Commandant Chooses Sniper as Top NCO


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice

The Marine Corps' next top noncommissioned officer will be Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Barrett, an infantryman and former top leader of the service's Quantico-based sniper school with two combat tours in Iraq.

Barrett is due to take over as sergeant major of the Marine Corps on June 9.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos announced Barrett's selection on April 11, saying that the 30-year Marine is “particularly well-suited to serve as my senior enlisted advisor through the challenges ahead.”

succeed Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, who has held the job since being named to it in 2007 by then-Commandant Gen. James Conway. Kent -- who has an air delivery logistics background -- will retire after Barrett assumed the SMMC job in June.

Barrett was not available for comment.

Barrett only recently returned from Afghanistan, Amos said in his announcement, where he was sergeant major of Regional Command Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Over his career Barrett has served as an infantryman, drill instructor, sniper -- later becoming chief instructor at Scout Sniper Instructor School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. -- Marine liaison to the Secret Service at Camp David, and sergeant major of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Cleveland, Ohio.

While with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Barrett completed two combat deployments to Iraq. He subsequently named sergeant major of Officer Candidate School at Quantico, the job he held before being assigned to I Marine Division in 2009.

Barrett's personal decorations include the Bronze Star with V device, two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with V.
Congratulations, Marines, on having a firebreather as your senior most NCO.

Marines, in generally, seem to be the most squared away branch of the military. I see less fat Marines, less Marines acting like idiots, less Marines who are incompetent- granted, I don't see them very often, but that is my observation.

We get warriors like McCrystal and Schoomaker on the officer side of the house, but no warrior counterpart at the top of the NCO ranks. We need a damn meat eater to come in, take hold of the flame, and godsmack the NCO channel from the top down. No more fat NCOs in uniform, no more failing PT tests, no more not qualifying with your weapon- no more being a weak mind/bodied, MTV watching, slob. You can inspire people to greatness but the message needs continuity.

... And if you are an NCO in the Army, next time you see a soldier acting like fool, not being a professional, or being fat- tell that clown to shape up. Can you tell I've been around jack assery today?

I'm done.
I served under him when he was a Gunny back in the late 90's.

He was truly one of those Marines that inspires you whenever he was around.

Oorah, SGM Barret.

True story about the day he arrived at my unit: My platoon was waiting for him -the NEW Company Gunny- to help administer our regularly scheduled PFT (be the official time keeper, etc.). This was early in the morning at the butt crack of dawn.

A couple of NCO's were asking if "anyone has seen Gunny". All the answers were no, as we approached the time. We were all lined up and freezing our asses off, waiting at the starting line for the run portion- which was supposed to start in 5 minutes. Over one of the duty Marine's radios, we heard that Gunny Barrett was at the main gate, and was enroute to our position; he requested that we don't start without him on the PFT. So we waited (we were only a minute away from the main gate anyway).

Just then Gunny Barrett appeared in running gear. As it turned out, he was almost late because he ran to work that morning (it was about 15 miles +/-) to the SNCO housing area. As he jogged up to us with a smile, he was pushing buttons on his watch, and asked if anyone in the platoon ran a sub 15 minute PFT. When no one answered, he said, "good, then I'll run the PFT with you all, and time it at the same time."

And that is just what he did. He ran 15 miles to work, then he immediately ran a Marine Corps 3-mile PFT at a sub 5-minute-mile pace, and beat everyone in our platoon.