CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, Japan -- There is a saying that a deployed Marine's morale is high if he receives four things on a consistent basis - time off, money, mail and food. The Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marines' Battalion Administration Center (BAC) and Cpl. Nicholas S. Slaughter, a personnel clerk with Romeo Battery, 5th Battalion, 10th, ensure that the Marines receive at least one of the four.
The BAC, is a detachment from the Division Personnel Administration Center (DPAC) located at Camp Lejeune. The 5-man office provides more than 800 Marines with administration support to include running training, promotion, awards and retirement information, alleviating pay problems, taking care of Permanent Change of Station moves, allotments, auditing Records of Emergency Data and completing Serviceman Group Life Insurance forms.
Additionally, they ensure that all matters that require entry on the unit diary, the reporting system for the Marine Corps, are tracked once forwarded to the DPAC at Camp Lejeune.
"Working for the BAC is not a 8 hour-a-day job. I have Marines who work at night to get the job done," said Staff Sgt. Steve L. Williams, personnel chief and Tyler, Texas native.
"We perform a lot of faxing to Lejeune. Once we help a Marine here, someone from our shop calls back to Lejeune to make sure the paperwork is received. The job is not complete until we have verification that it made it to the right hands," he said.
Being and administrative clerk is often a thankless job.
"People don't come in when things are going good. But let them think they got paid $10 less or believe that their promotion is late - and they're knocking at our door," said Cpl. Christopher L. Couch, personnel clerk and Pascagoula, Miss., native.
"Just knowing that what you do has a positive impact of the Marines makes the job worthwhile," Couch said.
"Timeliness is the one of the most importance aspects of this job," said Williams
"Not getting stuff run on the diary in a timely manner could cost a delay in a Marine's promotion or could, in the unfortunate event that something happens to a Marine, cause a delay in his family being notified," Williams said,
Working directly for the commander is a plus and means getting more immediate answers.
According to Williams, having personnel administration in the battalion means a more hands-on approach. We, many of the times, know the Marine we are performing actions for. A Marine, after notifying his chain of command, can come directly to the BAC to have his questions answered.
Another plus is it provides the administration Marines with a wider range of knowledge.
"The Marines here get to work on all aspects of personnel administration vice being focused on one particular area," Williams added.
"I feel that having the DPAC detachment attached is serving a great deed for us," said 1st Lt. Thomas P. Shields, adjutant, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. "Having immediate access to answer questions concerning per diem, pay related problems, timely promotions and travel claims allows the commanders to rest easier knowing their Marines are able to focus on the training rather than worry about these issues. It's more of a personal thing, and not just some deployed unit trying to fix one Marine's problems. The bottom line is the Marines are getting taken care of by this detachment," he said.
"Working here allows me to get more field training and learn the different aspects of my job," Couch said.
Whether it's taking care of promotion, pay or ensuring entitlements are correct the BAC section provides value to the commander and the Marines. So the next time you see young administration Marines remember what they do to keep morale high.