Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. -- The 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visited the station last week to speak with Marines about issues affecting the Corps.
Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada spoke to Marines about accusations surrounding the Haditha investigation, the Global War on Terrorism, quality of life for single Marines and several other issues.
Estrada spoke with the staff noncommissioned officers about their role in the Marine Corps’ future and changes that must be made within the enlisted leadership.
The Marine Corps is going through a lot of changes that many SNCOs will not like or agree with, but the train is already in motion and they can either jump on or get run over, said Estrada.
SNCOs have a lot of influence over their Marines’ decisions to stay in the Marine Corps or leave, said Estrada.
It is crucial for the Marine Corps to keep that experience and leadership and pass it on to the next generation of Marines.
Estrada also cautioned SNCOs about speaking publicly on issues that have yet to be resolved, specifically pointing out the accusations flying around in the media about the Haditha incident.
The vast majority of Marines are doing an outstanding job in serving this country and upholding the core values of the Marine Corps, said Estrada. Do not add to the unconfirmed reports or gossip people are spreading, but instead talk about the good deeds Marines are doing.
SNCOs have to take care of their Marines and ensure they handle situations before they escalate to serious levels, said Estrada.
Estrada also addressed the quality of life for single Marines.
In fact, Estrada said it was at the top of his and the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ list, next to the war in Iraq.
Single Marines should have fair treatment when compared to married ones, said Estrada. They shouldn’t have to use the old, ugly green blankets for inspections and they don’t have to have inspections every week.
The Marine Corps needs to move past the dinosaur era and into the future, said Estrada.
The single Marines should be able to personalize their rooms because the rooms are their homes, said Staff Sgt. Matthew B. Turney, Marine Attack Squadron 214 barracks sergeant.
The Marines living in the barracks definitely won’t have a problem with doing that or having an incentive program for room inspections, said Turney.
After the SMMC finished speaking to the Marines, he opened the floor to questions and even answered a few questions Marines asked in the July 6 edition of the Desert Warrior.
Before Estrada left, he gave a representative from each squadron a coin with the inscription, “Perseverance during adversity.”
The Marines seemed impressed by Estrada’s intense desire to help and change policy that had been in effect for several decades.
The changes the sergeant major introduced are very innovative, especially the ones helping improve living conditions for the single Marines, said Gunnery Sgt. David M. Ross, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron training chief.
The Marines are going to have more freedoms now, but they have to ensure they do not take them for granted and continue to do what earned them those rights in the first place, added Ross.