MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
In eight weeks, sergeants are molded, taught and influenced by faculty advisors from the Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico during one of six yearly Sergeants Courses.
Sergeants attending the course have graded assignments, attend roughly 30 classes and participate in physical fitness. The platoon of sergeants is divided into squads, each with it’s own faculty advisors to help lead small group discussions and to allow the Marines to open up and discuss their concerns.
“Our goal is for the sergeants to gain as much knowledge as possible,” said Gunnery Sgt. Alex Brown, faculty advisor, Sergeants Course, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. Knowledge is what makes a person better and makes a better Marine, he said.
The course focuses on a broader learning method than Marines are given during Basic Training, Marine Combat Training and Military Occupational School.
“They are adults, so they get treated and taught that way,” said Gunnery Sgt. Weinburg Allen, staff non-commissioned officer in charge, Sergeants Course, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. “The environment is supposed to make them feel relaxed and comfortable so they ask the questions they want answered.”
Each faculty advisor teaches five to six classes each cycle and are able to take their own approach to their designated topic.
“The idea is to have the sergeants learn from their advisors’ experiences, as well as, their peers in their classroom,” said Allen.
“They completely eliminate stress from the situation,” said Sgt. Mitchell Pirtle, motor vehicle operator, Fort Leonard Wood. “Eliminating the stress means more participation and group discussions.”
Sergeants Course also gives the sergeants a chance to interact with leadership other than their own.
“We are providing them with another outlook to things,” said Allen. “This course is designed for sergeants who have only been in their rank for about two years, so we are helping them to develop their Marine Corps knowledge, as well as, how to help their Marines make better life choices.”
Ethics is one of the main topics of the course.
“Your personal ethics might be different than the Marine Corps ethics,” said Brown. “But as a leader you have to learn how to make decisions based on the Marine Corps ethics and teach those under you how to do the same. They come here to make the next generation of Marines better but, in doing that, they are also bettering themselves.”
The faculty advisors also gain from each course.
“I don’t do this for the class gifts at the end of the course,” said Brown. “The biggest reward I receive is later on in a Marine’s career, when they make a point to send me an email or give me a call to tell me about the good things that are happening in their career.
“The fact that I made a big enough impact to have them contact mean means more than anything else.”