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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
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Corporal Colby Staples, a Corporals Course student, storms his way across the pool with his rubber M16 during the Combat Logistics Battalion 7-sponsored Corporals Course swim qualification at the Combat Center’s Training Tank Monday.

Photo by Lannce Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Course tests corporals' water survival skills

20 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Instructors with the Combat Logistics Battalion 7-sponsored Corporals Course gave an everyday physical training session new purpose when they changed their pool time PT to swim qualification.

"Swim qual is one of those items that is on the training list that is hard to get your training in, so we thought we would help the units out by doing a swim qual while we have them at Corporals Course," said Gunnery Sgt. Christine Britt, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the course.

The instructors also aimed to take advantage of the group's competitive nature.

"When they are out here with their fellow corporals, and they see somebody they thought was weaker than them, they go do a level two," Britt said. "This is their age group, their peers. We are hoping that being in their own setting is going to encourage them to do more and better."

Once the students decided to try for a higher qualification level, there was no turning back or changing their minds. "We don't let them get out," Britt said. "They are not allowed to quit, and it is not just the instructors. Mostly fellow students, if they see someone is having a hard time, they will jump in to try to help them get through it, both mentally and physically."

Instructors said because of the swim qualification and the Corporals Course in general, units will not only get back a more confident corporal, but a leader with more than the average swim qualification experience, who know how to push themselves to their water survival limits.

"When it comes time for their company to do swim qual, they'll be able to give examples, advice on how to make it easier for themselves and support to their subordinates," said Cpl. Donavon Leeder, a Corporals Course student.

The Corporals Course is scheduled to graduate Sept. 24 at the Combat Center's Sunset Cinema at 9 a.m.

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms