News: Still a leader: Marine or civilian
Story by Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - From the first time Marines step on the yellow footprints in recruit training, they are taught how to lead from the front.
Neil Pinchefsky, deputy director of Fleet Support Division on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., and retired master sergeant, started his 22-year-long career on the very yellow footprints that many great leaders have stood on.
The Marine Corps gave Pinchefsky his first taste of leadership, though it wouldn’t be his last. Upon completion of boot camp, he attended his military occupational specialty (MOS) school at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he gained the skills needed to perform as an assault amphibious vehicle technician.
Pinchefsky’s first duty station was General Support Maintenance Company, 1st Force Service Support Group, Camp Pendleton for a year. He then reported to Detachment A, 1st Marine Brigade, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. As a sergeant, Pinchefsky served as the ramp chief, a billet commonly held by a staff noncommissioned officer.
After his time in Hawaii, the young sergeant continued to serve in leadership positions at multiple duty stations, to include Okinawa, Japan, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Camp Pendleton and MCLB Barstow.
“I have filled every billet in my MOS,” said the Richmond, Va., native.
When he was stationed on MCLB Barstow, Pinchefsky held the billet as head of movement and maintenance branch, explained Greg Johnson, who currently holds the same billet, and has worked with Pinchefsky for more than 10 years.
“I worked with Neil while he was on active duty and as a civilian,” explained Johnson. “When he retired and came back, the only difference was the clothes he wore.”
When he retired from the Corps, Pinchefsky applied for the position he held as a master sergeant. The position was opened, he was qualified, and soon he was filling the billet. In less than ten years since his retirement, he’s moved up the chain to deputy director.
As deputy director, Pinchefsky makes decisions that directly affect FSD’s overall mission. His responsibilities include the welfare of fellow employees, ensuring deadlines are met, making sure operations have the appropriate manpower and the employees have the necessary equipment at their disposal.
“As a leader, I have to put the best foot forward and always look ahead,” said Pinchefsky. “A lot of my success on base is being able to shoot from the hip and overcome any situation. The situation is ever-changing, so we have to improvise, adapt and overcome.”
Pinechefsky explained while on a field operation in Twentynine Palms, Calif., as a young corporal he was in charge of a detachment, and truly learned the meaning of improvising and adapting.
Recalling a specific event, Pinchefsky said he and his Marines came up with a roundabout way to get a jeep engine out of a vehicle. The unit did not have an engine hoist so they used a 25-ton crane to lift the engine.
“A 25-ton crane is a really big piece of equipment,” said Pinchefsky, “but we couldn’t lift it ourselves and we needed to complete the mission. Sometimes you’ve got to do what you have to in order to get the job done.”
Thinking outside the box isn’t a foreign concept to Pinchefsky, who since becoming deputy director, has led and assisted his team in clearing one and a half million square feet of outside storage and 300,000 square feet of indoor storage space, all in preparation for the retrograde and reset of military equipment.
“The success behind this is teamwork and a lot of hard work,” said Pinchefsky. “The Marine Corps showed me what teamwork can do for you and your employees. If we didn’t have team work it would have been a lot harder to do what we have done so far.”
Along with staying on his toes, Pinchefsky tries to build trust and camaraderie with his employees, explained Jacqueline Griffin, division secretary with FSD.
“He interacts with everyone and is conscious of his division’s welfare,” said Griffin. “It’s simple; he is what you expect from a leader. I’m positive that he gets his leadership traits and values, such as dependability, responsibility, and decisiveness, from the Marine Corps.”
Pinchefsky comes into work every day ready to take on any challenges that may occur, explained Johnson. After more than three decades of service to the Corps, Pinchefsky continues to steer FSD down the path to success.