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News | Nov. 17, 2023

USMEPCOM Spearheads Communications for Accession Triad

By Ashley Toomey USMEPCOM

The Leaders Professional Development (LPD) event brought USMEPCOM Eastern Sector leadership together with Marine Corps Reception and Initial Entry Training personnel to learn and share new perspectives at Parris Island, South Carolina, Oct. 10-13.

Marine Corps Lt. Col. Nicole Bastian’s, 8th battalion commander, planning allowed several USMEPCOM leaders, including Army Col. Janelle Kutter, Eastern Sector commander, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Kenemore, Eastern Sector senior enlisted advisor, to visit Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to learn more about USMEPCOM’s role in reception and initial entry training and how to better support the other commands within the Accession Triad.

The Accession Triad, made up of USMEPCOM, Military Recruiting Services and the Military Training Reception Centers, must work cohesively to meet enlistment goals for the U.S. armed forces.

In tackling the challenge of bringing different commands together, Bastian found strength and value in the unique perspective each command offered to improve communications and processes across the Triad.

“The event was an amazing opportunity that brought us together, allowing us to understand the vital role each segment of the Accession Triad plays,” said Army Col. Kutter. “It was a nostalgic trip down memory road for some of us and we can't thank everyone enough for their contributions. This experience ‘Unleashed the B.E.A.S.T’ and strengthened our commitment to working cohesively and making a real impact in our mission.”

The event taught USMEPCOM participants how to better support the other commands within the Accession Triad.

“The event was fantastic and allowed us to gain exposure to see how our product from the MEPS affects the bootcamps, see what their friction points are and what we can do to better support them from our side. It was a very eye-opening experience to see the other side of the MEPS process and how it fits in with the Accession Triad.” said Navy Cmdr. Richard Yates, 10th BN commander.

While learning about the intricacies of reception and initial entry training, participants shared current and upcoming medical processing initiatives, including the introduction of Artificial Intelligence for use with medical prescreens.

“We were able to discover some trends at reception that created a burden on their staff, specifically behavioral and medical issues of new recruits that may not have been identified during their initial medical evaluation.” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Kenemore.

The Leadership Professional Development provided leaders from USMEPCOM and Initial Entry Training along with Interservice Recruiting Committee (IRC) members new perspectives to understand how each essential segment of the Triad works together.

“Lt. Col. Bastian went above and beyond in planning this, and Col. Kutter helped strengthen our relationship with the IRC partners and the recruiting side of the house and the event was beneficial for all parties in the Triad,” said Yates.

At the conference, some leaders also reminisced on their own experiences going through the MEPS, reception, and initial entry training.

“I arrived July 1, 1996, at Parris Island and I remember the drill instructor coming onto the bus. He said there were yellow footprints and to find a pair and put our left hands to our heads.” recalled Yates.

Yates enlisted in the Marine Corps at Baltimore MEPS and then went on to receive his commission from the United States Naval Academy in 2006.

“I was about halfway down the bus, and everyone was filling in the footprints and I was trying not to be in the back or on the outside, so I found those footprints, and I found those exact spots during the LPD and got to stand there. It was fantastic to be able to relive those memories all these years later.”