MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- He sits in a small office in the Headquarters Battalion building. The desk has several stacks of papers and record books arranged in piles according to their purpose for being out. The framed Parris Island poster sits on the wall behind his desk A Marine, who has just passed two years in service, sits in front of him. He places his hands on the desk and asks intently what the Marine's intentions are in the Corps and what can he do to make them possible.
He is the career planner, Staff Sgt. James Rideaux, a native of Sunset, La. He replaced the former career planner, Gunnery Sgt. Darrell Stillings, a Tampa, Fla., native, July 1, but the same helpful dedication is still available.
Rideaux brings with him vast Marine Corps experience with him to the position. He enlisted in 1988 and has been stationed all over the world. His duty stations include, Okinawa and Iwakuni, Japan, Camp Lejeune, N.C., New River Air Station, N.C., a prior tour at MCLB Albany and most recently with the 3rd Force Service Support Group at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Rideaux also participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama as well as Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
According to Rideaux, he volunteered to become a career planner for a challenge and to help Marines in ways he wouldn't be able to in other secondary occupational specialties.
"It allows me to talk to Marines one-on-one, provide first term Marines with insight about the Corps, and help them determine what they want," said Rideaux. "Career planners are here to answer any questions Marines have and clarify any misunderstandings about career changes or reenlistments.
"Of course I want to retain Marines," Rideaux continued, "but I'm here to help them with their goals whether it is in the Corps or in the civilian sector."
According to Stillings, Rideaux has all the characteristic to be a great career planner.
"I have every confidence in his abilities," said Stillings. "He is academy (career planner academy) trained and I have no doubt he will do an outstanding job."
Rideaux admits that he does not have all the answers, but is learning and is willing to work for Marines to find the information they need.
"No two Marines and no two Marines' goals are the same," said Rideaux. "Each case is different and presents unique challenges. Retaining first-term Marines is one of the most challenging parts of the job, but it is also the most rewarding. Learning a good Marine's goals and helping them along their chosen career path is a great feeling.
"It is very rewarding when I see a Marine make a career enhancing move such as going into an officer program, change MOS (military occupational specialty) to one they enjoy more or just reenlist in an MOS they love doing and are good at, " he said.
Rideaux tells all first term Marines to sit back and really think about what they want to do if they determine they want out of the Corps.
"A lot of first term Marines are relatively young and have a lot of responsibility," said Rideaux. "That, combined with being away from home for a long time and the feeling that they still have a long obligation with the Marine Corps can make staying in [service] seem unappealing.
"I ask them to sit back and think about what they would like to accomplish in these years if they were not in the Corps and then try to help them accomplish that," Rideaux continued.
According to Rideaux, he arrived here during one of the busiest times of the year, but he has found it very good learning experience. It has allowed him to become very familiar with Marine Corps Orders and requirements of his job very quickly.
"When I arrived here, I hit the ground running," said Rideaux.
"My job is to provide Marines with an ongoing supply of information," he continued. "No one can retain all the information I need to provide Marines with what they need to know [for lateral moves or reenlistment]. I am constantly looking up Marine Corps Orders and answering Marines' questions. I may not be able to answer a question right away, but if I can't, I will look it up and get back to them to make sure they get the right information.
"I would rather tell someone I will get back to them with the information than give them the wrong information," said Rideaux.
According to Stillings and Rideaux, being a career planner means constantly learning new information and no matter how much time a Marines spends in the field, they will never know all the answers.
"I look forward to serving the Marines here as a career planner," said Rideaux. "Gunny Stillings did an outstanding job here and I hope to do just as well if not better. He has left some large shoes to fill."