Newest Corporals Course graduates ready to lead

17 Jun 2011 | Salvador R. Moreno

Corporals Course 11-11 graduated 76 noncommissioned officers during a ceremony at the School of Infantry’s Staff Academy here June 17.

Corporals Course provides education and leadership skills necessary to lead Marines. It is designed to instill confidence in their abilities and builds their knowledge of how to be a leader, said Sgt. Michael Torrance, faculty advisor for Corporals Course.

“We just make them more confident in the things they can do as noncommissioned officers,” said Staff Sgt. Nicole Marroquin, faculty advisor for Corporals Course. “We don’t tell them how to be, we just give them the tools that can help them lead.”

During the three-week course, instructors taught drill, physical training and small unit leadership. Classes also included counseling techniques, land navigation, communications and warfighting tactics.

The first week’s classes focused on leadership traits. Marroquin said they are the backbone of an NCO and of the course.

 “Pretty much everything we do is tying back into some leadership trait,” Marroquin said. “They are going to be a lot more knowledgeable in a lot more areas.”

The second week included classes on improvised explosive devices, weapons and what it means to be an NCO. The third week consisted of final drill and operations classes.

The whole course ended with a culminating event in which all aspects of the course are put to the test. The NCOs conducted patrols where they use the knowledge learned through classes to navigate terrain, conduct tactical communications, and identify possible threats or hazards.

Torrance said many Marines come to the course only having the knowledge from recruit training and Marine Combat Training.

The course is designed to help NCOs who may be more skilled in one area, like physical fitness or close-order drill, to be well rounded in all aspects of being a NCO, Torrance said.  

Cpl. Diego Fernandez, Corporals Course 11-11 honor graduate, said the course puts your weaknesses to the test and helps you strengthen them.

For Fernandez, being in a leadership role among his peers was a challenge.

“It gave me a little stress, a little taste of what it would be like to be a platoon sergeant,” he said.

To attend Corporals Course, you must be an E-4 or selected for promotion to E-4 by graduation, have completed the Marine Corps Institute Leading Marines course, and be up to date on all annual training.

Course instructors are sergeants who have completed all training required for their grade. The instructors are mentors to the young NCOs, teaching them knowledge from their own military experiences.

“We are showing them what it is to be a leader by demonstration and example,” Torrance said. “Back at their units they may not have that demonstration or example to go off of.”

Although an online Corporals Course may be available soon, Marroquin said she encourages corporals to attend the resident course to enhance their leadership capabilities with trained instructors.

“In the three weeks we put a lot in to it, and they get a lot out of it,” Marroquin said. “They are much more confident by the time they leave.”

 “Once you go to this course, you’re going to have a good time,” Fernandez said. “It’s going to be a positive experience.”

The next course is scheduled to begin July 11. For more information on how to enroll in the course, contact your unit’s S-3.