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Roles in the Corps: Command Element

Pete: My name's Pete Petrazio. I'm a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps and I am currently the Commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. MAGTF is the Marine Air Ground Task Force. We have a command element which is largely the conductor of the orchestra and then we have all the people in the MAGTF that play the instruments. We divide everything up in staff sections and each section is responsible for something and we give them names and numbers and S1 does all of our admin, our S2 does our intelligence, our S3 does our operations, and our S4 does logistics, and our S6 does communications. And then in the special staff we have our medical, our legal, my chaplain, and other folks.

John: I'm John McGovern, I'm the Sergeant Major for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. I work directly for the new commander. Getting the pulse of what's going on throughout the Marines, talking to 'em, planning out what's going well, what they're enjoying, what they like to see fixed. Along with that, that gives me opportunity to talk with the Colonel, let him know how the Marines are doing, tell him how they believe the mission went well or how it could've gone better and it gives him truly that perspective of that junior Marine on the ground and how it develops into the big picture.

Pete: Everything comes together. It's important for my S1 to do his job well so everyone gets paid and promoted and awarded. It's important for the S2 to do his job so that we know where bad things are happening, where bad people are and then from that, the S3, the operations officer can say, okay, how are we going to address that and then the S4 has to support it and then you're not a commander if you can't talk to everybody and that's what the S6 does. So if you can't talk, you can't command.

John: Every Marine is important. There is no one, no matter what the task, no matter what MOS you have, it all gels together in successful accomplishment of our missions.

Pete: You know a lot of times people will tell you that amateurs talk about tactics, professionals talk about logistics. You can come up with the greatest plans in the world, and if you can't support 'em, you're not going to be able to execute 'em.

John: It's not about the senior Marine, it's ultimately about that junior Marine, that PFC, that private, they're the most important. They're the ones that are out there in front, in harm's way.

Pete: It's amazing to spend a day with the young Marines that do what they do. It's humbling. It's absolutely humbling to see how good they are. I mean they are truly individually each of them an absolute national treasure.

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