STRAIT OF MALACCA -- The United States Marine Corps creates and develops leaders based on the 14 traits and 11 principles of leadership. These traits and principles were crafted carefully by the Marine Corps to cultivate a successful environment full of individuals ready to work as a team and lead others to success.
Marines assigned to the “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, attached to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), are currently participating in the Corporal Leadership School training.
“The corporal’s course, otherwise known as Corporal Leadership School is built around refining the young noncommissioned officer (NCO) on leadership principles and traits, warfighting tactics and techniques and drill and ceremonies,” said Staff Sgt. Chandra Drayton, from San Antonio, and the NCO in charge of the course aboard Nimitz.
The course itself is a 14-day class, which started Oct. 31, in which newly promoted corporals receive training from higher enlisted on their new roles as E-4’s in the Marine Corps.
“It’s a structured course that comes from headquarters of Marine Corps,” said Drayton. “The class refines and retunes the young NCO with the ability to better execute a commander’s intent when officers are not there to give clear, concise direction. You want to make sure you employ the NCO with all the knowledge and tools to make effective decisions.”
The course is designed to not only teach the newly ranked corporals about traditions and ceremonies, but learn how to work with and lead those working beside you.
“As NCO’s, we are basically the first examples that our new recruits get to see,” said Cpl. Thomas Prassas, from Santa Rosa, Calif., a Marine in the Corporal Leadership School. “Every bit of leadership that we learn as E-1 through E-3 is through the ones we work with on a daily basis. That’s where we learn our Marine Corps values, our traditions and our customs. Corporals course basically hones in on those. It allows us to improve our skills as leaders, and improve ourselves as well.”
This training is given as part of the Marine Corps curriculum to promote growth of knowledge and is given at every enlisted rank.
“Professional Military Education is something that we hold vital, especially as Marines.” said Drayton. “This is something you look forward to; becoming a better leader so that you can train Marines more efficiently.”
With a target time of six months after the Marine has made the rank of corporal, they are enrolled in the two-part course.
“The first is usually six to seven days, which is usually leadership and brilliance in the basics,” said Drayton. “The second part is about warfighting and understanding how corporals play a huge role in that and play a basic role being a Marine. Everything they do is graded and is meant to stress the corporals out. Everything from time management, peer involvement and just getting to know your squad a little bit better. The culminating event is everything they have learned through leadership and war fighting, and it comes together over a one-day scenario where we throw everything at them.”
“The purpose of the course is to constantly increase the amount of tasks and assignments we have to do to increase our confidence,” said Prassas. “Our physical training also gets harder and harder as the course goes on so that we can see the improvement in ourselves, and know what we are capable of.”
The outcome of all this training is a Marine with more knowledge on effective leadership.
“We pride ourselves on drill and ceremonies,” said Drayton. “We pride ourselves on physical fitness. To have Marines come together and understand our history and background kind of changes their perception of what the Marine Corps was. It’s kind of great to see that transition throughout the course and at graduation.”
“I believe my peer-to-peer leadership has improved greatly which is very important,” said Prassas. “You need to be able to work with other NCOs to inspire those ranked below you.”
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. The U.S. Pacific Fleet has patrolled the Indo-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional security, stability and prosperity.