MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Master sergeants and gunnery sergeants selected to represent different units throughout 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing attended the Master Sergeant – Gunnery Sergeant Committed and Engaged Leadership Symposium aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 19 – 21.
Key discussions at the symposium covered leadership at the senior staff noncommissioned officer level ending with their own growth as leaders and Marines, while motivating them to re-invest themselves into leadership in the Corps. It also allowed those attending the chance to learn from each other as they had in other Professional Military Education schools.
Unlike other PMEs, this meeting was designed with no homework, no papers to write or other work that would detract from the lessons – the desired goal for participants was conversation and the circulation of techniques that are either effective, or ineffective.
“When I left the Advanced Course, I thought that would be the last time I would get to sit and talk with other staff NCOs and cross pollinate, that was a very bittersweet feeling for me,” said Master Sgt. Byron Tavares, avionics administrative chief with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39.
“The new and different perspectives is the greatest [part] of getting all of us together. Just listening to some of the conversations that go on has made me think, ‘man, I never thought about that,’ and that truly is invaluable. You can’t put a price tag on that.”
Discussions allowed all in attendance a chance to do more than simply learn from their brothers-and-sisters-in-arms and their experiences.
“[This symposium] has given me the opportunity to do some self-reflection, and see some things I might have been missing while thinking I was doing the right thing in the past,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Holyfield, support equipment chief with Marine Aircraft Group 16. “Being able to bounce ideas off of peers outside of those I interact with daily has let me know that I might need to tighten up this, or that, while gaining direct and relevant feedback.”
For three days, discussions ranged from remembering the Staff NCO Creed and ethical leadership to leadership panels and personal and unit missions.
“This is the best part of the Marine Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Dicosima, utilities officer in charge with Engineering Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374. “Getting together with your peer group, talking and seeing all the different angles, views and opinions; then applying them. That’s what I’m looking forward to – being able to apply some of the things I’ve learned here.”
The gunnery sergeants and master sergeants will go back to their respective units after the symposium concludes, but one Marine holds out hope for more events like this.
“I really hope [events like this] become scheduled events,” said Tavares. “This gave us the time to get a great deal accomplished, and I feel like that is exactly what happened.”