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Marine sergeants sing the Marines’ Hymn during a graduation ceremony at Geiger Hall aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 2, 2014. The class was the first to graduate from the condensed four-week Sergeants Course that historically has lasted seven weeks.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis

Concentrated but not inferior

2 Apr 2014 | Cpl. Samuel Ellis

The 65 Marine sergeants, who graduated from Sergeants Course on April 2, 2014, at Geiger Hall aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, had more than just graduation to lift their heads with pride. This class was also the first to complete the course in just four weeks, nearly half the time of the former course.

Historically, Sergeants Course is a seven-week course designed to prepare new sergeants for small unit leadership. Even though Marines can take the online version of Sergeants Course on Marine Net, and the resident course is not a requirement for promotion, instructors say the resident course is a great benefit to those who can attend.

“If a sergeant doesn’t come to Sergeants Course, how is he going to set himself apart from everyone else,” said Master Sgt. Weinburg Allen, staff noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the sergeants course.  “Coming here will help you progress to be that better [NCO], staff NCO.”

Although the instructors felt the squeeze of condensing seven weeks of coursework into almost half the time, they recognize the benefits.

“The pros and cons weigh the same [as before],” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Helker, faculty advisor. “The benefits are that we can get a sergeant back into operating forces faster with the same amount of knowledge that a seven-week sergeant was taking back to their units.”

Sergeants considering taking the course can expect to find a staff of motivated Marines ready to mentor them with classes, field exercises, a physical training program inspired by the Marine Corps High Intensity Tactical Training Program, training on troop-leading steps and warfighting functions, and administration training on areas like writing Naval correspondence letters.

“The distance learning course is required to equip [Marines] before they come to the sergeants course,” said Gunnery Sgt. Frankco Westry, chief instructor for the sergeants course. “As a professional course, we expect them to have a foundational knowledge, [because] we build on the information [presented online]. They should come with an attitude expecting to learn, to be challenged and to focus and fit in with their peers.”

The next Sergeants Course is May 12- June 11. To register for a course, contact the training section in you chain of command.

Correspondent: samuel.l.ellis@usmc.mil