Marine Corps Base Quantico --
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
“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
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
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.