RS NY SNCOICs come home to their roots
By Staff Sgt. Amanda Rose Hay
| | June 07, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING STATION NEW YORK --
The last place a Marine on recruiting duty in New York City expects to be discussing his pool program is on an obstacle course while being attacked by sand fleas at Parris Island, S.C. However, for Recruiting Station New York Staff NonCommissioned-Officers-in Charge it was a reality for their mid-year planning conference in May.
The SNCOICs and command group recently took a weeklong trip to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to reacquaint themselves with their “green side” and make them more proficient leaders at the Recruiting Sub-Station level.
The midyear planning conference is an annual occurrence to get all the key players at the RS on the same page. Overall, the purpose is to pin point strengths and weaknesses for each RSS by reviewing statistics and trends; state what needs to happen in regards to shipping, contracting and quality in order to maintain success.
Major J.J. Dill, commanding officer of RS NY, had a few other “takeaways” in mind when he chose the recruit depot to hold the conference. The unique location and its assets allowed the SNCOICs to pick up several tools they couldn’t get elsewhere. Normally held on the strip of Atlantic City, NJ in a more rest-and-relaxation environment, this provided more of an upfront, hands-on, “prepare-your-pool” type of environment.
It gives them the focus to accomplish mission successfully by preparing pool mentally and physically, Dill said. End state is thorough understanding of where they are halfway through the year and where they need to go.
Aside from the classroom briefs, the bulk of the schedule was filled with training including an obstacle course, formation run, Moment of Truth brief with recruits, getting classes on waivers, tattoos and the Recruit Liaison Section process, visiting recruits at Medical Rehabilitation Platoon/Physical Conditioning Platoon, firing on the rifle range, Crucible events, morning colors ceremony and observing a graduation ceremony.
For Staff Sgt. Jeff Hess, who recently became the SNCOIC of West Bronx, the most beneficial “takeaway” was the Moment of Truth brief. Hess said sitting through the actual brief reemphasized the importance of screening thoroughly at the recruiter’s level to avoid problems later at Parris Island.
The physical training was out of the ordinary for those who have been on recruiting duty for a while. For some SNCOICs, they haven’t been to a base in more than 10 years, let alone do an obstacle.
Sergeant Maj. Fenton Reese, RS NY sergeant major, emphasized the importance of the staying in shape while on recruiting and being able to set the example. “We must never forget where we come from. In order to think strong, you need to be strong.”
Dill added that the purpose of holding the conference at Parris Island was to allow the RS NY SNCOICs to revisit their roots, give them a chance to see how training has changed and give them the opportunity to experience the “Crucible,” which did not exist when they were recruits.
Gunnery Sgt. Michael Mack, RSS Flatbush SNCOIC, along with four other Marines executed the “weaver,” a Crucible event requiring the movement of an ammunition can over a wooden obstacle. “Seeing the video and then actually going through it yourself are two totally different things,” Mack said. “You realize how hard it is when you’re trying to do it yourself.”
Mack had to laugh and restate the obvious to the corporal instructor at Weapons and Field Training Battalion who gave the debrief and pointed out the misuse of d-rings. A few of the SNCOICs had the d-rings attached to their belts. “It’s been a while,” he laughed. “Our d-rings say 1800 Marines.”
Gunnery Sgt. Ruben Pena, assistant recruiter instructor for RS NY, yelled down to his fellow Marines while looking like a human pretzel caught in the weaver, “I think we should go home and hug all our poolees.”
Mixing up the schedule and giving them a break from the heat and the bugs, the Marines retreated to a classroom for their FY “warning order” from the commanding officer. The CO broke it down by RSS so each SNCOIC would know where to focus their efforts to combat weaknesses and exploit strengths. The briefs left no stone unturned. In response to having their stats exposed in front of their peers, Master Sgt. Clarke, said “No one is embarrassed; that’s how we do business here in New York. We learn from each other – work as a team.”
Staff Sgt. Douglas Gerhardt, RSS Smithtown SNCOIC, agreed. “It allows us to develop as leaders and discuss what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately, it helps us determine where we need to be to come across the finish line together.”
The culminating event for the trip was observing a graduation ceremony. Staff Sgt. Stephen Eagar, RSS Patchogue SNCOIC, said, “Not only did it remind me of when I graduated, but it’s a chance to see the result of all your hard work and time.” Eagar also got a chance to see two of his poolees graduate that day. “Seeing this takes you back and refreshes your memory of what it’s all about.”
Aside from the training aspect, it helped build rapport and communication amongst all.
Since the nightlife and entertainment off base was not quite what recruiters from NY are accustomed to, there was lots of quality time to spend together. “It was good because you get to know the Marines who are out here in the fight with you,” said Staff Sgt. Larry Owens, RSS Brooklyn SNCOIC.
The SNCOICs of RSNY are a combination of Marines who are fulfilling their three-year tour and those who are providing stability as career recruiters. Their experience in the Corps, time in service and military occupational specialty all vary. Combine the mix of the energy and leadership of newest SNCOIC with the devotion and wisdom of a seasoned career recruiter- and there’s a winning team. Regardless of their differences, they depend on each other and make it happen.
Clarke said, “Teamwork has always been our biggest strength and our results and successful history speaks for itself.” Recruiting Station NY has been ranked number one in Eastern Recruiting Region for the past nine out of ten years. “We always come through for each other. Doing things like this can only make us stronger.”