MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – -- A long honored tradition in the military is when service members wear marks of distinction, ribbons and badges, showing awards earned. As a noncommissioned officer earns blood stripes highlighting their move into a higher leadership position, a sailor wearing Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist insignia signifies a sailor has achieved a level of excellence and proficiency in the FMF.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Alonzo F. Talbert, assigned to 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, recently earned his FMF pin signifying his passing into the “greenside” of the Navy.
“Receiving this award means a lot to me,” Talbert said. “I hope when Marines see me wearing the pin they can feel more comfortable around me, knowing that I understand what Marines do and have a good understanding of what they are all about.”
Once a sailor checks into a FMF unit, they have 18 months to take the necessary steps to receive their FMF pin.
“The first thing a corpsman has to do is get their personal qualification standards signed off, and this consists of different questions ranging from Marine Corps history to weapon systems,” Talbert explained. “The PQS also serves as a study guide for the next two tests we have to take.”
The Core and Ground Combat Element tests are the next step, followed by an oral board headed by a master chief petty officer.
“The events leading up to the board wasn’t so bad. There were four chairmen on the board and they asked me around 12 questions or so,” Talbert explained. “They asked me some of the same material on the tests. Immediately after the board, they let you know if you were approved or not.”
Talbert passed with flying colors, and earned the right to belong to the FMF Specialist Program. Although it took almost 12 years to get his pin, the Denhan Springs, La., native’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
“I think it’s a very well deserved award for Talbert to be receiving this award,” said Navy Lt. Richard L. Yung, battalion surgeon, 2nd Radio Bn., II MEF. “He is one of the most honest, ethical and one of the best corpsman I have ever worked with. He knows his job inside and out.”
Along with the distinction of wearing the FMF pin amongst his peers, the award also gets Talbert his foot in the door to climb up the promotion ladder.
“I was prior Navy and got out after my first enlistment and went into the reserves. When I came back in I was an E-3 and earned my way up to petty officer second class,” Talbert said. “If I wouldn’t have gotten this qualification, I would not be recommended for promotion in the future. It is a very big deal.”
With a bright naval future in front of Talbert, achieving this goal is just one of the items on his checklist of things to do.
“I’m so happy that I got this done and earned my FMF pin. I am looking forward to deploying with my Marines in January and being the best ‘doc’ I can be for them,” Talbert exclaimed. “In the future I am looking into becoming an independent duty corpsman, to help fulfill that higher leadership goal I want to accomplish. I’ve got big goals ahead of me and this is the one step I needed to start climbing the ladder of success.”