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    Selection process for special duty assignments improved; Marines can now indicate preference



    Story by Gunnery Sgt. J. L. Wright Jr. 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan – With the release of Marine Administrative Message 327/11, the Marine Corps has revolutionized the screening and selection process for special duty assignments.

    The message, which was released June 11, announced the Corps’ transition from the Headquarters Marine Corps Recruiting Screening Team to the HQMC Special Duty Assignment Screening Team.

    The HSST, formerly known for seeking out qualified noncommissioned officers and staff NCOs for recruiting duty, is now charged with screening and selecting the most qualified Marines for recruiting, drill instructor, combat instructor and security forces duty. However, the team will not screen for Marine Security Guard duty.

    “The transition from HRST to HSST is a step in the right direction,” said Master Sgt. Matthew R. Spencer, career retention specialist, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “It’s all about putting the right Marine in the right billet and keeping the special duty assignments staffed with quality Marines.”

    Marines screened by the HSST will now rank their preferred SDA by type and geographic location, according to the message. For example, a Marine’s first choice may be recruiting duty in the midwest, while drill instructor duty on the west coast may be their second and their third could be combat instructor on the east coast.

    “We want to afford Marines a greater opportunity to have a say in their career paths,” said Richard W. Spooner, the department head for Enlisted Assignments at HQMC. “Not everyone wants to be a recruiter or drill instructor. This gives them an opportunity to let the screeners know up front.”

    Staff Sgt. Kelly Lezama, an administrative chief here who aspires to become a drill instructor, says this is a great way for her to communicate her desires to the selection team.

    “I have wanted to be a drill instructor since I was a young NCO,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to better myself as a Marine and impart that on other individuals -- drill instructor duty will be the perfect place to do both.”

    Lezama will be one of the first Marines screened under the new process, according to Spencer.

    While staffing the more than 700 recruiter billets remains the priority for the screening team, Spooner says the pool of close to 3,000 Marines screened is ample enough to allow Marines the opportunity to have a choice in the matter.

    This is a more efficient way of doing business, according to Spooner.
    This is a positive change aimed at streamlining the process for selecting those best qualified for these challenging duties, he said.

    Spencer agreed with Spooner and said this will also alleviate any shortfalls on recruiting duty, drill instructor duty and combat instructor duty.

    The HSST is scheduled to conduct a screening visit to Okinawa July 27. For more information, contact your unit’s career retention specialist.



    Date Taken: 06.15.2011
    Date Posted: 06.15.2011 02:03
    Story ID: 72095

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