The 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, sponsored summits for health, wellness, and fitness; recruiting and retention; and enlisted professional and personal development at Quantico, V.A and Camp Lejeune, N. C., Feb. 3-7.
As Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Black is responsible for offering advice to the Commandant of the Marine Corps on all policies affecting the Corps. While Sgt. Maj. Black was speaking to Marines, he mentioned he wants to engage directly with the enlisted force, from private first class to sergeants major. By sponsoring these summits, Sgt. Maj. Black can listen to the recommendations from leaders and subject matter experts around the Corps on these topics.
The convergence of rank and specialties will help hone in on the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger’s priorities and provide guidance and recommendations that support the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.
Marines are held to a high standard of fitness in the mind, body, and soul. The health, wellness, and fitness summit sought to improve the way Marines achieve well being by reviewing and making recommendations on the integration of the numerous existing programs, organizations, and agencies.
“No single office at [Headquarters Marine Corps] has all the answers. If we did not do these summits, decisions would be made in a vacuum without all insights, perspectives and information,” U.S. Marine Corps Col. Stephen Armes, director of the Force Fitness Division. “This approach advocates buy-in from the Force, deeper understanding and a say in the process.”
“What I want all Marines to know is that you have a voice, representations for these summits is coming from across the Marine Corps. We’ve got a myriad of individuals with experiences from across the entire Fleet Marine Force coming together to offer input into evolving the way we develop our manpower and our people and our Marines.” Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
The Marine Corps is built by the quality of the force, and it is made by the recruiters of the Corps.
“This is one of the very few times Marines from [non-commissioned officer] all the way through senior staff non-commissioned officer, have the opportunity to look at this in a horizontal version. From recruiting all the way to retention and possibly beyond as a career Marine and take a look at all those programs and assess its value and look for improvements,” said Sgt. Maj. Peter Siaw, team lead for Talent Management and Development. Siaw currently serves as the sergeant major of 3rd Marine Air Wing.
Marines of all ranks must continue to expand not only the development of Marine Corps skills but as well as their education outside of the Corps. By focusing on all areas such as warfighting, individual [military occupational skills], college credits and degrees, “we want to make sure we leave our Corps in a better place so that our junior Marines can grow up a smarter and more effective Marine,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Doug Kummings, deputy for Enlisted and Professional Development. Kummings currently serves as the enlisted and reserves liaison at Marine Corps University.
“The purpose of the three summits is to ensure that we are taking the best care possible of enlisted Marines; to make sure we recruit and retain the best; that we keep them physically and mentally fit; and that we educate them and equip them with the best tools that they need to accomplish our mission, and that’s to win battles,” said Sgt. Maj. Doug Cutsail, team lead for Enlisted Professional and Personal Development Summit. Cutsail also serves as the sergeant major of Marine Corps University.
“Enlisted Marines are great catalysts for change, but the vehicle for change is ultimately going to come from our most senior officer and their staff,” said Lt. Col. Rory Quinn. Quinn currently serves as section head for Plans and Programs section of Officer Assignment. “If we, in this summit, can build a proposal that both officers and enlisted leaders see as ground breaking, then the stage is set perhaps for Sgt. Maj. Black and General Berger to examine that plan in the future.”
The summits allowed leaders, who have years of experience, to provide input on the way they can improve the future of the Marine Corps. The summits aim to review the current and future development of the enlisted force. “I think what these summits are going to do is provide the commandant with some enlightened opinions and recommendations on how to improve all three of these areas,” Sgt. Maj. Black said.