News: Expeditionary Warfare School graduates new batch of veteran leaders
Story by Cpl. Timothy Solano
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Students of the Command and Staff College and Expeditionary Warfare School’s non-resident period of military education graduated in the Lejeune Room at the Paradise Point Officer’s Club aboard base July 7.
Major Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, was the ceremony’s distinguished guest. Before each student was handed their diploma, Toolan took the time to address the 35 EWS and 59 CSC graduates, who ranked from gunnery sergeant through major.
In his speech, Toolan cited World War I Army Maj. Gen. Fox Conner’s ‘Three Axiom of Warfare’ to the students, relating Connor’s tactics to the fundamentals employed by Regional Command Southwest in Afghanistan last year, tying in its importance with that of military education.
“Never fight if you don’t have to,” said Toolan to the crowd of graduates. “Secondly, Conner said to never fight alone. And lastly, he said to never fight for long –these are important principles for us as leaders.”
Toolan explained to the crowd of Marines, all sitting in their Service “C” uniforms, that Marines are always ready for combat, but should also be prepared to make alternate resolutions.
“As Marines, we are always ready to bring the fight to anyone,” he said. “An education, however, allows us as leaders to explore other options before resorting to that.”
Learning the role of combat leadership throughout the course wasn’t as simple as a few semester exams, and many of the Marines took years to complete the course in stride with the Marine Corps’ operational tempo.
Students like 1st Sgt. Therester Cox, company first sergeant for Headquarters and Service Co., 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, have been working on the course for several years while maintaining a full-time active duty career.
“I enrolled in EWS in 2007 and got a lot done in the meantime,” said Cox. “I was stationed at Parris Island as a first sergeant, completed my bachelor’s degree and did a combat deployment.”
After diplomas were received, hands were shaken and the ceremony concluded. The newly graduated students took the time to reflect on lessons learned throughout the duration of the course.
“This school has given me a lot of insight on the Marine Corps, how we fight, and the Corps’ return to our expeditionary roots,” said Cox. “It made me a better Marine so that I can turn around and pass that knowledge on to my Marines.”