MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
A sergeant major formerly assigned to Marine Barracks Washington, District of Columbia, is scheduled to assume the duties of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron senior enlisted advisor during a relief-and-appointment ceremony on the parade deck here 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Sgt. Maj. Peter W. Ferral is slated to succeed Sgt. Maj. Gerard J. Calvin, who is scheduled to become the senior enlisted advisor for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 in a relief-andappointment ceremony scheduled here Friday.
After more than three years, Calvin has become a staple around the halls of Building 1 and has been an instrumental part of the command team.
“He’s been phenomenal. He’s been everything I could possibly want in a sergeant major and more, absolutely my right hand man,” Lt. Col. Michael R. Coletta, H&HS commanding officer, said. “There were times when both myself and the (executive officer) were out of pocket where he basically was in charge of the entire command deck and flawlessly made this squadron purr.”
H&HS is a fairly unique squadron because of its role as the air station nucleus.
As a result of that uniqueness, Calvin has had to rise to the challenge of running the squadron time and time again.
“Without us, the air station doesn’t run or function,” said Coletta. “This monster continues to run twenty-four seven so you gotta creatively find ways to give your Marines (Professional Military Education), to ensure that all of our training is complete, to ensure that the word is disseminated, to ensure that folks get time out, and he’s been absolutely instrumental in a lot of that stuff, especially throughout recent Operation Tomodachi.”
For Calvin, each day brought new challenges.
“Because of the dynamics of the squadron, every day was an accomplishment,” Calvin said. “The greatest challenge was to find a balance and to ensure a unit that is under operational control to one commander and administrative control to another commander stayed focused on the primary mission ... keeping the aircraft flying and this air station operational.”
Between chanting cadence during monthly squadron physical training sessions, charismatically passing word to the squadron after award ceremonies and dropping the “stanky leg” at PMEs, it’s probably safe to say Calvin has an instantly recognizable face and voice in the squadron.
“I think the enlisted really respond well to him; I think he’s well liked,” said Coletta. “He’s very effective in how he does; he can kinda walk into a situation or walk into a room and from his smiles and his presence he can just kinda light up the room.”
“That’s probably one of the biggest things I think I’ll miss about him,” he added.
As a more seasoned enlisted Marine in a command position, that same charisma spilled over into a fatherly role during Calvin’s tenure.
“Some of the same concerns I have for my own family I have for the members of H&HS,” he said. “I cared both personally and professionally.”
Although not indicative of the whole, Calvin’s presence and demeanor translated his devotion.
“Motivated,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Hicks, a legal administration clerk with the station Installation Personnel Administration Center. “Just the way he talks to his Marines, he’s interested; he takes care of Marines.”
Hicks’ sentiments were echoed by Coletta.
“He has a very rare and true genuine concern for the Marines and sailors of his squadron,” he said. “No matter what the case, no matter how big, how small, or what the issue, he is very, very eager to roll his sleeves up and to dive in and to do his absolute best for the benefit of the Marines and sailors who are under his tutelage.”
Calvin certainly sets the bar high and is an example to be followed and emulated.
“All E-9s are not created equal,” said Coletta. “Sgt. Maj. Calvin just blows the curve out of the water.”
To welcome the new sergeant major, Calvin had some words of caution, “Be careful when you do the stanky leg; it can be rough on the knees.