Corporals Course: the next generation of noncommissioned officers
By Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols
| | February 08, 2013
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Three squads of Marines filled into the room, stood at attention and prepared for their last meal together. They were finally done.
Class 020-13, the most recent noncommissioned officers to graduate 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s Corporals Course, joined with one of their strongest supporters during the class’s final mess night here, Feb. 6.
“I love corporals, and I love NCOs,” said Sgt. Maj. Anthony L. Crutcher, a St. Anne, Ill., native, and the sergeant major of Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG. “We are here to fight, and we are combat warriors regardless of [our specialty]. I’ve seen corporals lead 50 vehicle convoys, so I give them praise. They put their lives on the line and take care of their Marines.”
The Marines completed their four-week course at Camp Lejeune, where they expanded their knowledge on military tactics, protocol and leadership.
“What are you going to do with the instructions you have learned from this course?” asked Crutcher. “What are you willing to sacrifice to complete the mission?”
Throughout the course, the servicemembers endured a challenging physical fitness program, classroom instruction and a field exercise, where they participated in simulated engagements against their peers.
“The expectation is high,” said Crutcher. “There is a huge responsibility, and people put their trust in you to do the right thing. Utilize what you have learned and become more effective leaders of Marines.”
Cpl. Anthony J. Pieper, a Cottage Grove, Minn., native, who served as the first sergeant for the class, said it was hard to gain that leadership position. He directed an entire platoon of Marines during the four-week course.
“I liked being around different NCOs from different [military occupational specialties],” said Pieper. “It was a good chance to see other styles of leadership and to learn from my peers.”
The course used the weight of leadership as an additional challenge for the Marines. Each of the corporals took turns leading their peers through fitness challenges and field exercises.
“There is a lot of pressure on corporals and sergeants when it comes to responsibilities these days,” said Crutcher. “They are leading in combat as squad leaders and [acting platoon sergeants], being put into difficult situations, and being leaders from the front.”
The creed the class learned demands them to be dedicated to training the next generation of Marines and influencing the old. They have to be forever conscious of each Marine under their charge and to inspire by example.
“[The rank of] corporal is the bedrock of the Marine Corps, and they are the ambassadors of a unit,” said Crutcher. “They have a very important job, and they are at the ground level where the rubber hits the road. If you ever have a problem, your corporal will be there.”