MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- From automotive plants to assembly line manufacturers, corporations worldwide rely on behind-the-scenes personnel administration support to keep their people paid and their company functioning.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the United States Marine Corps, where hundreds of warrior-clerks work tirelessly to keep the war-fighting machine well oiled.
The 2nd Marine Division’s Personnel Administration Center is one such shop that, according to the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ guidance, meets and exceeds the administrative needs of today’s expeditionary forces in readiness.
Recently, the DPAC staff aced their Marine Corps Administrative Analysis Team (MCAAT) inspection, during which a team of personnel appointed by Headquarters Marine Corps evaluates the shop’s timeliness and accuracy in paying the leathernecks their allowances.
According to Chief Warrant Officer-4 Reginald Howell, DPAC’s officer-in-charge, PACs must score at least 90 percent to pass, an arduous task that requires the combined efforts of dozens of Marines from various sections.
“The inspectors take everything that affects a Marine’s pay into account, such as our unit’s effectiveness in paying their housing and food allowances,” said Howell, whose PAC scored 92.19 percent. “Things like reenlistment bonuses are also taken into account. They (inspectors) basically make sure we’re running all of a Marine’s entitlements in the system
(personnel database) quickly and accurately.”
For this division’s PAC, passing this inspection is especially noteworthy because of the number of personnel these administrators oversees, Howell said. While an average PAC in the Corps serves approximately 3,000 Marines, this one currently takes care of nearly 19,000, he continued.
“During this past summer, we were also providing reach-back support to many deployed Marines, bringing our total number up to almost 20,000,” Howell added, explaining how his DPAC Marines also service those fighting the Global War on Terrorism overseas. “We always make mission, though, ensuring that a Marine’s paycheck goes into their account.”
The DPAC’s sections as a whole contribute to this massive endeavor, said Master Sgt. Matthew Mulvihill, pay and promotions section staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. Every payday, his troops oversee the payment of approximately $20 million dollars across the division.
“These Marines do an outstanding job, especially considering the workload they have to deal with,” Mulvihill explained. “During this holiday season alone, they processed about 1,500 sets of leave papers. The volume of work these folks do is intensive, and they do it very well.”
In the service record book maintenance section nearby, clerks like Lance Cpl. Ernest Cayemitte also embody this dedicated work ethic.
“Here, we issue meal cards everyday to replace ones that were lost or destroyed,” Cayemitte said. “It sometimes gets to be a lot of work, so the Marines around here help one another out to get it done.”
Cayemitte was instrumental in helping 2nd Marine Division’s PAC recently consolidate their meal card records that had been previously contained in more than 40 log books into one comprehensive database.
This allows admin clerks to print out and replace meal cards on the spot, thus making DPAC more self-sufficient and saving the Marine Corps thousands of dollars, said Staff Sgt. Walberto Luciovelasquez, admin chief within SRB maintenance.
“Something that allows the Marines to work so efficiently is that everyone is cross-trained in each others’ specialties,” he stated. “If one person leaves, the other can fill in. The team concept is really in play in this shop.”
Even those Marines leaving the military can count on this proper administrative support until their very last day in the Corps, added Sgt. Andres Diaz, separations section NCOIC.
“Here, we let Marines know how to properly check out (of the Corps), and we make sure everything is accurate on their record before they do,” Diaz continued. “You come to us if you have any last-minute admin questions, and all the Marines here are trained to answer them. We take care of Marines separating as best as possible.”
It’s this sort of positive attitude that enabled DPAC’s staff to excel in their MCAAT inspection and service thousands of Marines’ needs day in and day out.
“To take care of more than 18,000 Marines is quite an accomplishment,” Howell stated.