(Remarks Given at IC on my Behalf)
First, let me apologize for not being there with you. It was my original intent to make the drive down from Illinois and spend this weekend with you, but health and other concerns have made that unfeasible this year. I truly miss being there and sincerely wish it had worked out otherwise.
Second, I apologize to Mark and Barry for being unable to stand watch with them this weekend. They have my thanks for tending to SFMC business there this weekend in my absence, and I hope you give them yours as well, and maybe even a round of applause at some point.
Now, let’s briefly touch on the state of the SFMC. Speaking in general terms, the STARFLEET Marine Corps continues to make up over twenty percent of STARFLEET’s total membership, taking into account both Active and Reserve members of the SFMC. The Fleet and Marine side of STARFLEET continue to work together, and complement each other’s endeavors. Our bank account remains healthy. In short, we’re doing okay as an organization.
At this point, I need to address a matter that drew a great deal of discussion both on the Corps email list, and the SFMC Facebook group, namely the Class C BDU uniform. After considering all the input I received on the matter, I have found no compelling reason to make any change to the MFM regarding the Class C BDU uniform, and several reasons to not make any change.
The Class C BDU uniform has been a part of the SFMC for my entire time in the Corps, and for many years before that. For many of our members, it is not only the only uniform they own, it’s the only one they can afford. To tell them now they can’t wear it would be grossly unfair to those who have invested their time and money on them. Also, we have many members who are, as I’m prone to quoting the SGM SFMC, “of heroic sizes”. The BDU is often the only uniform they can put together “off the rack”, and doing away with it would do those members a disservice.
Finally, for those who are concerned about the appearance of the BDU uniform, and possible negative reaction from the public, the SFMC has long had a policy covering that concern in the uniform section of the MFM. I will now quote the current MFM 1508, Section 7.1.2 in its entirety just so everyone is aware of what that past and current policy is:
“7.1.2 When Wearing the Uniform is Recommended or Prohibited
Wear of the Marine uniform is never required, but when it is worn it is required to be worn correctly. The Marine uniform can be worn at any Marine, ship, or fan function where the Marine uniform would seem appropriate in context.
Wear of the uniform is prohibited under the following circumstances:
• In connection with the promotion of any political or commercial interests.
• Except as authorized by competent authority, when participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or public demonstrations.
• When wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the SFMC.
Further, uniforms should not be worn to functions where the majority of attendees would not recognize it as some type of fan uniform. The Mess White and Class C uniforms are not readily recognizable as a non-military uniform. Marines should avoid wearing the uniform in any context where it may appear paramilitary or intimidating to the public.”
To sum that up, wearing a uniform is never required, but if you do wear one, it’s up to you to decide whether or not wearing certain of our authorized uniforms is appropriate in a given situation.
As for “banning” any current uniform, I’ll refer you to Section 188.8.131.52 of the current MFM to look up on your own, but basically what it says is in a nutshell is that if Master Gunnery Sergeant Stoddard wants to wear a Sailor Moon outfit at a convention, he’s free to do so. All we can do is ask is that he NOT claim it’s an SFMC uniform of any sort (and that nobody send me any pictures of it.)
Please remember that the purpose of the various Class C uniforms is to provide heavy duty work or “play” attire for various activities. And, they serve to make ourselves readily identifiable _*to one another*_when we’re gathered together. In fact, since all our class C variants include the provision for a name tape or equivalent, they even let us know who we’re working with.
Turning from uniforms, I’d like to remind you again “If you don’t report it, we can’t reward it.” In other words, each member of the SFMC needs to make sure their unit OIC is aware of their activities and make sure that gets included in the report that goes up the SFMC Chain of Command every two months. And, Unit OIC’s should be making sure that when they file their report that a copy goes to their chapter CO (if the unit is an MSG) so that due recognition for the efforts of their marines can be made on the Fleet side of things. Remember, we’re all part of the same team here. SFMC members don’t choose to operate under a different set of rules than rest of SFI, but instead they choose an additional set of rules to operate under as well.
Here at IC, there are many SFMC members being recognized for their outstanding efforts during 2015. Their exceptional dedication and hard work not only benefits their communities, the SFMC, and STARFLEET, but they also inspire and encourage each and every one of us to excel in our own ways. And yet despite that collective effort on their parts, none of them would be receiving those awards if someone hadn’t taken the time to make the extent of their accomplishments known to the appropriate issuing authority for that award. Every award announced at the International Muster is the direct result of at least one other marine making sure someone else’s work got reported and noticed, and I thank you all for looking out for each other that way. Please, keep doing so.
As you’re probably aware, it’s an election year in STARFLEET, and I thought I should address that in some way. As usual, the SFMC will take no official position on the upcoming SFI elections, other than to encourage our members to exercise their right and privilege to vote for the candidate of their choice.
So, what have I left out? Odds are there was something. As Commandant, the rest of the General Staff and I are aware that there is always room for improvement, and we will be the first to admit we’re far from omniscient. We don’t have all the answers, and will always consider suggestions from members of the SFMC regardless of the subject. Please feel free to contact us through the proper channels so that we can be sure of seeing and responding in a timely manner.
In closing, let me say that I wish I could be there, able to just sit and talk with you outstanding Marines. Spending time with new and old friends in the SFMC is one of the greatest pleasures I have as Commandant.