CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Leadership is one of the Marine Corps’ highest-held traits in the individual Marine. As such, every Marine, as well as every other service member and civilian aboard a military installation, is charged with being a leader to others and inspiring them to be the best they can be in their field.
Mary A. Foreman, a 63-year old military paid technician working with the disbursing office, has exemplified this trait for the last 35 years.
She was recently recognized for her dedicated service during her 35 Year Federal Length of Service award ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Mary was presented with a personal coin from Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the 1st MLG commanding general, as well as the 35 Year Federal Length of Service pin that her husband donned on her.
“I’ve known Mrs. Foreman since I was a lance corporal,” said Staff Sgt. Florencio Gogo, a 29-year old paid deck certifier with Disbursing Office, Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, of San Diego. “She does what she can and stays motivated even through hard times. Not only is she a mentor, but she portrays a leader in the office. She is a leader that I’ve looked to for many years and has made me the Marine I am today.”
Forty-four years ago, in 1969, Foreman, a native of Muskegon, Mich., made the journey to Camp Pendleton with her husband after he graduated boot camp. Her husband, George Forman Jr., served as a food service specialist and is a retired Gunnery Sergeant.
She started her disbursing career with the Marine Corps on Nov. 28, 1978, where she was assigned to the fiscal section of the base disbursing office.
“When I first started, I knew nothing about the military life,” she recalled. “I had to learn a different way of life with the Marines. I saw a bond with them and at first I couldn’t understand it but now I know it is a bond that can’t be broke. I really liked that they were like a family.”
A lifelong learner, Foreman worked diligently to master every position she was selected to lead and by 1983 she was moved to the consolidated disbursing office and was assigned as the Fiscal Deputy.
In 1987, Mrs. Foreman moved out of the fiscal section and worked in consolidated sections that were responsible for processing military pay, separations, and travel payments. She is currently working in the military pay section, where she is responsible for certifying adjustments and special payments for over 70,000 Marines on the west coast.
“It’s very busy,” she said. “The job is all based off of the accuracy of our work. I’ve worked in different sections. I’ve had to learn to be ready for everything and pay attention to the smallest details.”
Outside of the disbursing office, Mrs. Foreman can be described as a dedicated, family oriented woman who has devoted her life to a career of service.
“You are a valued member of our team and your continued contributions are vital for the disbursing office to continue to be successful in meeting their mission,” said Brig. Gen. Coglianese. “All of our organizational achievements are made possible because of your individual efforts and the efforts of your team members. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.”
As one might imagine, someone like Foreman would make a number of bonds when working at the same facility for more than three decades. The leader she has become in her department is an aspect of her personality and was spoken highly of during her departure.
“I’ve built so many bonds with these Marines,” said Foreman. “I’ve seen some retire. I’ve seen them come and go. I would like to think I have impacted their lives. I enjoy helping people and being around these Marines.”
The countless number of Marines and civilians she has worked with over the years has been her favorite memory. She has seen many Marines pass through from Regional Disbursing Office-West and mentored the career progression of those Marines who have stayed on active duty. In addition, she has served as a reference to those Marines who have now entered the civilian world in high level positions.
“I really enjoy working with Marines,” she said. “I enjoy watching how they first come in from boot camp and how they progress, and just seeing the knowledge they take with them.”
According to the Marines she has worked with Foreman’s character, values, and selfless service function as a great example to everyone around her.
“I learned good work ethic through watching her,” said Master Sgt. Kelvin Brown, an operations chief with Disbursing Office, and a native of Long View, Texas. “I learned to do the job regardless of what problems might be going on in my life. She has a lot of motivation and dedication. Everyone respects her because of how she treats people and her demeanor.”
According to Brown, Foreman is a true example of a lifelong learner and leader.
“If I had to leave them with anything, I would tell them whatever you do, learn it well,” she said. “Because that one thing you exceed in might be the one thing that makes the difference.”
Following retirement, Foreman plans to pursue another degree in accounting.