CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
From reconstructing roads to eliminating insurgents, many Marines and sailors deployed to Afghanistan make an impact that is readily visible.
Within 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), there are thousands of Marines from multiple units working in various roles to support the warfighter on the front lines. Behind every one of those service members is a less visible but extremely important team that enables mission accomplishment in a different way.
“Administration is the behind the scenes action for every mission,” said Staff Sgt. Alain Espinosa, adjutant, Headquarters and Services Company, 1st MLG (Fwd). “We provide support through personnel accountability, personnel strength, awards, meritorious promotions, Red Cross messages, [authorized leave] and personnel casualty reports.”
More than 3,000 personnel fall under 1st MLG (Fwd), but less than 10 Marines and sailors make up the G-1 shop that supports them all. Every morning, a brief is given to the commanding general, and G-1 gives the accountability report.
The shop keeps track of every individual’s location, whether it’s on Camp Leatherneck or outside of the wire, as well as how many 1st MLG (Fwd) members are located at each place. There are over 40 forward operating bases, patrol bases, combat outposts and camps where 1st MLG (Fwd) Marines and sailors provide support to ground units.
When an incident occurs in any of these locations, the G-1 team provides support that is necessary but rarely considered. Personnel casualty reports are written by the personnel Marines, who must ensure accuracy and timeliness in their reports for each situation.
“PCR’s are critical to annotating medical status of a Marine,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Bowen, manpower chief, H&S Co., 1st MLG (Fwd).
While the G-1 shop is responsible for typing up PCRs for personnel leaving the battlespace because of death or injury, they also have the positive job of sending up awards and meritorious promotions. When a new award appears in a Marine’s service record, the tireless efforts of G-1 are rarely considered, yet their services ensure accurate personnel for each member of 1st MLG (Fwd).
“We ensure the Marines are recognized for their hard work and receive their awards in a timely manner prior to them redeploying to the states,” said Espinosa. “We provide the commanding general with the administrative support to recognize his Marines in the battlespace and be able to meritoriously promote them."
The junior Marines work often with high ranking officers, offering their expertise in the administration field.
“They have a high visibility job and function well dealing with senior leadership, all the way up to the general, working with them on a daily basis,” said Bowen. “Their attention to detail is unmatched. These Marines demonstrate the highest professional abilities.”
While G-1 Marines focus on the Corps, Petty Officer 3rd Class William Poon, a sailor within the G-1 shop has the capability of a Naval Personnel Administration Center, dealing with issues including pay, awards, travel claims and emergency contact information for all sailors in 1st MLG (Fwd).
“Some parts of my job are familiar to the Marines, but for the most part my job is completely different,” said Poon. “Being the only Navy administration sailor with MLG, they put me in the G-1 shop, but even though we are from different branches, it’s a small shop and we get to know one another well.”
Despite being junior Marines, the responsibilities they carry as members of the G-1 shop are significant. The work may sometimes be difficult, but it is completed with a total respect and understanding of the importance of their job.
“If I didn’t take responsibility and do my job right, Marines would suffer,” said Lance Cpl. Francisco Garcia, administration clerk, G-1, H&S Co., 1st MLG (Fwd). “They would face issues like delayed flights and not enough funding for emergency leave trips, having to pay for everything out of their own pocket."
Not only do the Marines and sailors take pride in their job but also have an appreciation for the chance to serve while forward deployed.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to be serving in Afghanistan,” said Garcia. “I have had the opportunity to learn a lot more about my job while out here and so far it has been a great experience.”