CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – More than 50 Marines with 1st Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, were recognized for their military service during a capstone ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 23, 2013.
The ceremony was a formal, graduation-inspired event that recognized each Marine’s preparedness to successfully transition from the military to the civilian workforce in conjunction with the completion of honorable service in the Marine Corps.
“It’s a formal thanks to the Marines for their time served,” said Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey A. Young, battalion sergeant major, 1st Supply Bn. “A final culminating event for the transition to the civilian population.”
The process leading up to the ceremony ensures Marines leaving the Marine Corps are prepared for the next chapter in their lives following active-duty service.
A Department of Defense-wide capstone event that serves to verify service members’ career readiness has been in the making for the past two years. President Obama announced the launch of a revamped transition program developed by the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force to be implemented throughout the military by the end of 2013.
Going above and beyond this guidance, Lt. Col. Michael J. Fitzgerald, commanding officer, 1st Supply Bn., and his senior staff collaborated with select regimental and MLG staff to make the capstone event more than just a verification of standards met. In addition to meeting the requirements of the capstone event, the leadership of 1st Supply Bn. decided to individually recognize each Marine’s service and honor the transition from good Marines to good citizens in a formal, commencement-inspired capstone ceremony.
Previously, a Marine’s End of Active Service plan was more personality driven, said Fitzgerald. Now, however, the transition process is comprised of a three-stage program that consists of identifying Marines scheduled to end their active service, interviewing Marines to ensure they have a solid plan for their transition into the civilian sector, and finally, recognizing Marines at the capstone ceremony for their dedicated and honorable service.
“Each Marine participates in a capstone interview with the chain of command to verify (the Marine) has met all requirements and any unresolved issues have been fulfilled during the first and second phases of their 90-day End of Active Service period,” said Fitzgerald. “The majority of Marines remember their first 90 days and their last 90 days of service. We want to leave recognition from senior leadership among their memories.”
During the ceremony, participants were formally recognized and presented with a certificate of appreciation and Commandant of the Marine Corps Letter in front of their families as well as select battalion and MLG staff for their honorable and faithful service to the Marine Corps.
“(The ceremony) acknowledged all the work you’ve done,” said Cpl. Alina Sanchez, a warehouse clerk with 1st Supply Co., 1st Supply Bn., and native of Hammond, Ind. “It made me feel good. It shows that they care, and that the (Marine Corps) is sending you out into the civilian world with options and a plan.”
Additionally, Fitzgerald used the opportunity to reinvigorate the “once a Marine, always a Marine” ethos.
“I wanted the Marines leaving the service to know that they are never alone,” said Fitzgerald. “The certificates let them hold on to something that proves just that.”
“It was something all of the staff thought up,” said Young, a native of Baltimore. “We wanted to formally recognize Marines’ honorable time in service as well as their plan for success after. It’s something that simply should be done.”