MCAS Beaufort --
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, held a noncommissioned officer day which allowed selected NCOs to take full charge of the daily routine of MALS-31, June 14.
Prior to the change over, Lt. Col. Willie Stansell, the commanding officer of MALS-31, explained to the NCOs taking over for him, the executive officer and sergeant major, what he wanted them to accomplish for the day and what to expect.
“The purpose of this day was to give NCOs a glimpse of what it is like to run the squadron for the day. During this time they were presented with several different scenarios that would have normally occurred during a regular work day,” said Gunnery Sgt. Steven Booth, the operations chief for MALS-31. “The scenarios included presenting Letters of Appreciation in a squadron formation, working a logistics support request for ground support equipment from an outside unit and working an aircraft component cannibalization request for an outside unit.”
The turnover from the Squadron’s staff NCOs and officers to the sergeants and below was truly a representation of small-unit leadership, which is defined as accomplishing large objectives using the smallest and lowest force possible.
“We wanted them to broaden their scope of responsibility,” said Booth, a native of Rooster, Ohio. “This would allow them to gain a more comprehensive understanding of various tasks involved in the operation of a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron.”
After the squadron was turned over to the corporals and sergeants, billets were assigned to those who were best fitted to fill each seat.
“The acting commanding officer, executive officer and sergeant major were all nominated by the department chiefs, with the primary candidates being the NCO and Marine of the Quarter as well as the Colors Sergeant,” said Booth. “The acting department heads were also nominated by the department chiefs.”
Sgt. Justin Morphis, an ordnance technician for MALS-31, was selected to be the acting commanding officer during the NCO day.
“I have ran a shop before but nothing of this magnitude before,” said Morphis, a native of Wichita, Kan. “As the acting CO for the day it’s been very nerve-racking but it has taught me that our CO does not have an easy job.”
Morphis had his own idea about why the command wanted to give the NCOs this kind of opportunity.
“I think they wanted us to see that it’s not easy running an entire unit,” said Morphis. “I also think they wanted us to know that they don’t just sit behind their desks or hang out and joke around with each other.
“They actually have to make decisions that are going to affect a Marine’s career, and even split decisions that could affect a Marine’s life as well.”