Career planner secures futures, takes honors

20 Sep 2002 | Cpl. Jeff M. Nagan

A gunnery sergeant with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 was named The Career Planner of 2002 for 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.

After aiding the Sweathogs in reaching more than a 40-percent retention rate, Gunnery Sgt. Steven Diaz competed against hundreds of other career planners of the 2nd Marine Air Wing and MWSG-27 to earn the nomination.

"Although I have been nominated twice during the first and second quarter as the Career Planner of the Quarter for MWSG-27, I accredit much of my success to the Marines of MWSS-273," Diaz said. "More Marines with my squadron were willing to stand up and reenlist."

The primary mission of a career planner is to retain the most qualified first-term and career Marines, according to Diaz.

"Career planners are responsible for making sure the Marine gets what he or she wants," Diaz said. "We also work for the command, ensuring that we keep the most qualified Marines in the Corps."

Career planners must also work with the Enlisted Retention and Counseling Unit (MMEA-6) mission, which approves and processes reenlistments, extensions and lateral moves.

"We are the liaisons between the three," Diaz said. "We make sure the right people are in the right jobs. I appreciate the nomination, but I am only the middleman."

The duty also offers new challenges each day, according to Diaz. Since many of the jobs and opportunities Marines desire are not always available, career planners must work with them to find alternatives.

"It's great to be a Marine helping out his fellow brothers and sisters," Diaz said. "You get to help Marines plan their future and make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives."

Last month was his most rewarding month, because he had the chance to help a Marine in need, according to Diaz.

A Marine, with a wife and three children, was diagnosed with cancer, and the only place that could offer him the most effective treatment was in Maryland.

By working together, they were able to verify his orders and housing within one day and smoothly transition him to an Air Force Base in Maryland. 

"I will remember that always," Diaz said. "This is truly the most rewarding job I've ever had. I am responsible for assisting the world's finest. Not to mention the great support of my wife, Tracy. I can't thank her enough."

Many Marines choose to leave the Corps, but wherever a Marine decides to go, it is the Corps' responsibility to make sure that these Americans are taken care of, according to Diaz.

"I am humbled by the nomination, " Diaz said. "Career planners around the Air Station and MWSG-27 work together to help Marines plan their futures."