III MEF Master Gunnery Sergeant Becomes First Marine Selected for Centcom Billet
CAMP COURTNEY, Japan ─ U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Blaine Jones recently became the first Marine to be accepted as the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) senior enlisted advisor to the joint operations section (J3). Jones applied for the billet understanding that if he was given the job he would be making history. CENTCOM is responsible for directing and enabling military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability in support of allied interests in the Middle East.
Jones submitted the package and had the privilege of getting it endorsed by the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
In the Marine Corps, master gunnery sergeants are technical experts in their respective military occupational specialties and aren’t usually given roles outside of their MOS, but this time it was a unique situation. Jones was able to be given a role that is usually given to Army command sergeants major, and was also able to get the joint-level job, which encompasses all branches of the military services. Jones feels his time spent operating in the Middle East area of operations is one of the factors that allowed him to stick out as a candidate for the job.
“He came from a special operations community prior to here, so he has a wealth of knowledge,” said Marine Lt. Col. Timothy Slinger, the Deputy and Effects Coordinator for III MEF when speaking on Jones' experience. “He brings an exceptional amount of operational experience not just within his community but beyond.”
Jones’ expertise in his job field is not the only thing that has made him a competitive candidate for the job; his desire to go above and beyond required training has played a big role also. This is not the first time Jones has made history in the Marine Corps either; he was also the first master gunnery sergeant to go the U.S. Marine Sergeant Major’s course.
Jones does not just think about his military occupational specialty as a master gunnery sergeant, according to Slinger, a Dallas native. He has the experience and training of a sergeant major.
With Jones leaving the MEF level of operations and heading to CENTCOM, he will now be able to affect the lives of troops across all branches by advising the commanding officer in the CENCTOM joint operations section on enlisted matters.
“I am overly excited for him, but I am also hurting because I am going to be missing this phenomenal senior enlisted leader that, in the short time he has been here, has done great things for III MEF,” said Slinger. “It’s a bittersweet feeling.”
Jones, a native of Sullivan, Indiana, is currently the senior enlisted fire support man with III MEF.