One challenge every senior enlisted Marine must face in his career is keeping his Marines motivated and proficient. For Staff Sgt. Michael Dase, a little humor and a lot of esprit de Corps provide the right trick to keeping his Marines ready.
Dase, the senior Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques instructor with III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group, pushes himself every day, ensuring every service member under his charge is not only efficient, but content and satisfied with their work.
“I try to keep my Marines as happy as possible,” he said, laughing. “If you keep your Marines happy, they will bust their butts for you.”
The Oceanside, Calif., native’s love for the Corps began when he was a child. It was his father’s influence that led him down the path to become part of America’s elite fighting force.
“I wanted to be a Marine since I was a kid,” he said. “My dad was a sergeant and got out after four years, but the things he learned as a Marine, he applied for the rest of his life. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Dase enlisted Aug. 23, 1993 and attended basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot, San Diego, where he felt proud to finally accomplish one of his life-long goals.
After serving four years as a maintenance management specialist, he decided to return to the civilian life, believing it was better for his wife and child.
But after two years of working as a corrections officer and later a machinist, he felt something missing from his life.
“I just missed being a Marine,” he said. “I missed everything about it; the camaraderie, esprit de corps and I missed leading Marines.”
In June of 1999, Dase returned to the career he loved and his troops have been better for it.
“He’s always as concerned about his Marines as much as his mission,” said Sgt. Kevin D. Parish, the primary HRST instructor for SOTG. “He helps me to stay calm and not stress out. No matter what it is, he always has a positive outlook on the situation. He’s an all around nice guy and I love to work with him.”
But after 10 years as a leader in his field, he decided it was time to try something new. On Nov. 1, 2005 Dase’s monitor assigned him to SOTG at his request.
“I wanted to try something new and work with some new junior troops,” he said.
He later took his opportunity at SOTG a step further. He volunteered to become an anti-terrorism force protection instructor, which offered him a unique opportunity to train not only American troops, but foreign service members as well. This made Dase the perfect candidate for training July 12-21 during Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Seminar 2008 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
As an instructor, he helped train more than 100 Bangladeshi service members and local-law-enforcement personnel in non-lethal tactics for riot control and operational purposes.
“He is an expert in imparting the lessons,” said Bangladesh Army Maj. Shahed Minhazsiddiquei, a Bangladesh Army School of Infantry weapons instructor. “All the students enjoy learning from him. He always answers very humorous and tries to keep the students excited. He brings up their morale and then pushes them harder.”
Though he has already done a lot for the Marines under his charge, he doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
“These are my three things when dealing with Marines,” he said. “Don’t let anything happen to their pay, their liberty and train them as hard as you can. That’s my promise to my Marines.”