As Staff Sgt. Craig W. Harriman looks around his office, which is decorated with 12 years of awards and acknowledgements, he reflects on the day he first stepped into a career planner’s office on Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Caolina.
"I was originally an administrative clerk," said Harriman, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of career planners assigned to Marine Air Control Group 28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. "I considered getting out of the Corps after my first term. Before I made my final decision, I decided to see my career planner and evaluate my options. She convinced me to lateral move into career planning and I have loved it ever since."
Harriman has been successful as a career planner and recruiter while serving three years in Alaska. He was awarded Career Planner of the Year for fiscal year 2016 and has been recently selected to instruct at the Basic Career Planners Course aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif. He attributes most of the success in his career to the leadership and mentoring he received throughout his years in the Corps.
"I think the mentoring program is capable of doing great things for Marines," explained Harriman. "To have a successful mentorship, you need to show real interest in your Marines. Getting to know your Marines will make all the difference. We take care of our own, and what better way to do that than to help Marines reach higher levels in all aspects of their life? We should strive to mentor all Marines whether they fall directly under us or not. Take me for example; if that sergeant would not have sat down with me at Parris Island years ago, I might have never ended up where I am today. You never know what will change someone’s life."
According to Harriman, the most influential mentor he has had is Master Sgt. Jason E. Spangenberg, the career planner SNCOIC for 2nd MAW. In Spangenberg, Harriman saw the best work he has ever seen in a Marine. Harriman admired Spangerberg’s leadership and strives to reflect that with his own while mentoring others the same way.
Spangenberg explained Harriman has been an exemplary Marine throughout his entire career. He always sought guidance from leaders and used the knowledge he gained from his mentors through the years.
"The first time I met Harriman, I was the SNCOIC with 1st Marine Division, 5th Marine Regiment in Camp Pendleton, Calif. at the time." said Spangenberg. "He came into that unit with goals and ideas from the start. Now I find myself working with him again at 2nd MAW and he still demonstrates all the characteristics of a great Marine."
Harriman also worked with his command to raise awareness of an alternative to career course for those SNCOs that could not attend the residence course because of critical billets they held. He influenced the career progression of many staff sgts. assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14 and Marine Aircraft Group 14 by pushing for more awareness of Staff Sergeants Seminar.
Although Spangenberg has been the most influential mentor during Harriman’s career, Harriman explains that every Marine he has met in the Corps has helped him grow as a Marine and as a person.
"I remember my time spent as a recruiter in Alaska was the most challenging time throughout my career," explained Harriman. "It was a lot of work while also balancing raising my young daughter after a separation. Between myself, the other Marines in the office and their families, we raised her together. I worked hard and with the support of my leaders, I won the recruiter of the year for Recruiting Station Portland fiscal year 2013 and 2014. Those Marines were there for me both professionally and as my brothers."