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Photo Information

Marines attending the 10th Marine Regiment’s Lance Corporal Ethics and Leadership Seminar listen to their instructor, Sgt. Devin E. Greer, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., as he describes the qualities in a leader of Marines, Jan. 13, 2015. The instructor served as a guide while the Marines discussed what each of the qualities -- inspiration, technical proficiency, and moral responsibility -- meant to them. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Olivia McDonald/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Olivia McDonald

Lance Corporal Seminar: Instilling leadership skills in future NCOs

19 Jan 2015 | Lance Cpl Olivia McDonald 2nd Marine Division

Whispers begin around the U-shaped table in break-out room No. 2 of building 516 as team members race to find the correct answer during a modified game of Family Feud. Mock scenarios detailed by the host were given to question the actions of a good leader.

The friendly competition, which was part of 10th Marine Regiment’s Lance Corporal Ethics and Leadership Seminar, challenged the Marines on their knowledge of Marine Corps leadership traditions, Jan. 12-16 aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The week-long seminar allowed the Marines’ to step away from their day-to-day jobs and focus on the basics of Marine Corps leadership. Difficult situations that test a Marine’s morals and ethics were examined for the best resolution made at the lowest level, in this case by a lance corporal.

“Even as a lance corporal, I can lead,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas G. Williams, a cannoneer with Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “We were taught leadership is an act, not a position. I think sometimes we forget that.”

Marine Corps leadership traits, qualities, characteristics and styles were reintroduced during the week-long seminar as a bridge between what is taught in boot camp to the progression of leadership skills taught at Corporals Course.

“This course reminds us not only to do our specific job but to fully understand our role as a Marine,” said Williams. “It redirected our moral compasses with the goal to send us back out to our units as better Marines. Courses such as this, I believe, are essential for becoming better Marines as our goal is always to know ourselves and to seek self-improvement.”

The foundation the Marine Corps prides itself on is what builds its Marines. The seminar emphasized this goal of developing ethically and morally driven leaders. “We talk about what concerns us as Marines: mind, body, spirit and social concerns,” said Sgt. Jerome J. Caruthers, an instructor with the regiment’s leadership school. “These four are like a rope, and if one of the strands were to weaken, the overall is not as strong as it could be. Physical fitness leads to mental wellness, which leads to confidence; they all tie together.”

The MarineNet “Leading Marines Distance Education Program” course is mandatory for all lance corporals to complete in order to be eligible for promotion, but there is something an online course cannot provide according to Caruthers.

It’s that mentor, claims Caruthers. It’s a necessary two-step process; the online course making them think and the seminar reinforcing it through real-life experiences.

“You can’t just put on corporal chevrons and become a leader overnight,” said Caruthers. “I think it is important to start early so they can practice being strong leaders and then build upon that [at Corporals Course].”

This was the third Lance Corporal Ethics and Leadership Seminar the regiment has graduated. Beginning next fiscal year, the resident lance corporal and corporal course will become mandatory to be eligible for promotion to the next rank.

“When I go back I will be more focused on my peers. In the past I think I’ve been more worried about myself,” said Williams. “Now I have a clearer image of what my responsibility is as a lance corporal: to lead my peers. If we can all have this mentality we can all become the corporals we should be one day.”