A select group of Marines and Sailors from units throughout 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing had the opportunity to attend a Committed and Engaged Leadership seminar in Oahu, Hawaii, Jan. 24 – 25.
“These Marines and Sailors were picked for this seminar because they are the top small-unit leaders in their shops,” said Capt. Stephen Hand, officer in charge for the seminar and an operations officer with Marine Aircraft Group 11. “We wanted the Marines to not only have the chance to learn more about the nation’s history, but more importantly the impact of engaged leadership at the small-unit level.”
The seminar focused on guided leadership discussions highlighting the topics of mentorship, accountability to their leaders, peers, and subordinates initiative and moral courage.
“This was a great opportunity,” said Cpl. Alissa Anderson, a motor transport operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 374. “We may not be physically training out here, but we are training ourselves and each other to be better leaders.”
During the seminar, 49 service members visited the USS Arizona Memorial and Museum to take pause and reflect on the sacrifices and heroic actions of service members during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“We got to see how the small-unit leaders handled the situations that they were put in then [Dec. 7, 1942], and then talk it over with each other as how can we apply the actions they took to what we do today,” said Sgt. Jean Sanchez, a 3rd MAW water support technician.
At the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, the young leaders discussed various aspects of the attack and the events leading up to it to. This allowed them to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the event and allowed them to focus one of their discussions on the good leadership and potential pitfalls that occurred that day. In the end, they walked away with a greater understanding of leadership and esprit de Corps.
“Being able to see the past sacrifices of the military personnel who came before me made me realize that my job and my leadership in the military is important no matter how small it may seem,” said Cpl. Haley Myroup, an avionic technician with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214. “It wasn’t just infantrymen or fighter pilots who died in that attack or stepped up to fight back, it was everyone and I found the whole experience inspiring.”
The concept of molding and shaping future leadership through mentorship and education is in no way new. Found in the Marine Corps publication, “leading Marines, the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General C. E. Mundy, Jr. (retired), stated “The most important responsibility in our Corps is leading Marines. If we expect Marines to lead and if we expect Marines to follow, we must provide the education of the heart and of the mind to win on the battlefield and in the barracks, in war and in peace. Traditionally, that education has taken many forms, often handed down from Marine to Marine, by word of mouth and by example.” The Committed and Engaged Leadership initiative has been the reawakening of what the Marine Corps has already known.
Overall, the tie-ins of the guided discussions seemed to resonate the most with these eager hard chargers.
“When meeting with other NCOs like this, that you have never even met before, you get to pick each others’ brains and get their perspective and learn different ways to handle situations you may not have encountered yet. It gives you more tools to put in your tool box as a leader and that is what it is really all about, having the right tools for the job.”