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P4R: A Message for Newly Minted Logisticians

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

When I was the commanding officer of Logistics Operations School from 2014 to 2016, I had a fairly consistent battle rhythm of engagements with the students in our 15 different courses.  One of those was a pre-graduation discussion with the new Logistics Officers that were about to embark upon their first jobs as school-trained LogO's.  Below is the basic outline of what I would tell them.  I don't pretend that this is perfect wisdom, or the complete answer.  Rather, it was a collection of thoughts that I felt were relevant to that audience at that time.  Certainly, other leaders would add more thoughts, or even debate the wisdom of what I've included (or not included, as the case may be!).  I encourage our members to read, comment, and debate.  How can we best prepare our logisticians for success?  That's a large part of what we intend AMCL to do.  Comment here, or add your own blog post!  Let's keep this discussion going!

Practical Tips: Things to do upon arrival

  1. Some Immediate Things (1st 1-2 weeks)

  • Figure out the battle rhythm (the schedule). Build automatic Outlook reminders.

  • Your boss: find out expectations and how he/she wants to do business. What are his/her biggest challenges and concerns? What is most important?

  • 1stSgt and SgtMaj: Go see them, ask for advice, let them know you want to learn from them.  Note: ALWAYS include the 1stSgt on enlisted personnel matters.

  • Your SNCOIC / PltSgt: Take time to get to know him/her. Talk about how you want to do business & get his/her feedback. Find out what his biggest challenges and concerns are. If she could change one (or a few) big things, what would they be?

  • The XO: A mentor—ensure you get an in-call. Career or professional advice.

  • Get around to see all the workspaces you are responsible for and interact with (including armory, supply, comm, etc.). Get to know your Marines, and what they do.

2. First 30 days (ish) First 30 days (ish)

  • In-Calls and initial counselings. Platoon Commander’s Notebook.

  • Personnel/admin Requirements: Force Pres, GTCC, DTS, GCSS-MC Access, email, etc.

  • Communicate your priorities and goals to your NCOs, in consultation with SNCOs. Ensure they are nested with your Bn CO’s priorities and philosophy, and immediate boss.

  • Inspection checklists: FSMAO, FA, etc. When was last inspection or internal inspection?Make a plan for your next internal review. Work with MMO for internal inspections.

  • Understand the training schedule and where you fit in. Break out the T&R manual for the Marines that work for you so you understand what they are supposed to be able to do; then make a training plan, nested with your unit’s, to accomplish those things.

  • Establish a PT program if it doesn’t already exist. PT with your Marines often; on a fairly routine basis, it should be YOUR PT session. Other times, you are a participant.

Adages for Success (P4R)

  • Professionalism: Understand the expectations of an officer—standards, appearance, etc. Avoid: officer misconduct, leadership failures, saying “in my experience...”

  • Proficiency (Technical): know all aspects of your job (learn it!). Be the best at it. Know where to find the answer in the pubs! Marine Corps Orders, etc. Don’t get the big stuff wrong!  Know your supported unit—understand their requirements better than they do! Execution is technical—you MUST know your business.

  • Persistence: Logisticians, first and foremost, are “doers.” Get it done. Learn how to negotiate obstacles to progress. Be creative, but never stray from the principles of “legally and morally correct.” You must be RELENTLESS in pursuit of mission and taking care of Marines.  Find ways to say “Yes,” not reasons to say “No.”

  • Passion: Believe in what you are doing—it’s important. Passion is the 15th leadership trait.

  • Relationships: “Hand-con.” Build a good network (higher, adjacent, supporting, supported; peers, seniors, subordinates; internal, external). Be easy to work with—you will get more done. With your Marines: Get your hands dirty; show that you care; they will ensure your success. Communication is constant and continuous—“What do I know, who needs to know, have I told them, do they understand?” “Bad news doesn’t get better with age.”

Career: Be a MAGTF Logistician. Bloom where planted; serve in all elements of the MAGTF—but ensure you understand the business of the Marine Division and the infantry. Be well-balanced, and seek out the hard jobs and deployments. Learn your job, get through career designation, then do your PME.  Don’t work for a FITREP—Follow P4R, and you will succeed.

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Matt Evers
Matt Evers
Jun 16, 2020

I thought of this article after reflecting on the advice given to some of our 0401s that just graduated The Basic School as part of our mentorship and transition program. Thank you, Sir, for your wisdom and will incorporate these points in our discussions with future cohorts.


Kirk M Spangenberg
Kirk M Spangenberg
Jan 26, 2020


Looking back at this post a year later I realized I never responded! As you point out, I wouldn't suggest we should be as technically proficient in our enlisted Marines' (or Airmen's) MOSs as they are--but we definitely need to know as much as we can about what they do. Certainty, Marine Corps Logisticians also move around to different types of jobs also. But our jobs are also technical. Policies and procedures, mechanisms to get (and provide) support, command and support relationships, etc. Licensing, ammo, rules for parts bin inventories, how to track parts, how to interact with higher echelon of maintenance...the list is extensive and requires the officer to learn and study. Lots of pubs. Essential to kn…


Dan McKeown
Dan McKeown
Jan 27, 2019

Speaking as an Air Force logistician this advice is pretty damn good, even though I had to look up some of the acronyms. :) It's relevant and best of all, practical. I like the P4R "model" but as an AF logistician I have a hard time with the Proficiency (Technical). In the Air Force we have a large number of career fields that we oversee and it can be daunting to understand the ins and outs of each Air Force Specialty Code (what we call our MOS). We may only be in that area for a year (at most) and then are moved to another speciality for "career broadening." There is a high likelihood that we may never see that…


Janell Hanf
Janell Hanf
Jan 20, 2019

Great advice! Concur with the first comment that the OpsO should also be one of the first stops. Relationships are critically important as a logistician. I try to remind myself and my Marines to always build bridges. Treat everyone (Marine, civilian, spouse, etc) with professionalism and respect, as if you will meet them again in the future and they will remember exactly how you interacted. Everyone has a story, and you can collect nuggets of wisdom if you're willing to ask what people do, where they've been, or what they study/ied. One safe assumption is - there is something to learn from anyone you meet.

Another piece of networking is make the time to cold call someone or stop by…


Leo Spaeder
Leo Spaeder
Jan 15, 2019

Addition to the Immediate Things:

-After you see the XO, go talk to the OpsO and Ops Chief. They will typically give you less filtered scoop than the XO/XO/SgtMaj. They also have the TEEP and oversee schools so you know what your Marines will be doing and how to get them the training/education they need.

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