DVIDS – News – Roots: The Sequoia Corps

THREE RIVERS, Calif .– As Marines, it is our interconnectedness, the state of being connected to each other, that can be attributed to victory on and off the battlefield. However, our mutual trust and teamwork goes beyond the call of duty. It must envelop our daily lives if we are to continue to grow as the country’s most prestigious fighting force.

Ten Staff NCOs (SNCOs) assigned to the I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group (I MIG) were handpicked to participate in a three-day Leadership Resilience Retreat as part of the efforts of the ‘I MIG to strengthen and develop our body’s most valuable asset; Marine. Sgt. Major David M. White, I MIG Sergeant Major, led the retreat in an effort to develop their knowledge of the concept of interconnection and the role of a leader in shaping the environments in which their peers and subordinates operate. . In doing so, they were given the interpersonal skills, or tools, to return to their units and further equip their fellow Marines with individual resilience and values-based leadership skills.

During the trip, many guided discussions took place on topics such as critical thinking, intentionality, relationships and legacy. Self-reflection and communication have also been described as vital practices in becoming more competent leaders. However, these are only the first stepping stones towards the development and success of his unit.

The retreat took place in the deep rooted forest of Sequoia National Park. Home to some of the tallest trees in the world, the Giant Sequoia Redwoods. These huge trees made us feel small, reminding us of our vulnerability and the reality of the natural world around us.

The real phenomenon, however, was just below the ground. Unlike many other trees, redwoods do not have a taproot, the central dominant root responsible for stabilizing plants on the earth. This leaves their limited root systems extending to just 10 feet deep on average. This begs the question; how can something weigh thousands of pounds, stand hundreds of feet tall, withstand storms, fires, and earthquakes, and rarely fall? The answer lies in their interdependence.

Redwoods Sequoias cannot survive on their own. Their roots are intertwined, which allows them to support each other. A collective that is strong individually and even stronger together. Like the Redwoods Redwoods, each marine is intertwined, relying on each other to survive in this world. One Marine is formidable. A Marine Corps is unstoppable.

On the morning of the first day, we ventured about six hours north of Camp Pendleton. There we established what would become our home for the next 48 hours on a small secluded campground. Comrades, yet strangers. We set up our tents and gather quietly around the picnic tables. This is where our journey began, on a confined peninsula, stretching out into the serene body of fresh water: Lake Kaweah.

Personal stories were shared and ideas challenged. Dr Lelia Brady, Director of Preventive Behavioral Health at MEF, challenged us to explore our values ​​intentionally as well as our relationships with ourselves and others. We broke bread by having most of our guided discussions around a campfire, which our guest speaker, Colonel Garth Massey, I MIG Staff Officer, aptly called “conversations. at the Fireside “. A decades-old concept that provides an environment where leader and participants are immersed in conversation.

Each Marine had the opportunity to share their philosophy on leadership and interconnection within their units. All of them came with unique leadership styles and diverse backgrounds when it came to educating their Marines. The purpose of the trip, however, was not only to broaden SNCO ideologies but to open the door to other units in the future. To do this, participants should bring their experience back to their units and, at the very least, generate curiosity about the trip.

Although Colonel Brian T. Rideout, I MIG Commander, could not be with us on the excursion, he gave us an important assignment. “Become the best version of yourself, to inspire others to do the same.” A concept well known throughout the Marine Corps but not always so easy to achieve.

As Marines, we must always strive to be better and constantly assess our own performance.

The goal of this effort was to create opportunities to further shape the environments in which our Marines live and work, and to enhance the skills of I MIG leaders.

“My desire is for the I MIG leadership to become capable of developing trust-based work environments that foster the growth, development and resilience of the Marines in our unit in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the unit in future operations, ”said Rideout.

Like the roots of the Redwoods Redwoods, our interconnectedness will make us stronger as an organization and that begins with leading unity.

On day two, participants in the Leadership Resilience Retreat hiked over nine miles through the trails of Sequoia National Park. During this time, they reflected on their personal goals and experiences while enjoying the beauty of the forest around them. With that came reflections on their leadership skills and the legacies they wish to leave behind.

“It’s inspiring. Getting out of your comfort zone in a beautiful environment was eye-opening, ”said Gunnery Sgt. William Zahorak, one of the ten participants of the retreat. “I really hope that not only this unit, but all other units will implement it because the Marines deserve it. The Marine Corps deserves it.

The highlight of the trip was seeing The General Sherman Tree firsthand. At 2,200 years old, it is 275 feet tall and weighs 1,256 metric tons. A show in its own right. Although it is not the tallest or widest tree in the world, its volume makes it the “tallest”. According to the National Park Service, a federal government agency that manages all national parks, if you filled its trunk with water, you could take a bath a day for 27 years.

Having open and honest conversations can be a difficult thing to do, especially with the people you’ve just met. However, our ethics support us in any endeavor. As attendees discovered during the two-day event, sharing an honor-driven culture as Marines establishes leaps of camaraderie beyond any civilian endeavor. Our mutual understanding of Marine Corps traditions and values ​​help solidify our connectivity and facilitate communication with one another. Dr. Brady once again challenged us to reflect on our heritage and what we want our lives to represent.

The next mission of these Marines is to plant the seeds of inspiration, to further extend those roots to their units, and to share the knowledge of the interconnectedness of the Marine Corps.

Date taken: 04/06/2021
Date posted: 22.06.2021 18:46
Story ID: 399478
Location: THREE RIVERS, CA, US

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