MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Senior enlisted Marines from Marine Corps Recruiting Command gathered at the Crossroads Inn at Quantico for the Senior Enlisted Conference to brainstorm solutions to challenges facing MCRC April 21 and 22.
The Senior Enlisted Conference, led by MCRC’s senior enlisted Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Logan, involved senior recruiting leaders from the two recruiting regions and six districts.
“The goal of the conference was to ensure we had a unified effort and focus on the commanding general’s 2011 goals and milestones,” said Logan.
An important goal outlined by Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, commanding general, MCRC, is to increase the recruitment of highly qualified men and women from diverse backgrounds, especially among officers.
To put diversity in perspective for the senior enlisted, Master Sgt. Lawrence Clark, officer programs operations chief, MCRC, explained MCRC’s goal for officer recruitment.
“We want to access officers at a level that meets the face of the qualified population,” said Clark.
In the United States, 12 percent of the population is African-American, 16 percent is Hispanic and 15 percent consider themselves other.
“We haven’t done enough to address the diversity problem,” said Sgt. Maj. Sylvester Daniels, sergeant major for the Western Recruiting Region and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. “We want the Corps to represent the face of the nation.”
According to 2010 U.S. Marine Corps Concepts and Programs, the Marine Corps does not sufficiently represent the face of the nation. Six percent of Marine officers are African-American, 5.7 percent are Hispanic and 5.9 percent consider themselves other. To combat the disparity between the demographics of the nation and the Marine Corps, the senior enlisted leaders discussed ways to find more qualified minority officer candidates for officer selection officers.
“The commandant has made increasing the diversity of our Corps a priority in his planning guidance,” said Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, speaking to the conferences attendees. “When you look at the Marine Corps, it should look like America.”
To help address this problem, the Marines were brought up to speed on existing programs that they can use to increase minority officer accessions.
One such program is the Frederick C. Branch Leadership Scholarship. The Branch scholarship is a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, named after the Corps’ first African-American officer, that is offered each year to highly qualified men and women of all races attending any one of 17 eligible historically black colleges or universities. In years past, some Branch scholarships have gone unused due to a lack of awareness of the program among OSO’s.
After two days of discussion and problem solving, MCRC’s senior enlisted Marines met via video conference with Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, incoming sergeant major of the Marine Corps..
Barrett echoed Kent’s words on the importance of recruiting to the Marine Corps future and pledged his continuing support for MCRC when he takes his post as the 17th sergeant major of the Marine Corps on June 9.
“The first thing I will do as sergeant major of the Marine Corps is to visit the 48 recruiting stations and recruit depots,” said Barrett. “Serving as the sergeant major of Recruiting Station Cleveland prepared me more than anything for this next post I have the privilege of taking.”
According to Logan, the importance of having the support of Barrett and Kent is crucial for the command.
“They’ve pledged their support to our mission,” said Logan. “The importance of the engagement and involvement from the sergeant major of the Marine Corps cannot be understated.”
Following Barrett’s talk, the senior enlisted leaders pitched their ideas for making the command work more efficiently to the commanding general.
According to Maj. Gen. Bailey, input from his senior enlisted Marines makes his job easier.
“The senior enlisted have been the backbone of my success,” said Maj. Gen. Bailey.
After hearing their ideas, Maj. Gen. Bailey discussed the All Community Approach initiative and other programs he deemed important to the commands success moving forward.
One of those was Junior Rank football camps and the Semper Fidelis All American Bowl, a nationally televised East-West format game featuring some of the top high school senior football players across the country. The Semper Fidelis All American Bowl is slated to take place January 3, 2012, in Phoenix.
Moving forward, Logan hopes for annual conferences like this to aid MCRC in its mission of turning the United States best and brightest into Marines.