MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Staff sergeants from different units with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing attended Committed and Engaged Staff Sergeant Professional Military Education aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., April 22 – 24.
The three-day course is part of Maj. Gen. Steven Busby’s, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, Committed and Engaged Leadership initiative. It allowed participants to get away from the work environment and into the field.
They made camp near the gas chamber on East Miramar to cut down on distractions while completely immersing themselves in the topics presented to them.
Some of these topics included leadership discussions and sharing different tools of the trade for how to be a committed staff sergeant in the modern Marine Corps.
“We’re here to reinforce what they already know by getting them to discuss things amongst their peers,” said Master Sgt. William Cashmore, a mentor for the course with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373. “We’re here to facilitate and guide them in their discussions, not to teach them. They’re teaching each other and providing each other tools they might need for any given situation.”
Cashmore compared leadership to a football team. A football team needs practice to play perfectly, and even if the team runs a certain play thousands of times, they still run it over and over again. Perfect practice makes perfect – and to Cashmore, being a leader takes practice.
“To become a better leader, you have to continually practice and learn the skills you need; it never really stops,” said Cashmore. “Growth as a leader stops when you chose not to open your mind up to new possibilities or tactics.”
For some, growth had already begun, despite it being the first day of the PME course.
“I like the open forum discussions we have here at the course; it makes it so that we can sit down and talk about a topic, important not just to us, but to our Marines and our Corps,” said Staff Sgt. James Timmins, operations chief with Marine Attack Squadron 211. “This course has kind of reawakened the drive to mentor and guide my Marines using some of the techniques I’ve learned here, because in the end, it’s not just about me. It’s about the Marines I’m training to take my place when I’m gone. I’m paying it forward so they have what they need to succeed and make the Marine Corps even greater.”
The successful first day seemed to ignite the spirits of the staff noncommissioned officers as they shared their personal experiences and committed themselves to learning from one another, Cashmore described.
“For the Marine Corps to continue to exist and grow, you need to have professional, ethical leaders who will continue on the traditions of our Corps,” said Cashmore. “The moment we stop these traditions, the outside world will see that and they will lose trust in us. Without that trust, there is no Corps. That’s why we are continuing to pass on these ethical traits to these junior staff noncommissioned officers through means like this – so that they will pass them on into the future.”
Participants are scheduled to graduate April 24 and return to their respective shops where they can begin anew to lead their Marines using techniques they learned – striving to guide their Marines and Corps into greatness.