Marine Corps Recruiting Command bids farewell to recruiting leaders
By Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | May 19, 2006
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) bid farewell to its top leaders May 19, during a relief and appointment and general officer farewell ceremony held at the Al Gray Research Center, here.
Sergeant Major Fenton Reese assumed post as the Sergeant Major of MCRC from Sgt. Maj. James Futrell as more than 300 Marines and sailors from MCRC and their family members attended the ceremony. Also in attendance, were the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the commanding generals from both the Eastern and Western Recruiting Regions and 57 sergeants major assigned to the recruiting command. In addition, Major General Walter E. Gaskin, commanding general, MCRC, bid farewell as he assumes command of the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C., in June. Brigadier General Richard Tryon will assume command as the commanding general of MCRC this summer.
Futrell, who had served three previous tours on recruiting duty, served 23 months as the sergeant major of MCRC and during this time he helped lead recruiting efforts through one of its most challenging times. During a brief interview, Futrell commented on the vigilance that Marine recruiters exhibited while recruiting during the Corps’ fight against the Global War on Terror.
“Recruiting hasn’t been easy and yet the recruiters never used the war as an excuse – It wasn’t an issue for them,” Futrell explained. “They have been battle tested and once you’ve been battle tested, nothing can knock you down.”
During his remarks at the ceremony, Futrell thanked everyone for attending and thanked those who helped support him and the recruiting effort. He pointed out that it was the all around leadership that helped bring success to recruiting.
“It’s the leadership that I’m impressed with,” Futrell said during the interview. “Having the commanders out there walking in the recruiters’ shoes and helping them carry the packs along the way was key.”
During Gaskin and Futrell’s tenure, the Marine Corps faced a challenging recruiting environment as the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Iraqi Freedom continued to shape national opinion. However, through steady leadership and the decision to implement an involuntary extension for certain recruiters helped MCRC reach a stability that has become evident in the Corps current recruiting goals. In a letter addressed to all members of the recruiting command, Gaskin thanked those assigned to the recruiting force for all their efforts.
”Over the past couple of years, I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing Marines, and I have witnessed what some would call the impossible... recruiting today’s youth in today’s environment,” Gaskin wrote. “But the impossible is only a challenge to a Marine, and you have proved that proposition time and time again.”
Even with a mid-year change in leadership, recruiting goals remain promising and the new leadership is focused and ready to meet the Corps’ manpower needs.
“Primarily, I want to set a leadership example for others to follow and to continue to unite the forces to make everyone understand that we are one team, one fight and that we all help and depend on each other for success,” Reese said.
As a lead in for the relief and appointment ceremony, the sergeants major assigned to the recruiting command held a week-long sergeants major conference that allowed the enlisted leadership of recruiting the opportunity to review some of the topics concerning recruiting in today’s environment. Some the topics discussed included the needs of the career recruiting force, developing subordinate Marines, and where the future of recruiting is headed. For some, the conference helped bring the enlisted leadership of recruiting closer.
“With this being my first year on the duty, the interaction with the Sergeants Major was the highlight of the conference,” said Sgt. Maj. Stoner R. Taylor, sergeant major of Recruiting Station, Seattle, Wash. “The guys who have been out here two or three years already have faced the trials and tribulations of the duty and it was important to learn about what they did to overcome their obstacles.”
The ceremony concluded with a reception held at the Clubs of Quantico. Sgt. Maj. Futrell will assume post as the sergeant major of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, here in June.