U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl Marvin Emmanuel Lopez Navarro
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl Marvin Emmanuel Lopez Navarro

Corporals Course Graduation Ceremony at Camp Foster, Okinawa

by Pfc. Karis Mattingly
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

OKINAWA, Japan -- A formation of U.S. Marine Corps corporals, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, and airmen shouted the Marine Corps Hymn, March 1 concluding the corporals course graduation ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Smedley D, Butler, Camp Foster.

The course teaches responsibility and roles as a leader and how to be an example for junior Marines.

“Even though we are two different services we share a lot in common like values and leadership training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sho Hochi, a graduate from the course, with the JGSDF Training Evaluation Support Unit. “I better understand the U.S. Marine Corps which we will be working with more in the future. I enjoyed the course immensely. I was able to immerse myself in a completely different environment and it was a refreshing change.”

Colonel Vincent J. Ciuccoli, the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony, discussed the importance of completing the curriculum.

“The joint course was different but also an honor,” said Ciuccoli. “To be able to share this experience, with the military’s brothers from next door, was unlike anything else. The benefit of inviting other branches is immeasurable.”

Ciuccoli is the Camp commander, with the Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan.

The U.S. Marine Corps corporals course is not for everyone and is only offered to the most deserving Marine. The Marine Corps is known for the courage to take on challenges. The JGSDF and airmen got a small taste of what it's like to be apart of the elite group.

“It was completely different, but I really enjoyed it, and it was a really good experience for me,” said Senior Airman Ava States, a graduate from the course. “Personally I did it to prove something to myself, and I became a better leader because of it.”

When the service members graduate from the course they embody a better understanding of what it takes to be a leader and bring it back to their units.

The students gain knowledge and create strong relationships among one another, said Ciuccoli, at the ceremony. The Marines really did care that the Japanese soldiers were there and sough the wisdom and culture they have.

“I made a lot of good friends, and relationships I hope lasts for a lifetime,” said Hochi. “I would do it all again if I could.”

Photo Caption:
U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Vincent J. Ciuccoli, commanding officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, poses for a photo with members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, March 1, 2019. Corporal’s Course is a leadership class designed to teach Marines the fundamentals of being a non-commissioned officer. Members of the JGSDF attended the Corporal’s Course to promote Japan-U.S. relations and to better understand what U.S. service members are required to complete before getting promoted.

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