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How to be a Marine: A refresher course - Yuma graduates first Lance Corporal’s Course

By Cpl. Pete Zrioka | | February 18, 2010

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The first class of Lance Corporal’s Course held at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., graduated Feb. 12, 2010.

The graduating class of 16 Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Marines were the first to attend the course, which was a trial run for future classes.

The intent of Lance Corporal’s Course is not to prepare junior enlisted for Corporal’s Course, or to teach them to be a leader. Rather, the course aims to teach young Marines how to be Marines, giving them a strong foundation of morals and values on which to build on.

Through guided discussion and lectures, the five-day course covered a range of topics including finances, relationships, time management, even society and youth of today, said Sgt. Renard Dominique, course director and instructor.

“There’s a lot more of talking with them, rather than to them,” said Cpl. Andrew Barrett, course instructor.

Outside the classroom, course participants learned about physical training, uniform inspections, mock promotion boards and basic drill. A final evaluation encompassed basic Corps knowledge and history, as well as regulations and orders.

“I look at it as a ‘Marine 101,’” said Sgt. Maj. William Wiseman, squadron sergeant major, who spearheaded the course’s formation. “What this course is meant to do is help that Marine receive, filter and retain positive influence. And ultimately help them discern the value of right and wrong.”

Wiseman identified the need for the course through problems he observed in his squadron.

“People don’t want to be Marines anymore – they want to be employed, and they want to be left alone,” said Wiseman. “And I take issue with that.”

"We just can’t sit idly by and do nothing," said Wiseman. "We’ve got Corporal’s Course, Sergeant’s Course and Staff Academy – we need to start earlier. Right now, for about two years, lance corporals are stagnant without professional military education. Sure, they can do Marine Corps Institute courses, but they need interaction with their leadership."

On top of all the other topics covered in the course, Wiseman also held a guided discussion with the class.

He talked about how the Marine Corps isn’t just what it is today, but what it’ll be tomorrow, and how junior Marines can pave the way for the future, said Lance Cpl. Zachary Plucas, Installation Personnel Administration Center administration clerk and course student.

The next course is slated to begin Feb. 22.

“This whole course is in its infancy. Through sheer repetition, we’re going to get a lot better,” said Wiseman. “Once we start getting feedback from the lance corporals, and find out what they want to hear and what they can use, we’ll get a pulse check and open it up to the base.”


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