Grade ‘A’ Marine from Springfield excels with ‘B’ billet

13 Mar 2006 | Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson

Gunnery Sgt. Jeff A. Nau was promoted to his present rank March 1 after 16 years of service in the Marine Corps. His promotion is a benchmark of a successful career path in one of the nation’s most elite organizations.Nau, who is a supply Marine by trade, currently serves as a prior-service recruiter based in the II Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters building, belongs to the 4th Marine Corps District, out of New Cumberland, Pa. His job is to reach out to Marines who separated from the Marine Corps only to regret it later.“There are three types of recruiters. There’s the store-front recruiters, who pick up all the high school kids and brand new people to go to boot camp. There are transitional recruiters who look at people getting off active duty and transitioning, and then there are prior-service recruiters, who recruit people who are in the (Individual Ready Reserves), off contract, or out of the Marine Corps,” said Nau, demonstrating his target audience provides different challenges than others in his field.Nau, who served as an active reservist and later switched to full active duty, reported his prospective recruits already have a solid idea of what they want from the Corps on their second time around and are more specific when signing the contract again. For instance, “Some individuals don’t want to deploy, and some don’t want to go back into their original (Military Occupational Specialty),” said Nau.Nau’s current expertise is making a Marine Corps career compatible with individual life requirements of the people he recruits back to the “green team.” However, the Gulf War veteran noted he has had his own experiences in the same process. Example: his current assignment.“The biggest reason why I came down here was for my kids. Where they wanted to send me in the supply MOS wasn’t good for them,” explained the father of four year old twin boys and a one year-old girl. “So I came here and volunteered to become a recruiter.” Like most Marines, Nau is required by the Marine Corps to demonstrate versatility on the job. Completing a “B billet,” such as recruiting, helps Marines pick up rank. By volunteering for an independent duty assignment, he was able to meet his family needs as well as his own.Nau isn’t promising anyone a rose garden, but gave bravado for the Marine Corps and the things it has offered him throughout his career.“The Marine Corps has given me so many opportunities,” he said. “Where else can you do what you want to do and enjoy what you want to do? That’s the only reason I’ve stayed in. I enjoy what I do. If I didn’t enjoy it, I would be out in the real world--the civilian world.”“I have health care, a pay check, housing, and a team. You always have someone looking after you,” he continued.His whole-hearted enthusiasm on the job is evident in his mission accomplishment. “I’ve already met my mission for the month of March,” he said March 1, adding it is not unusual for him to meet his quotas earlier than expected.That, in addition to the “checks in the boxes” all Marines fill, such as physical fitness, rifle qualification, martial arts training and professional military education, bumped Nau up to a more senior level of staff-noncommissioned officer leadership.According to “Enlisted Rank Insignia in The U.S. Marine Corps 1798-1958,” by Michael O'Quinlivan, “The rank of gunnery sergeant from its inception in 1898 through its last change in 1958 has undergone several revisions. The original insigne prescribed for the gunnery sergeant was to be of short life and in appearance was unique among Marine insignia. The design prescribed for the gunnery sergeant consisted of three chevrons and three bars with the 'device of the school of application'-- a crossed rifle and naval gun behind a globe, anchor and eagle -- in the center..."Today, the rank is signified by three chevrons up, two rockers down, and crossed rifles in the center. Unofficially, gunnery sergeants throughout the Corps are known to constantly carry a cup of coffee in their free hand while they take a fierce approach to getting business done.When confronted with the typical insider stereotype of his new rank, Nau laughed, “I don’t drink coffee, so I won’t be carrying a coffee cup around. I break the mold in many ways,” he said.