News: Marine embodies true motivation, leadership
Story by Lance Cpl. Krista James
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a martial course that employs a ‘one mind, any weapon’ view point. The program trains Marines in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. It also encourages mental, physical, and character development to include discipline, leadership, and teamwork.
To achieve a black belt in MCMAP is an accomplishment in itself, but to be a black belt and instructor for junior Marines is an even bigger accomplishment. Sergeant Butch Fortner, a MCMAP instructor with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, and an Alliance, Ohio native, does just that. His hard work, dedication to discipline and leadership have earned him the title of “Marine of the Week.”
Fortner, who has a military history in his family, said that he joined the military because he wasn’t prepared for college, and had friends who had joined out of high school.
“I decided that I wanted to join another service, a Marine Corps recruiter came to [my] school and spoke to me directly,” said Fortner. “I made the Marine Corps my choice.”
Fortner, a certified MCMAP instructor, is also decorated with various ribbons to include a combat action ribbon, a presidential unit citation, a meritorious unit citation, and a navy unit citation.
“I would assume [I got the award] for the martial arts piece, for my dedication to that, and probably for the high level of motivation [that I have],” said Fortner.
Corporal Jason Albright, a fire team leader with BSRF-14 and Minneapolis, Minn. native, said that he has known Fortner for about five years, and believes that he received the award for his dedication to his junior Marines.
“He [is dedicated] to his junior Marines, and he [will work] nights and weekends, even if he’s told he’s off work, he’s willing to work late to help other Marines better themselves,” said Albright.
Fortner said that his main goal during this deployment is to make sure the Marines excel in MCMAP. Mastering the disciplines of this program will require Marines to be proficient leaders, physically fit, and able to execute specific techniques while under duress.
“The full-on transformation of knowledge and bettering the Marines mentally and physically, not just giving them belts, is one of my main focuses here,” said Fortner. “[Along with that], bettering myself in my own professional military education, will prepare me for promotion and a possible platoon sergeant billet when I go back to [my parent command].”
Training and partnership between the U.S. and Romanian forces is an integral part of BSRF-14’s mission of maintaining a close relationship with partner nations in the region, and promoting regional stability. BSRF-14 also strives to make sure that every Marine and sailor maintains a combat ready mindset through MCMAP.
Fortner said that by the end of this deployment, he would like every Marine and sailor with BSRF-14 to have at least a brown belt. The base MCMAP belts progress from tan to grey, green, and brown and finally, black. Fortner has already begun this goal by graduating two classes in the past two months, a total of 48 students, to grey belt.
Both Fortner and Albright agree that receiving this award will be beneficial.
“When I take it back, it will give the [unit] in which I serve an idea of the work that I actually put in,” said Fortner. “They’ll see the dedication to not only myself, but to my Marines.”
“I think it’ll help him notice that he’s being recognized, and it’ll continue to push him further in his career and motivate him,” said Albright.
Albright had one last thing to say about Fortner.
“I think he’ll make a great sergeant major one day, and he’ll continue to motivate his junior Marines.”