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4th Marine Division Pair Recognized as Top Active Reserve Career Planners

6 Jan 2022 | Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Two enlisted career planners attached to 4th Marine Division earned top honors against their peers in the Active Reserve force.

Gunnery Sgt. Samuel W. Espinosa with 23rd Marine Regiment and Staff Sgt. Jose A. Gonzalez with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion were recognized as Fiscal Year 21 Staff Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (SNCOIC) Active Reserve Career Planner of the Year and Active Reserve Career Planner of the Year, respectively, according to MARADMIN 675/21.

“It’s a real honor and privilege to even be nominated for this award, let alone be selected for the Active Reserve Career Planner of the Year,” Gonzalez said, a native of Arlington, Texas.

Career planners’ goals are heavily influenced by the newly released Commandant of the Marine Corps Talent Management 2030 plan, which aims to ensure the highest caliber of Marine is retained for future missions. According to the Commandant’s plan, “Our modern operational concepts and organizations cannot reach their full warfighting potential without a talent management system that recruits, develops and retains the right Marines.”

Career planners help Marines further their careers by either reenlisting or by separating to start a civilian career. Career planners meet retention requirements by advocating for their Marines while ensuring the Marines understand all of their career options.

“I think it’s really important to recognize career planners because they have such a vast reach across every community in the Marine Corps,” Gonzalez said. “There wouldn’t be a retention mission if there wasn’t a (career planner) sitting there voicing the requirements.”

Maj. Gen. Michael F. Fahey, commanding general, 4th MARDIV, endorsed both Marines’ nominations to compete for these awards.

“Gunnery Sergeant Espinosa and Staff Sergeant Gonzalez are representing the Division with zeal and professionalism. As laid out by the Commandant in ‘Talent Management 2030,’ retaining our best Marines and placing them in jobs that allow their talents to contribute to the mission is essential to the future success of our Corps. These two Marines are at the forefront of that effort and I am incredibly proud they are part of our team making us stronger, more effective warfighters.”

For Espinosa, seeing his leadership impact a team of career planners to accomplish goals has been rewarding.

“The SNCOIC award is based on how well the group you are in charge of is doing,” Espinosa said. “For example, for me it’s how well I have influenced and impacted the career planners and how effective they have been.”

Gonzalez will also be meritoriously promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant. Espinosa said Gonzalez’s initiative supporting the mission contributed to his selection and subsequent promotion.

“In Gonzalez’s case he asked for additional work, he felt he was not challenged enough by his individual unit and asked to do some additional work and support Marines beyond just his unit,” Espinosa said. “I have no doubt the fact that he wanted to get out there and he was hungry was written into the endorsement.”

Talent Management 2030 also notes that Marines should be rewarded for exceptional work because such incentives power the system.

Maj. Gen. Helen G. Pratt, director of Reserve Affairs Division at Headquarters Marine Corps, wrote in her congratulatory remarks their “…outstanding performance…directly affected retention efforts throughout the Marine Corps in a positive and enduring manner.”