Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras –
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras—Three Joint Task Force-Bravo Soldiers attended a Corporal’s Course hosted by the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Oct. 22 through Nov. 1.
Corporal’s Course is a leadership class designed to help the Marine Corps’ newest noncommissioned officers as they step up to take on more responsibilities.
“What this course is able to do is embed all of the leadership traits of the Marine Corps into our corporals,” said Sgt. Erik DeMay, course faculty advisor. “We want to make sure as corporals they start off on the right path.”
A Marine corporal is a little different than an Army corporal, however.
“Being a corporal in the Army, is not the same as in the Marines,” said Corporal Luis Febus Pagan, Joint Security Forces desk sergeant and one of the course students. “In the Marines, they only have corporals as E-4s, in the Army we also have specialists so we are hand-selected by our leadership.”
Army corporals are laterally-promoted from specialists to fill the role of an NCO as their units need. Although they do not rise in grade, they still take on more responsibility and leadership roles than their peers.
During the course the students learn drill and leadership skills and are put to the test mentally and physically.
Febus said prior to entering the course he expected a lot of physical training and was nervous due to the Marine Corps having the highest fitness standards of any branch. He also said he was surprised to learn the Marines have a variety of jobs and are not just combat-oriented.
“Now I know they don’t only eat crayons,” Febus joked.
Despite the class being focused around the corps, the Soldiers still felt that they grew as leaders.
“If you’re a parent, you already know your son is going to look at you as a mentor,” said Febus. “It’s the same thing being an NCO, (when) you have Soldiers you have to live the Army values and have integrity because you never know when a Soldier is watching you.”
The Soldiers said they would recommend the course to other corporals and wanted to thank their leadership for the opportunity to join the class.
“I’m not just a Soldier now,” said Israel Acosta, JSF bike patrolman and course student. “I have people in my charge who are looking up to me. I have to be a better Soldier, there’s people looking at me like, ‘How is this NCO doing? How is his PT? How does he conduct himself?’ That’s a huge responsibility for me.”