MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
People from all walks of life join the Marine Corps in hopes of fulfilling a goal in their lives.
For that reason, equal opportunity plays a vital role in the Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps sees value in diversity,” says Master Sgt. Reginald Mack, the Equal Opportunity Advisor for II Marine Expeditionary Force. “Equal Opportunity training and knowledge is important because we recruit our Marines and sailors from different societies.”
It is Mack’s job to ensure the Commanding General for II MEF has situational awareness on all matters concerning equal opportunity within all subordinate commands. Also, he and his team of equal opportunity representatives, who are embedded within individual units, provide appropriate training for all Marines and sailors from the highest ranks all the way to the lowest.
“This is an evolving process,” explained Mack. “I’ve been in for 22 years and every once in a while you will see small instances of discrimination. That is something the Marine Corps, and especially II MEF, takes very seriously.”
When it comes to equal opportunity, the Department of Defense has categorized all equal opportunity issues. Race, color, national origin, gender, age and religion are the six categories equal opportunity representatives and advisors will look for when a service member describes the possible EO violations.
“The first thing a service member needs to do when they believe they have an EO issue is to go through their chain of command,” said Mack. “If that doesn’t work, there is always the option to request mast.”
If Marines discover a situation that inhibits equal opportunity, they have many options to solve the issue.
By using the direct approach, the service members can confront the people or issues and attempt to solve any problems at the lowest levels.
If they choose an indirect or third party approach, they may bring in fellow Marines or EO representatives to aid in the resolution of the issues.
The next option is request mast, which should only be used after exhausting the first two methods.
“When a service member decides to formally make an EO complaint, they are protected from reprisal from their command,” explained Mack. “Many service members are unaware of their rights, and it is part of our job to make sure they understand this.”
After a formal complaint has been entered, the EO advisor needs to report all information to the commanding general and the inspector general of II MEF.
“We have protected communication,” said Mack. “We will only release need-to-know information to the appropriate people.”
To help ensure equality and diversity within II MEF, Mack and his EO representatives have made training and awareness one of their top priorities.
“Too many times, Marines and sailors check into a unit without getting an EO brief or even knowing who their EO representatives are,” said Mack. “I plan to put a stop to that by having all the new Marines checking into II MEF stop by to see me. They can then put a face with the title.”
If a service member has questions about EO matters, they can stop by Mack’s office for guidance and the official Marine Corps procedures for EO matters as outlined in NAVMC 2921 W/CH1.
Mack’s office is located on the first floor of the II MEF headquarters building aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and can be reached at (910) 451-1262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.