MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
The commandant announced that by 2012, attending a corporals course will be required before Marines can be promoted to sergeant.
However, with more than 20 percent of the enlisted force being corporals, the Corps is slated to make a nonresident corporals course that a will allow Marines who don’t have the opportunity to attend a command-sponsored course to still be eligible under the new requirements.
“Noncommissioned officers have long been known as the backbone of the Marine Corps,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway in All Marine Message 26/10. “It is our duty to ensure we provide these Marines every education opportunity, yet there is a gap in the professional military education continuum for our corporals.”
The gap stems from the requirements already in place for those being promoted to corporal and from sergeant to staff sergeant.
Per Marine Administrative Message 391/07, lance corporals have to complete the Leading Marines course and sergeants need to complete a resident sergeants course or the nonresidential sergeants course MCI.
While there is still no requirement for corporal to sergeant, command-sponsored corporals courses have undergone an overhaul after the release of MarAdmin 375/09, which announced the standardization of the course throughout the Corps.
The standardization included making the course three weeks long and geared it toward small-unit combat leadership instead of drill and tradition.
In addition, according to AlMar 26/10, more corporals course locations have been set up at staff NCO academies in order to assist commands in course execution. However, because these locations can only support a limited number, only corporals courses conducted at the regiment or group level for active duty units and battalion or squadron level for reserve units will be able to attend the course at these additional locations.
“The more you know, the less expendable you become,” said Sgt. Maj. William Wiseman, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major. “If you don’t empower these young Marines with information and knowledge, they won’t be able to execute it. You give them the tools to get in front of their Marines to teach, then you’re fostering the leadership.”