CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan- Command Master Chief Curtis D. Blunt, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, is a seasoned member of the United States military. Having dedicated more than 30 years of his life, he has risen to the top of enlisted naval ranks and sits as the 1st MAW Command Master Chief. As an advisor to the commanding general, Blunt holds a title detrimental to enlisted Marines and Sailors. However, many junior Marines and Sailors may not know what Blunt can do for them. Blunt, a Chickasha, Oklahoma native, took time to answer some important questions about his job in an effort to show not only his Sailors, but his Marines too, what he does and why it ties into the bigger picture of making a more capable fighting force.
Q: Why did you join the military and how long have you been in?
A: I joined in 1987, so I’ve been in for a little over 30 years. I wasn’t doing well in college and felt I needed more discipline to better myself and definitely before starting a family; my father thought it would be a good idea to think about joining the military. I started by going to see a Marine recruiter, but the office was locked. A Navy recruiter saw me outside the office and invited me in. I signed up the next day, a Thursday, and left the following Monday for boot camp.
Q: What made you want to stay in the military?
A: In the beginning it was because I was having a really good time. I went on the 13th [Marine Expeditionary Unit] and got to visit places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali, and the Philippines. Anything is interesting outside of Chickasha. But as time went on, I started to see the leadership positions I wanted. I saw that I could make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Q: What is the role of a command master chief and how is it applied to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing?
A: Sergeant Maj. Pritchard (1st MAW sergeant major) and I advise the Commanding General, Assistant Wing Commander and Chief of Staff on all matters relating to enlisted Sailors and Marines. In my case I also spend time as a sounding board to the group sergeants major on how the Navy views evaluations and awards among other things.
Q: How long have you been with 1st MAW?
A: I’ve been with 1st MAW for about eight months; but I’ve been in Japan as a Command Master Chief for eight years. I’ve been here on ship, with a squadron and most recently with patrol and reconnaissance staff.
Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: I enjoy helping people. What I enjoy more than anything is I know that I can positively impact people’s lives, whether they’re planning on getting out of the Navy or Marine Corps or if they plan on staying in and making it a career. The only thing I want to do is make sure that they are successful.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of participating in while at 1st MAW?
A: I think what I’m the most proud of is that I’m changing the culture of Navy fitness. We’re fit to serve on ships and submarines, and that’s a different type of war fighting environment. Prior to my arrival, we had low scores and failures for the [physical fitness tests], since I’ve arrived we’ve only had one failure and a bunch of excellent scores.
Q: what future goals do you plan to accomplish while you’re with 1st MAW?
A: I want to make my Sailors more prepared to fight alongside Marines; I believe we demonstrated two of the three Commanding General mandates, which are skilled and smart. But we have to be strong, as Sailors serving with Marines, I believe it’s important to be able to fight in any clime or place and that requires us to be better conditioned than our Navy brethren serving on ships and submarines.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your position with 1st MAW?
A: Being able to serve once again with the Marines. Camp Foster was my first duty station and it might possibly be my last, so I’m blessed to be back in [Marine Corps utilities] one more time.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to the Marines and Sailors of 1st MAW?
A: Be prepared; treat every training opportunity like it might save your life one day, because I believe that we could be called forward any day.