Al ASAD, Iraq -- Promotion; every Marine wants one. It’s a sign from superiors that Marines are ready to accept more responsibility, and ready to lead the Marines around them. A meritorious promotion does not just mean that a Marine is ready for the added responsibility, but has also set themselves apart from their peers.
Staff Sgt. William Hollifield, the plans chief for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), earned the promotion to his current rank by winning the II Marine Expeditionary Force combat meritorious staff sergeant board.
“In a way its still kind of shocking to me, I almost fell out of my chair when I got an e-mail congratulating me,” said Hollifield, a New Bern, N.C., native.
Hollifield’s superiors believe that he is more than deserving of the new promotion.
“He’s absolutely one of the finest (non commissioned officer)’s,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Woodward, the deputy operations officer for 2nd MAW (Fwd.) and a Niantic, Conn., native. “He works, and has since I’ve known him, well above his pay grade. He’s well respected by junior Marines, peers, and senior Marines across the board.”
As the plans chief, Hollifield is responsible for the coordination that occurs between the elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force that comprises Multi-National Forces-West.
“I’m responsible for ensuring that six thousand-plus Marines are deployed and re-deployed in support of (Operation Iraqi Freedom) functions and operations,” said Hollifield. “And all the cargo, the most important piece is cargo. We can have all the people we want but we’re not actually ground fighters, we have to work with machinery. We have to support the pilots, make sure they have the aircraft to fly, and make sure they have the tools and the maintenance to support them.”
Hollifield is also responsible for the MAGTF planners that support all of the Groups in the Wing, which include Marine Aircraft Group 29, Marine Wing Support Group 27, and Marine Air Control Group 28.
“I’m responsible for ensuring that they’re operational, as far as their (military occupational speciality), and making sure their slice of the work gets done,” said Hollifield.
Hollifield believes that the best part of his job is working with fellow MAGTF planners.
“We’re a small community, when I say that I mean there’s about 250 of us,” said Hollifield. “From the highest rank all the way to the lowest private coming in, we’re a small community and we work together extensively. What I like about it the most is the camaraderie that we have.”
Hollifield, who has spent seven years in the Corps, said there were a few reasons he joined.
“My dad was a Marine for one,” said Hollifield. “Two, I was going to college and running short of funds. It was either go to work or go to school, so I figured I would join the Marines. That way they’d pay for education and the Marines would back me up. It just went from there, I just enjoy being in uniform.”
So far, Hollifield has enjoyed his deployment and is looking forward to continuing his efforts to help the Marines around him.
“I volunteered for this deployment just because I have a strong need to make sure that my fellow MAGTF planners, the young ones that are coming out, at least share my knowledge before I leave,” said Hollifield. “I feel the need to let these young MAGTF planners know that this is the knowledge, this is what I’ve been doing for the past five years with three deployments under my belt.”