CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, JAPAN --
What do you picture of when you hear the word Marine? Is it an administrative clerk or a staff judge advocate? Probably not; but these Marines play a critical role within the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s S-1.
“S-1 is the administrative section for the 31st MEU,” said Sgt. Christopher Gutierrez, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of S-1 for the 31st MEU. “We provide administrative support for the commanding officer and all personnel assigned or attached to the MEU.”
The S-1 takes care of many tasks for the 31st MEU. These tasks are separated into four areas; general, personnel, manpower and operational administration. The administration areas include tasks like awards, pay, promotions and transfers. These things happen every day and are taken for granted, but wouldn’t happen without the S-1.
“When the call comes to deploy and respond to crisis, the Commander must have administratively deployable forces at a moment’s notice,” said Capt. Robert Miller, the adjutant for the 31st MEU. “The S-1 ensures this at all times by aligning manpower, personnel, operational and general administrative requirements against our mission sets. Ultimately, the S-1 is the fabric that holds the Marine Air Ground Task Force together and supports each warfighting function.”
Without the S-1, Marines would have to keep track of and file their own paperwork on top of their own job. Almost every administrative form, document or package goes through the S-1 at some point whether the Marine knows it or not.
“Every document that is filled out we track, scan and electronically file it,” said Cpl. Jahlil Moore, an administrative clerk with the 31st MEU. “These include off-island request forms, check in and check out sheets and car packages.”
According to Moore, S-1 takes care of Marine Online’s features. They add and drop people from the unit when they join or leave, electronic processing personnel action requests and giving Marines permissions on the site.
Keeping track of the forms and packages that go through S-1 helps the 31st MEU Command Element Marines be ready for the future. Marines can place their faith and confidence into the administrative section because of their level expertise in that field.
Taking care of mail is another large part of what the S-1 does in garrison. They get the mail from the post office and make sure the mail is sorted and distributed to the Marines.
When they’re not filing documents and submitting packages in garrison the Marines at the 31st MEU have the added challenge of deploying on a ship for months at a time.
“On ship we are constantly taking accountability,” said Lance Cpl. Reginald Welch, an administrative clerk with the 31st MEU. “It can be a challenge because there are a lot of last minute updates to the rosters.”
The rosters that S-1 makes are provided to unit leaders and combat cargo. They include life boat assignment, who is supposed to be on an aircraft, who is on and off ship and who stayed behind. This keeps the commanding officer informed on where their Marines and Sailors are located.
The constant accountability of Marines is essential to ensure the 31st MEU is ready to go at a moment’s notice. If a Marine went missing, S-1 would know who is accounted for and who is not. This enables the 31st MEU by always having forces that are available to fight and win.
The Marines of S-1 may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a Marine. But everything they do has an impact to the accomplishment of the mission and they play a vital role in the success of the 31st MEU. The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, provides a flexible force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region.