RS Buffalo climbs to top, leads the fight
By Sgt. Danny L. Patterson
| | October 14, 2004
BUFFALO, N.Y. --
During the Annual Marine Corps Recruiting Command National Commander's Conference at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., Recruiting Station Buffalo, N.Y., was declared number one in Eastern Recruiting Region and presented the Gold Team Award for Fiscal Year 2004 by Brig. Gen. Richard T. Tyron, commanding general for ERR, Oct. 14.
Major Lawrence M. Landon, commanding officer, RS Buffalo, N.Y., received this award, among many others, on behalf of the Marines and civilians of RS Buffalo. The Station was also presented with the Most Improved Award, the Bulldog Award, and the Iron Mike Award for their success in both enlisted and officer recruiting. General Michael W. Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, also presented Landon with the Commandant of the Marine Corps Superior Achiever Award for FY-04.
Over the past two years, the Marines of Recruiting Station Buffalo, N.Y., have combined training, leadership and teamwork to become one the most successful assets in the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
Only two short years ago, in July 2002, Buffalo was ranked 23 of the 24 Recruiting Stations in ERR.
According to Master Sgt. Luis A. Colon, recruiter instructor for Buffalo, the climb to the top wasn't always an easy one.
"When I first arrived here in October 2002, mission was always hit or miss," the New York City native said. "There were months when we would barely make mission on mission day, and then there were months when we would miss the assigned mission."
Colon explained that the transformation of RS Buffalo began during Fiscal Year 2003; that's when the command became focused on training leaders both at the command level and the staff non-commissioned officers-in-charge level. Training focused on leading Marines and accomplishing the mission, which ensured a strong and unified team.
"We focused on the basics of recruiting and preached mission accomplishment until making mission became the normal way of business," Colon said. "At first, the Marines didn't really believe they could win, but with training, they knew what had to be done to become successful."
Although every Marine in the RS received monthly training at the All-Hands at the end of each month, SNCOIC's of each station spent double the time in training, which according to Colon has been the biggest part of Buffalo's success.
"We spent more time training the SNCOIC's because we teach them what we expect from every Marine and in turn the leaders expect the same from their Marines and don't take any less," Colon explained. "Everyone is held accountable."
By the time FY-03 closed out, RS Buffalo was showing signs of positive progress. By October 1, 2003, their slow, steady climb had them ranked 16 of 24 recruiting stations in ERR.
In 2004 the Marines of Buffalo hit the streets of Western New York with the determination to win. According to Maj. Lawrence Landon, commanding officer for RS Buffalo, although the Marines faced challenges during the year, nothing would stand in their way to win.
"Every month is a challenge. The nagging war concerns, personnel shortages and renorming of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery are a few of the challenges we have faced," Landon stated. "Through teamwork, strong staff non-commissioned officer leadership and the natural aggressiveness of any Marine, we have overcome those obstacles."
According to Colon, Buffalo's ranking of first place in ERR for FY-04 is guaranteed. Buffalo is the only RS in ERR that can say that they have only missed one phaseline this FY, compared to every other RS who has missed at least two. This will be the first time ever that Buffalo has been ranked number one in ERR for a fiscal year.
This year is also the first time since 1990 that Buffalo has won RS of the Quarter for 1st Marine Corps District. They not only won the award, but also won the award for both first and third quarters. The station has also won Station of the Month for 1st MCD five times this year.
Landon said he is proud of the hard work his Marines do to lead them to this success.
"I am proud of each Marine and thankful to all the family members' support," Landon said. "The community looks at the Marine Corps as smart, tough and elite warriors. Our Marines are exactly that."
Looking forward to the next year, Landon is sure Buffalo will continue to lead the way with their dedication and teamwork.
"Every unit has things they need to work on; we plan to maintain our strengths and improve our weaknesses and continue to develop better leaders in the Marine Corps," Landon said.
According to many, such as Gunnery Sgt. P. J. Romesser, SNCOIC of Recruiting Substation West Seneca and future Assistant Recruiter Instructor, RS Buffalo has set themselves up for great success and will be strong for a long time.
"Keeping a positive attitude is important for our success. We will continue to be a strong station because of the team we have built," the Sheldon, N.Y., native said.