Supporting the Fleet Marine Force, Navy Mobilization aids Marines

9 Feb 2004 | Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

Working inside a small office, two Navy yeomen process service records and accounts of reservists--sailors called up to support the Fleet Marine Forces. Things seem to be slow moving here, a world away from the hectic pace leading up to, during, and after Operation Iraqi Freedom when over 400 Navy personnel where mobilized, demobilized and processed in support of the Marine Corps.“You should have been here before Christmas,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Edna Barfield, a native of Trenton, N.C., comparing the current calmness at the office to the demobilization process of nearly 400 Navy personnel a couple of months ago.“We really had a lot of people coming through here then,” she continued.The small office is part of an administrative arm of the Navy Mobilization Processing Site activated Jan. 29, 2003. The site, a unit composed of reservists, was mobilized to process Navy reservists activated to provide active and reservist Marine forces the necessary Navy personnel needed to supplement their units. The personnel called up consisted of religious programmers, medical personnel (including corpsmen) and the necessary administrative support personnel for both. So far, the unit has processed Navy reservists on the eastern seaboard called up in support of the Marine Corps mission here and abroad.“We are here to support the Marines on the ground by getting the Navy personnel where they are needed,” Cmdr. Kristen G. Guarnieri, officer-in-charge for NMPS, said of their primary mission.We are the only Navy mobilization unit specifically created to aid the call up of Navy reservists directly supporting the Marine Corps, said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Hersch, NMPS liaison with the II Marine Expeditionary Force, explaining the unique mission his unit has within the Navy-Marine Corps war-fighting team.The Navy Mobilization program was established in order to better streamline the process of bringing the necessary Navy reservists to the Marine units.“NMPS evolved out of Desert Shield/Desert Storm,” Chief Petty Officer Barbara Parker, the senior petty officer-in-charge at the unit, said of its beginnings.“During Desert Storm, the first mobilization since Vietnam, (Navy) reservists were not given a lot of notice and were unprepared,” she continued.Because of this, “call up” many Navy reservists supporting the Marines did not have the opportunity or resources to take the necessary measures to safeguard and provide for their families during their deployment.“We take care of individual sailors, their legal, medical, dental and personal issues through Red Cross, family services, legal and Tri-Care (healthcare for families) briefs,” Parker explained.Training and preparation issues for individual reservists are also addressed at the processing site.“We move individuals into additional training if necessary,” she explained addressing the needs of reservists not ready for their tasks.“We want to funnel to the Marine Corps, qualified and readied personnel,” Parker stated.“I make sure all requirements for sailors are met and addressed.”Ultimately, similar Navy Mobilization programs designed to supplement qualified Navy reservists into the Marine Corps might be established based on the success of the program here.“We want to make sure that we are responsive to the needs of the Marine Corps,” Parker said of their goal in quickly and effectively providing qualified personnel to the Navy-Marine Corps war-fighting team.