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    It’s all about Consistency │ CMC Career Planner of the Year

    It’s all about Consistency │ CMC Career Planner of the Year

    Photo By Sgt. Karis Mattingly | U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Generou Arcilla, a material management specialist with S-4...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Karis Mattingly 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- “I always asked my past master sergeant, how do you know when to leave for the day?” he said. “He replied, ‘whenever you have no packages on your desk, or that you can sleep knowing that those packages can wait till tomorrow.’ That’s what helps drive me. One thing at a time, multiple things at once.”

    A mindset passed from a mentor to mentee. This is what sets Gunnery Sgt. Ethan Branch apart as the individual who was chosen to wear the title of Commandant of the Marine Corps Career Planner of the Year Winning the award also meant a meritorious promotion to gunnery sergeant and receiving a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

    “I think it's based on consistency,” said Branch, a career planner with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “It is about having a consistent career planner, somebody who's always willing to help. A lot of people come in and they don't understand what's next. I give them that understanding like ‘hey, these are your Marine Corps career options; you have these different avenues’. I also think that the knowledge we gained in time helps us be the liaisons between Headquarters Marine Corps and the Marines we assist.”

    The award recognizes Marines for their performance that reflects exceptional leadership, management and organization skills, devotion to duty, and initiative in support of maintaining a quality enlisted career force. Marines nominated for Career Planner of the Year have displayed a consistently high level of performance that significantly and positively impacted mission accomplishment.

    “I was checking the MARADMIN, and checking it again, and nothing happened,” he said. “Then a couple days later at almost midnight, I was at my house checking it again. Then I got a message inside our career planner chat, and it said ‘congratulations Staff Sgt. Branch’. Then I was like ‘no freakin' way’. So, I went to the MARADMIN, and I kept refreshing, but it wasn't there. Originally, I was like, ‘what's he talking about?’ Then, I finally saw it, and I froze. I clicked on the page and turned to my wife and said, ‘what does it say?’ And she said, ‘career planner of the year Staff Sgt. Branch.’”

    When Branch came to the unit, the career planner program was lacking stability, however, he hit the ground running identifying concerns and correcting them within the program. He inherited over 100 overdue interviews, numerous Special Duty Assignment recertifications that were incomplete, and unaccounted extensions and re-enlistment packages. Within the first 90 days with the battalion, Branch completed 156 interviews, managed over 50 Marines with Headquarters Marine Corps Special Duty Assignment Selection packages, submitted seven first-term alignment program retention packages, and 27 subsequent term alignment program retention packages, totaling over 250,000 dollars in bonuses and has created over 270 packages since.

    Branch explains that he wanted to be a career planner to help Marines and provide them with resources and opportunities they might not be aware of. Marines may look up to their recruiter or drill instructor and wish to have the chance to emulate the same characteristics they saw within their leaders into their own. However, individuals may be unaware of that transitioning process. He continues that as career planners they provide them with the tools and knowledge to make their dream a reality. In turn, assisting those individuals then fulfills Branch's own dream of helping Marines.

    “When I first met Gunnery Sgt. Branch, he asked me what my plan was and if I wanted to re-enlist,” said Cpl. Amanda Martinez, a noncommissioned officer in charge with the Camp Courtney Distribution Management Office, H&S Battalion, MCIPAC. “I told him I want to stay in, and I want to do everything and anything I can to stay in the Marine Corps. However, my re-enlistment got denied because of the differing circumstances I have encountered. He told me ‘I see that you're determined. I'm going to get you squared away.’”

    As a career planner, Branch is there to assist Marines any way he can. He explains that for those individuals wanting to stay in, he will do everything in his power to make their dream a reality. He believes that the Marine Corps will be an even stronger fighting force with Marines who have their whole heart in it.

    “From my perspective, I knew ahead of time, prior to seeing Gunnery Sgt. Branch, that the odds were against me for re-enlistment due to an NJP in my early career making me a tier three Marine,” said Martinez. “Gunnery Sgt. Branch told me that if it were not for my NJP I would be in a top tier one status for re-enlistment. He gave me guidance of things I could do meanwhile to help aid my package prior to sending it up for re-enlistment.”

    From there, Branch provided Martinez with a variety of templates and instructions on what she needed for the next package they would submit as another re-enlistment attempt. After a long and relentless process, Marinez’s package was officially approved for re-enlistment.

    “For me, being able to stay in this organization means everything because what I continue to do every day is who I am,” she said. “Gunnery Sgt. Branch has a true passion to take care of Marines, and it shows in his work ethic. He knows my personal adversity I have dealt with, and despite my odds of re-enlistment, he took everything into consideration and did not hesitate to help me. He provided outstanding service, and he does so for every Marine that walks in his office. He didn't treat me like a number. I felt like I was really in good hands with him.”

    Branch emphasizes that the enjoyment of his job comes from helping Marines especially when they feel they are unable to reach their goals. When it ends up working in that Marines favor, it makes him so happy because he took them from a place of getting out of the Marine Corps to staying in to continue to serve. He reiterates that people who serve with their hearts in it, makes the Marine Corps better off than with Marines who are just done.

    “I would say I gave her my best effort because that is what every Marine deserves,” said Branch. “She is dedicated to her job and you can always see the passion in a Marine's eyes who really wants to continue to serve in the Marine Corps. I saw that in her.”

    A career planner's role is to be proficient with the re-enlistment steps from prospecting to various ceremonies. They provide Marines with career counseling to include: preliminary screens, administrative processing, scheduling, interviews, re-enlistments, lateral moves, extensions and maintain accurate records. This is the baseline to meet the standard, however, Branch exceeds these expectations to the best of his ability for every Marine who walks through his door.

    “I think he is more than deserving of this recognition of this award,” said Martinez. “He maintains an unmatched work ethic and it shows. He also has incredible technical knowledge and leadership. I would actively seek to serve with him one day. I cannot just thank him enough for his efforts in my situation.”



    Date Taken: 12.09.2021
    Date Posted: 12.13.2021 23:38
    Story ID: 410858

    Web Views: 56
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