine with his attributes brings to the table in terms of leadership and an example to follow,” he said.
Recently, MCLB Albany has been considered somewhat of a “shoe-in” when it comes to Marines being selected for and winning boards and accolades at the installation and higher headquarters.
He has led young Marines to meritorious promotions, Marine of the Quarter and Marine of the Year boards and continues to help develop their careers.
Walters’ leadership and influence has been instrumental in achieving those accolades. He is an example of a SNCO who whole-heartedly puts an individual Marine’s achievements and development before his own, according to base leadership here.
With the Corps restructuring the size of its force, the right leadership will be a key aspect of training and developing the Marines who continue their careers and those who will join the ranks in the years to come, according to Marine Corps leadership.
Marines like Walters will undoubtedly play a role in the Corps’ transition and each individual’s development, Potts remarked.
“There are good Marines, there are great Marines and there are exceptional Marines; Gunnery Sergeant Walters is an exceptional Marine,” Potts said. “I am confident retiring this year, after over 30 years in the Corps, knowing I am leaving our young Marines, and those to come, in the hands of senior staff noncommissioned officers like Gunnery Sergeant Walters.”
It is only “poetic justice” that Walters be meritoriously promoted, according to Potts.
“Every Marine in his section has been meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant since coming to Albany and all our Marines have benefited from his leadership and influence,” Potts said. “All Marines, and the Corps as a whole, have a bright future with leaders like (him).”