CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Marine noncommissioned officer is often referred to as the backbone of the U.S. Marine Corps. Once a Marine earns the rank of corporal and becomes an NCO, they are introduced to the first of several courses to help forge their leadership skills to a standard that rivals any other armed service in the world.
The course is typically offered to East Coast-stationed Marines through the Staff NCO Academy at Camp Johnson, N.C.
The Marines of 2nd Marine Logistics Group recently initiated their own version of the academy's course aboard the neighboring installation, Camp Lejeune, from April 28 - May 18.
The course will allow MLG NCOs to not only learn the typical corporal's course curriculum, but also participate in 16 additional hours of MLG-specific instruction and practical application.
Classes on topics such as the 2nd MLG's unit structure and role in war-fighting as well as weapons systems familiarization, gives students a better understanding of their unit's capabilities in global operations. Ultimately, the course helped reinforce the Marines' knowledge of their individual units, and their contributions to the MLG as a whole.
Typical corporal's course classes include the history of the Marine noncommissioned officer, how to mentor their junior Marines, how to conduct operational risk management and core classes on combat battle skills.
Five sergeants and one staff sergeant with the 2nd MLG were selected to run the course with the help of two instructors from the academy at Camp Johnson, who acted as mentors to the MLG instructors.
The instructors were hand-picked because of their familiarity with classroom environments and first-hand combat experience. Their existing knowledge and background allowed them to teach on a more personal and practical level.
"It's nice to have instructors who have been through all of this before," said Cpl. William Jackson, a motor transportation mechanic and student in the course with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. "The instructors know what they are talking about and are very helpful and knowledgeable."
The purpose for initiating this course was to furnish 2nd MLG corporals with the tools, skills and knowledge needed to lead Marines on the home front and in deployed environments.
The course's location also afforded more Marines from the group to attend due to its close location and restricted attendance to only Marines from the 2nd MLG.
The SNCO Academy course is open to all Marines stationed on the East Coast. Because of this, some Marines experience a delay when attempting to get enrolled in the course.
"There is a lack of seats at the Camp Johnson course and they fill up quickly," said Sgt. Damian Senerchia, the chief instructor of the course. "Because of this, a lot of our unit's corporals don't get a chance to attend the course and improve themselves as leaders."
Not only was this a learning experience for the students, but also for the instructors. This was the first corporal's course for these instructors to teach and it required a lot of preparation.
"The purpose of the pilot course was to determine how effective an MLG course would be," said Senerchia. "So far the course has been successful. Anytime you get a group of Marines together, they make the course. These Marines have been very enthusiastic and ready to learn from the start."
The 2nd MLG's next course is slated to begin mid-July.