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    Fleet Marine Force pin: Sailors earn respect, confidence to wear pin

    Fleet Marine Force pin: Sailors earn respect, confidence to wear pin

    Photo By Matt Denny | An eagle, globe and anchor stands out while crossed rifles encompass waves crashing...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Matt Denny 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    CAMP FOSTER, Japan - The Fleet Marine Force pin is more than just a piece of metal worn on a sailor’s uniform. It represents a rite of passage endured and a sacrifice made by the individual wearing it, and it signifies that the individual is an “FMF sailor.”

    It represents the devotion a sailor has to the Marine Corps and to learning every aspect of his or her job. To earn the pin, a sailor is required to learn Marine Corps history, how a Marine unit operates and what it takes to be a Marine mentally and physically.

    The pin shows the level of dedication a sailor has to the Navy and Marine Corps. Upon completion of the 13 - 16 month process, a ceremony is conducted giving the sailor the right to wear the pin.

    Not all sailors can earn the pin, said Petty Officer 1st Class Humberto Cabrera, Navy career planner with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Only sailors attached to forward-deployable Marine units are eligible to earn the FMF pin, added Cabrera.

    Sailors must belong to an operational combat element of a Marine Expeditionary Force to start earning their pins. From the first day of arrival to their Marine Corps units, sailors can begin completing the requirements of earning the pin.

    “It is a privilege to have earned the right to be considered part of the Corps,” stated Senior Chief Petty Officer Jonathan S. Sotingco, deputy medical planner with MWHS-1, 1st MAW. “It was a big deal to me when I [received the pin], Marines don’t hand out the eagle, globe and anchor to just anyone. We really have to earn it.”

    There are more than 30 warfare designator pins, but when sailors see other sailors wearing the FMF pin, a higher respect is given to those sailors, knowing that they have proven they can keep up with the Marines, said Petty Officer 2nd Class G. Kalae Paoa, Navy personnel chief with MWHS-1.

    Sailors are issued a book by their command that has all the knowledge required for their platform, said Cabrera.

    Once the sailor has the Personal Qualification Standards book, he or she must present him or herself to a Marine non-commissioned officer or higher, who is familiar with FMF qualifications, and have him or her teach a section of Corps knowledge. Once the instructing Marine feels the sailor has sufficiently learned the topic, he or she administers a practical application and verbal test to ensure knowledge was retained and a signature of approval is given.

    After the eight- to 11-month process, a written test is administered. A board is then convened of senior enlisted Marines and sailors.

    The board consists of two separate sections. First, Marine Corps knowledge questions are administered, and if the individual qualifies, the board will decide if the sailor is ready to move onto the next section. The second section consists of detailed knowledge about the platform they’re assigned to. For example, the wing platform is Air Combat Element and consists of any detail about Marine Corps Aviation, from the name of an aircraft to the breakdown of each MAW squadron.

    In order to earn and keep the FMF pin, sailors must perform and be held accountable to complete all standard Marine Corps training, such as qualifying on the rifle range and completing a Marine Corps physical fitness test and combat fitness test every year, stated Cabrera.

    When Marines see the FMF pin, they know the sailor has sacrificed a lot of time and effort towards earning it, said Cabrera.

    “I have more respect for [sailors who] have earned the pin, and I feel we have a deeper bond, similar to the bond a Marine shares with another Marine,” said Cpl. Rolfis Fernandez, administration chief with MWHS-1.

    “They have worked extremely hard to earn the right to wear the [eagle, globe and anchor] and have obtained the knowledge of Marine Corps history and how a Marine Corps unit operates just as much as any Marine knows it,” he added.

    It’s not about just earning the pin and then forgetting the knowledge learned, but retaining it and staying updated on changes within the Corps, said Paoa. When sailors return to the Navy side, their peers hold them to a higher standard if they possess the pin, knowing they can roll with the Marines, he added.

    The average sailor takes about a year to earn the pin, said Cabrera. The pin was not a requirement until Oct. 1, 2006, when the Navy came out with an order requiring sailors to earn the warfare designator pin within 16 months of arriving to Marine units.

    “In my opinion, the biggest benefit of earning the pin is that you have a better understanding of what your counterpart does and how their mission may differ from yours,” stated Cabrera.

    Those who have earned it walk around with more confidence about their ability to assist their Marine counterparts, said Fernandez.



    Date Taken: 01.28.2011
    Date Posted: 02.03.2011 00:21
    Story ID: 64696

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