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Corporals Course 2-16 graduates are congratulated by fellow Marines after their graduation ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Dec. 10. Corporals Course, a professional military education program hosted by 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is a re-introduction of the basic Marine Corps values to noncommissioned officers.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson

Corporals Course 2-16 graduates Dec. 10

11 Dec 2015 | Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with Corporals Course 2-16 graduated the month-long course aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Dec. 10.

Corporals course is a re-introduction to the basic Marine Corps values of noncommissioned officers.

“Corporals Course is the lowest echelon of the Marine Corps guided Professional Military Education,” said Sgt. Robert Hill, a faculty adviser instructor with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Corporals Course, and a Williamsburg, Virginia native. “We take young NCOs and we re-instill the values of honor, courage, commitment and discipline.”

Every two months, 3rd MAW hosts a three-and-a-half-weeks-long Corporals Course. The corporals start off by taking the Marine Corps’ Combat Fitness Test and Physical Fitness Test. Physical training (PT) is an integral part of the course, and includes Marine Corps Martial Arts Program PT and pool PT.

“The PT was challenging, but it was there to challenge you,” said Cpl. Anthony Black with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352, the Honor Graduate of Corporals Course 2-16, and a New Port Richey, Florida native.

The instructors, a team of sergeants from various units within 3rd MAW and MCAS Miramar, teach the corporals about the history of the Marine Corps and uniform regulations.

“We don’t just inspect and then pass or fail; we inspect them to show them what it’s like to actually conduct a uniform inspection,” said Hill. “As the class progresses on, we allow them to take over the uniform inspections.”

Along with history, the corporals engage in guided discussions and practical applications concerning the current events of the Marine Corps and the traditional skills of drill.

“We show them the skills of sword manual, guidon manual, and what it is to lead a platoon,” said Hill.

According to Hill, re-establishing the Marine Corps values, learning its history and pursuing physical fitness are all tactics used to boost the young Marines’ confidence, which is a huge aspect of becoming a great NCO.

“The biggest thing for us is confidence in our abilities to say yes or no, and to know what we can and can’t do,” Hill said. “If we’re not honest with our own responsibilities and abilities, there’s no way we can lead and encourage other Marines.”

Corporals Course puts the Marines back in a classroom setting, with instructors there to push them and challenge them every day.

“At first it’s kind of a culture shock and you don’t like any of them,” said Black. “Now, at the end of it, I definitely appreciate everything that they did for us. They’re not only instructors and teachers, but mentors and friends as well.”

The instructors attempt to get to know the corporals personally to help them know tailor the leadership principles to their junior Marines.

“Corporals Course is an excellent tool to re-encourage Marines and inspire them to go back to their units a little more motivated,” said Hill. “If we inspire one Marine, then we have done our job.”

At the end of the course, students come away more motivated and confident in themselves as a leader, said Black.

“I can definitely see an improvement [in myself],” Black said. “Overall, I think it’s good for the Marine Corps and good for the NCOs.”