"Commanding Officer Primer draft"
DRAFT AVIATION COMMANDING OFFICER PRIMER (However, applicable to all unit types) (2012 Edition: Now with colonel command gouge as well) (Use this, lose this, change it, add to it, make it MOS applicable, but pass it on to others) (If you would like an electronic copy e-mail email@example.com) 1 DRAFT Introduction This document started out as two or three pages of notes and bullets in the 1997 timeframe between a couple of aviator majors who were looking to capture some sound advice, lessons learned, and sayings they had witnessed or catalogued over the years. They observed and recorded lessons learned from commanders who succeeded and led their units with high morale, from others who failed or stumbled along not quite sure what to do, and from those who managed just fine and who led solid, good units. Their hope and aspiration was to prepare themselves for command and to prepare others by compiling in one location a list of things to consider, to remember, to eschew, and to emulate. Over the years this list grew and many others contributed and added notes. These same, original aviator authors gathered once in a while to compare notes on command and to continue adding to this list of lessons and thoughts. The dialogue itself was always very useful because it is, as they say, lonely at the top when you are the commander – you need to seek counsel of your fellow commanders from all elements of the MAGTF because you do not have all the answers and you will make mistakes. However, you will have your own lessons learned, you will stumble and or excel, and become in the process, hopefully, a smarter and better leader of Marines. The version you see here was somewhat formalized in 2004-2005, yet it has continued to grow and morph since then. It was agreed that this be kept as a draft and a living document, so we continue to look for added thoughts and lessons. Take it and run with it, improve it, make it applicable to your community, but above all, share it! This compendium of notes, thoughts, and lessons is not a magic book; command is a fine art that combines your personal style, goals, and mission. It will aid you and make you think, however. And if you are weak in a particular area, it may just help you start to solve the puzzle of what you are supposed to do. YOU MAY NOT AGREE with everything in this primer; that’s okay, do what suits your style - this is a guide not a prescriptive rule book. In 2008, when I took over Colonel-level command, I handed this draft out to my staff and company commanders (it was a ground unit) and told them to “Read this (along with my staff guidance), this is my playbook and this is how I think. Read it and you will know where I am coming from.” I am one of the last original authors on active duty. My job now is to make sure I share my knowledge and all of these lessons learned. Contact me anytime if you have questions or are wondering what to do with a particular problem or if you want me to review your command philosophy, guidance, etc. Others did that for me, I will do the same for you. Semper fidelis and enjoy command! Col Phil “Boz” Rogers 2012 Philippe.firstname.lastname@example.org 2 DRAFT Commanding Officer Primer Command at the gun squadron level is one of the greatest jobs in the Marines Corps. It is at once a job of team captaincy, club management, combat leadership and occasional dictator. Over the span of your command you will be required to make decisions that will (not could) affect the lives of your officers and Marines and their families. You will be directly responsible for how your team functions. You must train them. In combat you will be the difference between life and death for the Marines you support. Remember this. This primer is just that: a primer. For those of you who have been away from the operating forces for a while, it is intended to give you a refresher. For those of you who have been in the Wing, Squadron, or Group system very recently, it is intended to refocus you. For all of you, it will serve as an aide-memoire over the course of command. It is a fairly long though NOT exhaustive list of thoughts, ideas and considerations. It is not a directive. It is not a checklist. Some of the items are situationally relevant while others have a more universal application. It will make you think. You determine its application. CO Hopefully you have been thinking about command for a long time and you have most things worked out in your head. Do this beforehand because once you take over the clock starts and the fun begins, and things can quickly become overcome by events. Do all your writing and thinking and tinkering beforehand because it’s too late once the gun goes off. Before you take over you will need to write a Safety Policy Statement, an EEO Policy Statement, a Hazing Policy Statement, a Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy Statements, a Philosophy of Command or Commander’s Guidance Statement and perhaps others depending upon the command you take over. Make them one-pagers, written in plain speak and make sure they support each other. Put your personality into them; make them a worthwhile read. Ask yourself, does this make sense? Is the message plain and clear? Bounce them off other former commanders and your future boss so he knows you have your stuff squared. Have your staff and some of your future Marines read it and ask their opinion. Is it clear? Does it make sense? Is it forgettable or does it stand out? Have your Base, Wing, Group, and or Squadron representatives for each of these programs read it for their opinion and to see of it meshes with higher echelon statements. Have these ready to post the day you take command or the day after. Take a long look at your unit’s readiness and mission. Remember, you are a precious caretaker of a valuable commodity. Don’t be a “sprinter” unless forced to be, be a “fast marathoner”. Watch out for perstempo; don’t run a squadron into the ground because of your own personal goals; squadron of the year and such awards will take care of themselves. Think if it this way, it is NOT your squadron, it’s the Marine Corps’…it’s been loaned to you to take temporary charge of its assets, mission and Marines, they are 3 DRAFT counting on you. Balance readiness, mission, Core Values and quality of life with where and what your squadron is doing. If you don’t know your future MAG commander, take the time to write a “letter of introduction” and then call him to discuss your plans before you take command. There are at least three courses you will have to attend (Commanders Course, Senior Officer Legal Course and Safety Course), others you will do well in attending (MAWTS Commanders Course, Media Symposium Course, Installation Commanders Course, and FRO, SAPRO, and other program courses), and most likely you will have to refresh at the FRS. A brief discussion on those plans will help the MAG commander place you on the staff in an appropriate job to accomplish your goals before you take command or show him you have a plan of attack. Come up with a Commander’s Planning Guidance for your staff – brief them on it and what you will expect as the new commander. What you plan to keep and what you plan to change from the old commander. Give them your current assessment of the situation at takeover time. Give them your mission statements and goals: personal and for the unit. Tell them what your focus of effort will be. Empower your Marines. Develop your officers, SNCOs, NCOs and Marines into the future leaders of our Corps as someone once did for you. More on this later. There is no magical sequence to taking over, do it how you want to do it. Give a 96 to the Marines or don’t after taking command (arrange this with your higher commander of course). Remember, however, that the first few days will set the tone for your command. Your new squadron might be very used to doing something a prior way and so it might be tough to break them out of the old mode and into the new (that is, if you plan to change a lot of things). Here a few thoughts on taking over: Keep your change of command comments short; let the focus be on the old guy leaving, you’ll have plenty of time to speak to them later. Get your Marines out of the sun or bad weather. Have pizzas and cold drinks waiting for them when they get done. If you give them a day off, 72 or 96, consider keeping the officers around for a day or two of introduction and getting down to business. Have a fun change of command party. Have your own party at your house; break the ice with all. Speak to all hands all at once, let them know who you are, what you are about. Talk to the officers alone; tell them your expectations. Talk to the SNCOs alone; ask them what’s good, what’s broke, what needs a fixin’. Ask them about the health of the fleet, how safety is perceived, if they are being led. Tell them what you expect from them. Talk to the NCOs. Same questions as above; let them know how you will empower them and what your expectations are for NCOs. Talk to the LCPLs and below, pulse to see how the morale is…compare it with what the chain of command thinks. You may not get much feedback since they are not used to you, but they will know you are open and keen to hear feedback. Tell everyone up front what you expect, what your rules are, what pisses you off. 4 DRAFT Set goals…tell everyone what they are. Remind them often of these goals, or if the goals change. Call the duty hut the first night after you take command; see how the duty answers the phone. Does he even know your name? Check periodically to see how others perceive the squadron when calling. Set Commanding Officer’s office calls with all of your officers and senior SNCOs – this will take time but you will learn more up front about your unit in the first few days then you would over a few months any other way. Talk to all new joins – set the tone with them and what you expect. Remember, you are making a first impression to that Marine as well. Have a thorough check in sheet that all Marines must use regardless of rank. Make sure the SGTMAJ and XO see the Marine and his SRB or OQR before anyone checks with you. The SGTMAJ should have laid the ground rules on behavior, expectations; the XO will give the long list of “do’s and don’ts”; so you can just talk to the Marine and get to know him. Emphasize what’s important to you: safety, mission, etc. Talk to all those getting out or transferring at length. Have a thorough check out sheet that asks the tough questions – you’ll never get more brutally honest feedback than from someone getting out of the Corps. Ask them on the check out sheet: What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? What do we need to fix? Any waste, fraud, abuse? Any EO problems? Any drug use going on? Did you get good leadership from the OICs, SCNOICs, and NCOs? How am I, the CO, doing? Be prepared for shocks. (More on this later.) Set up a solid check-in program. This can start way before the Marine reaches the unit with a command sponsor. Set up a sponsorship program. Have Marines escorted around base as they check in. Make sure they have a buddy that shows them where everything is and how to get things done. You’re setting this Marine’s impressions for your unit for the next three to four years. Have a program to check in the spouses as well. Welcome aboard letter. Consider having one. It will set a nice tone. Assign the Marine a sponsor as well to help hew arrivals check into the unit and into the community more smoothly. Set your policy on FITREPs, PRO/CONs, and awards immediately. Tell them what you expect as the base line average from your FITREPs, how you expect them to get FITREPs to you. Teach them how to write good FITREPs. Teach them what needs to be said to promote their Marines and make them competitive. Tell them what the baseline PRO/CON for your unit is (Ex: “My average, good to go Marine who comes to work everyday and does a solid job is 4.3/4.3…prove to me he is lower or higher.”) You are the one who holds the hammer on parity and inflation. More on awards later. Insist on counseling as per the Marine Corps Order. Marines MUST be counseled within 30 days of arriving or taking on a job. Thereafter, Marines must be counseled every 90 days. Make them prove to you that your officers and SNCOs are counseling and they know the Marine better than you do. The first time a Marine is counseled should not be when he is receiving his FITREP or PRO/CON marks. Make sure that Marines understand what they their FITREPs and 5 DRAFT PRO/CON marks mean and how they compare to others. If you are not happy with a Marine’s performance tell him so. Make sure your ‘Open Door’ policy works, if no one is coming by either you have the best damn unit in the world or someone is keeping Marines from your door. Pull in Marines from time to time to your office and spot check morale. The best open door policy is enforced through daily contact with the Marines of your unit…i.e. leadership by walking around. Tell your Equal Opportunity Advisor representative what you expect right away (more on EO later). Tell your FRO what you expect from him/her (more on this later). Figure out when the last unit urinalysis sweep was done and schedule one immediately with your SACO (more on SACO later). Schedule time with each department head and ask him to tell you how he intends to run his department for you over the next 6-18 months. See if he has a good plan, let him use it if so. If he doesn’t have a plan, he needs to make one, fast. Give him guidance, more or less depending upon your level of comfort with him (more on responsibilities later). Have your staff brief you on significant upcoming personnel changes and their effects and what the get-well plan is. Have the MALS 6000 monitor attend the brief and tell you what the priorities and shortages currently are. Have your staff brief you immediately on upcoming deployments, qualifications, inspections or significant events and their status, give direction immediately. If you did not get it during your turnover, ask for the following within the first week of command (see timeline for takeover later in document): o Get the latest DEOMI command climate surveys run for the unit Ask what measures were taken (if any) by previous commander to rectify identified command climate issues o Set up a new DEOMI command climate survey within 90 days of taking over…brief the results to the command. o Find out what pending legal cases your unit has, do not get surprised by not knowing you have courts-martial pending, etc. Have your SJA or legal officer brief you the legal report (all cases pending or in adjudication). If you don’t have a legal report, start one. This should include Congrints, requests mast, pending or completed investigations, and other administrative inquiries or investigations as well. o Find out which Marines or Sailors (if any) that you have in the brig. There are command requirements to visit incarcerated personnel weekly. This Marine of Sailor is still yours unless a definite handoff has been affected. o Find out which Marines or Sailors are sick, wounded, or hospitalized and where they are being housed or hospitalized. Go visit them. o Is anyone displaying suicidal tendencies or has unit Force Preservation Board (Human Factors Board) detailed anyone who needs close supervision/overwatch? o Who has had suicidal ideations (to include spouses) 6 DRAFT o Who are your EFMP personnel or who have family members who have EFMP issues? o Are there any requests mast or EO complaints left unresolved or dangling? o Ask when the last Inspector General inspection, Command Inspection Program inspection, Marine Corps Administrative Analysis Team (MCAAT) inspection, Marine Corps Fiscal Evaluation Analysis Team (MCFEAT) inspection, Data Assurance Team (DAT) inspection, and or Maintenance Department inspection was last conducted or which are upcoming. Get briefed on the results of the inspection and more importantly, what the unit is doing to remedy failures, findings and discrepancies. o Ask for the last unit safety training accident report or 8-day or 30-day death briefs (if any). What were lessons learned? Has anything changed since? Are new mitigation measures in place to address trends or issues? o Look at the latest Crane report (latest weapons accountability report) o Ask when the last unit classified material sweep was conducted and have them produce the results. Set up a new one quickly. o Ask for a complete EKMS and classified material inventory immediately. Share results with unit and higher headquarters o Set up a tour and go visit all unit property and units or echelons within first week. o Go see the barracks where your Marines live within first day or two…set the tone. o Ask where your Marines are FAPed, CAPed or otherwise TAD to somewhere else…when is last time someone saw them? When are they due back? How are they being treated? These are your Marines. Hopefully you are now off and running… A few leadership thoughts: Judge the success of a department based upon the leadership displayed at all levels. Work with the cards you have been dealt. Be competent, candid, compassionate, consistent, show courage. Be honest; admit mistakes. Be honest with higher HQ; conduct honest evaluations. Always do the right thing…even when no one’s looking. Do to others as you would have them do to you; treat everyone as if they are special. Remember, everyone has a gift – everybody has something they can do better than you. Find out what that gift is; make them feel special for it: especially your young Marines. Start traditions. Keep the old traditions. Be accountable, be responsible. Read stuff on leadership; keep adding to your quiver of tools. Meet often to discuss leadership and share what you read. Set the example...always. 7 DRAFT Take leave - approve leave. PT with the Marines; lead it, starting with the daily seven. Run unit PFTs. Do not “meet to death” or “formation to death”. However, do meet regularly to pass word and get work done through meetings and formations. Keep meetings under one hour. No phone/social media interruptions (upon penalty of death!) Grab folks when they check in - especially officers, make them understand they are in a gun squadron and they are the luckiest and the best mofo’s on earth. Never take yourself too seriously, but don't look silly. Foster competition. Remember, you are the boss: stop what you don’t like. Explain why. Work well with other units, let them spread the word how sh^t hot you are. Stop your people from bad-mouthing other units; be quiet (but deadly) professionals. Check the squadron and barracks during off duty hours, weekends. Your Marines will appreciate it. To be a leader you need to get away from computer…lead by walking around, do not lead by e-mail. Check e-mail first thing in AM, mid-day, and at end of day…otherwise get up and around, out and about. Inspect what you expect. Stop what you are doing when a subordinate needs to talk or needs guidance. Remember how that mentor of yours did the same thing for you. Your e-mail will still be there when you get back to it. Treat retirements as big to-do’s. Every Marine will say he wants nothing big; make it big. This Marine just gave 20-30 years of his life to the Corps, pay him back in kind. This will let Marines know you care about their service. (And if you retire, they’ll make it a good one for you as well!) Teach officers how to get the most out of meetings, especially with higher headquarters. You have to go to them, might as well make the most of them. Go prepared to leverage good deals and get the information and answers you seek. Backbrief on them on meeting results with Wing or Group Commander. Invite them to the meetings you must attend, so they get an idea of what is required if they ever fill in your shoes. Get to know your counterpart COs on base; form tight relationships; cover each others’ backs; they may very well bail you out of a tough one someday. Make sure your officers are meeting and working well with their counterparts as well. Know the joint ethics regulations: as the Commander everything you do will be under scrutiny; have the JAG or legal officer go over decisions you are making with respect to gifts given, gifts received, TAD travel, etc. There are limits to the amount of money you can ask someone to “donate” to a gift in a year….usually no more than $10.00. Gifts to you cannot total more than $300.00, for the year In your wanderings about base, stop in and meet the base MCCS Director, Single Marine Program Director, the IG, the head of the medical clinic, the PMO OIC or CO, the Base SJA, the Base SAPRO, the Base PAO, the Base EO, the Base SACO, the Red Cross person-in-charge, the LINKS director, the MCCS Area 8 DRAFT Coordinator, the TriCare Chief, MCCS financial planners, TAP/TAMP folks, the equipment issue facility (see how Marine are treated getting and returning gear), and the NMC Relief Society Director….these people will save your butt one day. Become very familiar with the Semper Fi Fund, the Single Marine Program, how to get funds from MCCS (there’s a lot of $$$ out there to take!), the Semper Fit Program…these programs were created to support your Marines and Sailors. Visit the great website link at www. usmc.mil (http://www.usmc- mccs.org/LeadersGuide/index.htm) to access the “Leader’s Guide for Managing Marines in Distress” link/portal…there is a lot of good information there on PTSD, Sexual Assault, domestic abuse, legal and financial problems, etc.) Details…that which may set you aside from others as a leader: Know all Marines’ names, first ones too. Call them by it every great once in a while to let them know you know; perhaps in a one-on-one meeting, or on their birthday. Know all Marines birthdays…write them on your calendar. Go down and personally wish that Devil Dog a Happy Birthday. Give birthdays off. Give days off for the hell of it or for making monthly flight hours. Never work weekends or 96s unless absolutely necessary to. o If you do, every swinging person better be in with those working. A 96-hour liberty that starts at 1200 means a 96-hour that starts at 1200. Do not be stingy with your money if you can afford to. Give plaques. Know all of the wives, girlfriends, husbands, significant others and their birthdays…put them on your calendar. Write their parents, particularly if the Marine has won an award, gotten promoted, or done something good. Make sure you respond to letters from parents. Duty officer and duty NCO, Marine, send them food or visit when squadron has a party or if they are duty on Xmas, etc. Do not schedule single Marines or Sailors for all of the Holiday duties; they have lives as well. Keep in touch with former squadron members. Write letters of thanks when they are leaving. Write letters of recommendations for their jobs, schools, etc. Write promotion and congratulatory birth letters. Go to bat for your troops. Demand honesty from subordinates. Trust Marines. Treat married and single Marines the same. Remember Napoleon’s corporal…see if your Marines are getting the word, if they understand it. Treat all Marines as Marines and equally. Be color blind, gender neutral. Always: Take care of your equipment first; your troops next; then yourself. 9 DRAFT Do their MCIs. Check out SGTs, SNCOs and Advanced SNCOs nonresident PME and do them. They are relatively easy; see what they have to do. Call bullcrap when they haven’t done theirs…because you did! Know the PME requirements for your Marines; they are different for each enlisted rank. Many Marines themselves don’t know what they are. Have standing squadron policies wrt Marines buying large purchases and buying cars. Make sure Marines get their contracts reviewed before they make a large purchase or buy a car…it’ll be too late once they sign it. Have a SNCO or officer accompany them to buy a vehicle. Advise them on the perils of payday loans, pawn shops, and pawning the title of their car to disreputable or suspect agencies. Advise them of scams on the internet and through the mail. Do not stay super late, do not come in super early; there are officers and enlisted who will try to beat you in or outstay you daily because they think they need to. If they are sticking around and do nothing productive, kick them out of the office and send them home. Tell them/order them not to match your hours if you are long worker. Never fall in love with your office, your parking spot or your desk. It’s not worth it. Your officers shouldn’t either. These ‘things’ are only on loan to you. Don’t call your Marines and Sailors “bodies” – they are not. Call them young Marines, young men and women, troops if collectively, etc. You don’t want to inadvertently demean men and women who are trained to kill, who have families and kids themselves, who turn the enemy into “bodies”. Pilot leadership: Know the SOPs, NATOPS, and other pubs inside out. Be tactically aggressive, possess strong character, be steady in purpose, accept responsibility, have energy, be healthy. Show a passion for flying. Be proud about being in charge, leading hops. Demand honesty in debriefs, be the first to admit mistakes, but don't turn them into marathon debriefs. Don't allow the Jedi knights to be too brutal. Lead off the "safety confession" session at each AOM with a personal experience. End each brief with an around the room on "what's going to kill you today?" question. As the CO, you build the box that is more conservative than NATOPS through your SOP. Therefore, define the boundaries-operate within the boundaries. Ground yourself or put yourself on report if your break your own rules. Give the young pilots goals, be the one they should want to beat. Don't allow ops to make you the "high man" for flight time. The new guys should have the most flight time, the XO the least, you somewhere in the middle. Don't allow flying clubs, or preferred “flying buddies” – make sure you cross pollinate the talent. Set the example through honest NATOPS checks, instrument checks. 10 DRAFT Fight to fly, fly to fight, fight to WIN…fly right. Fly the hardest missions. Fight to be the first to fly across the border, lead them in combat. The Staff The below suggestions are just that, suggestions. You will have to weigh the experience level and personality of each officer and the billet he will hold. XO Your XO should be the most valuable officer in your squadron next to you. Screen your XO closely, he is a force-multiplier if you pick a good one and can make all of the difference in your command. The XO should be a strong player for a variety of reasons; namely, for the following reasons and conditions: He needs to be prepared to take command of the squadron at a moment’s notice should anything happen to you. He needs to be the honest broker to the CO – he needs to tell you if you are the Emperor not wearing clothes. He needs to tell you when you are wrong. He’s the COS of your staff; he needs to run the staff with your full confidence. He needs to advise you on management of people and resources. He needs to guard your open door and sift the chaff from the wheat. The XO does not have to be the bad guy although you can certainly make him so. However, if you do this you lose certain valuable attributes in the process, especially if he is going to fleet up to be the CO. If he cuts off the two–way street he loses the ability to accurately inform you of what is truly going on. No reason why your department heads can’t be the “black hat” enforcers. The XO should be someone highly respected tactically and professionally. Take your frustrations out on the XO, (with the door closed). The XO should be charged with: Mentoring: Making sure that officers and enlisted are being mentored and are mentoring each other Counseling: The SGTMAJ and the XO in tandem should be enforcing the compliance with the MCO on Counseling. There are various ways to ensure this is happening. Turnovers: XO as Chief of Staff (COS) needs to make sure that his department heads are keeping useful, viable turnover binders and that officers are providing each other with complete turnovers. Officers should be held accountable for ensuring that their successors start off on the right foot, that they are set up for success. This is as simple as bringing in the departing department head and asking him to show you his turnover 11 DRAFT binder and asking him to explain how the next officer will succeed. If it a plan does not exist, the departing officer does not leave, or be prepared to suffer the consequences of a poor turnover. The XO holds the key to the staff and its success. There are staff officers who will come see you too much; some will not see you enough (or hardly); and some will see you just right (the Goldilocks rule)…the XO had make sure his is evened out. Being an honest broker to the CO: Tell the XO he is bulletproof. Charge him with the responsibility of closing the door and telling you if you are wrong or out of bounds. He should agree to support you with all of your decisions in public, but he needs to be the one that can whisper in your ear “All glory is fleeting.” Flow of admin: The XO needs to ensure for the smooth and timely flow of admin to and from the Commanding Officer, up and down the chain of command and internal and external to the squadron. Again as your COS, he needs to make sure the staff work is correct. Reviewing internal control systems and look for process improvements: The XO needs to question how things work, how they can be improved and how the squadron can do things better. He needs to be in constant state of “pre-CGI’itis.” Not because you live and die by CGIs but because it is the right thing to do. He needs to question the staff on everything from the health of postal procedures to ORM to technical directive compliance - not to micromanage, but to act as the last line of defense for the CO. Your XO needs to be the Internal Inspection Coordinator/Manager He needs to know which Automatic Inspection Reporting System (AIRS) functional areas the unit is responsible for and be familiar with what is on those checklists. This is what is inspected by IG teams. See (http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/ig/Div_Inspections/AIRS%20CHECKLI ST/AIRS_Index.htm). Create a unit ‘wartime AIRS checklist’ short list – i.e. pick the 50-60 AIRS checklist of the 115 listed on the IGMC site that your unit will be held responsible for. Create a unit bulletin stating that that is what you will hold yourself responsible for. i. IGMC no longer does Junk on the Bunk, Uniform Inspections, Unit PFTs, Personnel Inspections, etc. Don’t include these AIRS checklists on your list unless you feel the need to do them. The XO needs to understand and monitor the unit GTCC/DTS program. The XO is the suicide prevention officer, make it a pervasive, all- encompassing program that both of you aggressively manage. Have him and you lead the officer and SNCO “Never leave a Marine Behind Training”. Lessons learned: The XO needs to ensure lessons learned are accurately captured, stored, shared and disseminated. 12 DRAFT Milestones, pre-deployment: As the COS, it is again the XO who is responsible for ensuring the staff is collectively preparing for deployment by achieving and completing milestones Duty check in: Since the XO is in charge of security, he needs to make sure that the SDO program works. He is instructing the duties to be the command representative in case anything at all happens to the unit. With that in mind, the SDO is the first line of defense during his watch. Uniforms: XO should inspect officers’ uniforms Weight problems: XO should address officer weight control problems. If an officer is slovenly, out of shape and looks embarrassing, the XO should address it. Awards for unit: The XO as COS should ensure that unit and personal awards are being submitted for unit and individuals (see Awards Section) Officer PME: The XO should instill a vibrant, robust Officer PME program to include CMC reading list selections, guest speakers, terrain walks, battlefield studies, professional development, career management, and squadron histories. The XO should be responsible for Ready Room, Historical room, grounds and appearance. The XO should be reviewing officers’ OMPFs and MBSs. The XO is in charge of Security: Make sure security, OPSEC, CMCC, and all classified programs are actively and aggressively monitored by him. The XO needs to keep an eye on the CO, making sure that he is staying above the fray and not getting bogged down in to the details. The CO needs rest, needs to remain focused and needs to keep the big picture. The XO can worry about the minutia and details. The XO needs to turn around potential leadership failures or performance problems in officers before it gets the CO’s attention. Young, first tour officers – particularly those in the first year of their tour – make immature mistakes. The XO needs to take action to correct immaturity or improve performance before mistakes become a matter of record. SGTMAJ You and your SGTMAJ will enjoy one of the most unique leadership-experience relationships in the Corps – it is one of the most hallowed of all officer-enlisted relationships. You will not be able to screen your SGTMAJ, but whoever he/she is; you will need to understand each other implicitly. Your SGTMAJ is your senior enlisted advisor to all things that happen in the unit related to the enlisted side of the house. However, do not limit him to this alone; charge him with helping you to develop the officers as well. Start your day with a “cup of Joe” with the Sgt Major. Always take the SGTMAJ with you when you tour the squadron. Watch the SGTMAJ when he interacts with enlisted, you can learn a lot from this. The SGTMAJ should be charged with the following: Fitness and formation runs. 13 DRAFT Formations – good units run good formations. The SGTMAJ needs to be the sane man making sure the enlisted are receiving the training that gets them promoted. He needs to be your mentor and advisor on all things enlisted. When you make your rounds, he should do them with you, always appearing as the CO’s right hand man and enforcer of his guidance. He needs to make sure aggressive counseling is going on at all levels. The SGTMAJ should be tight with the maintenance chief and or other E- 9s. You should ask the SGTMAJ’s advice on all things regarding punishment. The SGTMAJ needs to be bulletproof as well - he needs to be able to tell you when you are wrong. Fly the SGTMAJ. Make sure that PRO/CONs and enlisted FITREPs make sense. Charge the SGTMAJ with enlisted PME. He should map out all of the resident PME attendance for the whole year, he should track that all Marines are doing their nonresident PME for their grade. He should start a SNCO Association and an NCO Association if they do not exist. He should make sure that good Marines get to see you in your office instead of just the bad Marines. Meritorious Mast can be impromptu in the CO’s office…you don’t have to wait for a formation. He should attend CPLs, SGTs and SNCO course graduation ceremonies along with you. Charge him with getting you out from behind the desk to go see the Marines. SGTMAJ should be charged with running your Marine and NCO of the month, quarter, and year boards. He should also make sure that your Marines are winning Group and Wing boards and taking meritorious promotion slots. Make him part of your career retention program. Make sure you recognize your SGTMAJ at every formation and opportunity; make sure you offer him a chance to speak as well. Make sure that Marines are being steered towards the jobs they need in the future to get them promoted and make them well-rounded. Fire the SGTMAJ if he is not a good one. The buck needs to stop with you. This will not be an easy one, but other SGTMAJs will stick by you on this one if it is warranted. Make sure you talk to higher headquarters first, talk to the Group CO and Group SGTMAJ. This will be a sensitive issue. They will back you up (if you have prepped the battlefield appropriately); you certainly don’t want to be surprising them with this unless it is something that meets immediate cause for relief. 14 DRAFT ADJ/S-1 Administration is an important part of the squadron, if Marines don’t get paid, promoted, or awarded, morale will sink. S-1 is a thankless job; make sure these Marines know how important they are to the success of the unit. Make sure you teach them how to be an important part of the unit. Make sure S-1 understands your explicit guidance on what you expect. The S-1 should be charged with the following: All awards they receive should be turned around in ten working days (from receipt to presentation, the time should be 10 days if not quicker). All no pay dues should be personally briefed to you daily until resolved. Invite external administrative organizations to do courtesy inspections (MCAAT). Send your S-1 Marines to MCAAT workshops Check the dairy entries occasionally – make sure that S-1 is running things correctly. Make sure S-1 does technical training when the maintenance is doing theirs. Make sure S-1 Marines do FOD walk like everyone else (number one way to have them integrate with other members of unit – they’ll discuss work on the flight line, which team-builds). Make sure an S-1 Marine goes to AM and PM maintenance meeting to make presence known and to field immediate requests. Make sure S-1 Marine is available for night crew periodically to help them out with their admin problems. Make sure your S-1 Chief and Officer go and regularly talk to GPAC/IPAC. Go meet the GPAC/IPAC directors yourself; make sure you understand where the breakdowns in service are, make sure you get to know how your Marines could work better with them. Go over and introduce yourself to the GPAC OIC, become his friend. He is not the enemy. He will respond better when you have urgent matters or you have dropped the ball (or if he has). Set up courtesy MCAAT inspections, no – notice if able. Help the S-1 pass the MCAAT by making sure it has time to prepare. Review all squadron orders and update orders that need it. Make sure your S-1 Officer goes around maintenance once a day to see what Marines need. Have the S-1 Marines teach admin classes to rest of the unit. Aggressively monitor the government travel charge card program; monitor for illegal use; help Marines avoid the pitfalls of delayed payments to Visa. i. Be familiar with the reports you can pull up wrt the GTCC program 15 DRAFT ii. There is a report that tells you where Marines have tried to use their card but were denied service due to the impropriety of the establishment…look this report over, it will tell you whether your Marines understand the card’s limitations or not, or if they are willingly trying to abuse the program. iii. Ask your GTCC officer or coordinator to show you the unit’s credit balance (money being kept by your Marines as a positive balance on their charge cards). These positive balances count against the unit (ask your GTCC person to show you why). Eliminate this balance. iv. Be familiar with the GTCC limitations as directed in the Appendix G of the Joint Federal Travel Regulations. See (http://perdiem.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/jftr(ch1-ch10).pdf.) v. Invite the HQMC GTCC coordinators from Washington, D.C., to your unit to give you a PME. They have a travel budget and will give you the best PME you ever had on GTCC. vi. Have a Command GTCC policy: Who gets to have a GTCC card; activation and deactivation procedures for non-regular users or all users; how fast claims must be turned in (within 24 hours to five working days after TAD; institute split payments; etc.). vii. Have your fiscal officer diligently reconciliate DTS/GTCC/TAD liquidation (or have someone from outside conduct a courtesy audit). Advise Marines of long travel claim delays and keep them posted on progress (this pertains to non-DTS type orders). Monitor days of leave taken by members of the command to fall in step with your guidance (“Marines will take a mandatory 15, 20, xx days of leave a year.”). Make sure Alpha and social rosters are updated monthly. Make lost ID cards a page-11 counseling entry. ID cards are worth money and or your Marine might have altered old one to use as a fake. Counsel them on the perils of abuse, UCMJ offense. Have your admin officers and Marines do admin MCI’s (course number may have changed): i. 0131H-2 Correspondence Procedures ii. 01.44 The Unit Mailclerk iii. 0138B Order Writing Clerk iv. 01.43a Legal Administration Clerk v. 04.16a Publications and Directives System Plan of the Day or Plan on the Week ideas: List birthdays, graduations, promotions, births, marriages, transfers, arrivals, etc. Quote of the day. List upcoming significant events: formations, mandatory pre-deployment events, important training, etc. 16 DRAFT Latest S-1 information and changes. Rosters of personnel who need to see S-1 (or who S-1 will hunt down to see). Have Chaplain, FRO, Medical, GTCC, EEO, etc, regular POD entries as a way to pass word on these programs. Legal proceedings. Intel/S-2 The S-2 section can be a valuable asset if trained correctly…train them to your standard. Integrate the S-2 into all operational plans. Give them specific guidance on what you expect from them. Force the S-2 to be an active part of the unit. The S-2 is only as good as you train them to be. S-2 should be charged with the following: Upon taking over, order CMCC and S-2 to do a page count and a have “clean house/desk day” (count every page of every classified item; properly toss out and destroy underused or never used classified material). Report what is missing to MAG G-2 so you are covered the rest of your command. Make the OPSO make the S-2 part of every squadron scenario, be innovative with training. Train S-2 to a standard expected in combat. Make the S-2 give classes and PME. Order needed charts that reflect the TEEP and ongoing real-world ops well in advance. Latest and greatest current events and daily or weekly updates should be given at AOMs and to the Marines and Sailors in the rest of the unit when able. Work hand-in-hand with ops to create realistic training scenarios. Train S-2 Marines to work as they would in combat situation; know what pilots need and want to hear before they walk on a combat mission; know how to source information that is requested; know how to disseminate ISR or other important info to external higher headquarters or horizontal relationships. Intelligence briefers should be poised, confident and deliver flawless briefs. Make them go to FOD walk everyday. “SPEAR” the U.S. Navy organization – Have them coordinate SPEAR and other external organization visits and briefings. Have them disseminate a standard area map packet for all aviators checking in, charts of target ranges, low levels, local training areas…. have the same done for deployments overseas. 17 DRAFT Make them aggressive in the AT field; these are your specialists. Charge them with security and to work hand-in-hand with the XO. Have them conduct random security checks throughout the squadron spaces. Advise the unit on OPSEC procedures (S-3 function but intel has a part). Work hand-in-hand with S-6 and Base IT’s to make sure that OPSEC is being enforced on computers. Have them give CSAR procedure classes. Have the S-2 officers and enlisted do intelligence MCIs. Make them monitor your ISOPREP program. OPS/S-3 The motor of the squadron is the S-3; whether you have a strong operations background or not, make sure you have a very strong relationship with your OPSO. Operations are going to drive the squadron in coordination with maintenance; these two are going to get you where you need to go. Select your OPSO carefully if you have a choice, make sure it is a positive, organized, tactical go-getter…if he is not, then try to balance him out with a strong S-3A or AOPSO. Whatever the choice, make sure that OPS has your guidance on where you intend to take the squadron and how you want to get there. Make sure you balance all of the usual things: experience, upcoming deployments, personnel, TEEP, ops tempo, preparation for combat, safety, etc. There are a thousand ways to run operations, and most have done it before, but here are a few thoughts. Consider making your selection for OPSO the OPSO after he has done a tour as the Maintenance Officer…he will be that much better of an OPSO for doing it in this sequence as opposed to the other way around. Charge your S-3 with the following: Operations must bring all parts of the squadron together; overall training for the unit should be geared with one end goal in mind – going to combat. Develop a solid one-year training plan. Develop a strong 6-month training plan. Develop a fairly detailed 3-month training plan. Schedule an in-depth one-month plan. Consider forming a long-range, future-ops planning group; this will save you lost training opportunities in the long run. Make sure TEEP matches METL as much as possible. Report accurate DRSS-MC info and use the summary space at end of DRRS-MC report to make comments on trend analyses, personnel, equipment and training if it will add more to the picture of your unit reporting status. Higher echelons read these. Invite HQMC Readiness gurus to unit to teach/instruct, they are part of PPO&O (POR); or ask for Wing and Group guru help. Attend DRRS-MC workshops when they are hosted by HQMC MTTs. 18 DRAFT Be familiar with DRRS-MC ROE: i. It is the CDR’s assessment of a unit’s ability to carry out designated and assigned tasks. ii. ROE: New DRRS-MC report in following circumstances (see order): 1. Every 30 days or 2. Within 24 hours of change of C-level or 3. With change of unit location or 4. T/O and T/E changes or 5. Reporting chain changes (MEU chop, etc) iii. In remarks, speak to following: 1. Assess unit’s ability to perform designated and or assigned mission 2. Identify portions of unit employed or deployed 3. Provide rationale on forecast changes due to change in status, or upgrading or down grading a C-level 4. Be clear, concise and don’t use unfamiliar acronyms 5. Elaborate on things not obvious in data portions of the report 6. Provide accurate predictions of when you will be healthy Scrub your Admin and TACSOP with the MAG SOP and update as needed. Make a good SOP exam for aircrew and review, review, review. Make sure OPS is part of the Monthly Maintenance Plan meeting and make sure you honor it (it means a lot to the Maintenance folks). Make sure that OPS works with maintenance to establish some weekly tech training; two unmolested hours a week will work miracles for maintenance. For example, consider doing it on Mondays during the changeover between day and night crew (e.g. 1600-1800). During this period flying is NOT allowed; conversely, the Maintenance Marines WILL use this period for Tech Training (more on this later). Have an OPS officer go down to daily morning maintenance meeting, have him listen to what maintenance thinks is going to happen and what OPS has planned to happen – it is guaranteed that a sortie or mission will be saved weekly if not daily. OPS officer can make sure focus of effort is clear, and that intent and priority is carried out. Schools and qualifications: Identify your future flight leaders early and groom them for higher level schools and qualifications. Put teeth into your section and division lead quals; make all quals valued and worthy of their name. Hold WSOs and other crew members to high standard as well and groom them for qualifications. Don’t let pilots and WSOs get lost in the shuffle in Delta squadrons or similar heavy officer-type units because they are so large, keep them on the ball and their training as up to speed as possible balancing assets, resources and time. 19 DRAFT Enforce creative training opportunities. Get MAWTS and Top Gun instructors to come teach classes if they are passing through town or if you can exchange teaching time for flights. Send your officers to MAWTS and Top Gun ground schools so they are exposed to these institutions early and the benefits they bring. Send your officers to SERE school – they’ll thank you if they ever get caught. Captive carry ordnance and shoot missiles whenever possible, expend your NCEA. You don’t want your young ones dropping live for the first time in combat. Use the gun. Have a derby. Plan to expend your NCEA in the first half of the year. If you fall behind then you will have the rest of the year to expend it; if you run out, then ask for more. Validate all shots, track them. Schedule tankers so no one goes out of currency. Hitting the tanker day and night should be routine. Keep professional briefing rooms up; assign them to youngsters and make them responsible for their state and police. Make S-2 part of the training always. Fly at night, a lot. This is how we will fight. Have a night month, or two. Work with Division units as often as you can, spread the good word about F-18s. Develop close relationships with the ground units you will deploy with if you are scheduled to. Send your young officers to a FAC OP to see the other end of the CAS picture, especially if your squadron is doing the CAS. See if you can piggyback on sister-squadron training, leverage opportunities others have created. Offer to share your training. Work closely with GCI and other Marine controllers, they are only as good as we make them. If you have squadron SMEs, make sure they are THE SMEs. Ensure your OPSO briefs you personally each month on the status of aircrew quals: Who’s coming up next; who’s the fast tracker; who’s the bottom dweller; and how he intends to make enough section/division/mission commanders, ACTIs, FAC (A)Is and other quals and instructors. Carefully scrutinize who gets ACTI and other special quals – balance it with the true needs of the squadron. Your OPSO should be regularly counseling aircrew on their performance. He should be firm but very honest. He should know who the best pilot in the squadron is and why (strengths and weaknesses) and work on those. He should know who the worst pilot is in the squadron and why, and should tell that individual so that he can improve (that pilot make think he’s the ace of the base). He’ll thank you later once he has improved. Now work on the new worst pilot, etc. Have a flight mentorship or on-wing program. Make sure newbies don’t get lost in the shuffle. 20 DRAFT Schedule quals out way in advance so that aircrew are not rushed, don’t take leave at inopportune times and so that they have time to prepare. Don’t send aircrew with waivers to WTI or Topgun; get them their quals and the time they need to succeed. Logistics/Supply/S-4 The S-4 can make or break a unit since it moves the squadron around the world. Give the S-4 specific guidance on what you expect from it. The S-4 should be charged with the following: Don’t pack and fly: Set a final fly date before deploying and stick to it. Don’t let your Ops guys fly up until the last day without allowing for a proper squadron pack up unless absolutely necessary to do so. This is bad for a variety of reasons, primarily safety ones. Do not let S-4 hoard supplies – the Marines down in maintenance need day-to-day office supplies just as others do. Consider putting the S-4 shop in the maintenance spaces. This is their primary customer; make them work alongside each other. Make the S-4 reps go to the maintenance meeting daily to pass word and to see how their decisions affect maintenance. Embark: Practice embarking the squadron if you haven’t done so in a while or if you have not deployed. You don’t want the first time you go somewhere to be your first and last dress rehearsal. Walk around and see what is being packed up. Pull out what does not need to go. Hold yourself to the same standard. Make sure that your S-4 takes advantage of all “horse blankets” and available “opportune” lift. These need to be worked well out in advance. HAZMAT: Get to know the base HAZMAT guys. Have a HAZMAT exercise and have external HAZMAT folks come do a courtesy inspection. Make sure the S-4 pools other units on how they move themselves. Come up with an S-4 SOP on movement; standardize it so that the unit is not always re-creating the wheel. Keep thorough lessons learned from every movement. Make the S-4 be in charge of recognizing and rewarding people along the way as the unit moves. Letters of appreciation should be pre-drafted and ready to go as the unit is leaving a visiting or transient base. This will pay huge dividends later if you ever come back to that base or stopover (e.g. Rota, Wake Island, Hickam (Pearl Harbor), Souda Bay, The Azores, etc.). Make all pre-deployment deployments a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Optimize the opportunities that are presented to get it right when the real thing goes down. Make the S-4 masters of “procurement” – everywhere you go they need to optimize vehicle and supply opportunities (scheduled and unscheduled if you will). They should be part of every site survey and advance party. 21 DRAFT Have your officers and enlisted in S-4 do logistics MCIs (may have changed course numbers): i. 045C The Logistics/Embark Specialist Understand the purchase card program. Have an audit of the purchase program completed by an external body or unit. This program unmonitored can run afoul. Safety/S-5 Make S-5 one of the most important sections in the squadron. Charge it with being creative, proactive, and aggressive with all things safety. Hold them directly responsible for all parts of the safety process. Stick some studs in here that have credibility and pull. Charge your S-5 with the following: Command Safety Climate Culture Survey: Have the Safety Survey guys come and visit your command as soon as possible after taking over. Listen closely to what they have to say. Make sure your Marines are open and honest with them. ORM: Make sure ORM is not a buzzword, but a way of life. Introduce and implement it at all levels of command. Make it not only for flying but for ground activities; off duty activities; weekend liberty; PT sessions; range firing; etc. Select aggressive safety officers. Make them conduct innovative and creative training. Make them conduct realistic mishap training. Have the safety officer sign the flight schedule. Safety officers should attend all FOD walks. Safety officers should watch launches and recoveries. Safety officers should be crawling all over maintenance. Safety officers should spend minimal time behind their desks. Safety officers should ensure they are monitoring briefs to make sure SOP is being adhered to. Full EP exams every month by 5th of month or you’re off the schedule (to include augments and the CO). Safety officers should give thorough and interesting NATOPS systems briefs. Safety officers should be tapping into all of the safety center websites and more importantly, spreading that information. Invite outside inspections into safety office and safety program. Conduct aggressive enlisted safety councils, force preservations councils, or human factors boards. These will pay dividends immediately and in the long run. 22 DRAFT Have an aggressive and conspicuous ANYMOUSE program. Address the solutions or suggestions publicly. Have an Anymouse Program that works. Publicly address the fixes or answers to Anymouses. Conduct oral NATOPS examinations. Have a systems Question of the Day program that works and teaches. Send your studs to ASO School. Make your officers share their experiences with Approach, Mech and other trade magazines. Write up your Marines for Bravo Zulus and awards based upon safety performance. Have monthly NATOPS jeopardies, mea culpa sessions, “I was there stories”, stories from other senior aircrew that have great emergency stories, etc. Teach and rehearse survival equipment procedures; take aircrew out of the schedule and make them become SAR “victims”. Charge all new aircrew with reading the NATOPS front to back, and answering the NATOPS question bank. Be a safety officer yourself; ‘fess up when you have broken the rules. Make them have thorough NATOPS exams. Maximize the simulator and the practice approaches to rehearse emergency procedures. Share and learn from Mishap Reports. Share and learn from Hazard Reports. Share and learn from Serious Incident Reports. Share and learn from Personnel Casualty Reports. Share and learn from 8-day and 30-day “death briefs” Train your people to send flash reports. After a death/crash, shut the squadron down for at least one day-regroup, re-cage, but start back at it confident, poised, and don't look back. Have a CACO plan that works. Test fire it. Learn lessons from other units if they have gone through the pain of a loss. Keep phone rosters up to date. Human Factors Board – Have them monthly; make them useful; document what you go over. Predict where the next mishap will come from. Have them for all squadron personnel (enlisted, contractors, civilians, officers) Use the TRiPs (Traffic Risk Planning System) program at http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/ashore/motorvehicle/TRiPS/default.htm) Tie it to the leave/liberty request policy. The Navy and Army have been using it and they have reduced PMV mishaps significantly. i. Make yourself, the XO and SGTMAJ use it too if you are going to implement it. Identify high-risk Marines and Sailors; separate them as a population and target them specifically with more determined, focused safety briefs. There is a distinct correlation between high-risk Marines and those who get into accidents. The tell-tale identifiers: 23 DRAFT i. Those with a pattern of misconduct: Tickets on base and off base; alcohol-related incidents; recently demoted; those with drug waivers or serious incident waivers but were still recruited; suspended licenses in past; etc. ii. Those who are in high-risk population: just back from deployment (30-90 days); under 25; night crew; those who live far away; those who own motorcycles. iii. Make them show you their driver’s license (from all states they made hold licenses from…) iv. Go to Base magistrate/PMO and pull CLEOC (records check…you’ll find very interesting things out I assure you. Unpaid tickets, outstanding warrants, expired licenses, etc. Make it a unit policy that all have to immediately inform command of new motorcycle purchase (it is a MC requirement). Get them the motorcycle training they need; if base cannot provide within 30 days, then it must be paid for by base for off-base training. Start a unit motorcycle club as per the MCO. Have CO personally attend meetings, invest in sponsoring it, and listening to their confirmation briefs (if not participating personally). Combine efforts with other unit or Base motorcycle clubs. Get a hold of an example of an 8-day “death brief” that you may have to give to a General Officer (ACMC) eight days after a Marine’s PMV death…you do not want to have this to worry about as well when you lose a Marine. Use the Naval Safety Center’s arsenal of available surveys and assessment tools at www.safetysurveys.org , these are invaluable, you will learn a lot from them. Someone from the safety survey center will call you to personally debrief you on the results and trends and what y can do to mitigate issues: i. Command Climate Survey ii. Higher HQ survey iii. PMV awareness survey iv. Drinking and Driving Survey v. Motorcycle survey vi. Off-duty recreational survey It is TOO LATE to use these AFTER one of your Marines or Sailors die… Invite the 3-day Cultural Safety Workshop to come to your unit from the Naval Safety Center. An excellent proactive tool. Recipe for unit safety success: i. Know your population ii. Know the safety-related orders iii. Establish a safety climate iv. Establish command safety goals v. Train and educate vi. Have a proactive safety versus a reactive safety program vii. Stay engaged as a leader 24 DRAFT Comm/S-6 Make the S-6 a force multiplier. Give him specific guidance. The S-6 should be charged with the following: A thorough, informative, up-to-date, user-friendly squadron website i. Should include: 1. Squadron history 2. A FRO corner 3. Links to MCCS and One-source 4. Where to send requests for squadron memorabilia 5. CO, XO, SGTMAJ, FRO, and staff biographies 6. Recent photos 7. Online profiles of Marines 8. “Check in” link for those coming to the squadron or MAG. Hang the welcome aboard letter on the site. OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC!!! Setting up computer access for all no matter where the unit is deployed. Aggressively monitor and investigate illegal uses of the computer and educate all on the punishment for illegal or fraudulent use. EKMS accountability has to be 100%. You will be relieved for cause if this is not squared away. Have external inspection units come look at your EKMS accounts. For more info go to Commander’s Corner on EKMS: www.hqdod.hqmc.usmc.mil/commanderscorner.asp See FAQ on EKMS. Make sure all Marines are familiar with HQMC PA Social Media guidebook; there are rules and SOP for Marines running blogs, what they can past on their Facebook sites, etc. Maintenance There are two kinds of COs when it comes to maintenance, those who are familiar with maintenance and those who are not; whichever one you are, force yourself to be familiar with maintenance practices, procedures, personnel, and what goes on in “the barn”. Make your presence there often, the bulk of your Marines will work in maintenance and they need your leadership just as much as anyone else. Screen your Maintenance Officer (MO) carefully if you have a choice. He should be a leader of Marines above all else; he will spend the bulk of his time doing such. Also pick your company grade officers that will become division officers wisely, they must know how to lead Marines. If you don’t understand something in maintenance, ask – they will tell you. Charge your MO with the following: Monthly Maintenance Plan – Make sure it is shared with you and that is a meaningful document. Sign it if you want to reemphasize its importance 25 DRAFT to you. Regularly check on the training that is scheduled to go on as per the MMP, particularly during scheduled tech training periods. Have weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings with OPS in order to plan out ahead. Do Tech Training, two hours a week, every week. This will make you money in the long run, especially if you have an inexperienced maintenance department. i. One example: Find a two-hour block during the week once a week that overlaps between day and night crew (e.g. 1600-1800 every Monday) and make that your dedicated tech training period. Work with OPS to make this an absolute no-fly window (none, nyet, nil, zilch). This is the time your Maintenance guys will have to do their version of aircrew training. Make sure that this training is well-thought out and planned well in advance for each section (it should be on the Monthly Maintenance Plan). Assign the Assistant MO (AMO) to observe training during this period to make sure it is being done. Your maintenance Marines, with this freed-up, dedicated time, will increase their knowledge, become better at what they do, and will in the long run pay great dividends for the squadron. The value of this training cannot be underestimated. Convince OPS of this. (By the way, this example was successfully used over the course of a year that featured deployments to combat and Westpac. Excepting the combat time in Kosovo, the tech training two-hour period was only violated once during that year…and even then it was made up at a later date. Mistakes, routine errors, and miscues all decreased significantly while productivity, knowledge and best practices increased during this time.) Make sure everyone in squadron does FOD walk. Walk through the spaces and ready room and get them out there. Rotate personnel in maintenance, keep Quality Assurance and Maintenance Control fresh, but make it be known, only the best serve in QA and MC. Put some of your best GySgts in QA and MC, they will gain a world of experience outside of their shop and this will allow junior, less- experienced personnel to step up. Do not fly and pack days before deploying if at all possible. Training is done when it is done, then you pack to leave. Quals will come another day; safety can quickly become an issue here. "Read in" maintenance to OPS’ plans; establish goals, set milestones; i.e., percentage of sorties made, FMC rates/graphs, flight hours flown. Show them how they are doing month-to-month and how important they are to the squadron. Don't allow ops-maintenance wars. OPSO and MO need to be tight and cohesive. (If they aren’t, threaten them, and if that does not work, fire them.) Visit night crew, have your other officers do so. 26 DRAFT Ensure their uniforms and coveralls look like uniforms...enforce cleanliness. There is no reason for a Marine to show up with dirty coveralls (repeatedly). Don't allow the daily plane wash to be used as punishment, remember it is scheduled maintenance; keep it that way. Make the ready room cowboys (officers) clean airplanes with troops. Look at their tools, sometimes you will be surprised at their poor condition. Replace them or give them the tools they need to succeed. Make sure that Marines in maintenance get exposure to same good deals and attention from command that headquarters’ sections do; let it not be ‘out of sight out of mind.’ Make sure maintenance gets the word as passed from HQ. Reward maintenance with a day off if it reaches a milestone or monthly flight hours. Make sure Maintenance Chief and SGTMAJ are tight. Make sure all officers know maintenance Marines’ names. Assign plane captains to aircraft and put their names on them. Make sure officers follow up on gripes to see how process works and that they care. Make sure officers pass down good debriefs to maintenance personnel. Thank maintenance Marines daily; explain to them your missions and whose ass you kicked that day. Show them FLIR/tapes footage from combat missions; they will know they directly contributed to that mission. Explain to them personally when you have to work a weekend; if you do, make sure every swinging yahoo is in there and that they know it. Try to compensate them with time off down the road. Charge your MO with coming to tell you when maintenance needs a maintenance day off. He needs to advise you when the pace is going too fast or too busy and a mishap is imminent. Listen to him carefully. Change the composition of advance parties so that it’s not always the same personnel. Others need the experience. Instruct your MO and AMO to get in bed with MALS AMO. They should be talking to him at least weekly (and visiting him at least once a week in his office). Make sure plane captains salute the aircrew as they approach the aircraft and to shake hands with them. Have maintenance officers do maintenance MCI’s. Good learning tools (some courser names may have changed names or numbers): i. 60.6a Aviation Quality Assurance Supervisor ii. 0414A2 Ground Maintenance Management for Supervisors iii. 04.10b-1 MIMMS (AIS) iv. 60.01a Aircraft Maintenance NCO Training 27 DRAFT Train your Marines, both enlisted and officers; they need it to get promoted, to be well-rounded, and to prepare them for life. Charge your training officer and shop to aggressively seek ways to complete training at home and when deployed. The Training Office should be charged with the following: Scheduling all ranks for their appropriate resident PME in coordination with the SGTMAJ. Map out the resident PME for the year and have OICs and SNCOICs slot their Marines all at once for a year in advance (to the best extent possible) in order to avoid the last minute changes and dropped quotas. This will also allow Marines to prepare themselves appropriately for their course; their aim should be to excel at the academy or course, not just graduate. Charge your training officer to visit the academies if at all possible and to develop a great relationship with the instructors to avoid Marines being sent back for dumb reasons – it might save a quota and some embarrassment someday. Visit the course yourself and let them know you are personally interested. Go to ALL graduations. Make sure non-resident PME is pushed to all. When a Marine checks in to training office the first question should be are you enrolled in appropriate level PME? If not, sign him on www.mci.usmc.mil right away. Understand and promulgate the requirements for PME at each grade. The rules change occasionally due to the long war; all Marines need to complete their appropriate level PME or THEY WILL NOT BE PROMOTED. It’s as simple as that. Push all MCIs: Marines should check out the maximum of three MCIs (the max allowable, excluding non-res PME) upon check in. Make certain MCIs mandatory for all Marines upon check in: i. Example (some names may have changed): 1. 03.3n Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership 2. Financial Management or 1334H Math for Marines 3. 00.1a The Principles of Instruction for the Marine NCO Push one of your more talented Marines to be the MCI Graduate of the Year. See the appropriate MARADMIN for details or contact MCI directly. Nominations are normally due in early fall. Make your Training Officer/Education Officer very familiar with the education office/lifelong learning center. He should know all about Tuition Assistance, the GI Bill, on base education, distance education, overseas programs, etc. Charge him with getting officers in the unit qualified as adjunct professors so they can teach course overseas while on deployment (best teachers a Marine could have!). Charge all Marines who speak a language to get tested at the on base education center. Marines should take the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) for the language they know. They could get paid for it (up to $1000.00 a month for one or more languages and receive an additional MOS of 8611 (translator). If they are sergeants or above they will also have their language(s) appear on their master brief sheet. They will not be paid for Spanish but they should test anyway in case they are ever called 28 DRAFT upon to officially translate (then they will be recompensed) – also, they will still have Spanish show up on MBS. See the appropriate order (MCO 7220.5E Foreign Language Proficiency Pay (FLPP)) and yearly MARADMIN for this. Make sure Marines (officers and enlisted) are going to range, going to chamber, going to other mandatory training. Block training may be the best way to accomplish this. This need to be planned well ahead of time. Make your training officer show you how he is going to knock out annual training requirements. Have the Training Officer give the Commandant of the Marine Corps Special Interest Brief (available at IGMC website at http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/ig/Div_Inspections/IGI_Index.htm). This one-hour brief allows you to knock out several annual training requirements in one-hour versus doing it the old fashioned way (you can knock out annual safety training, suicide prevention, sexual harassment, sexual assault, hazing, etc.). Make sure all Marines take the PFT together, officers and enlisted. This is the best way to keep up unit morale when it comes to PFTs. Make it fun and challenging: end it with a picnic. Challenge anyone that bests your total score with a 72-hour pass. Schedule it way in advance so personnel have time to train. Run an inventory PFT one month beforehand to screen for poor performers. NO ONE should fail a PFT. If a Marine does, and it wasn’t foretold, he should be standing tall with his NCO, SNCO and OIC in your office to have them all explain why. Have a remedial PT program that works. All Marines should at least max points on MCIs for promotion. (No TV for duty watch at desk unless a Marine is complete with his MCI.) Send Marines to Military Academic Skills Program (MASP) – a one- month prep course designed to get them ready for ASVAB or college. Usually on base at education office. FRO Pay special attention to these programs, they can make your life as a CO much easier; neglect them at your own risk! Before command, sign up for the FRO and LINKS training yourself – go with your spouse. You will learn a lot of good things and will understand the boundaries and possibilities of an active and robust FRO program. Family Readiness: FRO: must be outgoing and family-oriented, with good communication skills. Establish squadron website for spouses, friends, and parents. Develop website-list promotions/awards. Have a "how goes it" on the website-chat room. Write letters to command members to celebrate birthdays, births, etc. Use command letterhead for these letters. 29 DRAFT Make sure socialize with spouses, not just their husbands- you and your spouse should be seen as a team. Ensure single Marines know why they should care about family readiness- because Marines with problems affect the whole squadron. Being Marine is tough-being a Marine's spouse is hard-not everyone can do it; let them know you are demanding a lot from their husbands and wives. Explain to Marines that the total Marine theme includes their spouse; this requires spouses to know your job, your responsibilities. Describe how to get free email accounts for all (hotmail, etc). Mail monthly newsletters home to confirm recall addresses-those that come back, FIX! List critical phone numbers on newsletters/websites. Have a CO/SGTMAJ column. Include events for the single Marines on websites and newsletters and send the newsletters to their parents and family. FRO needs to keep website and` info flowing as squadron prepares to RTB to CONUS or wherever. Recognize your FRO in front of all; make sure all know she is a special part of staff. Give her direct access to you, XO and SGTMAJ. Fire your FRO is she/he is not meeting muster/reward them if they are kicking butt. Volunteers: Call key volunteers to give an official message to pass to squadron spouses-empower through information. How to find volunteers? Show command interest; keep asking-hold volunteer-only invite functions. Remember: Marines may block information from spouses so they won't volunteer! Give Marines day off if spouse goes to training. Have a volunteer booth at unit/squadron functions. Keep the SGTMAJ’s spouse involved with volunteers. Invite volunteers over to your house; let them into the circle. Your spouse should send e-mail to spouses and volunteers. Put volunteer bio’s on web site; yours as well. Volunteer coordinator/FRO- must have exclusive access to the CO- MUST BE SEEN with the CO-empower them to be in charge of the other volunteers-take them to dinner. Ask SNCOs for volunteers-conduct interviews - even if they are in place already when you arrive. Must disarm the spouses during your first squadron volunteer/spouse meeting. Remember you are old enough to be father to most, and their husbands/wives come home with stories of what a louse you are for making them work so hard. Have an "ice-breaker" plan that shows them 30 DRAFT you ultimately answer to CINCHOUSE just like they do. Must show them that your spouse has some power (even if he/she doesn't). Make your spouse, or another senior officer’s spouse, the special advisor to the FRO coordinator (he/she will have to have someone to bounce ideas/issues off of). Information flows through spouses-better information demands better volunteers. Consider leaving a SNCO behind for the duration of the deployment as a special coordinator. EO Make EO a very important part, pervasive of your command. Address the tenants of your EEO policy the very first day of your command to all. Defense Equal Opportunity Climate Survey: Have to be conducted within 90 days of taking command. Pull the old one that CO before you did, compare and contrast results. Brief the results openly to all in the command. Run one a year later; see if there is a change in results. Fix the problems if there any identified. Investigate all hints of sexual, racial, religious, creed misbehavior or misconduct. Personally draft your EO statement, run it by the Base EEO representative to make sure it hits home. Make sure it makes sense and addresses the Marines directly and that it achieves goals of the EO program. Keep it short but to the point. Post it everywhere in the squadron. Enlarge it so that it is easy to read, no one says it has to be 8x11. Make it into a freakin’ poster. Emphasize the open door policy. Emphasize and encourage participation in national historic heritage months. Encourage committees to set up the events for that month; invite guest speakers. (Members of the community, retired generals, active generals or SGTsMAJ, etc.) Be very aware of perceived favoritism and the perception of “mafias” – squash perceptions. Ask Marines as they leave the command in your exit/check out interviews if there are any EO problems. Be aware of the different diversity DoD officially-recognized months or events: i. Jan – Martin Luther King ii. Feb – African American History Month iii. Mar – Women’s History Month iv. Apr – Holocaust Remembrance Days v. May – Asian-Pacific History Month vi. Aug – Women’s Equality Day 31 DRAFT vii. Sep – Hispanic Heritage Month viii. Oct – National Disability Employment Month ix. Nov – American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage Month Celebrate these above events. Use your imagination, ask for volunteers. Marine will come up with great ideas if you incentivize them and recognize them. Reach out to local Association of Naval Services Officers, NAACP, Blacks In Government, National Naval Officers Association chapters (there are regional and base chapters) to help your program. Attend their meetings; become a member. At least post the appropriate MARADMIN around the unit if you do nothing else. For ideas on celebrating these events, go to: www.deomi.org/observance Be aware and submit people for the special emphasis awards: i. Federal Asian Pacific American Council awards (http://www.fapac.org/) ii. League of United Latin American Citizens awards (http://www.lulac.org) iii. Federally Employed Women (FEW) awards iv. National Image Awards v. NAACP awards Post the CMC’s EO and Diversity message on unit information boards Post higher HQ EO statements: IGMC’s, MARFOR’s, MEF’s, Wing’s; Group’s; etc. Note: Are sections speaking Spanish or other languages in the workspace so that it causes a perception of favoritism in the workplace? (Supervisor and subordinates speak another language non-stop and it excludes other subordinates?) Could lead to a perception or EEO problem. Mentor all Marines and also establish a mentorship program for those who are in a minority population. SACO Carefully select your SACO. Ram the SACO message home at every opportunity. Let Marines know on the first day of your command what your drug use policy is - zero tolerance, like the Marine Corps’ policy is. No matter how good your Marines are, official estimates from HQMC is that 10-20% are doing some form of drugs-ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine- test them. They all know how to beat the test-delay and drink water until their piss is clear. Piss test 0400 on Saturday morning then again on Monday morning over a ’96. Those that claim they can't pee, visually monitor until they pee. Good Marines can turn bad, keep those that just had office hours under close supervision-set them for achieving success again. They will start hanging out with other bad ones if they think they have nothing left. Ensure the NCOs or SNCOs monitor them closely while urinating. 32 DRAFT Make sure your piss-testers are getting pissed tested by a third party! Use PMO dogs to search the barracks. Be unpredictable and innovative. Conduct unit urinalysis briefs often. Conduct the random 20% a month you are supposed to test for (suggest 5% weekly). Make your official written SACO policy have specific testing occasions: i. All UA Marines will be tested upon return to unit ii. All legal hold Marines will be tested every week iii. All Marines arrested for DWIs or who make the blotter will be tested upon return to unit iv. All Marines on “xx” amount of days on leave or TAD for “xx” days will be tested upon return (hold yourself to this as well) v. All new check in’s will be tested Attend the Senior Legal Officer’s Course – they give you great gouge on what you can and cannot do and also on drugs and alcohol. Deter, deter, deter through aggressive testing and by constantly communicating about it. Have good SACO PME. Invite brig Marines that are serving time to tell story. Have Base Saco put you in contact with possible speakers. Know what the telltale signs are for drug use. Know which Marines are your “club kids”. Know which clubs your Marines go to and where they’re hanging out and who they are hanging out with. On deployment, you and the SGTMAJ should go out one night and visit the local bars and establishments. Have an Arrive Alive program. Test it yourself (while sober) to make sure it works. Pay for half or all “arrive alive card usage” using unit funds (this is allowed, check with FRO and or legal). Make it a no-brainer to come back from town or wherever. Check the program for abuse however (rides to the airport, rides to wherever not associates with drinking, etc), make sure Marines turn it back in before checking out of unit. Card is for last resort, it is not “the plan”, some Marines will rack up frequent flier mileage on your program if you’re not aware or tracking. Reward the first one who uses the program within rules in front of a formation…encourage its proper usage. Set up your own shore patrol while on deployment. Rotate the officers and SNCOs on it so they get exposure to where the Marines are hanging out. Make sure you get those Marines who are busted proper “aftercare” – Marines need to be mended, not just busted. Get them counseling, aftercare, SARP treatment, etc. Correctly document (page 11) alcohol-related instances. 33 DRAFT Legal Attend the Senior Officers Legal Course, it won’t teach you everything, but it will make you aware of a lot you need to know. Get close with the senior legal officers on base, especially if your unit becomes a regular customer; they might be able to give you some good advice. Make sure your officers get PME on search and seizure rules. Protect yourself and know your rights as a commander. Have your officers and SNCOs attend a court martial or have them sit in on military jury duty, they will learn a lot. Have your XO, commanders, OICs and SNCOs attend the Senior Officer legal Course as well, especially if held at your local base. Re-attend the course yourself during your command tour; it will be more apparent to you what you need to know and what you need to ask. Be firm but fair; set the standard and tone from the beginning – all eyes are watching on how you will handle the first big case and troublemakers. Be wary of radical changes in your tone and standard say halfway through your command without good cause, this could lead to perception of favoritism or unfairness. NJPs are small theater – all eyes are watching. Invite a SNCO and an NCO unrelated to the case to witness your proceedings – the word will get out (whatever message you decide to send). Have your Marines be witnesses to the NJP; you will get your message out that you mean business this way (they’ll spread the word for you). Task your offices with investigations and JAGMANs; make sure they do good work. This will help them out someday later as a leader. Get good legal counsel. Ask the SGTMAJ what he recommends for all punishments. Suspend sentences if the Marine needs another chance and he is a good Marine. However, do this carefully and with much thought. Be wary of unlawful command influence. Don’t hide nasty problems from the MAG CO; inform him ASAP and tell him what your intent and course of action is. If you don’t have all of the information, tell him when you will provide him an update. Publish punishments in the plan of the week or announce it at formations; don’t use names to keep the charged or penalized parties private. They’re entitled to that. Memorize/rehearse NJP skills. Use EPD or EMI. The SGTMAJ can help you with creative ideas BUT they need to be tied to the offense or the Marine’s job…i.e. do not haze. Get all the facts before you hammer someone. Use pre-trial confinement or restriction if necessary. Try to rehabilitate good Marines that went momentarily astray. Get Marines professional help if they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. 34 DRAFT Use pre-trial confinement if you think a Marine is incapable of keeping himself out of trouble with alcohol or drugs and lesser forms of restriction don’t work. Punish (hammer) bad ones that deserve it. Do not dump your trash on other people. Get the daily blotter sent to you, the XO, and the SGTMAJ. See what is going on around base with other units. Have brig chasers trained and identified in unit. Make them of different ranks and sex. (You don’t want to find out that you don’t have female brig chasers at 2300 on a Friday night, it will make incarcerating someone that much more difficult.) Visit the local brig and get an idea of how things work, what procedures you need to know to get a Marine correctly incarcerated. Make it part of your routine if someone pops for drugs to have them immediately interviewed by NCIS. They might be able to get information from the Marine/Sailor on who else is doing drugs, who is the base supplier, etc. Understand the benefits associated with Honorable, Other Than Honorable, Less Than Honorable and Bad Conduct Discharges and how they affect your Marines and Sailors…make sure they know as well. Understand the benefits lost under a Not in the Line of Duty death or serious injury due to misconduct mishap finding: The Marine or his family still retain or receive SGLI, $100,000, dental and medical for one year, military care for injury, and BAH or govt housing for one year. What are lost are survivor benefits, traumatic injury insurance and possible loss of VA benefits if they apply (this is a separate process)…..So, call a spade a spade, each case merits its own close review. Investigate something if it is at all questionable, not investigating is often the thing that will get a commander in trouble. Preliminary inquiries are required for all deaths; all of them. MARADMIN 592/07 explains what needs to be done wrt to casualty reporting. Follow the guidelines: Do not be the next “Tillman” case. You are the CO; you set the tone for discipline and standards in your unit. Marines want to have other Marine be held accountable if they do something wrong, Marines want to be held accountable. You need to make sure you are not reluctant to do so – hold them accountable. There is a lot you can do to reach a Marine’s or unit’s attention. Here are a few that have worked over the years; however, make sure your legal advises you correctly and that you are not doing things to be demeaning or personally attack someone. All the following have been used, not all will work necessarily in every case: i. Hold NJPs for DWIs and drug pops within 48 hours of discovery/incident ii. Hold NJPs after hours; that will get that Marines’ section’s attention. iii. Hold public NJPs 35 DRAFT iv. Hold NJPs on Saturday AMs v. Bring the Marine’s whole chain of command in for the offense. Roommate, NCOIC, SNCOIC, OIC, etc. Peel the onion back; find out who knows their Marine and who does not. Believe me, word will get out once a section is embarrassed that they did not know who their marine was, what he was doing afterhours, did not know which room he lived in or where he lived at all, did not have an arrive alive card, did not know unit policy, etc. I spent more time with the Marine’s chain of command usually then I did with the Marine. vi. Suspend Marine’s driving privileges; surrender their keys and park their car right outside your window while on restriction; restrict them to base; suspend MCMAP belts; make them move from out in town and back to the barracks; change their roommates; make them wear charlies, bravos or alphas for 30-60 days in conjunction with restriction; call their parents; make them do unit PMEs; order MPOs; start the process of discharging them; etc. These are all case-dependent and there are legal and justifiable reasons to do take these measures…make sure you research before you do them. vii. Make sure all alcohol/drug cases get CSACC help/assistance follow through. Whatever you do, at the end of all NJPs, make sure you tell a Marine and his chain of command what you expect of this Marine and what he/she needs to do to get back on track. Dangle incentives and encourage better behavior. I have had Marines demoted to PVT and their discharge process started take on the challenge laid out before them by me and the SGTMAJ and watched them go on to be meritoriously promoted back through rank of sgt….oohrah! PME “It is incumbent of the Marine officer to be constantly teaching his men, his junior officers, and himself.” – General Chapman. Encourage squadron PME at every chance you get. Whether going off to war, going on deployment, sticking around in the local area, there is never a shortage of things you can expose your Marines to. The XO should be in charge of a robust PME program, which he can of course delegate to others. Here are but a few ideas. Make sure to open this up to others in the MAG so they remember you when they have something good set up. PME ideas you can set up from external organizations: Marine Security Guard School brief Recruiter School brief Drill Instructor School brief Corporals and Sergeants Course brief SNCO Academy and Advanced Career Course brief HQMC Briefs (Career Counselors, Monitors, etc.) 36 DRAFT Brig Tours, NCIS, and PMO briefs Brig incarcerated personnel “Scared straight” brief MAWTS briefs Lessons learned from OIF, OEF, etc. SPEAR PME you can set up internal to squadron: Book of the month Professional Reading List PME for enlisted Squadron history PME OMPF/MBS briefs Show your OMPF as an example how even knuckleheads can get promoted or succeed. PME while deployed: Wake Island, Okinawa, Hiroshima, Korea, Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor, etc. Battlefield studies and terrain walks in local area Local GWOT battlefield PMEs (within reason) Professional Reading Program: Have one Have a unit library Push the CMC’s personal selection and CMC reading list. Reward Marines on their FITREP or PROCONs for having read books off of their PME list (it is a viable FITREP entry) Reward the Marine who completes the whole reading list for his grade (usually six or seven books) PAO Have a PAO Campaign Plan for your squadron. If it is doing great work, publish it and more importantly, push the good word out about the Marines of your command. Charge your PAO officer with the following: Contact and develop close relationships with the base paper and local PAO reps. Send your stories to MCAA Yellow Sheet and to Tailhook magazine. Develop close relationships with PAOs at deployed locations. Have sound bites and short articles ready to go wherever you go. Put any articles published about the command or members of the command on the squadron website. Never pass up an opportunity to speak in public, to your Marines, or the press (unless you are unprepared). Remember that they will listen to every spoken word, have a sound bite ready for the press before you speak. 37 DRAFT Send your PAO or attend yourself the semi-annual west coast and east coast media symposia (held in NYC or LA for one week each)…best PAO training you will ever get. Career planner Tell your Career Planner what you expect of him. Tell him what your “retainment” goals are for the unit. Make sure he is actively working to get Marines to stay in. Have him or her get Marines in to see you at the mandatory one-year and other milestone required briefs. Your words and interest may very well keep in a Marine longer. If the Career Planner is a great one, submit him or her for Career Planner of the Year award. Remember, you are the retention officer. Personally screen special duty Marines packages Personally see Marines that are on the fence about reenlisting. Have your CRs attend all unit functions. Give them time to speak at all unit standdowns, formations, events, etc. The MCO says you should be personally interviewing 51% of the Marines who are coming up on 1st term enlistment. Make sure CRS is making sure all Marines are transitioning through TAP/TAMP well before six months of getting out, we owe them that. Bring Marines into your office to personally thank them for reenlisting. Put that good news about reenlisting into the squadron newsletter, onto the website, etc. Make it big news because it is big news! Make every reenlistment a big deal: do it in formation, skydiving, flying, on top of a mountain, in the ocean, let them know they have made a big commitment. Set goals for reenlistment in your unit. Submit your CRS for CRS of the Year Award (if he/she deserves it). Medical A great flight surgeon is worth his weight in Gold. Develop this young officer to the greatest extent possible. Tell him/her what you expect and how they can be a force multiplier to the unit. Charge him with the following: Set up great pre-deployment PME on health issues. Set up extreme weather briefings. Have him give great physiological briefings. The Doc should know everyone in the unit well; he may prevent your next mishap – enlisted or officer. Fly him. Tell his Navy boss he is doing good work. Make the Corpsmen integrate into the unit’s functions (PT, FOD walk, etc.). 38 DRAFT Make sure he keeps everything confidential between himself and his patients (however, have him inform you and XO on everything). Have him help you with Dental issues if he can as well (smoothing things over with dental, have him be the bride to dental, etc.). Groom him to be a valuable Marine asset (Docs will be unpolished, make them better officers) Make them active members of all staff meetings; they need to be in the know. Make them medical planners, able to advise your ops plans with relevant medical information and planning. Make them an aggressive member of your Force Preservation Boards and Human Factors Boards. Give them direct access to your and the XO’s office so he/she can report irregularities, concerns, observations, etc. Leading Officers Lead them – they want to be led from the front. Make them do turnovers. Make sure they have a turnover folder…look at it. No special benefits for officers that your Marines don’t rate as well; they’ll see it anyway if there are. Never let anyone take a parking spot or desk or office too seriously. The CO and SGTMAJ should have their own – the Marines should get the rest. Officers do ground training (like gas chamber) like the troops do. Turn off officers’ computers, make then walk around. No one should lead by e-mail. Establish email etiquette. Don’t let officers be sycophants…tell them if they are. Officers should all do FOD walk. Officers should not wait until they are maintenance O’s to hang out in maintenance and know the Marines. Award and promote officers in front of the Marines as well. Make officers do their PME. Make officers do PME for squadron. Not all officers can be the MO, OPSO, or XO etc. Be frank with them when you tell them why they can’t be. If an officer has never written his troops for an award, why should he get one when he leaves? Explain that to them. Expect quality paperwork. Demand honesty from subordinates. Talk to your officers; ask them how they are doing. Counsel them frequently. Instruct them to get to know their counterparts at other units; this is a good way to learn new and better ways of doing things. Teach them fighter songs – good ones. 39 DRAFT Have mess nights and Dining ins/outs. Teach them these traditions. Leading Marines Love them, tell you love them. Show them you love them. Or words and actions to this effect. However, make sure they understand that they will not be mollycoddled, tough love is part of this too. Marines want to be challenged; they joined to be challenged, so challenge them. Champion them and change them for the better. This is not the Boy Scouts, DEMAND physical and mental toughness – we are in a tough business that demands tough people - they must be able to handle stress. HOWEVER, make them resilient in the face of adversity. Make them know they can also come to you and your leaders with issues, problems and too much stress. Be open about your own stress and issues (to a degree). Let them know it’s okay to be human, to have foibles, and to still persevere in the face of adversity at the same time. “Heck, if the old man has issues and can still be a damn good CO, it should be okay for me to open up and get help….” Promote them meritoriously. Counsel. Counsel more…aggressively and as per MCO. Know your Marines inside and out. Career counsel your Marines. Order OMPFs for your Marines, review the OMPFs and MBSs with them. Teach them how and they will teach other Marines how. Take a trip to DC and find out how this stuff works at MMEA, MCI, Career Counselor, PERB, BCNRs, etc. Reenlist them. Call personnel in your office to say nice things about them; don’t let it always be for office hours. Let people go when it is time to go. Remember, someone let you execute your orders once. No one is indispensable. Do not empire build for your own sake. Memorize the reenlistment oath, don't read it. If you are hosting an official visit, use your NCOs to show the VIPs around, remember young Marines are the ones VIPs want to see, not some old washed up LtCol/Col! Have your officers and SNCOs and other leaders do the Counseling for Marines MCI 0112c and have them read the order, NAVMC 2795. Talk at length to Marines who are getting out. As mentioned before, use this opportunity to get an accurate snapshot of the squadron and how you are doing as a leader. Ask them about their plans for transitioning to civilian life. You will be surprised how many don’t have a plan…Are they going to college, if so, have they taken the SATs, submitted an 40 DRAFT application, how are they going to fund it? Many have no idea how difficult it is to get into college and may be the ones that give up if they can’t answer the questions. If they are taking a job, have they prepared a resume, set up interviews how much is it going to pay? Are they prepared to take on the added responsibilities of day-to-day life with no safety net? Above all else, make them feel like they have accomplished something 99% of the civilians could not…they are Marines, they should be proud of that fact and that life in the civilian world will be different. Most of them don’t know it but they have been imprinted with a sense of determination, work ethic and self worth that most civilians will never experience or have. Tell them to take those skills and turn them to their advantage and success. Even the Marines that are being admin sep’d or discharged under other than honorable conditions should be made to feel they have accomplished something…and above all else, as they embark upon their civilian life they should understand they have skills that most civilians will never have...although it may be painful, these Marines still need and require encouragement to use the skills they learned to transition to civilian life. This is your opportunity to make the Marine think he’s got another shot at success even if he screwed up his Marine Corps Career. If he’s a troublemaker, review his mistakes and reinforce the fact the civilian world is just as harsh and even more unforgiving. Have an Enlisted Safety Council – Get ideas from the Marines, they see the day-to-day stuff that will kill you up close. Have mess nights and Dining ins/outs. Teach them these traditions. Recognize your Marines. Call them. E-mail them happy birthday or something else that establishes you know or care about them. Know their names. You know how good it feels when CMC or ACMC call you by name in front of everyone in a room….you felt like a million bucks. When you walk into a room full of LCPLs, and you, the LtCol or Col, call and know them by name, for them it’s the exact same feeling. They will move the world for you. No one is good with names, they practice memorizing them. Do the same. Know their spouses and children, knows their anniversaries and birthdays. Obviously someone can provide these to you (FRO or ADJ), you just need to send the e-mail or make the call. Send them notes at home for births or special events. Attend all possible promotions, reenlistments, graduations, section parties and functions. You don’t have to run or officiate all of these, just let your Marines know you’re present and you care. Want to meet Marines during good events, not just for bad events at your office for mast. Do these things and the Marines will follow you anywhere. 41 DRAFT Company Grade Officers Empower them, they are the future leaders of Marines you are developing. Let them tackle as much responsibility as they can handle. Encourage teamwork amongst them; they must collaborate to graduate. The XO and your department should be primarily responsible for developing them, but keep your eye on each and every one of them. Seek to develop the talents each one possesses. Squadron car: Encourage them to get a unique squadron vehicle; it’s a great rallying piece. Band: If they play instruments, let them jam together and get the opportunity to play at unit functions. Squadron mascot: If there is one, they better protect it within an inch of their lives! Coffee mess Have an active coffee mess within regulations. Put it to good use. Understand the legalities of running a coffee mess so you keep things on the up and up. Select a hard- charging company grade officer to run it. Back him up. Invite creativity. Think about putting out healthy food as well as snacks, Marines are following your example on how you eat! Make sure refrigerator and mess are stocked. Leverage airshows and other events where you can share your squadron history and memorabilia. Make sure there is an address and POC on website for interested persons to address requests for patches and other memorabilia. Come up with unit coins; make it part of squadron culture to carry it around at all times. Make it a challenge coin (Marine must have it at all times or owes other Marines a drink upon being challenged; if challenged Marine has it then challenger owes.) Follow the NCO on coins though. Present coins upon special occasions. Present coins to other units who have helped out along the way. Social Side of Command At social gatherings, ask spouses what their plans are when the unit deploys, you will find potential problems in advance, if he/she answers, "I don't know, just can't wait until he departs so I can go party" - you know who your problem couple will be. Greet all guests as they arrive, walk them to the door when they leave. Ask your spouse to call the other spouses a couple of days before first party to ease their concerns about meeting the CO. Have vases available. Use the wine guests bring; use the gifts they bring too. 42 DRAFT Have your spouse help you write speeches to spouses so that it’s in a tone they will understand and relate with. Try not to talk work exclusively at functions. Have parties and get together’s often enough…. Don’t over do it. Encourage green lights and other traditions…lead a green light to your boss’ house yourself. Teach them the old party traditions. Teach them fighter songs; pass out a fighter song handbook. Let the spouses plan a party. Thank your officers and Marines for the work they do in front of their spouses. Do your best to stop cliques from forming. Make sure you pass some word at parties directed at the spouses – your officers are probably not passing them much word if any at all. You have MCCS funds coming your way to the squadron every month which need to be used up or you lose them at tend of the year – usually $xx per Marine per quarter – use it or lose it. Have your SNCOs or NCOs plan a squadron party. Have the Marines plan one (with guidance). On the first night of a deployment somewhere, make it mandatory for the whole squadron or at least officers to meet somewhere to kick things off right. Have a lot of barbecues. Order pizza for the Marines for the hell of it. Go to Bosses’ Night with your Marines (if they invite you – the SGTMAJ always will). Have great hail and farewells – each Marine leaving is taking a part of the unit with him, treat it that way – make them say something. Set up a Jane Wayne Day for spouses and children. SNCO and NCO Associations Charge the SGTMAJ with forming a SNCO and NCO Association, these populations will gain huge benefits from it and all will benefit in the end. Put your power behind it as well, you are teaching them to be future Marine leaders, standard bearers, and tradition keepers. I have seen this work like gangbusters at three different units; the Marines amazed me each time. Encourage them to do the following: Have their own contract, creed, by-laws and rules. Elect their own president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Have their own hails and farewells. Have their plaques for departing members. Have their own PMEs, mess nights, warrior nights, functions, sports teams, t-shirts, logos, coins, etc. 43 DRAFT Visit their own in hospitals, send flowers to their own for births, deaths, get-wells, farewells, weddings, etc. Charge them to set up parties or PT sessions for the unit. Share a special relationship with the SNCOA or NCOA presidents, hear them out as the voice of their particular association. Give them special PMEs with you, the SGTMAJ, or guest speakers. Give them the day to go do their own thing or special training event. Awards Set your policy for awards, make sure all understand your guidance. Marines need and deserve to be recognized. Have your XO hold monthly awards boards. Control awards, not everyone should be rewarded. Submit MCAA awards and unit awards for every possible category if you rate it. Your unit or your Marines might win! Carry a NMCAM around in your pocket; award it to a Marine on the spot for exceptional performance. Write the award up later. Huge motivational tool. Write awards to recognize your Marines – meritorious masts, certificates of commendation, and letters of appreciation, keep the good words flowing. Make your officers learn how to write awards. Submit them in a timely fashion; make sure they get it before they leave the unit. If they leave before it’s ready, give them a copy of the unapproved one so they know to track it. Give out the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal to those who rate it for exceptional volunteer work. As a commander you have this authority at your level. Here is a list of some annual awards to look out for (there are more): i. CNO Aviation Safety, due January, OPNAVINST 1650.24 ii. Captain Virg Lemmon Award, due January, annual CMC message iii. Marine Corps Award for Excellence, due February, annual CMC message iv. National Image Award, due February, annual CMC message v. NAACP Roy Wilkins Award, due March, annual CMC message vi. Capital Marine USMC Enlisted Award, due April, annual CMC message vii. Spirit of Hope Award, due April, annual CMC message viii. MCAA Awards, due April, MCO 1650.29 ix. Dickey Chapelle and Iron Mike Award, due May, annual CMC message x. John W. Finn Aviation Ordnance Award, due August, annual CMC message xi. GEICO Military Service Award, due September, annual CMC message 44 DRAFT Here’s a dirty little secret that’s been learned over the years. Most units and leaders do not submit their deserved Marines for a lot of these annual awards because 1) they are not aware of them, 2) they blow through the award deadline inadvertently; or 3) think someone else or some other unit is going to win it. In reality, after dealing with HQMC and other orgs over the years, the truth is that they usually receive very few legitimate nominations. So, the award usually goes to the one nominee submitted or the one with the best write up of a few. Submit your Marines and Civilians for them: you may stand a great chance of winning. If your Marine or rep wins, great for the unit and the individual; if they don’t, well that individual has a great FITREP bullet and a commendatory package that can be entered into that Marine’s OMPF. A win either way, plus the individual knows you care. Solution: Tell your ADJ to map out all annual awards for the year; backwards plan to meet higher echelon deadlines; identify Marines who are truly deserved and a writer to do the award; submit and win. Chaplain Use the Chaplain, he is an invaluable resource that has many links and sources to help out with all problems. The Chaplain is a master of reading people and understanding their problems. Seek his recommendations in dealing with people. Make sure he walks around the unit and talks to people. Go to Chaplain-sponsored retreats. Tell the Marines about your experiences if they were good. Programs like CREDO have immense value. Invite the Chaplain to all squadron functions Make the Chaplain the spiritual advisor for all troops Tell the Chaplain what you need him to do; give him guidance; he’ll need it (from an earthman’s perspective, he already has his from God) Have a cup of coffee once in a while with the Chaplain and discuss personnel. He needs to be another set of eyes and ears for the unit (of course he has confidentiality responsibilities to adhere to). Make sure he is doing good old fashioned boiler plate ministry, walking around, tuning into marines and evaluating morale. Invite him/her to every training event; the best chaplains I have seen went on humps, jumps, range shoots, operations, etc. Make sure your Chaplain is part of your Force Preservation Board. Higher HQ Dealing with higher HQ: Determine the MAG CO’s pet peeves, and manage them, him. Don't run to his office every day, if he wants to see you, he will. 45 DRAFT BUT, keep the flow of information constant, too much rather than too little…you can always back off. Know and understand every piece of paperwork and report that goes to HHQ. Don't get in the habit of forwarding emails with horrendous chains of recipients. But if you must, give him an executive summary. His time is more valuable than yours. Always precede bad news with a phone call or a visit to the old man. Bring problems with recommended solutions, not just problems. Incidents that highlight your unit (blotter, incidents out in town, etc.) should always warrant a visit or phone call if personal visit is unattainable to ensure there are no surprises. Provide top cover for your Marines. Push your Marines into the limelight, make sure he/she knows your officers and enlisted. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Know guidance and HHQ two echelons up so you put all into context. Be one of the squadrons/units that plays well with others. Don’t be “VMFA-island” – thinking everything revolves around your unit. Ask yourself (and your Boss) are you the odd man out, or does the unit carry out the mission within the larger context of the Group? Is everything a conspiracy theory to you (“Group is screwing us!”) or do you understand what is driving orders and taskings from higher? You need to make sure your officers and enlisted do not fight every single issue. You’ll know when to make a stand, and most likely something was inadvertent or unintentional. Great comm. flow between you and the CO and your officers and the Group or sister-units will make it better for all. Annual Training Requirements This list is not exhaustive but represents the majority of the Marine Corps-mandated annual training requirements: PFT Gas Chamber Swim Qualification Rifle Range Pistol Range Level 1 Antiterrorism Privacy Act Ground, PMV Safety ORM Security Awareness Domestic Violence Training Tobacco Use and Cessation Marine Corps Common Skills Alcohol and Substance Abuse Equal Opportunity 46 DRAFT Sexual Harassment Sexual Assault Suicide Prevention Hazing Intelligence Oversight Indoc Training Operational Security Professional Reading Information Awareness Ethics Training ISOPREP review PME by Grade Check tecom.usmc.mil/g3/roadmap for more detailed information on PME for each rank (some of these may have changed within past year or so): LCPL: Must complete the MCI 0037 Leading Marines. Effective 081001 all LCpls must complete the MCI prior to being promoted to NCO ranks. They can also get 100 promotion points for off-duty education CPL: All Cpls are encouraged to attend the Cpls’ Course. They can also enroll in the Sgt’s Distance Education Program. They can also get 100 promotion points for off-duty education. SGT: All Sgts need to do the Sgt Distance Education Program and attend an Academy approved Sgt’s Course in residence. MARADMIN 391/07 lists the alternative courses that meet the requirements for a Sgt’s Residence Course (check this!). Most of these are infantry-type courses. They still need to be run correctly by Admin in the Unit Diary to have it reflect on the record (MBS). SSGT: All SSgts need to complete the SNCO Distance Education Program AND the SNCO Career Course in residence. GYSGT to 1st SGT/MSGT: All GySgts need to attend the SNCO Advanced Course in residence AND complete the SNCO Advanced Distance Education Program. (MARADMIN 391/07 dictates that all Gunnys will attend the SNCO Advanced Course to advance to either rank. 1st SGTs/MSGTs: 1st Sergeants will attend the 1st Sergeant Course and all E-8’s will attend a 1st SGT/MSGT regional meeting or seminar (they are scheduled throughout the year). SGTMAJ: When the course is established, SGTMAJs will attend the SGTMAJ Academy. Right now, other options exist. They can attend the Command Master Chiefs Course in Newport, Rhode Island; the U.S. Army SGTMAJs Academy; and for those who are interested in Joint Tours in their future and working for Combatant Commanders, there is the new Keystone Course (see www.ndu.edu). The prerequisite for this is the Senior Enlisted Joint PME Course at www.jfsc.ndu.edu . 47 DRAFT Sexual Assault There is nothing that will undermine the fabric and trust in a command than a sexual assault. Here are some thoughts relative to sexual assault that you can implement or institute. Taking Command: CDR’s Sexual Assault Statement: Post your statement first day in command, throughout command. Make sure at all CDR’s corners, information boards, barracks, chow halls, etc. Have your UVAs assist you in writing and reviewing the statement before you post. Have the Base SAPRO/SARC review it as well. Address your statement (and hand out copies to all) at first unit function. o Read it every six months and make sure still cogent, fresh, and relevant. Draft or modify a new one accordingly. o Don’t restrict to regular paper size; blow it up like a poster – make it prominent. DEOMI Command Climate Survey– You’re allowed to formulate specific questions for your DEOMI Command Climate Survey you’re required to execute within 90days of taking command. Ask specific questions with respect to sexual assault and the current environment in your new unit. Backbrief what you are told to your command as per order. Unit SAPRO – Open access – Set up a direct relationship with the CO; make your SAPRO/UVAs special staff members that have open access to your door (24/7). Have their numbers on cell phone/BB. o Make sure SAPRO and UVA pictures are prominently displayed throughout command as well. Introduce them personally at standdowns; back them up on stage/in meetings. Have SAPRO/UVA representation at your staff meetings. During Command: Have quarterly or monthly meetings with your SAPRO and UVAs. Get the pulse of unit. Ask them how you can assist them in their jobs; charge them to tell you how you are doing with respect to sexual assault message, environment, etc. CCIRs – Make sure your watch officers, duty NCOs and Marines/Sailors have sexual assault or suspected/possible sexual assault as one of your CCIRs. Duties need to know to call the chain of command if something happens. Time is of essence in many cases; your watch standers are NOT experts, they need to call you and SAPRO/UVAs immediately. Have a “Sexual Assault” checklist posted at duty stations so they can use it accordingly. PME – YOU, as the CDR, need to speak to sexual assault personally and as often as you can. Know the latest statistics; understand how males are affected as well (1out of 33 reported sexual assaults is male on male); tell Marines/Sailors where they can go for help; tell them what the law and UCMJ says; tell them what you are doing about it; etc. 48 DRAFT Leverage existing tools/initiatives - Examples: The “Shoe Project”; “Denim day”; Sexual Assault Awareness Month; your SAPRO/UVA will have access to examples, exhibits, training, dates, etc. Deterrence – If you have a unit Plan of the Week, Plan of the Day, newsletter, etc. which features a disciplinary corner, list punishments/legal action taken against members who have violated UCMJ regulations with respect to sexual assault. (Must protect names of accused, suspects, etc; however, permissible to speak of rank, generics, etc.) Sexual Assault Investigations (NCIS, etc) – Investigations are often quite long and drawn out (may last up to a year); important to keep victims personally informed of progress. Human Factors Board or Force Preservation Board – Add personnel involved with a sexual assault to your HFB or FPB. Base SARC meeting – YOU (as the CDR) need to go. IG – Have the IG inspect your program; demand a hard look and scrutiny so that your program works and is effective. Example Timeline for Takeover (Adjust as necessary for your own unit, personality, and situation) The 1st week: EO statement, Safety statement, Commander’s Guidance and others: all posted Call duty and see how he answers the phone (does he know you are the CO?) Pass out your staff guidance Get to know the battle rhythm Get briefed on unit legal report: pending cases, adjudicated cases, anyone in brig, etc. Get briefed on all sick, wounded, and hospitalized: where are they? What is status? Who are your EFMP families? Pending Congrints, request masts, EO complaints, investigations, etc. Watch how safety briefs are done before that first weekend of your command. Meet with all officers Meet with all SNCOs Meet with all NCOs Meet with all Marines Meet with all civilians and contractors Visit the unit on the first weekend, are duty officers knowledgeable? Is unit secure? Who is working on the weekend (if anyone?) Visit barracks Visit armory 49 DRAFT Visit chow hall Visit night shifts Visit Marines in brig, hospital, FAPed or wherever they are on base if their yours Watch section safety briefs before weekend or give one of your own. Square your office away. The 2nd week: Get briefed on what your responsibilities as the CO will be on MOL (leave approval; pro/recs, pro/cons, etc.) Does the Command have a Command Brief for VIPs, CGs, etc? Review it, update it. Determine which policies you will sign over as a continuance from your predecessor and which new polices, orders, SOPs need to be rewritten What is your master list of appointment letters you need to sign? If there isn’t one, start it. (Appointment letters are key to most inspection checklists, and they are the most common inspection “discrepancy”.) Have a master roster keeper; get an updated roster (consider having duties call ever number over weekend to see if they work). You don’t want to find out you can’t reach someone(s) when it is an emergency. What is the mass recall or contact plan? What is the unit Antiterrorism plan? Get briefed on all manpower issues. What are FTAP/STAP goals? What are reenlistment rates? Find out who is up for reenlistment, talk to those on fence Get briefed on unit PME program, ask to see how enlisted are scheduled out for the whole year for their PME academies (who is going when?). Visit all unit echelon and sections and barracks and chow halls. Go to where they eat, sleep, work. See all ‘immediate action plans/orders’: destruction of classified material plan; evacuation plans; mishap plan; casualty reporting and CACO plan; 8-day brief to ACMC in case of death of Marine due to PMV, suicide, etc.; HAZMAT plan; etc. Set the new tone for pre-liberty safety briefs, lead the brief yourself Go see Tech Training Buy a round at the Club for all officers, hold your first AOM there, make it a tradition Go over milestones and POA&M for upcoming deployments if any Get a brief on the USMC Birthday Ball…if within 6 months. Status? Guest of honor? Location? The 3rd week: Hold your first formation (clean out awaiting awards, meritorious masts, recognition, etc.) if you have not had one yet. Hold an AOM at the club with wives/spouses this time, buy the rounds 50 DRAFT Within 30 days: Know everyone in squadron by name Hold a unit PT session Change battle rhythm if necessary EKMS 100% accountability Weapons 100% accountability Accountable property 100% accountability Classified Material 100% accounted for (do a page count in publications and have a clean out day to appropriately destroy old material, tapes, pubs, etc.) Inspections (When are they due or scheduled? What is status of preparation?) Urinalysis 100% within first 30 days Meet all families Set up and schedule safety culture workshop from Naval Safety Center Have staff officers brief you on their plan of attack for the next year Go to bosses night with the SGTMAJ Go to the NCO course or the academies and see how your Marines are doing (don’t just go for graduation) Go through drills of your immediate action plans Hold or run first Human Factors Board Have Enlisted Safety Council brief you on their results of meeting (make it a trend) Go over the Monthly Maintenance Plan with your MO Go over the yearly training plan (aviation and ground) with your OPSO and OPS Within 60 days: Do the DEOMI command climate survey Your grace period is over: you are no longer the new CO able to blame it on the former CO. It is now your bag, accept this fully. Within 90-180 days: Do other surveys targeted at certain populations: Drinking and Driving Awareness Survey; Motorcycle Safety Survey; Off-Duty Recreation Survey; Safety Culture Survey 180 days: Review your guidance, EEO, Safety statements and goals…do they need to be revised? If so, do so. If you had to do take over again, what would you do different? Keep a book of lessons learned for the next guy and for your next shot at command. 51 DRAFT Meet with unit populations again (offices, SNCOs, etc) and see if your impression of progress of unit matches theirs. Adjust accordingly. 360 days: Run another climate survey Meet again with the populations. Adjust accordingly. Conclusion That’s it for now, happy to always receive input and new ideas. Update this CO’s primer! Pass it on to those you are grooming as future commanders! Enjoy command! 52