MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
His departure was as quiet as his demeanor as he walked out of Building 3500 for the last time as an enlisted Marine Jan. 15.
Gunnery Sgt. Martin D. Thomas, acting company first sergeant, Headquarters Company, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, has been selected for the Marine Corps Warrant Officer School and is scheduled to report to Quantico, Va., on Jan 21. Thomas, a native of Moss Bluff, La., graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1993. e attended college at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., for a short time and worked various other jobs until joining the Marine Corps in Feb. 1996.
“I had two cousins in the Marine Corps and had wanted to join since I was in elementary school. I was impressed with not only the uniforms, but their image of being tough and I wanted that challenge,” he said.
Thomas reported to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif.; combat training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and military occupational specialty training as an administrative clerk at Camp Johnson, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“Following my training, I was stationed at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and enjoyed playing football while I was there. From there, I went to Camp Kinser for one year, then to Marine Corps Air Station Camp Futenma, and ended my six-year tour at the main administration center at Camp Foster, all in Okinawa, Japan. Though I never went on any combat deployments, I was a part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Cobra Gold Exercise in Thailand and the Joint Task Force 536 Tsunami effort in the Philippines,” Thomas said.
According to Marine Administrative Message 0050/09, the warrant officer program is designed to provide the Marine Corps with technical specialists who perform duties that require extensive knowledge of a particular MOS, and who can be assigned to successive tours of duty in their primary MOS. It further states that MOS credibility is a key factor for selection and applicants must be technically and professionally qualified.
Capt. Charles R. Johnston, headquarters company commander, MCLB Albany, said, “Gunnery Sergeant Thomas is a knowledgeable administrator and a dependable leader who expertly balances mission requirements with Marine welfare. He is the definition of the complete Marine. Personally and professionally, he maintains high standards of personal conduct, respect and is an example for others to emulate. I will be sorry to see him depart but I know that the Marine Corps will be stronger as he moves forward through his career.”
Thomas has been here since Nov. 2005, which is unusually long for a tour of duty. He explained that it was due to his original permanent change of station orders being cancelled. During that time, he applied for and was accepted to warrant officer school. He is scheduled to graduate in May and make a permanent change of station move to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
“My goal since joining the Marine Corps was to become a gunnery sergeant. Since I was able to attain the rank so early in my career, I wanted to pursue another challenge, so I applied to become a warrant officer. As a warrant officer, I will be in a position to help establish new policies and procedures that will directly affect the administrative community and the careers of junior Marines,” he said.
Thomas said his advice for all junior Marines is to take advantage of as many training classes for their MOS as possible, pursue their education and volunteer at different events to gain additional experience.
“This will enable them to get recognized, rewarded and placed on meritorious boards, which will help them in their careers. It is also important to get the highest score possible on their physical training and combat fitness tests, because you can be a good Marine, but if your training is second class, you can get over looked,” he said.
Thomas explained that he has goals of attaining the rank of WO4 by the time he reaches 20 years in the Marine Corps. He said he would like to retire near Dallas, Tx., but for now, he will make the best of his remaining years in the Marines with his wife, Yvalondra and their four children.
“I will miss the family environment here in Albany because I have a lot of time to spend with them and my church family as well. The best thing about being a Marine is the experiences you get and the relationships you build, which are often maintained beyond your career. There is nothing greater on earth than knowing you have that lifetime connection to other Marines around the world, which is priceless,” he said.
Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Mykoo, sergeant major, MCLB Albany, said, “Gunny Thomas has a quiet, yet confident leadership style. These traits will make him a successful warrant officer. His outlooks on taskers are always, roger that I got it! After spending the last few months as the company first sergeant; his leadership knowledge has expanded with a better understanding of higher headquarters requirements.”