Corporals Course Develops New Leaders

Corporals Course Develops New Leaders

Cpl April Brock, a military working dog handler with 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force and a native of New Rochelle, N.Y., returns a sword to its sheath during a sword and guidon manual examination during Corporals Course at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 27, 2015. The course incorporates land navigation, sword and guidon manual and war fighting, but its main focus is on developing noncommissioned officers into great leaders. Photo by Cpl Kristin Merrimarahajara.

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 6, 2015) - Approximately 20 Marine Corporals from 16 various Marine Occupation Specialties graduated from the II Marine Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Group sponsored Corporals Course in class 30-15, Feb. 6, 2015.

The 4-week course goes into depth about land navigation, sword and guidon manual, the Marine Corps promotion system and other fundamentals.

The course places a significant emphasis on developing leadership, as corporals are the first link in a junior Marines chain of command. Without learning the fundamentals from Corporals Course, Marines cannot advance to the rank of sergeant.

"The course gives the students a basic foundation on how to lead and they can adjust to their own leadership style from there," said Sgt Melissa Figaro, a Corporals Course instructor and a Bronx, New York, native, who says her leadership style is stern, yet encouraging. "Corporals are like sponges. They take in both the good and the bad, but it's up to them to use that information however they want."

Honored guest of the graduation, Col Thomas J. Gordon, commanding officer of II MEF Headquarters Group and a Boston native, spoke to the small group of noncommissioned officers about what he has learned about leadership over the years.

He thinks there should be one more leadership trait added to the 14 traits the Marine Corps deems important.

"The missing leadership trait is love," said Gordon. "If you love your Marines, they will know it and there is not a thing they won't do for the command, mission and institution."

The commanding officer also talked about five things Marines need to be doing every day. He calls these the "Daily Five," and they left an impression on the class first sergeant of the course.

Gordon's "Daily Five" are:
1. Teach someone something
2. Thank someone for doing a good job
3. Find something wrong and fix it
4. Learn something new
5. Ask how you can help

After participating in the course and listening to the commanding officer's speech, Cpl. Jason Nielsen, the Corporals Course class first sergeant, from Law Enforcement Battalion and a native of Fountain, Colorado, realized what being a corporal is all about.

"As a corporal, you get rid of the ‘I' factor and implement a ‘they' factor," said Nielsen. "Being a corporal is not about you, it's about how you can help others."

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