NORFOLK, Virginia (April 3, 2014) – Lance corporals from across the Hampton Roads area partook in a unique opportunity to participate in the beta test for the new and developing Lance Corporals Leadership and Ethics Seminar at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM) from 17 to 21 March.
The seminar is a professional military education (PME) program founded on Marine Corps leadership doctrine with the goal of developing the Marine Corps’ largest rank population, lance corporals, into ethical leaders.
“We promote 42,000 lance corporals per year in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Jones, command sergeant major, MARFORCOM. “That’s a big number and the right investment is being made right here.”
The seminar addressed a myriad of institutional topics relying heavily on the Leading Marines and Sustaining the Transformation publications to guide topics and small group discussions through the week.
“I thought it was a very good refresher course on why we joined the Marine Corps and why the Marine Corps is the way it is,” said Lance Cpl. Kristi Roth a maintenance administration Marine with Medium Helicopter Squadron 774.
The week began with an introduction from Col. Paul Ryan and Sgt. Maj. Eugene Lawson, the commanding officer and sergeant major for MARFORCOM’s Headquarters and Service Battalion after which, the lance corporals were broken down into small groups of 10 students for every two seminar leaders. The small groups used book and article discussions, scenario-based learning, brainstorming and peer teaching and role playing activities with the lance corporals’ input being the primary focus of all activities.
According to Sgt. Maj. Laura Brown, the Lance Corporal Leadership Seminar Project Manager, the course is an opportunity for lance corporals to reinvigorate themselves while they reinforce corps values and leadership styles and traits. The course also helps them refine important skillsets like communication skills, personal resiliency, and problem solving.
“I think it will help because it got me more motivated to be an NCO (noncommissioned officer),” said Roth, a Grand Rapids, MI native. “I want to lead other Marines and get other lance corporals to be motivated as well.”
As the week progressed, topics ranged from fundamentals of Marine Corps leadership to Marine Total fitness and were guided by sergeants from each of the units throughout the Hampton Roads area.
“I loved the course,” said Sgt. Steven Coster, a quality assurance representative with Marine Air Training Support Group 33. “Everything in this course is useful for all Marines, I wish I had had this when I was a lance corporal.”
The seminar wrapped up with the students implementing all of their gained knowledge by addressing various scenarios centered on societal concerns such as sexual assault, suicide and substance abuse.
The seminar at MARFORCOM was the fourth iteration of the beta testing phase. The program is scheduled to go live Marine Corps wide in June 2014.