MARINCE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Combat Center added to its 51-year history, March 19, on the parade field when it posted Sgt. Maj. James M. Ricker as the
new Marine Air Ground Combat Center sergeant major.
OP: What inspired you to join the Corps?
SGTMAJ: When I was about nine years old I happened to find my brother-in-law's duffel bag full of uniforms. I liked the
"dress blues" so much it sparked my interest.
OP: Is anybody else in your family in the service?
OP: How would you describe your leadership style?
SGTMAJ: Proactive and involved. I fully believe in allowing Marines and Sailors to do their job with overwatch not over
supervision. Tell them what you want done then allow them to develop the plan and execute it.
OP: Have you been here before?
SGTMAJ: Yes 1994-1996 with [2nd Battalion, 7th Marines] and also many [Combined Arms Exercises].
OP: What was your first impression of the Combat Center?
SGTMAJ: What a great place to train, and all of the great family activities.
OP: What kind of impression are you hoping to portray?
SGTMAJ: Solid concerned, approachable leadership.
OP: What do you hope to accomplish while you're here?
SGTMAJ: Taking care of the Marines, Sailors and their families.
OP: Have you seen anything you would like to change aboard the Combat Center?
SGTMAJ: Not yet.
OP: In your 28 years of service, what are a few major changes you have witnessed in the Corps?
SGTMAJ: The involvement of [noncommissioned officers] as leaders. The NCOs today are so important to the mission. The quality
of life is through the roof. Look at the new [mess hall], housing, barracks and work spaces. When I first joined we worked
and lived out of mostly Korean War-era structures.
OP: Where did you meet your wife? How long have you been married?
SGTMAJ: My wife is my high school sweetheart, and we have been married for almost 28 years.
OP: What is your nationality?
SGTMAJ: True blue American.
OP: What hobbies do you enjoy taking part of?
SGTMAJ: The outdoors.
OP: Sergeant major, who do you look up to as a role model?
SGTMAJ: Several Marines that I have had the pleasure of knowing.
OP: As a sergeant major in the Marine Corps, what message do you wish to convey to young Marines?
SGTMAJ: Don't just sit around and complain, get up, get involved. You make your own life. Do not always wait for the [staff
noncommissioned officers] to tell you what needs to be done.
OP: With many of our Marines and Sailors currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 2, what can you tell the
family members left behind that may help ease their concern?
SGTMAJ: Your Marines and Sailors are well trained and have the greatest military leadership in the world today. The nation
is very grateful for both yours and their sacrifices.
OP: What has been your most memorable moment in the Marine Corps?
SGTMAJ: Riding in a Command and Control Huey watching the [Marine Expeditionary Unit] conduct an amphibious raid.
OP: What is the most difficult part of being a Marine?
SGTMAJ: Watching a young man or woman tear their life apart with drugs and bad decisions.
OP: What is your favorite part of being a Marine?
SGTMAJ: Watching a young Marine or Sailor mature to into a leader and taking chaOP: Is there anything else you'd like to add
that would help us get to know you better?
SGTMAJ: I honestly believe that you will get out of the Corps what you put into it. No other part of the American society has
as many open opportunities for young Americans to excel. If you're motivated and want to succeed the Marine Corps has all of
the avenues to do this. From the officer selection programs to the highly advanced schools, you can [lateral move] into. I
personally believe that all Marines and Sailors need to ask themselves one simple question, 'where and what do I want to be
doing five years from now?' Once you know that you start structuring your life toward your goals