CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Charles Spencer could tell that this group of recruits was different.
Spencer, a Marine Corps staff sergeant and the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Afghan uniform police basic patrolman course at the Joint Security Academy Southwest at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, in southwest Afghanistan, had to wake the previous classes up in the morning in order to get them to physical training by 6:15 a.m.
This group, however, was already in formation by 5:45.
As a show of appreciation for the recruit’s performance since the start of the class on April 24, the Marine mentors for the course put their money together and purchased a pair of aviator sunglasses for each of the 45 students in the course.
“We figured if they’re going to be cops, they may as well have the glasses,” Spencer said.
The Marines presented the glasses to the class Sunday, May 15, at noon in the student’s classroom.
Spencer said that the Marines had originally intended to give the glasses out as a gift following their graduation June 16. However, as a result of the class performance they decided to give them out early.
“It was like Christmas when we were handing them out,” Spencer said. “Every one of them was smiling for the entire day.”
The reason for the gift was two-fold.
“They listen to you the first time, all the time,” Spencer said. “They’re always on time and they’re always paying attention in class. Also, it builds camaraderie because they’re the only class that has them.”
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Josh Oresko, team officer in charge for the course, speculated that the reason the recruits have shown such motivation, may run a little deeper than one would think.
“I asked the class who has had family members killed by the Taliban and about two-thirds of the class raised its hand,” he said. “They’ve lost brothers, parents, cousins to the Taliban insurgency. Our class leader told me that six months ago, the Taliban even stole his two horses. So, they’ve all had their experiences.”
Helping build camaraderie among the students is the fact that they all have had at least six months of boots-on-ground experience before reporting to the basic training course. They also all serve in Nimruz province in southwestern Afghanistan.
Oresko said that the sunglasses have gained the attention of other training courses at JSAS. He said that the Joint Non-Commissioned Officer Course mentors are also considering a similar program.
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This work, JSAS mentors present gift to AUP recruits, by 1LT Douglas Magill, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.