USNS LEWIS AND CLARK, At Sea --
It’s been nearly three weeks now since the Marines of KOA MOANA 15.3 embarked the USNS Lewis and Clark and departed Charleston, South Carolina, passing by Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. Upon their dissension into the Atlantic Ocean, they passed through the Bermuda Triangle and navigated through the Panama Canal and passed under the original bridge to link North and South America. Since arriving to the Pacific Ocean, the Marines have conducted live-fire ranges off the back of the ship and executed five-mile hikes on the main deck.
Amid all the early activity, a group of 20 corporals recently graduated Corporal’s Course 15-3 aboard the USNS Lewis and Clark on Sept. 20. The noncommissioned officers pushed through the weekends to seize the opportunity of time available prior to arriving to their first training exercise in Tahiti.
During the course, Marines were taught fire team and squad level tactics, war fighting operations, professional communication, sword and guidon manual and joint operations.
“The course helped the Marines obtain a better understanding of themselves and how they will measure against their peers,” said Staff Sgt. James Kines, director of Corporal’s Course.
The class was broken down into three squads and featured a class leader and squad leaders.
The instructors were locked on and used extra time to teach the students material outside the curriculum, said Cpl. Jacob A. Busey, a senior intelligence analyst for KOA MOANA 15-3 and student in the course.
“They provided us tidbits of wisdom and how to progress your career,” said Busey, who won the Gung-ho award for Corporal’s Course. “This hit wave-tops on everything on how to be a Noncommissioned Officer.”
Before each day began, each squad of Marines would conduct physical training in the mornings at 6 a.m., and were led by a different student during each session.
“This group was very enthusiastic and everybody wanted to work together,” said Sgt. Daniel E. Knight, one of the course instructors.
Toward the end of the course the Marines chanted cadence as they conducted a five-mile hike on the main deck of the ship. Before graduating Marines passed a final exam covering all the periods of instruction throughout the course, delivered an oral presentation to the class and conducted a physical fitness test.
Marines in Corporal’s Course 15-3 included a variety of career fields such as law enforcement, engineers, administration and more.
“I appreciate the fact I can shape NCOs outside my field and bring things tactically and technically outside their military occupational specialty,” said Knight.
Unlike other leadership courses where Marine return back to their main units, these Marines will continue to work and learn together as they conduct training exercises in foreign countries throughout the remainder of their deployment.