Last weekend, Sandoxx’s director of Military Relations, Paul Davis, and I were invited to attend an event held by the command element of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Montgomery, Alabama. And while I traveled to this event with the intent of learning more about the challenges faced by recruiters today, the day of training, team building, and comradery that I observed served as something more… a reminder of what the Marine Corps truly is all about.
Despite the challenging recruiting environment that the military is experiencing since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the recruiters of RS Montgomery, with substations sprawled across the Southeast, have achieved their recruiting goals for the past five straight months. Paul Davis had been invited to the event as the Guest of Honor, but I attended with the intent of learning more about how RS Montgomery’s recruiters were succeeding, while so many other military recruiters continue to struggle.
I quickly learned that there was no secret to RS Montgomery’s success, but rather what made them successful was the effective use of the same principles Marines leverage to make mission all around the world every day: hard work, adapting to new circumstances, and strong, thoughtful leadership.
Related: “I am where I’m supposed to be” – HistoryFlight’s SgtMaj Justin LeHew
Remembering who I am
I joined the Marines in April of 2006 and stayed in uniform until the end of 2012 when I was medically retired for non-combat related injuries I had sustained in service. But despite my Marine Corps career spanning only a bit more than six years, it fundamentally changed the person I became, the course of my life, and today, the type of person, husband, and father that I strive to be.
But from where I sit today, a bit more than a decade since my last time in boots, it can be easy to forget how the Marine Corps manifested such important and lasting changes in my life.
The truth is, actually, that the man I am today is a reflection of the incredible leaders I had the honor of serving with throughout my time in cammies… and my day with the Marine recruiters of RS Montgomery gave me a welcome reminder of just how powerful good leadership can be.
Related: The hurt is worth it: My Marine Corps story
A Marine Corps family
After attending training courses with the impressive backdrop of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, the Marine recruiters of RS Montgomery retired to the family home of their soon-to-be outgoing Sergeant Major, Cory Curtis.
Curtis, who is a career infantryman, and Major Nicolas Martino, the station’s commanding officer, organized a Warrior’s Night for their Marines — which is a twist on the Marine Corps’ Mess Night tradition in a slightly less formal environment.
Soon after arriving on site, it became clear that this event wasn’t a traditional training exercise, but rather a very personal approach to team-building. Curtis, who grew up in the area, hadn’t rented out an event center or local armory. Instead, he’d invited all of the Marines from RS Montgomery’s substations in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia to his parents’ home — a sprawling 30-acre stretch of Alabama forest that Curtis and his Marines had converted into far more than a remote bivouac for some kind of field exercise.
Awards for high-performing recruiters littered the head table, ranging from conventional certificates to engraved baseball bats and trophies. An area was set aside for Marines to pitch their two-person tents, so they could enjoy the night’s festivities and have a drink or two without having to worry about anyone driving home. An impressive spread of home-cooked food — including an entire pig the sergeant major and his fellow senior leaders had spent days slow-roasting to perfection — enough to feed a hundred hungry Marines covered other several tables.
It was an impressive juxtaposition of Marine Corps traditions and Southern hospitality, which I soon came to learn was a fair description of Sergeant Major Curtis himself.
Related: Marine Boot Camp: What do know before you go
The Marine Corps is about the Marines
It was immediately evident that this event was far more than a check-in-a-box for the Marines or RS Montgomery’s leadership. It was a labor of love, meant to not only demonstrate how much Curtis and Martino genuinely cared about their Marines, but was also a reminder of the comradery, the grit, and the traditions that bind Marines to one another across countless miles and generations.
The leadership at RS Montgomery wasn’t just congratulating their Marines for five straight months of long days and longer nights, excelling in a billet many see as the most challenging outside of combat — it was also reminding them of why they do it.
The Marine Corps is about more than making mission, more than taking hills, more than even winning battles.
The Marine Corps is about the Marines themselves.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to Sergeant Major Curtis, Major Nicolas Martino, CWO3 Alex Renner, and all of the hard-working Marines of RS Montgomery for their generous hospitality over that weekend.
I went to Alabama looking for a story, but was gifted a reminder about myself. The Marine Corps is ultimately nothing more than a group of men and women joined by pride, purpose, and strength of will. And RS Montgomery is a shining example of all three.
Read more from Sandboxx News
- Always Faithful: RS Houston Marines connect recruits with veterans to bridge the generation gap
- What you need to know about the Marines’ new Talent Management strategy
- Louisiana Guard builds bridges, clears roads to recovery after Ida
- Dignity and Respect: An exclusive look at how the Army is training drill sergeants for a new era
- Operation Union 1 and 2 – Marines fighting behind French lines in WWII
Smith Moss says
Hey! Are you looking to fix your poor credit? In order to qualify for better rates, or get higher credit limits. I will strongly recommend 760Plus Credit Score; they are fast, secure and reliable. They came through for me, while I was in dire need of a miracle. Helped me erase all the irregularities on my report and my score went up by almost 200 points. And I think it’s permanent, it’s been three days and nothing is coming back. You should reach out to them today if you are in need of a credit fix.