Master Sergeant To Commissioned Marine Gunner
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jesula Jeanlouis
March 2, 2022
U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Joseph A. Butrico, critical skills operator, was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marine Gunner on February 1, 2022.
U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Joseph A. Butrico in front of the Marine Raider Regiment sign on Camp Lejeune, NC on Octctober 17, 2021 was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marine Gunner five months later on February 1, 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jesula Jeanlouis)
The Gunner, also known as an infantry weapons officer, is a chief warrant officer specifically trained in the employment and training of Marine Corps infantry weapons, gear and assigned personnel.
“My ‘want’ to become a Gunner began on my first deployment to Iraq in 2005 when we first stepped foot in Camp Fallujah,” Butrico explained. “My company received a welcome aboard brief from the Battalion Gunner. His knowledge and professionalism inspired me, forever leaving a mark on my career, and instilling a desire to fill that role.”
Butrico was originally an infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and became a critical skills operator upon completion of MARSOC’s Assessment and Selection. He served as an element leader, team operations chief and team chief, and most recently held the billet of Raider Regiment Training and Exercise Group Senior Enlisted Advisor.
Gunners also assist in the development of training and employment plans such as new weapons systems acquisition, research and development. They are also employed as the principal advisor to commanders at the tactical level.
“I was able to observe the tremendous impact a Gunner can have on a unit, further instilling and solidifying my desire to be one,” said Butrico. “The incredible responsibility entrusted to a Gunner to mentor, train and build a Marine’s warfighting prowess in the image of our storied legacy is a great duty. As many leaders share this responsibility in the infantry, it is the true essence of the Marine Gunner to serve as the tactical expert and master trainer, uphold standards and, to continue the storied warfighting traditions of the Marine Corps.”
Gunners mentor both the officers and enlisted Marines of the unit in all applicable mechanical, doctrinal and conceptual weaponry, as well as required training matters in order to improve the general effectiveness and proficiency of the command.
“I will be provided the opportunity to mentor all levels of leaders in all subjects regarding infantry tactics and techniques, special operations forces capabilities and limitations which would aid in a commander’s critical decision-making [process],” said Butrico. “The most important opportunity I believe I will have is to utilize my education and experience to ensure small unit leaders are confident and capable of conducting effective training, and that every Marine is technically and tactically proficient in maneuver warfare.”
Butrico speaks on how his experience as a CSO positively impacts the new community of Marine Corps chief warrant officers.
“To me, being a former critical skills operator is the same as being a former rifleman and infantry unit leader,” said Butrico. “I am in a unique position to offer an opportunity to increase my assigned unit’s interoperability with special operations forces to create, develop and innovate unique capabilities.”
In accordance with the Marine Corps’ and MARSOC’s 2030 plan, conventional units will share domains with special operations teams creating a mutually beneficial interdependence. The battlespace is constantly evolving and Headquarters Marine Corps and MARSOC have recognized the need to adapt to the changes.
“When I look at my career path and the different directions I chose as a Marine, there has always been one constant which has never changed no matter what my billet or MOS was,” said Butrico. “That constant was never forgetting where I came from and continuing to be a student in the profession of arms.
“Our ability to put an enemy in the horns of dilemma by synchronizing the warfighting functions to conduct maneuver warfare, decentralized command, ethos, and our trust in the small unit leaders is what makes us the force of choice. I am humbled and honored to be provided this opportunity and it is a commitment that I take very seriously. Being awarded the opportunity to serve as a Marine Gunner is one of the highest honors.”
Butrico’s personal awards include a Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star in lieu of second award and a Combat Action Ribbons with one gold star in lieu of second award.
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