AL ASAD, Iraq -- A Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist pin designates a Sailor who has worked with Marines and has extensive knowledge on how the Marine Corps works. Most pins are seen on the uniforms of Navy corpsmen and religious program specialists. However , one small group of Al Asad Sailors used their free time in Iraq to become part of the few in their rate to earn the FMF pin.
All 15 members of Mobile Air Cargo Handling Team Six earned the FMF pin during their deployment here.
“No other MACH teams, for whatever reason, could capitalize on the golden opportunity to achieve this distinction,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Hai Nguyen, the MACH team officer-in-charge.
The primary mission of the MACH team is to provide direct support to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadrons in the shipping, handling and movement of high priority cargo throughout the Al Anbar Province, according to Nguyen.
Brig. Gen. Timothy C. Hanifen, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) commanding general, honored the MACH team by presenting the pin to the last three Sailors who earned it.
Petty Officers 3rd Class Aaron Bautista and Paul Baillos, and Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Adelmann, cargo expediters with the MACH team, were presented with FMF pins, April 7.
“I feel proud, especially since a general did the pinning ceremony,” said Bautista. “It’s been worth all the sacrifice.”
To earn the FMF pin, the Sailors had to learn basic Marine Corps knowledge and Marine Corps history, as well as learn the mission and organization of the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
“We had two multiple question tests covering the Corps and the (Air Combat Element),” said Baillos. “We also had a practice board and then a final board.”
The MACH Sailors are different from most Sailors that earn the FMF pin, according to Nguyen.
“This FMF completion is significant in several ways,” said Nguyen. “One is that the FMF pin has been historically for Navy corpsmen and Navy medical personnel organically attached to a Marine unit. By Navy instructions, Sailors are authorized to pursue the FMF pin only if attached to a Marine unit. The fact that we are logistics sailors, to be FMF qualified is a big stand out and achievement.”
The sailors of the MACH team, who have almost completed their seven-month deployment, are proud that they have accomplished what few in their rate have done.
“The knowledge of our Marine brethren, what they do, how the Marines are organized and how each unit functions, is a great source of info to have in your head,” said Nguyen. “We all have good reasons or stories for joining each particular service, but knowing beyond yours is a good thing. My Sailors have stepped up to the plate and performed well beyond my expectations. I’m very proud of their accomplishments.”