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1st MarDiv SgtMaj shares leadership credo with 7th Marines' NCOs

21 Aug 2009 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Barrett, the 1st Marine Division sergeant major, visited the Marine and Navy noncommissioned officers of 7th Marine Regiment, here Aug. 20.

The visit comes as the “Magnificent Seventh” prepares to deploy to Afghanistan as part of Regimental Combat Team 7, to conduct counterinsurgency operations as the ground combat element of Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan.

The visit brought Barrett to his old stomping grounds. Barrett previously served and deployed with the regiment as a junior enlisted Marine and as the sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

“I am back home. This is my home here,” said Barrett. “I started off my Marine Corps career here in 1980.”

Barrett spoke to the Marines and sailors of 7th Marine Regiment to remind them Marines are expeditionary.

“(Being expeditionary and moving), that’s what we do,” said Barrett. “Everything I own fits in my blue Ford F-150.”

With his energetic spirit and love for the Marine Corps, Barrett talked about seven main points NCOs can use to improve themselves and their Marines.

“NCOs drive this big mean machine, don’t think for a second that you aren’t important,” said Barrett. “That’s a pretty awesome responsibility.

“You never know who is watching. You never know who listening. But I promise you that there is about 314 million sets of eyes and ears on everything that you do and everything that you say every day,” Barrett said.

Barrett spoke about what it means to be loyal to your fellow Marine, how to improve oneself and what to expect for the upcoming year.

“The highest compliment you can receive from your fellow Marine is when he looks you in the eye and says, ‘I can count on you always,’” Barrett said. 

“Sergeant Major Barrett’s coming out means a lot especially with him being the sergeant major of division,” said Cpl. Christopher R. Stafford, a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. “It’s nice when people like him are willing to come out and listen to us, pay attention and help improve our lives.”

After his address, Barrett took questions from the NCOs in attendance. Questions ranged from retention rates to deployment rates to administrative questions regarding the Corps’ current operational tempo.

“His talk is not necessarily going to help (NCOs) get ready for deployment,” said Stafford, 22, from Reno, Nev. “Its going to help them better themselves because continuing to better yourself is the ongoing mission.”