3rd MAW opens obstacle course after corporal asks for one

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Newest training asset aboard MCAS Miramar opens

Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s commanding general, speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new obstacle course aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Jan. 6. Busby listened to observations made by his noncommissioned officers, then put a plan into action to build an obstacle course for members of 3rd MAW. (Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns/Marine Corps)

Members of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing got a new obstacle course this week, with one section named after a sergeant who spoke up and asked his commanding general why their base didn’t have one.

A portion of the new obstacle course aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif., is named after Sgt. Mark Willoughby, an air intercept controller with Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 38. Willoughby brought attention of the installation's lack of an obstacle course to Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, who made sure the Marines received one. (Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns/Marine Corps)

A portion of the newly opened obstacle course, named after a Marine aboard the installation, stands ready for use at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Jan. 6. After an observation from another Marine, Sgt. Mark Willoughby, an air intercept controller with Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 38, brought attention of the installation’s lack of an obstacle course to Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, who made sure the Marines received one. (Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns/Marine Corps)

Sgt. Mark Willoughby Jr., an air intercept controller with Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 38, out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., was a corporal when his CG invited him to his house for breakfast.

Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, 3rd MAW’s CG, has held breakfasts and lunches at his home for small groups of lance corporals, corporals and sergeants for about a year. It’s part of his Committed and Engaged Leadership Initiative, which was documented in two Marine Corps Times cover stories: How (not) to talk to lance corporals, dated Nov. 4, and No more knife hands, dated April 1.

Willoughby told Busby that he and Sgt. Mark Sanchez, a tactical data system administrator with the same unit, had an idea for a base obstacle course. Busby listened, and Willoughby was invited back within weeks to break ground on the project.

Now the new obstacle course is open, with the first Marine running through it on Monday.

“I never honestly would’ve thought that as a sergeant, I would sit down with the CG and talk about my ideas,” Sanchez told Marine Corps Times when they broke ground on the course. “A lot of people feel scared when a CG comes up to them. …They don’t realize their ideas can actually have an impact.”

Busby said he hopes that opening the obstacle course shows young Marines that leaders are listening to their ideas. He said he knew based on his conversations with members of 3rd MAW that noncommissioned officers felt they weren’t as empowered by leadership when stateside as they were when deployed. He’s hoping his leadership program gets Marines on all levels more engaged and involved.

You can read more about 3rd MAW’s Committed and Engaged Leadership Initiative by clicking on the cover stories below.

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. I think that is wonderful but I was wandering if you were going to give any credit to the Marines who actually built the course? Just a thought…

  2. Outstanding initiative Sgt Willoughby!

    NCO’s are and forever will be, the Backbone of the Corps!

    NCO’s make a difference every single day. If they only knew the power that they have as NCO’s, the Corps would be a better place.

    Your name will obviously never be forgotten at Miramar.

    Kudo’s to General Busby for taking the time to invest in our backbone.

    Semper Fidelis…..

  3. Outstanding initiative Sgt. Willoughby!

    Never stop looking for way to improve Our Corps! But remember it sometimes takes time.

    The NCO waist plate, I firts suggetsed in ’76, then again in ’83 and ’92 before it became relaity.

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