Marines offer feedback for new officers
CAMP FOSTER — Representatives from The Basic School in Quantico, Va., visited Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific to conduct a survey and brief at Camp Foster Nov. 5.
The purpose of the visit was to gather feedback on the performance of new lieutenants and warrant officers from Marines who either work for or oversee these officers. TBS representatives also met with Marines on other Marine Corps installations on Okinawa during their visit.
Every day, new officers report to their first duty station after their military occupational specialty school and often, even after months of rigorous training at Officer Candidates School and TBS, these new officers still do not know exactly what to expect, according to Lt. Col. James G. Sweeney, the warfighting director with Support Battalion at TBS. As a result, TBS initiated a survey program in which representatives from the school visit units throughout the Marine Corps to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of new officers.
“Our goals are to assess student and instructor performance,” said Sweeney. “We want to evaluate the course content through the assessment of new lieutenants and warrant officers who have been in the fleet for 60 to 180 days.”
After OCS, newly commissioned officers attend TBS to learn the basic skills of being an officer of Marines. TBS is 26 weeks long and comprised of four phases. During these phases, Marines are evaluated on their leadership, academic and military skills. Throughout the course of TBS, new officers are expected to learn many Marine skills, including the tools of an effective rifle squad leader and rifle platoon commander.
“At TBS, we believe that every Marine is a rifleman,” said Sweeney. “But every Marine officer also must be a capable platoon commander.”
In addition to their training at TBS, the Marines must be able to meet what are known as the “Horizontal Themes.”
These three themes emulate what the school believes define a model officer: one who makes decisions in the fog of war, is a warfighter who embraces the Corps’ warrior ethos, and is mentally strong and physically tough.
“We want to get any feedback, both positive and negative,” said Chief Warrant Officer Robert L. Tagliabue, the infantry weapons officer with Support Battalion at TBS. “We want any information we can get to improve the learning experience and curriculum at TBS.”
The representatives will take the feedback they received during their trip to Okinawa and compile it with feedback from other site visits with the goal of improving the TBS curriculum to develop better future leaders for the Marine Corps, according to Sweeney.
“It is very hard to prepare the new officers for what they are going to face when they get to the fleet,” said Sweeney. “For us to be able to meet our mission statement, we need to be able to produce the best officers we possibly can. These visits will help us continue to improve our curriculum and the officers we produce.”