VIPs aboard MCAGCC for executive off-site

17 May 2002 | Cpl. Kristen A. Bishop

Eighteen senior generals and nine sergeants major from the upper echelons of the Marine Corps command structure, including the Commandant and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps, as well as members of the Senior Executive Service visited the Combat Center last week for an executive off-site and sergeants major symposium.

Executive off-sites are held a few times each year at different military bases or off-base facilities to allow the leadership of the Marine Corps to discuss plans, policies and procedures.  According to Maj. Dennis Teitzel, MAGTFTC operations officer, topics discussed affect the Marine Corps as a whole.

"They discuss topics like the future of the Corps, what changes need to be made, and what direction we are moving," said Teitzel.

The visiting sergeants major also discussed Corps-wide topics during their symposium, including the non-commissioned officers? symposium May 25, a new drill manual, first-term retention, the new utilities uniform, and a possible senior enlisted leadership development course.

"We?re ready to develop a course that will empower our senior enlisted as they walk into that new responsibility of being a master gunnery sergeant or sergeant major," said Sgt. Maj. Alford L. McMichael, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.  "We want the plans to be ready to go by our next promotion board."

During the three-day off-site, Marines from Lima Battery, 3/11, demonstrated a new towed lightweight 155 mm Howitzer, which is still in the developmental phase for the visiting generals and sergeants major.  The command also spent time discussing war-fighting and training issues in the combined arms staff trainer.

"The CAST is like a sand table of the base," said Teitzel.  "It?s a facility that allows us to put MAGTF staff in a controlled environment to practice the procedures of a combined arms exercise."

Even though the workload was intense, Sgt. Maj. McMichael and General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, took a break to relax and play a pick-up game of basketball with a group of Marines at the West gym.

"I think that Twentynine Palms is a great example of the total Marine family," said McMichael.  "You see young Marines going about business as total professionals, spouses sharing great friendships, and a base that reaches out to the community.  No one is left behind."

He added that the Combat Center will continue to play a vital role in the fight against terrorism.

"We?re always ready to fight the nation?s battle," said McMichael.  "We were prepared for today?s war on terrorism because we trained for it yesterday, and we?ll be ready for the next one because we?re training for it today."