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Request Mast???.....face career suicide....

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  • Request Mast???.....face career suicide....

    Is requesting mast career suicide?

    1 in 3 Marines say they’ve experienced retaliation
    By Gidget Fuentes - [email protected]
    Posted : September 22, 2008

    OCEANSIDE, Calif. — For the better part of a year, then-Master Sgt. Isaac Ford traveled to local and regional recruiting stations, meeting with officer procurement recruiters and potential candidates, training recruiters and analyzing data on recruiting efforts and trends in the Western Recruiting Region.
    Along the way, he shared this information with his boss, an officer who ran a four-person recruiting shop in California. What had been a normal working relationship, Ford said, began to change two years ago when he began to clash with that commander, often about his role and contributions and what he saw as her marginalizing and demeaning him.
    Talks with her went nowhere, he said, and he got no relief from their immediate superiors. After he filed the first of two separate applications for requesting mast, his hopes of getting support from the commanding general fell flat, and he said the situation soon spiraled out of control.
    Promoted to master gunnery sergeant, Ford was reassigned to a gunnery sergeant billet at the recruiting station level. The new position had little responsibility or training opportunities. His government credit card was cancelled.
    A year went by with two missed fitness reports. His most recent eval — a backdated one — was adverse, his first in his 24 years on active-duty and in the reserves, most of it spent as a career recruiter.
    What began as an attempt to get some relief via the Corps’ official request mast process turned into a nightmare of retaliation, whispers and fear that the command was “out to get him,” Ford said.
    He’s not alone. Last year more than one in three enlisted Marines said they suffered “negative consequences” or retaliation from their command after using the request mast process, according to the latest Marine Corps Climate Assessment Survey. And even though few Marines overall sought this type of assistance, the amount of fallout warrants a renewed commitment to training, officials said.
    But some Marines say the Corps needs to do more to convince them that requesting mast won’t come back to haunt them.
    Ford says he was blackballed. He’d expected to get a quick resolution and get back to work, said one senior enlisted Marine familiar with the situation, “but he got the opposite. He got shot with both barrels.”
    These days, the 43-year-old master guns is gunning to save his reputation, his career and his family’s health.
    “I requested mast for the first time in my career,” Ford said. “Once I did that, it was the end of my career.”
    The past 14 months “is like a bad dream,” he added. “It’s been one big hostile environment.”
    A bad rap

    Among active-duty enlisted Marines, 42 percent of men and 49 percent of women said they were retaliated against after they requested mast, the survey found. Among enlisted reservists, 33 percent of men and 70 percent of women said the same thing.
    Ten percent of active-duty male officers and 80 percent of active-duty female officers said they, too, experienced some form of retaliation. Among reserve officers, the numbers were 35 percent for men and 100 percent for women.
    The survey does not detail the type or level of retaliation those Marines reported.
    The request mast policy is supposed to prevent retaliation, and the Navy directive that spells out its nuances promises punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for “anyone who attempts to deprive a Marine of the right to Request Mast.”
    The policy allows a Marine to seek help from, or air grievances to, any superior officer in the chain of command, up to the commanding general.
    But the Climate Assessment Survey, which included responses from 6,800 participants, found that commands often viewed request mast unfavorably. Nearly 25 percent of active-duty enlisted Marines reported their “leadership gets upset when Marines at this command use request mast.” That rate was lower in the Reserve, where 17 percent of enlisted males and 11 percent of enlisted females said their leaders don’t support Marines who use the process.
    More than 90 percent of the survey participants said they understood the request mast process, but only a small number — about 1 percent or 2 percent — reported using it in the previous year. While more Marines reported using informal ways to resolve their problems or complaints, negative sentiments about requesting mast remain a concern among Marine officials.
    An executive summary of the survey noted Marines’ continuing negativity about request mast as one of the “areas to watch.”
    “It’s promising that Marines use the Informal Resolution System to handle issues at the lowest levels, decreasing the need for request mast,” said Capt. Amy Malugani, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps headquarters in Washington. But “commands have to continue to be proactive in their training.”
    Request mast policy and procedures are included in Marines’ annual training, but that’s not enough, Malugani said.
    “Request mast procedures ... have to be posted at the command,” she added.
    Tensions in the office

    Once they’ve requested mast, Marines are not guaranteed that complaints will be settled in their favor. But what if the command that’s supposed to hear the complaint is the one that’s causing the problem? What if the chain of command fails to resolve the issue or dismisses a complaint by denying there’s a problem?
    What if they turn the table on you for complaining?
    That’s where Ford says he found himself after his first run-in with his officer-in-charge.
    “It started out as just a little friction ... and I think it became personal, for her,” said the senior staff NCO, a colleague of Ford’s, who witnessed many interactions and incidents between Ford and his OIC. “After he voiced his opinions ... I think it was kind of the genesis of all of it.”
    The situation created tension in the office, said another employee in the section.
    “It was a stressful situation,” the observer noted. “Sometimes, it reflected in the atmosphere.”
    Ford and the OIC were “a clash of personalities,” a situation sometimes made worse by the stresses of the recruiting mission.
    The officer didn’t interact well with many enlisted Marines, said the senior staff NCO, who said he could see “the perfect storm” brewing and tried to help Ford navigate the process.
    “The whole time I was watching this, at each step in the process, I could tell him what would happen.”
    Ford fought through two mast requests, filed a complaint against his commanding officer under Article 138 of the UCMJ, petitioned several elected officials and complained to the Marine Corps Inspector General’s office.
    But by then, the staff NCO said, the core issues became somehow lost in the discussions.
    “When the command feels threatened, they start telling your story,” he said. “And that’s what happened to him.”
    The tight-knit community of recruiters isn’t large, and there are few billets at the senior enlisted ranks. Ford was reassigned to a new job at the San Diego Recruiting Station, where he found himself in another tense work section under a different officer.
    “Out of the frying pan, into the fire,” said the senior staff NCO. “Before he gets there, there’s whispers. ... It spirals out of control.”
    But he believes Ford is doing the right thing.
    “He’s a principled guy. It might sound a bit hokey, to be honest,” the staff NCO said. “But if he’s a master gunnery sergeant and he’s catching all this hell, there’s some lance corporal or corporal out there who doesn’t have a chance.”
    Semper hopeful

    For Ford, the adverse fitness report he recently received is the first blemish on what he describes as a good career and a clean record.
    Ford was meritoriously promoted to sergeant while in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War and again to staff sergeant while recruiting in Columbia, S.C.
    While he waits for any resolution from the IG’s office, he wants to get his career back on track from his current job as a “special assistant” at a more supportive command.
    “I’ve been stopped from doing my job,” Ford said. “I have not worked in an E-8 billet or an E-9 billet since I requested mast.”
    But he believes he can still contribute. The latest push by top officials, including Commandant Gen. James Conway, to improve the Corps’ minority officer recruiting is something that’s very familiar to Ford, who spent his 17 years in recruiting mostly working with officer procurement teams.
    He wants to get back to training Marines and visiting contact teams, and finding new approaches to reach highly sought minority candidates. Still, the stress of it all has taken a toll on Ford and his family. He wonders about the impact on his sons.
    One is in the military and will deploy to Iraq this fall, while the other soon will report to boot camp.
    “I need to know that my sons … will have an expectation of the fairness and the equity which is denied me,” he said. “The system of redress in the Marine Corps is broken.”
    How it works

    A beginner’s guide to request mast:
    Q. What is request mast?
    A. According to Marine Corps Order 1700.23F, it is “the right of all Marines to directly seek assistance from, or communicate grievances to, their commanding officers.” A Marine has “the opportunity to communicate not only with his or her immediate commanding officer, but also with any superior officer in the chain of command up to and including the Marine’s commanding general.”

    Q. How do I request mast?
    A. Fill out NAVMC Form 11296, detailing your problem or complaint along with the help or resolution you hope to get, and submit it to your immediate chain of command. You also can submit it directly to the Marine Corps Inspector General’s representative during an IG visit. The rep could resolve the problem or refer the request mast to your local command or Marine Corps Headquarters.

    Q. Do I have to find some other solution first?
    A. No. However, the Informal Resolution System might get you some immediate relief and prove sufficient.

    Q. When can’t I request mast?
    A. If you’re being involuntary separated, facing punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or if you have already filed a complaint under Article 138 of the UCMJ or Article 1150 of U.S. Navy Regulations.

    Q. Can I send my request directly to the commandant?
    A. No. In some cases, a Marine may be “granted the privilege” only if his commanding general supports and forwards the request mast application through the command chain up to the commandant or the Navy secretary. But that’s rare.

    Q. How much do I have to tell my supervisors about my complaint?
    A. According to NAVMC 1700.23F, “a Marine does not have to disclose the subject … to anyone in the chain of command except to the commander with whom the Marine is requesting mast.” However, the submission of an application often means others’ eyes are seeing your request, so brace yourself for scrutiny.
    Q. What if my supervisors don’t support my request and don’t think I should request mast?
    A. NAVMC 1700.23F is clear: “Any interference with a Marine’s right to request mast or any attempt of reprisal against a Marine who has requested mast is prohibited. No Marine may suppress, or attempt to suppress another Marine’s ability to conduct request mast. Any attempted violation or solicitation of another to violate this directive … subjects involved members to disciplinary action under Article 92 of the UCMJ.”

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    I think he got screwed...Semper Gumby...
    R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


    • #3
      Yep, I think he did as well..........Semper I, fukk the other guy.............

      ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.


      • #4
        I don't know anyone who ever had to request mast either. Remember the command used to bring it up, but no one had to use when I was a Leatherneck.
        R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


        • #5
          I've heard of people trying to use friends friend tried and mysteriously got transferred to a pog company......hmmmm

          ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.


          • #6
            Again comes down to one thing abuse of athority!! All branches have simular troubles and all are guilty of not takin proper corrective action !! The correct action is to move the person being complained against until the complaint is fully investigated , if it is substantuated then bust the one the complaint is against and publish who they are and what the penilties asigned are . Then if the person complaining is wrong then take simular action against them . Based on nothing but rank and athority I was stopped by a so called Dr. against 3 specialist in their own field . The one with the Rank was totally out of his specialty . It took 3 years and another family's law suit against the AF to get that comander off of my back . He is now where he belongs , in Levenworth as an inmate! Too many get their rank with brown nosing instead of earning it . If the Marines is anything like the AF just to officialy complain to me means he earned his rank and is right or he would never have started it in thefirst place!


            • #7

              Colin Powell Quotes

              Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

              Colin Powell

              In most of Gov't it seems they want the troops to just play along when working for a loser as your manager. You work-around them, squeeze-by them, whatever, but they want you to carry the guy's water to show you can play along with the bull siht.

              If you show too much brains and initiative they ask "Why aren't you out in the private sector?" LOLOL

              REMF's can kiss mine



              • #8
                Here is one for you one that I got enough on that he went to Levenworth had in his list of charges was lying . His first cell mate had after 17+1/2 years been found inocent and then due to burocacy been awaiting release . He had been lyed on and lost wife family and every thingexcept his pride and self respect , and here is the fool that had caused him this loss . He administered a little good justice and the ex comander spends about 6 mo. in the infermary . When they threatened the man who had lost so much of his life he stated , " You did not do your job , so I did what needed doing . That calls for 15 years so sucker you still owe me 2+1/2 years . When are you going to start paying as if you had done your job I would have been out and free before he was put in the cell with me ? " I often wonder if that cover up for some of the officers is the reason that they actualy do not want anyone to did in and stand on what is right!


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