MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, ROMANIA
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania — Many believe the modern Marine non-commissioned officer to be the embodiment of Marine Corps history and traditions. Marine NCOs of past and present have weaved a timeless legacy of honor, courage and commitment into the tapestry of historic battles and amazing feats.
Since April, Marines with the NCO Academy from Black Sea Rotational Force 11 have been traveling the Black Sea, Caucasus and Balkan regions to show partner nations the benefits of operating with a strong NCO Corps. But recently, they shifted focus to teach fellow Marine NCOs the basic knowledge, traditions and skills needed to be a leader by conducting a Corporal’s Course.
“These Marine NCOs show straight motivation,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco G. Lopez, staff NCO-in-charge for the course, BSRF-11, “...having someone who wants to be there and put out the effort and someone who is told to be there is a great difference.”
The NCO Academy Marines have seen the difference a Marine NCO makes to the mission.
“The Marine Corps has profoundly developed its NCO corps and we’ve been trying to help these [partner] nations who don’t have the same concept of what an ‘NCO’ is,” said Lopez.
“This course gives our Marines a chance to see what it’s really about. It’s a big step for a Marine NCO.”
The command-sponsored BSRF-11 Corporal’s Course had a total of 31 Marines that were taught the skills and knowledge necessary to lead Marines and provide fighting skills and tactics; the core values of honor, courage and commitment; and the principles and fundamentals of a ‘NCO-mindset’ to accomplish any mission.
Through practical applications, examinations and drills, lessons on Marine Corps history and traditions, and oral and written presentations, the Marines were tested and taught the tools necessary to be an effective small-unit leader.
“The course really showed me why being a Marine NCO is so unique and so important to our success,” said Cpl. Taisung Chao, radio operator, BSRF-11.
“We have NCOs like none other in the world; it’s cool that other countries want to emulate our style of leadership,” he added.
Aside from the traditional Marine Corps close-order drill and physical training that usually dominates the Corporal’s Course, a new focus on combat operations and the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to be successful in those environments are now taught during the course.
“The course has gotten away from being heavily specific on drill because more is focused on warfighting and combat operations,” said Lopez, a Guyon, Okla., native.
BSRF-11’s Corporal’s Course marks the first time a Marine Corps professional military education course has completed for the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
“I feel really lucky to get to have this chance while I’m deployed and be part of the inaugural Corporal’s Course,” said Chao.
“The knowledge I’ve gotten will help me build my skills to become a better leader for my future subordinates and superiors.”
Black Sea Rotational Force is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Eastern Europe to participate in security cooperation to build military capacity, provide regional stability, and develop lasting partnerships with nations in the region. BSRF-11 will be operating as a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force until September of this year.
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