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SgtMaj. Anthony Spadaro, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Sergeant Major, speaks to an auditorium of staff sergeants from 3rd MAW, during a Staff Sergeant Symposium here Feb. 22. 108 SNCOs took part in the three-day symposium and participated in various leadership-building events, including a visit to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Photo by Cpl. Steven Posy

Staff NCOs sharpen leadership skills at Staff Sergeants Symposium

26 Feb 2013 | Cpl. Steven Posy 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

The illustrious history and traditions of the Marine Corps, passed from generation to generation, are what make the Corps the most elite branch of service in the world.

108 staff non-commissioned officers united to ensure that the next wave of future leaders will continue to uphold the prestigious legacy of the Marine Corps, during a three-day Staff Sergeant Symposium here Feb. 20-22.        

The main elements of the symposium focused on committed and engaged leadership.

216 eyeballs fixated intensely at the front of a small auditorium as the words “Take back our Corps” rattled through the walls. “Take a stand, and do not let one of your Marines fall,” said SgtMaj. Anthony Spadaro, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Sergeant Major. The message was simple and the intent was clear to every staff sergeant in the room, as the sergeant major delivered his powerful message. “Stay committed to our Corps and stay engaged with our Marines.”

During the symposium the staff sergeants discussed crucial topics such as professional development, mentorship, accountability and keeping an institutional mindset. Various events supplemented the discussions, such as panels of selected NCOs, SNCOs and company grade officers, who challenged the staff sergeants to think of ways to enhance their leadership skills.

“The NCO panel and SNCO panel were an eye-opener,” said SSgt. Jason Dubios, a SNCOIC at Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352. “Hearing what the younger Marines and senior Marines expect from us, really put things into perspective.”

Another event, during the symposium, included a visit to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to witness a graduation of new Marines. “We want them to look at these new Marines and think about what is going through their heads when they meet their SNCO for the first time.” Spadaro reminded the SNCOs, “They want to emulate you, they want to be you. There could be a future sergeant major or general in that bunch. They are our future, and we are ultimately responsible for them.”

The symposium concluded with closing thoughts from senior enlisted Marines who worked with the staff sergeants throughout the three days. By the end, the SNCOs left re-invigorated with a mindset to take action, strengthen the foundation of the Corps and continue its legacy.