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Marines in paradise: Sandsharks exercise leadership, tactical skills

By Cpl. Kyle Davidson | | December 6, 2001

A detachment of roughly 30 Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron-371 left for Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Monday, to participate in a three-week-long squad leaders' course run by the 3d Marine Regiment stationed there.The course is designed to expand on the tactics Marines learn in recruit training and Marine Combat Training Ñ such as land navigation and weapons handling Ñ plus give junior noncommissioned officers and non-NCOs the opportunity to exercise and expand their leadership.According to 1st Lt. Adan Maldonado, MWSS-371 officer-in-charge of the deploying detachment, having his Marines familiarize themselves with these tactics is not a bad idea, considering current world situations."One of the missions of an MWSS is to provide rear area security for the air station ...in order to do that, we need to be spun up on the tactics taught out at the squad leaders' course," Maldonado said.The detachment is made up of Marines from each section within MWSS-371. The Marines on this deployment have already shown a desire to perform at a higher level within their shops. Maldonado said that is why they were chosen to go."I asked all the sections to give me a list of their best junior NCO, senior lance corporal performers who showed leadership initiative, to give them the chance to expand their leadership," said Maldonado.The Marines will be spending most of the time in the field, receiving classes on how to throw a grenade, how to use a compass, and even some nuclear, biological and chemical training."I want to replenish my land (navigation) skills, sharpen them up," said Lance Cpl. Ramiro Hurtado, MWSS-371 detachment embarkation representative for the deployment. He and Lance Cpl. Javier Ortega, also an embarkation representative, said they were excited to get the course underway, but, Ortega said he has a more brutal goal in mind for when he is at the course."I want a lot of confirmed kills in the Paintball game at the end of the course," Ortega joked.The Marines did not take much in the means of equipment."Each Marine will be taking an ALICE pack and a sea bag," said Ortega prior to departing. The only other gear the detachment took beside Meals Ready to Eat was communication equipment. Everything else they need is being supplied there."It's a pretty simple deployment, but it seems like a lot of good training," Ortega said.Maldonado explained, while at the course, he and the other staff NCOs that are going in charge of the detachment plan on stepping back and placing all the decision making responsibility on the Marines."I want them to come back more confident, decisive and enforced that noncommissioned officers are a critical link as the backbone of the Marine Corps," Maldonado stated.The detachment is slated to return before Christmas.
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