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Spartans conduct Agoge team leader assessment course

13 May 2011 | By Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Marines from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, conducted their yearly Spartan “Agoge” training to pick and assess its team leaders aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 9-15, 2011.

The purpose of the training was to send its senior lance corporals and new noncommissioned officers through a series of exercises to evaluate and pick the battalion’s team leaders for their upcoming deployment.

“Currently the Marine Corps lacks a fireteam leader course, so battalions like ours take it upon themselves to train their team leaders,” said 1st Lt. Matthew D. Alvis, the executive officer for Weapons Company, 2/6. “The expectations of this course are for the squad leaders to know what to expect out of their team leaders, so we can move on to Ft. Pickett for our squad evaluation.”

The name “Agoge” comes from the ancient military education school mandated for all male citizens within the Greek city-state of Sparta.

“Our call sign as a battalion is ‘The Spartans’ so we based our training on the ancient Spartan Agoge academy,” said Alvis. “We’re trying to stick with that ethos through our combat conditioning and even through the course itself.”

The course touched on everything from offensive and defensive drills, proper terrain models, patrols and land navigation. Eighty of the approximately 100 Marines participating in these drills are scheduled to be awarded fireteam billets.

“All the Marines out here rotate between each fireteam billet throughout the course so they can later go back and teach their own Marines,” said Alvis. “The Marines out here are graded by their peers first and later by their squad leaders.”

Though every Marine is important to the battalion, the team leaders and squad leaders have a massive amount of responsibility and pressure put on their shoulders. Every small unit leader must be an outstanding Marine with higher judgment and extraordinary capabilities.

“I’ve learned a lot so far since going through this course,” said Lance Cpl. Mark D. McCloskey, a vehicle commander with Combined Anti-Armored Platoon, Weapons Company. “I can definitely see how this course is beneficial within the battalion.”