News: Sergeants Course Graduates Show Uncommon Dedication
Story by Cpl. Charles Clark
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - More than 120 noncommissioned officers graduated from Sergeants Course Class 6-13 at the base theater aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 8.
Among the usual challenges the students faced, the government shutdown forced some students’ parent commands to cancel their temporary additional duties per diem and return to their everyday jobs.
During the shutdown, 68 Marines were sent back to their parent commands.
Six Marines were determined to finish the course and graduate with their fellow students.
“I don’t usually talk during graduations, because I feel it is a time for the students and their families, but unusual times show the character in people,” said Sgt. Maj. Timothy R. Webber, the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy director. “These Marines have the character we want and need in the Corps today and its future.”
With the instructors' help, Sgt. Patricia A. Aliff, a Company P, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island drill instructor, determined the Marines whose TAD was taken away could take annual leave and finish the course with their classmates.
“Marines never give up,” said Aliff, the first female Marine to be nominated as both Gung Ho recipient and Honor Graduate. “We invested our time into this course, and I think our dedication proves Marines will always be the best.”
The graduates were Marines comprised from 52 different military occupational specialties.
During the ceremony, the guest speaker, 1st Sgt. Patricia A. Trotter, 2nd Radio Battalion, Company A first sergeant, encouraged the NCOs to continue moving forward, leading from the front and reinforced key principals of the NCO Creed.
“The rank of sergeant is a key rank in our Marine Corps,” Trotter said. “You are the primary and most visible leader to Marines. You are the Marine Corps’ backbone. When you communicate and help each other out, our Corps becomes stronger.”
Sergeants Course is an eight-week professional education course in which the students spend 30 hours learning administration, 51.5 hours learning war fighting and 111 hours in leadership training.
Class 6-13 had an average personal fitness test score of 251, average combat fitness test score of 288 and average grade point average of 96.5.
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