ABOARD USS GERMANTOWN -- Nineteen corporals proudly received their Corporals Course diplomas Sept. 18 during a commencement ceremony held while the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) journeyed across the Pacific. The ceremony, which took place in a small room, was packed with supporters from the Marines' unit.
Corporals Course 1-03, which began Sept. 3, was comprised of Marines from MEU Service Support Group 13, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Reinforced) and Battalion Landing Team 1/1. The Marines were taught basic leadership skills, Marine Corps drill, counseling techniques, force protection Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training and English composition.
Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey A. Morin, 13th MEU sergeant major, a guest speaker at the event, shared his perspective of Marine Corps leadership to the young leaders.
"It's okay to struggle," said Morin, referring to the struggles many young corporals face as they take on their new responsibilities as noncommissioned officers. "It's okay to be intimidated, but never stop trying. Stay dedicated; you earned those stripes for a reason. The tools you learned from this course will make you that much more effective."
According to Gunnery Sgt. Kennis E. Walden, Group gunnery sergeant, MSSG-13 and chief instructor of the course, the rank of corporal is the beginning of a leadership role.
"It is critical that they start off with the tools and knowledge (they need) to make them effective leaders," said Walden.
According to class honor graduate Cpl. Seth R. Hopper, ground radio repairman, MSSG-13, the course was important because it provided him with enough basic information to establish his own leadership style.
"I thought the course was extremely well thought out," said Hopper, who graduated the class with an average of 96.7 percent and was awarded a Letter of Commendation for his performance. "The faculty was well picked and the classes were informative and openers."
According to 22-year-old Hopper, what he liked most about the course was how it taught him different leadership styles to choose from.
"I learned many things from the course," said Hopper, "but to me, the most important thing I took from the course was as a noncommissioned officer, I now have a greater responsibility both to my Marines and the Marines I serve under."