Corporals course culminates in Central Training Area
CETRAL TRAINING AREA, Okinawa, Japan -- After weeks of rigorous training, one final event remained for one group of newly promoted Marine corporals, requiring them to take everything they learned and put it to use in a high-stress combat-like environment.
Students with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group-sponsored corporals course completed the course’s culminating event Jan. 29 at the Central Training Area near Camp Hansen.
The culminating event required students to apply many of the tactics and fundamentals learned throughout the course, including patrolling, helicopter insertions and extractions, improvised explosive device detection and military operations on urban terrain.
“The most important part of the course is the solid foundation of leadership these young noncommissioned officers can take away,” said Staff Sgt. Hector A. Mendoza, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the course. “These types of courses are designed to set Marines up for success. They can use this knowledge to better lead their junior Marines and develop the next generation of Marine leaders.”
The event began with a foot patrol across Camp Hansen to a landing zone, where the Marines loaded into two MV-22B Ospreys and flew to the CTA. Upon arrival, the Marines separated into three squads and patrolled a path rigged with simulated IEDs.
“I was very satisfied with the way the Marines performed during the IED training,” said Sgt. James T. Wilkins, the chief instructor for the course. “This was the best way for us to see if the Marines retained what we taught them. They found the IEDs, reacted appropriately, and showed me that they paid attention and strived to do their best.”
The Marines then progressed to the MOUT facility, where they practiced room-clearing procedures and repelled enemy aggressors played by their instructors.
The course refreshed the Marines on basic Marine Corps skills that can deteriorate without practice, according to Cpl. Tabbitha M. Beasley, a student in the course and intelligence specialist with 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III MHG, III MEF.
“The training we did today was, in certain aspects, the highlight of my Marine Corps career,” said Beasley. “Throughout the course, we came together and built strong relationships. We showed that camaraderie and teamwork today during our execution of the mission.”
The purpose of the course was to provide students the basic knowledge and skills necessary to be successful small-unit leaders, according to Mendoza.
The course is designed for corporals to finish with confidence, develop leadership abilities, and return to their units better prepared to lead, develop and mentor their Marines.