MARINE CORPS AIR CORPS AIR Station -- Two sailors graduated from Corporals Course 8-05 with 22 Marines Friday at the station theater.
Petty Officers 3rd Class Jesse Edwards and Alejandro Hernandez, station dental technicians, are the first sailors to participate in the station's corporals course, which is a 10-day school that gives new noncommissioned officers the opportunity to learn what it takes to be proficient leaders of subordinates.
"It's a course that Marines have to prepare for and be ready for," said Gunnery Sgt. Larry Johns, corporals course administrator. "It challenges their leadership abilities and skills and gets them into positions to do things that they've never done before."
Johns said Edwards and Hernandez set the bar high for other sailors who will go through the course.
Edwards, a Lapeer, Mich. native, showed that sailors can be just as hard core as Marines, said Johns.
"Petty Officer Edwards did awesome on the Marine Corps (physical fitness test) and at drill. He out-drilled and out-ran many Marines," he explained. "A lot of Marines have the impression that just because they're sailors, they're not as strong as we are. But this goes to show that they can be just as strong as we are."
Hernandez was also recognized as an outstanding performer by Johns, who said the Tucson, Ariz., native won the Inspiration Award during the course.
"It's an award for not only having a lot of heart, but being able to encourage, motivate and inspire the other members of the class," explained Johns.
Cpl. Craig MacKinnen, course honor graduate, agreed that the sailors performed outstandingly and said he found it rewarding to work with them.
"Working with the sailors was great. They did better than some of the Marines, and they deserve to be here as much as we do," MacKinnen explained. "I made very good friends with both of them, and hope more sailors will start attending the corporals course."
Edwards said that all sailors should get the opportunity to work closely with Marines in the same type of environment as the corporals course. Although they wear different uniforms, Marines and sailors alike took the same basic ideas from the course.
"Leadership the whole thing's about leadership, and that's what I'm taking from this course. I'm going to be a better leader when I get back to my section," said Edwards.
"I'm going to use a lot of the things I learned here," said MacKinnen, a Plantation, Fla. native. "A lot of NCOs don't understand their role as leaders in the Marine Corps, but this course shows it to them. After the course, it's up to each individual to use what they learned."