GULF OF ADEN – Four Boxer Sailors gained a greater understanding of their Marine Corps counterparts by completing a two-week Marine Corps Corporal’s Course aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) May 5.
The course, designed to provide junior non-commissioned officers with leadership training dispersed across several areas of study and examination, began April 23 and concluded May 5 with a graduation ceremony.
“The purpose of the course is to grow the young members of the Marine Corps into inspirational leaders of Marines and Sailors in this case,” said Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Barker, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge of the Corporal’s Course on board Boxer. “The integration of our Marine/Sailor team was excellent. The students quickly put aside any differences and began bonding the first day. Everyone had a voice during the course which allowed students to bring something to the course and also leave with tools they can use once back at their units.”
Participating Sailors bore the extra burden of learning background information that their Marine Corps counterparts had been taught since joining the Corps.
“The most challenging thing for me was learning a whole new set of customs and traditions,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Michael Yale. “We also learned war-fighting and joint operations and we performed a lot of physical training. I had to buckle down and read the books they gave me so I could keep up with all the Marines.”
Motivation and confidence are two character traits that were impressed upon students in order to meet the course standards.
“The course ran 14 training days straight with no breaks,” said Barker. “This consisted of two comprehensive examinations plus multiple practical examinations that are required to be mastered, including public speaking, sword and guidon manual of arm movements, joint combat operations and career progression.”
Barker indicated that the Corporal’s Course provided a lot of value for Sailors with little or no experience with the Marine Corps.
“This course is important for Sailors who want to improve and not only better themselves, but better the Navy,” said Barker.
“These Sailors benefit from the course in many tangible ways. One example is we teach them to be strategic thinkers. They get paid to have an opinion and they must be able to convey that smartly and with tact.”
Sprinkled throughout a sea of Marine digital-camouflaged uniforms Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Isaiah Brown, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Michael Canaan, Quartermaster 3rd Class Michael Yale, and Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Colin Contreras-O’Connor sat during the graduation ceremony, awaiting the completion of their latest challenge along with 39 Marine brothers and sisters in arms.
“Corporal’s Course has shown me that I can be the motivation that my department needs,” said Yale. “By talking to my shipmates about their stress, finding ways I can help, and leading by example. What I’ll take away from this course is the value of moral courage and brotherhood.”
Barker said graduates take away more from the course than a certificate.
“Each graduate takes with them not just a certificate of completion, but a sense of pride in knowing they have the tools to complete whatever mission they are given,” said Barker.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, currently deployed in the 5th Fleet area of operation (AOO), is composed of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.