Sailor completes Corporal's School as Class Commander;

19 Jan 2001 | LCpl. Daniel Richardson

Corporal's School graduated a new wave of young leaders into the fleet 22 Dec.

Only this class, that graduated 36 Marines and one Sailor, was the first aboard the Air Station to graduate with a Navy class commander.

During Corporals' School, the service member with the most time in grade is appointed class commander until he or she is unable to perform the duties required.  In this case, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Charles Johnson of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 was appointed class commander having more than three years time in grade.

As with every class commander, Johnson was offered the opportunity to step down, but wanting to prove he had what it took, quickly refused, said SSgt. Donald Senft, Staff Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of Corporal's School.

"I commend him for taking the challenge," said Senft, "He did a great job becoming part of the team."

"I was representing MALS-31," said Johnson, "I couldn't let them down."

Johnson, eager to learn, willingly volunteered to attend Corporals' School. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 allowed him the opportunity to better prepare him as a leader.

"I thought by completing Corporals' School, the younger Marines might look at me and say, 'Hey, he made it through the Corporals' Course,"  said Johnson, "Rather than, ' Oh, he's just Navy."

The school's main objective is to better Marines and Sailors professionally through three training series.  The first series implements basic military subjects, the second instills leadership traits and the third teaches war fighting techniques.

According to Second Squad Instructor Sgt. Corey Guthrie, students leave Corporals' School with the self-confidence needed to be successful leaders. 

"It's a completely new learning phase for Marines and in this case Sailors," said Guthrie, "Most of the time this is their first time away from their unit in a professional learning environment."

Throughout the course, students are pushed to the limit, especially through the physical requirements, which Johnson had to adapt to.

"I thought I was in pretty good shape,' said Johnson, "But I didn't realize I was going to be evaluated according to Marine physical fitness standards."

Johnson admitted he could not have led his Marines to graduation day had it not been for their own dedication and commitment to excellence.

"It was a battle from day one for me," said Johnson, "I definitely would've fallen on my face without the help of my brothers."

"He was quite at first, but after learning his responsibilities as class commander, he was on top of his game," said Cpl. Joe Pratt, one of Johnson's fellow classmates.

"After completing Corporal's School, I feel the Navy should implement a similar course for Third Class Petty Officers, said Johnson, "Thanks to the course, I feel confident both in my self and in my leadership skills."