MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA --
Deafening roars of motivation echo from the entrance of Little Hall as 66 Marines stand at attention and shout the Marine Corps noncommissioned officer’s creed on Feb. 16, 2023.
These Marines are the graduates of Corporals Course 1-23 and they represent 19 different units from Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico and the National Capital Region.
From the time they step on the yellow footprints, drill instructors teach Marines to take immense pride in their heritage, traditions, and mission. In fact, the growth and improvement mindset remains steadfast from recruit training until the end of a Marine’s career. The Marine Corps facilitates this approach to training through professional military education (PME).
Once a Marine reaches the rank of corporal, earning their blood stripe and claiming the title of noncommissioned officer (NCO), the expectation for professional development increases; enter the Corporals Course.
“The Resident Command-Sponsored Corporals Course creates more capable noncommissioned officer leaders across our enterprise due to the breadth of knowledge gained during the periods of instruction and practical application,” said MCB Quantico Sgt. Maj. Collin Barry, who acted as the course graduation ceremony guest speaker.
This course is designed to teach new NCOs small unit leadership, instill esprit de corps, and hone basic Marine Corps skills.
“Overall, PME enhances the warfighting prowess of the U.S. Marine Corps by enhancing one’s overall education, developing critical thinking skills, and making more holistically equipped leaders to operate successfully within the 21st Century battlespace,” Barry said.
“All the Corporals Courses I’ve seen are always ran by one battalion,” said Sgt. Nathaniel Hebert, Corporal’s Course 1-23 instructor and a member of the Headquarters Company staff for Security Battalion. “The interesting thing about this one is that it was a collaboration through multiple battalions to be able to run a much larger scale Corporals Course.”
Headquarters Battalion, TECOM, hosted the course and Security Battalion provided the instructors.
“Typically, you don’t see a Corporals Course this big,” said Hebert, a native of Highland Home, Alabama. “But luckily, Marine Corps Base Quantico is used to staffing larger PME’s.”
Moreno added the planning process took about two months to complete, and the instructors set the bar high with their professionalism and coordination.
“I can honestly say that this is by far the best cooperation I’ve had,” said 1st Sgt. Mayra Moreno, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Corporals Course 1-23 and the company first sergeant of Manpower and Recruiting Company, Headquarters Battalion, Training and Education Command (TECOM). “This is the first time that Headquarters Battalion and Security Battalion have joined. We’ve had so much support… They’ve made it very easy to put together.”
Hebert also said the coordination between the two battalions allowed Marines to establish connections with Marines outside of their own command.
“The Marine Corps is small,” said the 2016 graduate from South Montgomery County Academy in Grady, Alabama. “Know who you’re around, and they’ll help you in the future.”
Overall, several tenant commands aboard MCB Quantico came together to help organize this course.
“I just want to thank all the units, the commands for being so supportive and allowing their Marines to come to this Corporals Course,” said Moreno, a native of Huntington Beach, California. “I can guarantee that when they come back, they’re going to be very highly motivated, and hopefully they spread that leadership in the shop wherever they can.”