Story by Sgt Jacob Osborne on 02/28/2017Senior enlisted leaders from the West Coast gathered for a professional dinner in Valley Center, Calif., Feb. 23. The professional dinner provided a venue for sergeants major, master gunnery sergeants, and command master chief petty officers to build camaraderie and network.
"I think it's important for Marines of higher ranks to come together, because if we can develop the professionalism and leadership skills at our senior level, they can then transfer down to the next level and each level of leadership below," said Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, sergeant major of I Marine Expeditionary Force.
Retired Sgt. Maj. William Skiles joined the senior enlisted leaders as the guest speaker. Skiles enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1979 as an infantry assaultman and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
"It's not about them, I came here to give them some words of advice based on how many Marines they have in their care," said Skiles. "Just one sergeant major might have 450 Marines; a master gunnery sergeant might have 500 in a squadron."
"Maybe I can say something they can give to their staff non-commissioned officers," he continued. "This event is for more than just them, it's how many people they can affect when they go back to their units."
The majority of Skiles' career was spent training Marines. He retired from the Marine Corps while serving as sergeant major of Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and personally developed a professional development course for sergeants major along with initiating ethical and mentoring programs across the Marine Corps.
According to the 37th Commandant's Planning Guidance, camaraderie is an integral part of being a Marine; it allows for open communications and the ability to share best practices.
The main objective of the dinner was to develop lines of communication between the leaders of I MEF to better serve the Marines under their charge.
The professional dinner, hosted by Kasal, improved camaraderie and communication between senior enlisted leaders on the West Coast and assisted in developing social and communication skills senior leaders use to be successful. Skiles hopes that the senior enlisted leaders take the knowledge they have gained from this event back to their junior Marines to improve the Corps.