MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Fall in!
With that command, another corporal begins his drill evaluation. It is a culmination of days of practicing command voice and drill movements. And it brings him one step closer to graduating from Fightertown’s Corporal’s School.
For the current group of students, Class 6-06, the intense, 22-day training cycle ends today with their graduation ceremony at the Air Station theater.
“You come here to become a more well-rounded noncommissioned officer,” said Sgt. Jason Murphy, the Corporal’s School chief instructor. “We give you all the tools you need when you leave here, and you are 1,000 times different and 100 percent better.”
Corporal’s School gives new noncommissioned officers, and occasionally a motivated lance corporal, the tools they need to effectively lead Marines. It also reinforces skills learned in recruit training.
“It’s good to come back and learn those little things that start to slip when you’re not doing them everyday,” said Cpl. Joshua Langham, an aviation electrician with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 and class commander for 6-06. “Corporal’s School is definitely a fine-tuning school. Everyone gets here and thinks they know what they’re talking about. Then they find out how little they really know.”
The course aboard Fightertown is longer than any other corporal’s school in the Marine Corps, according to Murphy.
“If you go to any other corporal course it’s 10 training days or 12 calendar days,” Murphy said. “Here, you get a lot of time to go over everything you’re taught. We get a lot more into detail; we have in-depth classes and more student-instructor time. At other schools you are force-fed the information. It’s know this, know this, know this. All of a sudden, you know it, you get by and you go home ”
During the course, the Marines are taught everything from sword manual and close order drill to bearing and discipline. The Marines even get a chance to train in the field, practicing land navigation and taking on a paintball evolution, according to Murphy.
The typical day starts at 5:30 a.m., when the students arrive for a two hour PT session that begins at 6 a.m. Following a short recovery period after PT, the students then go through two hours of drill. After chow comes classes and tests, according to Murphy.
“First off, we teach time hacks.” Murphy said. “If they are late, then we take other courses of action to make sure they are on time for everything.”
The best way to get through the rigorous course is to work as a team, according to Langham.
“When we first got here we started to cheese it,” Langham said. “As time went by we became a finely tuned machine. We started working together a lot better.”
Any Marine who plans on making the Marine Corps a career, or who wants to be a more effective NCO should attend the class, according to Langham.
“Definitely any Marine who has the chance should come out here,” Langham said. “You should always be looking for that next rank.”
To sign up for Corporal’s School, a Marine must go to their unit S-3 office and fill out the required paperwork.
While attending the course is not required to pick up sergeant, it definitely helps, according to Murphy.
“It shows initiative,” Murphy said of Marines who take the class. “It shows they want to improve themselves. You can still pick up sergeant without it. But if you go on a board, and you’ve gone through Corporal’s School and the other Marine hasn’t, you’ll win the board.”