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POLICY LETTER 2-96

From: Commanding Officer

Subj: POLICIES OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER

1. Purpose. To publish policies of the Commanding Officer.

2. Application. This policy applies to all Aviation Maintenance Squadron 1 personnel. The Administrative Section maintains copies of this letter and issues a personal copy to each Marine reporting for duty.

3. Mission. To provide quality support and leadership to our Marines, enabling them to accomplish their missions as students, instructors, and staff. Ultimately, our responsibility is to contribute to the maintenance of a credible force in readiness. We are guided in our actions by the UCMJ and SECNAV/CMC/Group/Squadron policy and guidance letters.

4. Goals. The goals of AMS-1 are:

a. Maintain a working environment which enhances personal and professional growth for all assigned personnel.

b. Establish a culture consistent with those of Marine Corps fleet units to enable our Marines to make a smooth transition to their future fleet units.

5. Policies and Objectives. The following policies and objectives are designed to support Marine Aviation Training Support Group and Naval Air Technical Training Center missions, achieve our goals, and establish a standard of expectation and performance throughout the Squadron.

a. Substance Abuse -- Illicit drug use ruins the mind and body, and for that reason, CMC policy on substance abuse is tough and inflexible. Be clever enough to know that CMC policy is real, and that I will enforce it. Random urinalysis tests will be administered on a continuing basis, not as a way to keep our Marines in line, but as a way to weed out those few misfits who don't get the point.

b. Safety -- A lot of people, many of them Marines, look at what we do and recognize that we live dangerous lives -- and they're right. However, what most don't realize is that, even in combat, we employ a process of risk assessment to determine potential outcomes, look for options and alternatives, and decide whether the action is worth the risk. You might be surprised to know that the toughest, most aggressive leaders in our Corps today actively pursue risk assessment before they send their Marines into combat, off to a task, or on liberty. Why should we do things any differently? Let's recognize that many of the tragedies that have passed before us have resulted not from something as ambiguous as unsafe behavior as much as they resulted from simple stupid decisions and actions. Continue to make your families, country, and me proud of you. Wear your protective equipment when on motorcycles, don't drink and drive, don't overextend yourself on long trips, and don't expose yourself to unnecessary risks. Think before you act and act responsibly. In short, don't do nothin' stupid.

c. Alcohol-related Incidents -- Once upon a time, if you were old enough to suit up in the uniform of the Nation's armed forces, you were also old enough to drink a beer. Times change and so do laws and our understanding of the impact of the glamorization of alcohol use. I'll confess to you that I will not snoop around the bars and taverns of this city to catch underage Marines drinking alcohol, but I will warn you now that if you are involved in an incident -- your fault, the other person's fault, or nobody's fault -- you will answer for your conduct and for the underage consumption that you caused to come to my attention. As with all of these matters, I expect the active participation of our NCO, SNCO, and officer leaders to get in front of the issue before it becomes a problem that I have to deal with.

d. Sexual Harassment -- Let me set this perfectly straight. I will not tolerate sexual harassment or any behavior which might be perceived as sexual harassment in any form. I will investigate all charges of sexual harassment and will deal with legitimate charges justly. Justice in this case means quickly and severely. Be forewarned, however, that those making frivolous charges will also be dealt with in the same manner. Keep in mind that failure to report instances of sexual harassment is a violation of the UCMJ.

e. Discrimination and Prejudice -- Prejudices and phobias are similar in that they are both based on unreasonable fears and suspicions. With apologies to the amateur psychologists out there, I'll tell you that I also consider them both instruments that weak people use to avoid facing the challenges of the world. This is very simple: if there is a prejudiced bone in your body, you are not well-suited to being a Marine or becoming a leader of Marines. Once you allow prejudice to enter your world, you are only a hop, skip, and a jump away from discriminating against someone. I've heard people say that they were prejudiced against this group or that, but that they could separate that feeling from their treatment of people in those groups. Realize just how ridiculous that sounds. As a Marine, you cannot separate that which is in your heart from that which is in your head and be the kind of Marine we need you to be. I will not tell you that if you are prejudiced to simply hide it; instead, I will tell you that if you are prejudiced, you must change. To paraphrase what I've already said, I will investigate all charges of discrimination and will deal with legitimate charges justly. Again, justice in this case means quickly and severely.

f. Fraternization -- Fraternization is the establishment of inappropriate military superior/subordinate relationships which adversely affect good order and discipline. "Senior/subordinate" refers to the military relationship between members, including members of different services, in which one is senior to the other by virtue of grade, rank, or authority. In case there is any ambiguity, instructors and staff members of this Squadron are in positions of authority and/or influence relative to the student members of the Squadron. Fraternization is not limited to "acts," it also includes "circumstances." Clearly stated, you shall avoid any action, whether or not specifically prohibited, that might result in or reasonably be expected to create the appearance of giving preferential treatment to any person. You are prohibited from using your official position to induce, coerce, or in any manner unlawfully influence any person, including subordinates, to provide any benefit, financial, or otherwise, to themselves or others. Students and staff will not date each other or engage in any private/personal arrangements that might give the appearance of special treatment, consideration, or benefit. This does not mean that we will not maintain an active squadron life where students and staff interact meaningfully, but we will keep it strictly professional. I want you all to read GruO 5370.1 (Standards of Conduct/Fraternization) and be familiar with its terms. Don't misread this -- we will have squadron functions, events, and such, but they will be arranged for the benefit of all hands and will promote a lively, enjoyable, and proper squadron identity.

g. Quality of Life (QOL) -- The individual Marine is the most important resource this Squadron possesses and his quality of life is important to me. The facilities provided here for you are the finest I have seen. However, quality of life is not synonymous with a hands-off approach to troop handling and leadership. Quality of life programs do not need to degrade the quality and effectiveness of our troop leadership programs. We will remain close enough to our Marines' "private lives" that we maintain our capability to recognize and judge key morale indicators that can tell us about problems with alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, and more. We must take care not to lose touch with those types of troop problems and issues or we will undoubtedly incur severe problems, the solution for which runs counter to the developing QOL model.

h. Military Bearing, Courtesy, and Etiquette -- The established customs of military etiquette and protocol shall be practiced (e.g., attention on deck, rendering salutes, etc.). If you have any questions, refer to MCO P1500.44 series (BST/EST Subjects Handbook).

i. Request Mast -- Request Mast provides and protects the rights of each Marine to communicate on an individual basis with the Squadron Commanding Officer. You have the right to appear personally and/or the right to correspond with the Commanding Officer in writing. This channel allows you an opportunity to air your grievances and/or seek advice. This process also provides the CO a forum to gather information that has a direct impact upon the morale and welfare of the Squadron. Use the system; it may provide me an opportunity to learn what is happening in the trenches and is not being communicated through the Chain of Command. This procedure produces information which is privileged which will not be held against you or communicated outside the CO's door. I also want you to know that you are free to initiate UCMJ Article 138 proceedings or contact the IG Hotline, Waste/Fraud/Abuse Hotline, and/or the DOD Hotline, if you are so inclined.

j. Chain of Command -- The Chain of Command is the basic structure within which we communicate on a routine basis throughout the Squadron. By virtue of rank, we each are given authority, responsibility, and accountability within the Chain of Command. Use it. However, the CO, XO, and 1stSgt have open door policies. If you have needs which should be addressed confidentially or in person at the Command level, feel free to stop by and talk. We will make time. I do expect that all matters that are not confidential or personal will be resolved normally through the Chain of Command or through the request mast process.

k. Troop Information -- The Commanding Officer is responsible for keeping all personnel informed of their benefits, rights, and responsibilities through the use of Squadron formations, safety standdowns, briefs, staff calls, and staff meetings. Troop information has to be disseminated by officers and SNCOs in charge of Marines to facilitate communications and exchange of ideas between the small unit leader and the individual Marine.

l. Personal Appearance -- All hands are expected to ensure their personal appearance reflects Marine Corps standards. If you feel sufficient time is not allocated to improve your PFT effort, let us know through the Chain of Command. All Squadron personnel must be prepared to do physical training on their own to ensure they meet physical fitness standards.

m. Weight Control -- Marines are considered overweight when their weight exceeds the maximum allowable Marine Corps height and weight standards or when they display a poor military appearance due to improper weight distribution. In such instances, Marines will be evaluated and assigned to the weight control or military appearance program. Alternate weight standards will be assigned on a case-by-case basis by the Group Commander. Marines assigned to the weight control or military appearance programs will be reevaluated semi-annually in conjunction with the Squadron PFT to assure compliance with Marine Corps standards. As with all cases, I expect leadership at the MLO level to be extremely active to preclude problems.

n. Advancement -- I intend to maximize opportunities for training and advancement. Professional Military Education (PME) and formal schools will be requested whenever possible and whenever an individual is qualified. As Marines, you have an inherent responsibility to demonstrate initiative to insure advancement eligibility. You should not expect to be promoted if you have not kept your PME current.

o. Evaluation and Counseling -- The foremost criteria in the evaluation process for both officer and enlisted personnel is performance. As Reporting Seniors, the evaluation that you write on our Marines has a direct impact and lasting effect upon career goals, retention, and family security. The evaluation process must not be taken lightly. Exercise model judgment and give a complete effort. A legitimate evaluation depends on the prior institution of a meaningful counseling program. We must make all efforts to afford our Marines the opportunity to correct undesirable behavior and/or performance. All supervisors will ensure a counseling program is in place at the lowest level of reporting. If a Marine is meeting or exceeding standards, I expect his performance evaluations to reflect that fact. The same is true if the Marine is not.

p. Correspondence -- Reports and correspondence shall be completed accurately and in a timely manner to ensure time for review and submission is available. Attention to detail is critical. Check and recheck drafts prior to having a Marine type them. Ensure information in your correspondence can be understood. Follow up on your phone calls, meetings, and written correspondence -- an action passed is not an action completed.

q. Punctuality -- Be on time.

r. Leadership -- As leaders, you need to define responsibility, establish objectives, and provide the challenge for Marines to develop their maximum potential. This Squadron will strive to place responsibilities and resolve problems in a positive manner at the lowest possible level. Refer to my Command Guidance letter for orientation.

s. Recognition -- Our Marines want to be key players, have their efforts recognized, and be part of a winning team. We will not trivialize awards by issuing them for average performance. However, we will award them freely for sustained superior performance.

t. Core Values -- The Marine Corps' core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment are at the center of our efforts. You will see them at the heart of this and other policies as well as my Command Guidance, published in a separate letter. Exercise these values at home and in the workplace. Your conduct within the civilian community carries over into the work environment and vice versa -- you cannot separate the two. Be a good example and role model in all aspects of your life. Realize that there are young people in this city who idolize Marines and count on you, as I do, to be a positive representative of the Corps.

u. Hold/Pending Baskets -- These file baskets are a great source of procrastination. Prioritize and put in the time to complete the job.

v. Waste, Fraud, Abuse, and Misuse -- Each individual will be held accountable for the material condition of assigned equipment. Particularly in this era of reduced funding, we must make a concerted effort to maximize and preserve our material assets.

6. Summary. The standards and expectations of this Squadron are hard work, moral and physical courage, honesty, teamwork, professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm, pride in ourselves and our accomplishments, and a positive mental attitude (PMA). Our commitment to the future is to maximize the personal and professional growth of our Marines and to develop highly qualified professionals who immediately make their marks as combat multipliers in their fleet units. The challenge before each of us is to ensure that our efforts contribute to the success of the Squadron and accomplishment of our mission, and that we enjoy ourselves in the process. Semper fi.

R. A. DOSS