OKINAWA, JAPAN --
OKINAWA, JAPAN – Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines received a break from a patrol exercise to speak with their career monitors during their final stop on the Marine Manpower and Enlisted Assignments Roadshow on April 26, 2023.
Master Sgt. Jason Krumrie, the 0311 monitor, and Gunnery Sgt. Cruz Nuanez, an 03XX monitor, both with MMEA-22, met with Marines from Baker Company, 1/7 in Combat Town in the Central Training Area to discuss reenlistment and retention opportunities available under General Berger’s Talent Management 2030.
Krumrie noted that the roadshow has evolved over the years to become more personable, educational, and focused on human relations with Marines. He emphasized that the Marine Corps wants to retain their best and brightest, particularly NCOs and Staff NCOs, to help meet the initiatives of Force Design 2030 and mature the Corps.
At the time of writing, 1/7 makes up for 28 percent of the Early Enlistment Approval goal across the 03XX community, indicating a significant increase in retention desire among Marines from 1/7. The roadshow allows monitors to meet one-on-one with Marines to discuss their career options, future assignments available to them, avenues from active duty to the Marine Corps reserves, or special programs pursuing higher education. Generally, when a Marine speaks with Krumrie, it’s their first time interacting with a monitor.
“It’s about getting the right Marine, in the right job, at the right time,” said Krumrie. He said he focuses on “Letting them know that the Marine Corps cares about them. That we care about their progression, their desires, and what they want to achieve in the Marine Corps.”
During the roadshow, representatives from MMEA have also taken the opportunity to speak to company level leadership about how important it is for leaders to educate their Marines and emphasize the opportunities the Marine Corps can afford them.
Baker Company, 1/7 has a unique leadership structure in that they currently have a master sergeant operations chief, Master Sgt. Jacob Bentley, and a company first sergeant, First Sgt. Ivan Colina, because of Bentley’s recent promotion. Bentley and Colina effectively separate their responsibilities as a tactical knowledge expert and the individual responsible for discipline and morale, respectively. They believe their focus on PME and developing what the Marine Corps calls the “whole-Marine concept” has been critical to 1/7’s high retention numbers.
“Him and I have been able to tackle the aspect of planning the company or the Marine’s career. He understands the infantry, I understand the career path, and we both mingle when it comes down to PME,” said Colina. “We call it the E-16 in our company. Our first sergeant and master sergeant combined, two E-8s put together, what could they not accomplish? There’s nothing we can’t answer to ensure that a Marine and their family are well taken care of.”
Marines in 1/7 have noticed the efforts to arm them with as much information as possible when making the choice to stay in or exit the Marine Corps. Cpl. Seraphin Byiringiro, a machine gunner with 1/7, said “With this new command, they tell you what you can get, or if you request something, they’ll get that for you. Before that, all I knew was that I’d go into my first sergeant’s office, tell them I want to reenlist, and then I’d put my name down and whatever they came up with was what I’d get.”
The battalion's leadership also attributes their success to reinforcement from company staff. “I would say the recent success the battalion has enjoyed regarding its FTAP ’23 regular retention and FTAP ’24 Early Retention Authority retention percentages is mostly attributed to our Company 1stSgts, who have embraced the part of their respective billet description that pertains to assisting the commander with retention,” said Sgt. Maj. Justin Crawn, sergeant major of 1/7. “Our Company 1stSgts apply a measured approach through engaged, one-on-one sessions with their Marines to understand how they can align the personal interests of the individual Marine with the opportunities continued service in the Corps can provide.”
Under Talent Management 2030, the Marine Corps has placed an emphasis on retaining the right Marines rather than replacing them, with the goal of meeting the requirements of a rapidly changing security environment and Force Design 2023. TM 2030 is expected to be in full effect by 2025, and the efforts to retain the best and brightest Marines will play a critical role in achieving this goal.