News: Marines complete Sergeants Course, exercise skills in culminating event
Story by Lance Cpl. Suzanna Lapi
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - The sweaty faces of Marines participating in Sergeants Course class 2-13’s culminating event caught a cool breeze after scaling Kansas Tower hill on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 20.
After a brief by Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Benedict, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Sergeants Course, the Marines donned their gear and headed down the hill to their objective. They were given scenarios and told to put together quick orders before making their way to a battle simulation center.
The event leading the Marines up the steep hill was a small unit leader exercise. During the physically demanding 12-mile event, the Marines performed a battle study at the Pacific War Memorial, completed the obstacle course in full gear, reacted to an improvised explosive device detonation, and practiced calling for fire and medical evacuation procedures.
Marines attend Sergeants Course, an eight-week course that consists of classes and events, to further their knowledge as noncommissioned officers and fulfill promotion requirements. The course is conducted on Marine Corps Base Hawaii throughout the year and averages 33 Marines, with a maximum of 40 during a course.
Benedict, a native of West Milford, N.J., said the curriculum is beneficial to Marines because of the wide variety of subjects it covers.
“After the Marines checked in with an initial physical fitness test, we conducted classes that covered everything from warfighting to drill and unit readiness,” Benedict said. “There were some ‘back to the basics’ classes like customs and courtesies, and we taught them how to plan training events. We also covered Marine Corps high intensity training.”
Sgt. Bianca Luna, a property chief with U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific, and native of San Diego, said Sergeants Course was “100 percent helpful” for her Marine Corps career.
“I have learned a great amount of knowledge in subjects like war tactics and the role of the squad leader, which I can pass on to my junior Marines,” Luna said. “I think every sergeant should take this course. It was physically demanding, but greatly beneficial.”
Benedict said the course also benefits Marines through the interaction they experience between the students’ different military occupational specialties.
“They end up learning from one another through collaboration, which I think is a good way for people to learn and gain insight,” Benedict said.
Benedict said the course largely focuses on ethical decision-making and the development of leadership traits.
Sgt. Joshua Cabral, an antitank missileman with the School of Infantry West — Detachment Hawaii and a native of Dartmouth, Mass., said the training was beneficial overall.
“Sergeants Course has been helpful across the board with subjects like land navigation, and teaches infantrymen like myself how to write properly,” Cabral said. “It also allows Marines to experience life outside of their specific military occupational specialty.”
Before their graduation, Feb. 27, the Marines will receive a combat leadership class from Sgt. Maj. Justin LeHew, the sergeant major of 3rd Marine Regiment and a Navy Cross recipient.
Benedict said the training Marines receive during Sergeants Course carries into their future.
“The overall curriculum provides Marines with the necessary tools for future leadership,” Benedict said. “The whole course prepares and develops their specific leadership styles.”