ROBERTSON BARRACKS, NT, AUSTRALIA
ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Corporals Course became a melting pot of military services with members of the Australian Army, Navy and Marine Corps in attendance, here, June 17 to July 2.
Throughout the 12-day course, service members will participate in physical exercise, leadership classes, land navigation, sword and guidon manual training, and complete testing on each.
“Getting all the knowledge down in a short amount of time is probably the hardest part,” said Sgt. Ian Polhamus, course instructor and squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin.
Every Marine who attends the course already is a leader by rank, but the course teaches them how to play the part.
“All NCOs are leaders. To be a leader, you need to know your job, the Marine Corps ethos and what helps Marines pick up the next rank,” said Polhamus. “They need to be able to pass their knowledge to their junior Marines. The junior Marines need to know everything their leaders know, so they can eventually become a good leader as well.”
As a leader of Marines, it’s common to get in front of a large number of subordinates and speak. The instructors teach young NCOs to be comfortable in that situation by making them teach a class in front of their peers on something they know well.
“A lot of peoples’ number one fear is public speaking,” explained Polhamus. “By doing this exercise, they get pulled out of their comfort zones. It shows them that if they can do it in front of their peers, they can do it in front of their junior Marines.”
This course is the first inside look the Australian soldiers have received into Marine Corps leadership styles, values and traditions since the Marines first landed in April.
“It’s interesting to see how the Marines work,” said Australian Army Pvt. Scott Bailed, Corporals Course student and rifleman, Charlie Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. “Going through the leadership material and seeing what the Marine values are have been the most interesting part of the course so far.”
Throughout the course, Bailed noticed a lot of differences between the two branches’ methods of drill.
“We’re slowly adapting to your guys’ way of drilling,” joked Bailed. “We have a lot more range of motion in our drill moves. A lot of the Marines haven’t done sword or guidon, so we’re all learning it together. We have sergeants who do the Banner Party, which is similar to the guidon, but that’s as close as it gets.”
As part of an infantry battalion, Marines with Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D, work very closely with Navy corpsmen.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Jiro Maximian Buenafe, a corpsman with the battalion, said everything he has learned so far will be useful when he goes to the field with the Marines.
“It really helps to learn land navigation and how to work a radio,” said Buenafe. “I can help the Marines in training when I get to the field now. I think all corpsman on the green side should attend this course. It shows you why they take such pride in being Marines.”
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