FMF Warfare Changes Affect Junior Sailors

Story Number: NNS040409-01Release Date: 4/9/2004 9:53:00 AM
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By Ellen Maurer, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy officials approved changes to the enlisted Fleet Marine Force (FMF) warfare specialist program in late February, now requiring all active-duty junior enlisted Sailors assigned to FMF commands to complete qualifications within their first 18 months aboard. The change affects junior corpsmen, dental technicians and religious programs specialists.

Under previous regulations, E-1s through E-4s in these ratings were not required to earn the FMF warfare designation; this was only mandatory for 2nd class petty officers and above.

"Everyone serving with the Marine Corps should be an expert in their jobs, and this is how they demonstrate their expertise," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF/DV/PJ) Brian Hollen, Marine Forces corpsman career planner, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "Being a corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force is an important job--every bit as important as the guys on the gray hulls underway and the submarines under the water."

Other changes to the FMF instruction allow medical and dental treatment facility personnel assigned to operational platforms augmenting Marine Corps commands to participate in the FMF warfare program. All full-time support personnel assigned to Marine Forces Reserve commands can earn their FMF warfare devices now.

"Most of these changes were initiated to fill in holes that had been left unintentionally when the first FMF instruction was signed back in 2001," said Hollen. "We wanted to include all the personnel who aren't permanently assigned to an FMF group, but provide a significant amount of support to Marine Corps forces through augment and Reserve programs. We felt they should be allowed to participate in the FMF warfare program, too."

Enlisted personnel deployed for a minimum of 90 consecutive days in direct support of Marine combat or peacekeeping operations may pursue the pin. However, eligibility does not apply to those deployed in support of Marine training missions. Clarifications are made within the new instruction, OPNAVINST 1414.4A.

To earn the FMF warfare device, Sailors must not only meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in the instruction, but also be recommended by their chain of command. Candidates must pass written and oral board examinations and receive at least one observed evaluation, scoring no less than a 3.0, and have a minimum "promotable" advancement recommendation.

"It's a visible sign to all the Marines you're serving with, if you're wearing that FMF pin, you are there to support them," added Hollen. "You're more than just part of the medical department--you're part of that Marine unit."

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