Brief addresses Corps’ key issues
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Sgt. Maj. Irene Z. O’Neal, sergeant major of the Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters Marine Corps, presented the commandant of the Marine Corps’ special interest brief to Marines and sailors with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Jan. 9 at the Camp Foster Theater.
The brief educated the Marines and sailors of 1st MAW, III Marine Expeditionary Force, on the commadant’s key issues, priorities and goals.
“Every two years, each unit in the Marine Corps is inspected by the inspector general, and it just so happens it’s 1st MAW’s turn to be inspected,” said O’Neal. “As part of the inspection, I came out and gave the special interest brief and conducted focus groups with Marines and sailors.”
O’Neal discussed topics such as combat operational stress, suicide, sexual assault, hazing, and alcohol and drug use during the brief.
The presentation was for all ranks, as it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure these important topics that affect all Marines and sailors are properly handled.
“This brief is beneficial because it reinforces what I’ve been telling my Marines,” said Sgt. Randolph M. Shepardbrown, the logistics chief with S-4, supply and logistics, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st MAW. “I feel it is important for the Marines because they get to hear it from someone from Headquarters Marine Corps and see how important the issues are.”
In addition to those topics, O’Neal talked about two new Marine administrative messages, MARADMIN 683/12 and MARADMIN 709/12.
MARADMIN 683/12 addresses the change in urinalysis testing for synthetic chemical compounds such as spice, according to O’Neal.
The purpose of MARADMIN 709/12 is to provide commanders with an additional tool to identify Marines and sailors within their commands who are at risk of alcohol abuse or misuse. The commanders will be issued Breathalyzers to randomly test their Marines and sailors during duty hours and identify those individuals in need of alcohol abuse or misuse training, counseling and treatment.
“It is important the Marines hear these messages as if they are coming from the commandant or the sergeant major themselves,” said O’Neal. “It is (the commandant and sergeant major) saying ‘this is what’s going on here and we need your help, this is what the Marine Corps is about and we want to uphold our standards and ethos.’ ”
The brief gave the Marines a chance to re-examine their commanders’ guidance from a new perspective, according to Cpl. Devin M. Stokes, an administrative clerk with S-1, manpower, personnel and administration, MWHS-1.
“This class gave us an opportunity to dig deeper into those issues and see what new issues the commandant feels need to be addressed,” said Stokes.
The commandant entrusts the Office of the Inspector General to make presentations and discuss key topics with Marines around the world, so they can better understand the operational culture at all levels of command in regards to these topics, according to O’Neal. The Office of the Inspector General is able to interact with junior enlisted Marines and get a better understanding of their opinions and understanding of the issues.
“Marines are losing their lives and jeopardizing their careers over these preventable issues,” said Shepardbrown. “This reinforced that we need to make sure we keep eyes on fellow Marines and take care of each other.
“I plan to hit on every topic from this brief with my Marines and continuously talk to them about these topics, and with constant attention and leadership, these issues can be avoided.”