The duties of a sergeant (E-5) in the United States Marine Corps vary as much as the jobs to which they can be assigned. A sergeant in a military police unit is going to have wildly different day-to-day duties from one in a public relations post, regardless of the similarities in rank. However, there are expected responsibilities that every sergeant must be able to fulfill. "Every Marine is a rifleman" is a saying of the Marines, and every sergeant must be able to perform certain basic tasks.
While new Marines go through Marine Corps Recruit Depot ("boot camp" as it is colloquially known) and advanced training before being assigned to their new units, there are some things that can only be learned on the job. It is the job of the sergeant to educate and train the Marines under his responsibility. This includes scheduling training for tasks the Marine has never performed, or imparting the wisdom of experience that these new Marines have yet to learn. Maintaining training is also a responsibility of the sergeant, ensuring all Marines remain proficient at their military occupational specialty (MOS).
The appearance and cleanliness of Marines is also the responsibility of the sergeant. Uniforms must be maintained and serviceable, and worn according to regulations. Cleanliness is also very important, as Marines are expected to project a professional appearance at all times, both while deployed overseas and domestically.
The equipment issued to each Marine is ultimately his responsibility, but it is shared with NCOs like the sergeant. Weapons, ammunition, food and other items must be tracked, and discrepancies must be reported. This also includes the facilities used by the unit, including billeting and work areas.
Link Between Enlisted and Officers
Perhaps the most important duty of the sergeant is to regulate the flow of information to and from the officers he reports to. Ideally, an officer will delegate some responsibility to his NCOs, giving broad tasks and information to them and allowing them to take appropriate actions. The sergeant assigns specific tasks to his Marines and keeps them informed, and report the results to his officers. In business terms, a sergeant is like a department manager, and the officers are VPs.
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