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MCINCR - Marine Corps Base Quantico

"Crossroads of the Marine Corps"

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Staff sergeants graduate from first Career Course seminar

By Eve A. Baker | Marine Corps Base Quantico | November 26, 2014


On Nov. 20, 13 Marine Corps staff sergeants graduated from the first iteration of the Career Course seminar held at Marine Corps Base Quantico. A 7-week resident version of the course has been in existence since the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy opened in 1971, according to SNCO staff member Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Clement. At the resident course, students live on-site in the barracks and participate in regular physical training and drill while learning about leadership development and warfighting skills.


Recognizing the need for a course that does not take students away from their primary occupation for an extended period of time, former Marine Corps University President Lt. Gen. Robert Neller initiated the development of a 15-week nonresident seminar version of Career Course. Retired Marine Major Paul Vanderwater was the lead developer of the seminar and worked in conjunction with several other individuals over two years to design the course format and materials. Vanderwater said he based the design on the seminars for Expeditionary Warfare School, and Command and Staff College.


According to Vanderwater, the three primary educational topics of the seminar were leadership development, warfighting and professional communication. A student of the seminar and the course commander, Staff Sgt. Denisse Daroczy said that she maintained her regular active duty billet as the Reserve Affairs officer for the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity and attended class once per week for three hours from Aug. 6 through Nov. 12. Daroczy said she had to complete assignments and readings between class sessions and that during class, they worked on complex projects like developing an operational order.


“I learned how to be a staff sergeant, a coach and mentor to all,” Daroczy said of her experience in the course.


While the 2014 pilot seminar was held only at Quantico, there will be a second pilot session beginning in January that will be held at Marine Corps Bases Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Camp Pendleton, California, as well as at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, and again at Quantico.


The guest of honor and speaker at the Nov. 20 graduation ceremony was Sgt. Maj. Peter Siaw, the sergeant major of Marine Corps University. Siaw stated that “the outcomes are the same” between the resident course and seminar, and the students performed equally rigorous educational tasks.


As the students stood up to receive their diplomas, Staff Sgt. Sydney Shanfield was recognized as the honor graduate for his superior academic performance, and Staff Sgt. Guillermo Fargas was recognized with the Gung Ho award.



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