1st Intelligence Battalion molds leaders during Corporals Course

26 Mar 2014 | Lance Cpl. Anna Albrecht

Marines with 1st Intelligence Battalion began Corporals Course class 321-14 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 21.

Corporals Course consists of 15 training days focusing on drill and ceremony, the Marine Corps promotion system, war fighting, joint operations and various other military subjects. The course gives young noncommissioned officers the opportunity to learn what it means to be a leader and to demonstrate what they have learned. 

Sgt. Ira Davis, 27, generator mechanic, 1st Intelligence Bn., is the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the course. He explained the way 1st Intelligence Bn. is running their course is different than a typical Corporals Course. 

“For one, we’re the only Corporals Course that I know of that’s being led by all sergeants,” said Davis. “From the NCOIC all the way down to the instructors, everything from start to finish was all sergeants.”

Six months of planning and creative thinking went into the course. 

Instead of relying on PowerPoint-based classes, they have embedded events such as paint ball, the rappel tower, fast-roping and conducting a portion of the crucible into the course. 

Davis said in addition to teaching and instructing, the sergeants require the Marines to act as leaders, not just followers. 

“We’re making the Marines actually perform as leaders in the course so they get real-world practice and expertise,” said Davis. “I expect them to be able to walk out of our doors, walk back into their shops and automatically be able to start setting the standard back to where it should have been.”

Corporals attending this course must come prepared to be engaged in leadership on a daily basis.

“I have an open mind for things, and I’m willing to take anything I can add to my tool belt away from this and make me a better Marine,” said Cpl. Ian Larsen, 23, ground radio repairman with 1st Intelligence Bn. 

Davis explained that his staff is there to ensure the Marines leave with the skills and experiences to be better leaders.

“In preparation for this course I made it a point to make sure that these Marines leave here with an NCO sword in hand knowing how to execute,” said Davis. “Leaving here with a blood stripe, knowing what it means and how to go out there and know how to [lead], not to leave here as a graduate and know how to fit in and say that they’re PME complete.”

In order to make this possible, Davis said the staff went above and beyond to plan this course. He explained many sergeants want greater responsibility but often times opportunities are limited. He and his staff took on responsibility and made the course happen. 

“The intent of this Corporals Course [is to establish a new] standard for what it means to put a Marine through professional education,” said Davis. “The people who witness the type of graduation we have will already expect a greater product.” 

The course will end April 11 during a formal graduation ceremony.