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Marines wait in line to see their monitors during a Manpower Management Enlisted Assignment visit aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, Aug. 12, 2009. Monitors for various military occupational specialties and special duty assignments visited Marines to discuss career options with Marines nearing the end of their current contract. (U.S. Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. M. M. Bravo)

Photo by Cpl. M. M. Bravo

Monitors visit deployed Marines; share knowledge for career enhancement

14 Aug 2009 | Cpl. M. M. Bravo and Lance Cpl. Melissa A. Latty

Marine Corps monitors representing various military occupational specialties and special duty assignments visited the Marines aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, Aug. 11 – 13, to discuss options with Marines nearing the end of their current enlistment contract.

“Our focus is knowledge,” said Master Sgt. Donald G. Bird, a processing chief with Manpower Management Enlisted Assignment, who participated in the visit.  “We’re trying to get the Marines to understand what their options are.”

Due to the increased deployment cycles, many Marines miss their opportunity to meet face-to-face with their respective career monitors back at their home station. Having the monitors make trips to a deployed environment like TQ, which is home to thousands of service members, will help Marines make more informed decisions when it comes to making that life-changing decision of hanging up the uniform or staying in for another term.

Although most Marines are knowledgeable about different jobs they can fill within the operating forces, there are a few special duty assignment options available to them that they may not know about. 

Some of the SDA options include recruiting duty serving out of stations scattered throughout the United States, serving as drill instructors at Marine Recruit Depots in San Diego, Calif. or Parris Island, S.C., or they can serve as Marine Security Guards who are responsible for providing security at any one of the 125 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

Sgt. Trondedrick D. Watson, a field wireman with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, who has been in the Marine Corps for six and a half years, has wanted to be a drill instructor since his first reenlistment. 

“I think it’ll be something challenging,” he said.  “The fact that I’ll have a hand in training Marines makes me feel really good.  I want to help uphold the Marine Corps traditions.”

Watson was recently accepted to attend Drill Instructor School and is scheduled to begin April 2010. He has been preparing for this for the last five months by honing his leadership skills during his deployment and by making sure his physical fitness is up to par.

For Marines seeking career-enhancement, having an SDA has been proven to help get them promoted through the ranks. Marines become more competitive when compared to their peers during promotion boards or other sought-after slots. 

“You went out, above and beyond,” Bird said.  “You took the challenge to go out of the comfort zone of your MOS.  SDA, 99 percent of the time, makes you more promotable.”

During the visit to Camp TQ, the monitors made it a goal to see as many Marines as possible to provide deployed Marines with the same quality options as the Marines back home. Whether it’s reenlisting, moving to a different MOS or even choosing to get out of the Marine Corps, it’s important for Marines to have all of the information. 

“We want you to make the right decision for you and the Marine Corps,” Bird said.

“Whenever monitors are in town, it’s not a waste,” Bird continued. “You don’t know what they have available for you. Come ask and they’ll tell you.”


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