A look inside the H&S Battalion S-3 shop
April 8, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - The S-3 staff at Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall has a direct impact on the lives of each of the nearly 1,800 Marines attached to the battalion via its training and force protection mission.
"We support the Marines within the battalion, which is the people within the NCR [National Capital Region]," said Master Sgt. Jay Mattice, operations chief. "We also have people overseas and on the west coast and all throughout the east coast.
"Anyone attached to the battalion, we handle their annual training requirements and any additional pop-up training requirements that come from Headquarters Marine Corps."
In addition to planning, scheduling and coordinating training, S-3 also supports Henderson Hall's anti-terrorism force protection plan, said Staff Sgt. Glenn L. West, the battalion's anti-terrorism officer. He explained his job includes much more than simply monitoring the gate that provides access to installation.
"It has to do with security, taking preventive measures to prevent, and also avoid, an incident," he said.
West is responsible for conducting vulnerability assessments that are required anytime a large number of Marines may be gathered in one place, like at the annual Marine Corps Ball.
"I also do the operational security, reviewing and monitoring the publicly assessable websites for the battalion and Facebook," he added.
The five enlisted Marines and two officers who make up the staff are also responsible for ensuring that the records of each Leatherneck assigned to the battalion include up-to-date information about what training they have received.
"We process the data for about 1,800 Marines with 50 or more training requirements," noted Mattice. "Each one of those have multiple documents."
Those records are kept securely behind a locked door and in filing cabinets.
The S-3 staff fields countless telephone calls and e-mails a day from Marines who have questions concerning training and other aspects of their professional military education or PME.
"It requires us to have an in-depth knowledge of each of the Marine Corps orders pertaining to training and you have to pull some of those answers from the order because it's kind of complex," Mattice said.
PME covers two different areas, he continued.
"PME can be considered a Marine's annual training and then we cover the school house side, where we're the point of contact for everybody to get into a school as a resident course or off-site," he said. "Some of the PME that we offer is required annually. The schools that we send the Marines to aren't required, but are encouraged."
Mattice also stressed that all information that has anything to do with operations comes through the S-3 offices.
"So without us there would be no single point to de-conflict any problem areas that come up," he said. S-3 staff is also responsible for completing foreign travel clearances for the battalion's Marines.
"If anybody within our command goes overseas for work or for leave, we get them cleared to enter that country," explained Mattice.
And they also schedule time for the Marines to shoot at the ranges aboard Quantico Marine Corps Base. "Because of where we are, we have a limited amount of quotas for the range," noted Mattice, "but we try to get as many Marines as possible to Quantico so that they can shoot on the rifle or pistol range and be more competitive for promotion."
S-3 is also responsible for tracking Marines who are placed in a limited or light duty status by medical personnel.
"It's a somewhat cumbersome process," said Elihu Jones, limited and light duty coordinator. "There's steps you have to go through."
Those steps include documenting the illness or injury and its severity.