Administrative Marines taking care of business for MNF-W

7/18/2009 By Cpl. Jo Jones , Multi National Force - West


Sgt. David Strother knows how costly mistakes can be. As a staff secretary administrative chief with Multi National Force - West, he submits policy letters, award citations and other forms of correspondence to the MNF-W commanding general’s staff on a daily basis. A mistake on such correspondence could damage credibility, and even worse, prevent policy establishment, resulting in Marines not getting what they need.
Strother does not bear this burden alone, however. He relies on the staff at the MNF-W administration office, also known as G-1, to review and correct changes before any papers reach the MNF-W commanding general for his approval.

“I call the G-1 about three to five times a day,” said Strother. “They are very polite and do a great job fixing [correspondence] in a timely manner.”

In addition to reviewing correspondence letters, the G-1 is also responsible for organizing and managing other MNF-W service members’ professional administrative needs and ensuring subordinate commands are adhering to policies and procedures.

“We are responsible for manpower management, casualty recording, general administration and G-1 operations for the [MNF-W] command element,” said Col. Catherine Chase, assistant chief of staff for MNF-W administration. “We also provide oversight and communicate policies, procedures and guidance to subordinate commands in accordance with the overall mission for MNF-W.”

MNF-W service members who need to fix, change and update things such as pay, promotions, awards, citizenship, emergency leave and other personnel matters must first notify their respective chain of command about the issue. The issues flow from individual units, up to the service members’ major subordinate command, and eventually end up at MNF-W administration for final review before getting the commanding general’s signature of approval.

The MNF-W administrative office has three to five Marines in each section, which is almost half the staff most stateside Marine administrative offices employ. Strother said the Marines do an exceptional job of handling a full work load even with fewer personnel.

“The personnel at MNF-W G-1 are extremely professional,” said Strother. “Their turn around is amongst the best G-1 shops I have seen, and I have seen quite a few in the past six years.”

Master Gunnery Sgt. Lisa Betts, the adjutant and administrative chief for MNF-W, said she enjoys doing a job that positively impacts people’s lives.

“[Administration] is a rewarding job,” said Betts. “We are here to serve people, and everyone is important.”

With more than 17,000 MNF-W personnel records to keep track of, Betts stressed the importance of accuracy and attention to detail. Betts said something as simple as an awards package is reviewed by at least four people in their office before being submitted.

Chase said the G-1 has been successful in accomplishing their mission because of the experience and leadership skills of her staff.

“I have really good staff noncommissioned officers and noncommissioned officers who keep things organized,” said Chase.

Chase said administration plays a vital role in service members’ welfare and morale.

“We make sure all the [service members’] needs are taken care of so the Marines don’t have to worry.”

Whether MNF-W G-1 personnel are correcting information for an individual or for something that affects an entire command, Strother and other MNF-W service members can rest assured their needs are taken care of accurately and efficiently.