Training to be a Corporal

Photo Credit: Romney Smith

As marines work on getting promoted, many choose to take a class to sharpen their skills by taking a Corporal's Course.

Seventeen marines participated in 'Sword and Guidon Class' as part of a training process to prepare themselves to be promoted to the rank of corporal. Staff Sergeant Daniel Walters taught the course and says they have one goal during training. "Our job is to turn them into small unit leaders. So in order for them to be able to be small unit leaders they have to be proficient with the guidon and the sword because these are going to be the marines that units look to" says Walters.

Marines say during training it's important to understand the instructor and plan ahead. "I need to be listening and make sure I know what that next movement is. So that's kind of what I try to think. Sometimes I'll be like 'Ow this hurts', but generally it's a thinking man's game and you have to know the move your on, and what's the next move that you can do. If I'm at 'present sword' the only next option is 'order sword'. So I have to know that and from there I can do 'parade rest' or 'carry sword' so I have to know what are my options from this movement and that's kind of what you need to do as you do these drills" says Corporal Lewis Marcus.

Practice includes a lot of repetition and can last anywhere from one to two hours at a time. Trainers say the repetition builds muscle memory and allows the marine to feel more comfortable with the movements, which will eventually lead to precise execution during a ceremony.

If a marine happens to mess up during training, leaders say it's important for them to commit to the movement because it teaches them to maintain military bearings. They say it's important to stick to the move because if you correct yourself the accident becomes more obvious.

Leaders train marines proper military bearings with repetitive movements until the drill becomes second nature. "It's to build that muscle memory, it's to instill that confidence in the unit leader, so that when they go back, not only are they able to execute that, they can be those marines that the command looks to â" to teach, mentor and coach junior marines" says Walters.

"It's our job to train them so that when they go back to their units they're not the same marine they were when they came here" says Walters.

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