AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marines from across station here enrolled in the Corporals Course supervised by Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The course was started by the Marines from VMFA(AW)-533 and began its third course June 5.
"I got involved because I wanted to seize the opportunity to train Marines," said Sgt. Travis D. Bowling, armory noncommissioned officer-in-charge, VMFA(AW)-533.
The purpose of the Corporals Course is to teach newly noncommissioned officers the skills needed to lead junior Marines, both in battle and in their respective military occupational specialties.
"The mission of the course is to prepare corporals with essential education and leadership that is necessary to lead Marines in any environment," said Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Mykoo, sergeant major, VMFA(AW)-533. "Besides what the course offers to the young leaders, it gives them a break from the daily routine of 12 (hours) on, 12 (hours) off, seven days a week."
The course teaches Marines the fundamentals of close order drill, how to lead a physical training session, and delivers an all around education in everything associated with the Marine Corps.
"The focus of the course is close order drill, physical fitness and techniques for military instruction," said Gunnery Sgt. Keith Marshall, squadron gunnery sergeant, Marine Attack Squadron 513, MAG-16 (Reinforced). "We want to create the total NCO. We want to ensure that the corporals who graduate this course have learned as much from the instructors as possible."
The course started as a way for future Marine Corps leaders to use their free time to better themselves, their units and the Marine Corps.
"The way I saw it, being out here in the environment we're in, why not take advantage of it?" said Mykoo, a native of Jacksonville. Fla. "When we are in the states, it is difficult to get a high number of Marines to attend a 30-day course. You have more distractions, personal things to do, weekends off, family and work. Out here you just have work."
The course is used to show the corporals that leading Marines is a difficult job. It also shows these Marines the different leadership styles needed to be a successful leader.
"We try to show these Marines that there are different types of leadership," said Marshall, a native of Inverness, Fla. "We let these Marines know that there is not just one correct way to lead Marines. These new leaders have to adapt to the individual Marine and the situation."
While some may think that the Corporals Course held in Iraq will differ greatly from ones held in the United States, they may be surprised to find that the two are very similar.
"Being in Iraq has little to no effect on the course," said Mykoo. "There may be one unique thing, and that is the fast pace and the fact that the Marines have to go back to work when the course is done for the day."
"I think the only thing that differs is the uniform inspections," said Cpl. Serena Grandov, an intelligence analyst, VMA-513. "I think it is better out here because we are in a combat situation and things are put into a better perspective."
The Corporals Course is a staple in teaching new Marine Corps NCOs the way to lead Marines. It also teaches them what to expect now that they are leaders and in a position to be role models for their junior Marines.
"Marine NCOs are the future of the Marine Corps," said Bowling, a native of Miami. "They are the ones who enforce the Marine Corps standards and are the reason younger Marines want to stay in. They are a reflection of what the Marine Corps has to offer. There is nothing better than leading Marines."