CAMP FRIGAARD, Norway -- Marines assigned to 2nd Marine Logistics Group-Forward met with the leadership of the Norwegian military to discuss the Marine Corps noncommissioned officer corps during Exercise Trident Juncture 18, Nov. 11, 2018. The exercise is a large-scale NATO-led exercise held in central Norway that brings together about 50,000 troops, 10,000 vehicles, 250 airplanes, and 65 vessels.
The Norwegian Army recently implemented the NCO structure to their service after going most of the last century without an NCO corps.
“NCOs are the doers,” said Sgt. Maj. Alex Narvaez, the sergeant major of 2nd Marine Logistics Group-Forward. “They take the commander's intent and execute.”
The Marine Corps rank structure is organized into nine enlisted ranks; an NCO is an E-4, or a corporal, and E-5, or a sergeant. NCOs are characterized as the working supervisors of the Marine Corps, guiding junior enlisted Marines and sharing knowledge they gleaned through their experiences. While at the same time, NCOs receive commands from above them, and assure they are completed.
“(NCOs) allow commanders to worry about commanding” said Narvaez.
Before the reintroduction of the NCO structure to the Norwegian Army, the only leadership billets were given to officers. This system required commanders to be involved in every aspect of their soldiers training and development, without having the same experiences as their enlisted subordinates.
On the flipside in the Marine Corps, from the moment that one steps into a recruiter’s office, through recruit training and graduation of your military occupation specialty school, NCOs are there beside Marines, leading and guiding from their experiences.
This system of decentralized leadership allows for Marine NCOs to become specialists in their fields and teach their Marines through practical methods how to achieve mission accomplishment.
”We are working with our Allies to find the Norwegian way of doing things” said Norwegian Army Brig. Gen. Jon Morten Mangersnes, the commander of the Norwegian Land Warfare Center, who was also present for the visit.