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Marine earns rare meritorious promotion

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | May 24, 2016

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Eleven principles shape the foundation of a Marine Corps leader.

Staff Sgt. Steven McGahee, postal clerk, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, learned and honed these leadership principles throughout his career to help set himself apart from his peers, resulting in a recent meritorious promotion to his current rank.

McGahee competed in and won several meritorious promotion selection boards to include MCLB Albany, Marine Corps Installations East and the final board at Marine Corps Installations Command, for the rare promotion.

Of the leadership principles, McGahee considers “know yourself and seek self-improvement” his most important. 

“With (this principle) you are never settling (for just average),” McGahee said. “You are always, constantly learning different ways to improve yourself and if you improve yourself, you are improving your Marines as well.”

To be technically and tactically proficient is the Marine Corps’ first leadership principle, but McGahee explains why he created his own order.

“If you seek self-improvement, know your capabilities and are constantly striving to be the best, being technically and tactically proficient will all fall into place,” he said. “If you are constantly learning ways to better yourself, (you will) become a better leader.”

McGahee, born in Macon, Georgia, and raised in Roberta, Georgia, said this was his second time competing for meritorious promotion to staff sergeant.

“I did not have to prepare too much because I try to stay on the forefront of keeping everything up-to-date,” he revealed. “(Winning the board) just cemented in my mind that if you do everything you can do as a Marine, you are going to succeed. It has been a great honor to represent Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.”

This is the third time McGahee, 28, has been meritoriously promoted in his seven-year career. He was meritoriously promoted to the ranks of lance corporal in September 2009, and to sergeant in November 2013.

“The reason I believe I was meritoriously promoted was because I've learned something from all Marines I have served with, from the ranks of private up to Sergeant Major,” he said. “I learned to take the good and the bad from people, put away what will not work for (me) and take what works and run with it.

“If you (are) a good Marine and (are) there for your Marines, your senior leadership will see that and they will want you to (fill) the next (leadership) role and (receive the) next rank,” he continued.

McGahee gave some advice and insight for those seeking their first or next meritorious promotion.

“To be a well-rounded Marine, make sure you have a first class combat fitness test and physical fitness test, strive to shoot expert on the rifle and pistol ranges and remember to put your Marines first and they will put you first,” he stressed.

Continuing to set the example, McGahee has obtained a black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, volunteers in his community both on and off base, and is currently pursuing a bachelors of science degree online in technical management with a project management minor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is scheduled to graduate in March 2017.

In addition, McGahee has accepted another challenge to excel in the Marine Corps as he has received orders to attend recruiting school in San Diego, California.

Reflecting on his three-year tour aboard the installation, McGahee said he arrived as a corporal in August 2013 and will be leaving as a meritorious staff sergeant.

“This just shows that you can accomplish anything,” he added. “It’s been a great journey.”

Staff Sgt. Anthony Curtis, postal chief, MCLB Albany, gave McGahee many accolades for his leadership, dedication and commitment to the Corps and those fellow Marines around him.

“I say it over and over again to my fellow Marines that Staff Sergeant McGahee is what I call a ‘blue print’ when I think of the whole Marine concept,” Curtis said. “If you look at his record, he has hit all the wickets of what the Marine Corps is looking for. He has always set the bar high for the Marines and I think the whole installation is going to miss him because he has inspired a lot of Marines.”


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