Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- The Marines of Marine Attack Squadron 542 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point set the example of force preservation with no incidents on or off duty for more than a year.
In the past year, VMA-542 made sound decisions in motorcycle safety, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct prevention, and suicide awareness.
“I took over here just over a year ago, and since my arrival we have not lost anyone,” said Sgt. Maj. Mario P. Fields, the sergeant major for the squadron. With a constant flow of information and a command climate encouraging troop welfare and mission accomplishment, Fields cited several examples of direct action that prevented negative incidents in the last year. “The system works,” he said.
The key to the Tigers’ success is a spirit of teamwork. The squadron’s track record of success with force preservation is not an individual record but a reflection of Marines looking out for one another, according to Fields.
“It’s simple,” said Fields. “We are not just a squadron, we are a family first. We keep the morale high and make this squadron a little home away from home,” he said.
The foundations of the squadron’s leadership are the noncommissioned officers who lead, guide and mentor the junior Marines within VMA-542. The corporals and sergeants take their lead from the sergeant major and other command members and constantly try to lead by example, according to Sgt. Chris Singleton, a team leader and quality assurance representative.
“The leadership in our squadron is outstanding from the top down,” said Singleton. “Our staff noncommissioned officers give the noncommissioned officers clear objectives on what needs to be done and we adapt and overcome in whatever way is needed to reach those goals,” said Singleton.
For the noncommissioned officers of VMA-542, dedication and mission accomplishment are the focus throughout the squadron. Maintaining contact with peers and junior Marines, leading by example and living the leadership traits help the squadron’s leaders maintain mission readiness, according to Singleton.
“The squadron always keeps a high level of motivation, and it’s easy when you have a leader like Sgt. Maj. Fields in front of you every day,” said Singleton.