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Corporals practice sword manual during the practical application portion of Combat Logistics Battalion 7's Corporals Leadership Course at the Protestant Chapel here Feb. 12. The course included garrison training, such as sword and guidon manual, and also taught the students to be leaders while deployed or in field environments.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

CLB-7 trains new leaders at Corporals Course

5 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

Combat Logistics Battalion 7’s Corporals Leadership Course graduated at the Protestant Chapel Feb 26. The graduation of Class 11-10 marked the conclusion of the first iteration of the new course, which began Feb. 8.

“CLB-7 has many newly promoted corporals, and we do not receive many quotas to send them to Camp Pendleton’s course,” said Gunnery Sgt. Steven F. Bilderain, the chief instructor for the course. “So the battalion decided to establish a corporals course which would not only develop young corporals, but also strengthen the battalion’s noncommissioned officer core.”

The course began with 40 corporals representing more than 15 military occupational specialties within the battalion and lasted for 14 training days.

Throughout the training cycle, the students gained insight on key facets of their grade and responsibilities to be prepared to take on future leadership challenges during the course, including combat conditioning, classroom instruction, practical application, student outlines, and personal examples and experiences given by the instructors.

“The material used in the course is standardized throughout the Marine Corps through the Enlisted Professional Military Education branch,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Prince, the staff NCO in charge for the course.

In June, the Training and Education Command released the materials for command-sponsored corporal’s courses, gearing them toward small-unit combat leadership rather than Marine Corps traditions.

“From what I have heard and seen, this new curriculum for corporals course is a lot more combat related than the old one,” said Cpl. Juan P. Moronta, a squad leader in the course, and native of Salt Lake City. “Today we had improvised explosive device classes, and will be going through unit tactics, techniques and procedures, which is definitely important since we are a logistics battalion and encounter a lot of those things when we conduct convoys in country.”

According to the TECOM curriculum, the CLC is designed to emphasize to newly promoted corporals that promotion to their new rank not only identifies them as small-unit leaders within their commands, but as leaders of Marines. This intent does not only apply to the newly promoted corporals, but also the corporals who have held the rank for more than a year.

“I have been a corporal for almost two years and there’s things that I just don’t know, things that I was never taught which they teach you in corporals course,” said Cpl. Deryk R. Elder, a fire team leader in the course, and a native of Holly Springs, N.C. “Things like sword manual and the expectations Marines have of corporals have always been brought up but never been taught to me before now.”

CLC is defined by TECOM as a professional military education program for corporals, which places emphasis on basic leadership skills.

“Leadership starts at the NCO, corporal, level,” said Prince, a native of Cedar City, Utah. “To deny corporals the opportunity to attend a PME because of a lack of time, lack of room at another course or operational commitments are not excuses for getting Marines trained.

“As for the mission of CLB-7, this course will enhance the small-unit leadership that is sometimes lacking at the lower levels in a unit,” Prince added.

To more effectively demonstrate leadership to the students, the course was taught by the SNCOs of CLB-7 who have lead small-units and volunteered their time away from their work sections to help develop our young NCOs, said Staff Sgt. Peter A. Cruz, the company gunnery sergeant for the course.

“The most important thing students should take from this course is confidence in themselves and the moral courage to carry our long standing traditions of leadership,” added Cruz, a native of Chicago.

The skills and knowledge corporals gain from the course is not only important to their success in and outside of the Marine Corps, but also to CLB-7 and the Marine Corps as a whole.

“The success and future of the Marine Corps relies on this generation of Marines,” said Bilderain, a native of Fontana, Calif.

Prince said the frequency of the CLB-7 corporals course has not yet been determined, but Bilderain hopes it takes place at least twice a year.

For units which would like to start their own Corporals Leadership Course, the course material can be obtained at https://www.intranet.tecom.usmc.mil/sites/epme/corporals/default.aspx, a Common Access Card-enabled Web site, and checked quarterly for course updates. Units’ sergeants major or senior enlisted leaders should contact Gunnery Sgt. Christopher O. Gold, the Enlisted Professional Military Education branch corporal’s course coordinator, at 432-5290 to obtain testing materials and graduation certificates.

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