Bravo Battery Marines Tour Washington


Marines with Bravo Battery, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, packed their bags and headed to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., for a lesson on Marine Corps history and a tour of the nation’s capital, Dec. 15-19.

According to 1st Sgt. Wesley O. Turner, the first sergeant for Bravo Battery, the trip was designed to give the battery’s Marines a chance to learn about the lineage of Marines past and to honor the sacrifice of previous generations of service members.

“The trip was designed to give the Marines background on their history and put it into perspective,” said Turner, a native of Kansas City, Mo. “Each day of the trio was intended to teach the Marines something different.”

During the trip, the Marines of the battery occupied a squad bay at the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School at Quantico. After claiming their racks and sorting out their gear, they prepared for day one, which included tackling the Tarzan Course at OCS.

According to Capt. Konrad N. Reese, commanding officer of Bravo Battery, the course gave the junior leaders within the battery a chance to challenge their Marines and build camaraderie.

“We chose to have the Marines take on the course to build unit cohesion and assess their mental courage,” said Reese. “Nothing makes a Marine more willing to overcome their fears than having everyone he knows cheering him on.”

The Tarzan Course was a blast, said Pfc. Isaac E. Moir, a gunner with the battery.

“The course wasn’t a cake walk,” said Moir, a native of Aurora, Colo. “Once you make it to around the half way point there is very little feeling left in your forearms. However, for me, the best part was after I finished and watching everyone else’s different approaches to the obstacles and cheering them on.”

On day two, the Marines visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps, outside the main gate of the Crossroads of the Marine Corps, as Quantico is known. According to Sgt. Anthony J. Zeitz, a section with 2nd Platoon, the visit gave the Marines a chance to learn about and view the history of the Corps and help give perspective to the junior leaders within the battery.

“I think for many of the Marines, myself included, going to the museum brought out who we are as Marines and reignited the flame that inspired us to join,” said Zeitz, a native of Olcott, N.Y.

During the third day, the Marines visited Arlington National Cemetery and toured the National Mall.

At the nation’s cemetery for service members, the Marines trod hallowed ground where more than 400 thousand service members are buried. During the tour, the battery’s Marines viewed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a living monument to the sacrifice of service members across the generations, and stood solemnly during a burial ceremony.

“Visiting the cemetery opened my eyes,” said Moir. “It’s one thing to hear how many lives were lost but it is and completely jaw dropping to see it. It was an intense atmosphere.”

After touring the cemetery, the Marines explored the other monuments and memorials around the National Capital Region, a city rich with history, said Zeitz.

“A lot of guys bonded over the memorials,” said Zeitz. “Many of the Marines had family who fought in pervious wars but didn’t know about it until then.”

On the final day of the trip, the Marines visited Marine Barracks Washington, home of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. A special tour guide, First Lady of the Marine Corps Ellyn Dunford, explained the history and significance of the installation at 8th and I.

“The tour was amazing,” said Zeitz. “The house is full of history and Mrs. Dunford explaining everything to us, which made the experience even more unique.”

According to Reese, the battery’s leaders see the benefits of connecting their Marines to the past and providing a link to the Corps’ history and hope to make similar trips in the future.

“I believe the trip had a great impact on the Marines,” said Reese. “Our goal now is to make this experience an annual event for the battery.”


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Marine Lieutenants Shoot For Self-Confidence

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – The Marine lieutenants completed their first live-fire range where they maneuvered downrange. Of the four field exercises they participate in during the six-month training cycle, this was the culminating event of the second.

“They [the students] blank fired last week and now they get to use the tactics and techniques they learned and integrate them with live fire while seeing the realism behind what they did,” said Capt. Robert Noxon, 2nd Platoon, staff platoon commander. “Today I want to see aggression out of them. More importantly, I want to see them more comfortable at the leadership position with the chaos of live fire, and really embrace what they are doing while using all the training they’ve gained up to this point.”

Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis 1st Lt. Bill Lining, fire team leader, practices squad movements during a field exercise at Range 5 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on March 21, 2014. The Basic School Marines will conduct four field exercises before graduating the six-month course. Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/122537/squads-students-shoot-self-confidence#.UzL5cqKcRsQ#ixzz2x5MM2jzf Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis
1st Lt. Bill Lining, fire team leader, practices squad movements during a field exercise at Range 5 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on March 21, 2014. The Basic School Marines will conduct four field exercises before graduating the six-month course.
Focused on squad-level tactics, the exercise gave Marines an opportunity to fire live rounds at responsive targets, which fall when hit.

“It’s been great,” said 1st Lt. Melissa Cooling, squad leader. “All the people in my platoon are great, and it’s really great to be here and learn what it is to be a Marine and learn how to lead Marines.”

According to Maj. Aaron Lenz, Bravo Co. commander, leading Marines can be intimidating which is why the TBS staff seeks to instill confidence in the lieutenants during the their time at TBS.

“They need to stand in front of their platoon and know their stuff,” said Lenz.

The way they need to establish themselves, as a leader, is knowledge and be confident in their abilities, said Lenz. This field exercise is one of the building blocks toward accomplishing that.

Correspondent: samuel.l.ellis@usmc.mil

Re-Enlistment Changes Take Effect


Along with hot summer days, fireworks, summer camps and pool parties, July ushers in other things also. For Marines, it brings the start of the re-enlistment season.

Sgt. Omar Caraballo Pietri, career planner aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, highlights changes that those re-enlisting or changing military occupational specialties (lateral moving) can expect this year.

“Marines have to meet re-enlistment prerequisites just like before,” said Caraballo Pietri. “But this year separates Marines with a tier system.”

Simply explained, Marines are categorized into four tiers, based on numbers from their physical fitness tests, combat fitness tests, performance and conduct marks, rifle range scores, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program belt levels and meritorious promotions.

First-term Marines are put into tiers based on averages compared against other first-time re-enlisters. Those who fall into the highest tier, Tier 1, will find their re-enlistment packages processed quickly, whether they are approved or denied; where Marines in Tiers 2 through 4 will have to wait longer.

“An average Marine is a Tier 3 Marine,” said Carabello Pietri. “The tier system is pretty much an incentive to help Marines keep their scores high.”

Marines re-enlisting in their current military occupational specialty or moving to a designated lateral move can submit their packages as early as July 1. Tier 1 Marines can expect results as soon as one week after the submission of their applications as opposed to other Marines who will have to wait longer. Tier 2-4 Marines in fast-filling military occupational specialties, administrative or motor transportation, may even have to wait until October to see results.

“No matter what tier a Marine is, I would encourage him to put in his package,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Brown, Headquarters and Service Bn. career planner. “Put your package in and let Headquarters Marine Corps make their decision. Do what you can now, like upgrading your MCMAP belt and doing well on the Combat Fitness Test.”

Along with the tier system, changes can also be found in preferences.

“Last year, Marines were required to choose a special duty assignment within their three duty station preferences,” said Carabello Pietri. “This year the requirements have been simplified to three duty stations of the Marine’s preference, without requiring a special duty assignment choice.”

With some preparation, Marines re-enlisting or changing jobs can find the process to be helpful with their transition.

“I think the tier system is great,” said Cpl. Jamel Smith, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the separations and retirements branch, Installation Personnel Administration Center. “I’ve had a relatively comfortable experience. It makes the Marine really push himself.”

Pfc. Samuel Ellis

Symbol Of Women Marines Dedicated At Marine Corps Museum


The Molly Marine statue erected in New Orleans in 1943 symbolizes different qualities to different people. Poise, professionalism, possibility, courage, commitment, faithfulness, sacrifice, honor and integrity were all terms invoked by speakers at the dedication of the replica of Molly now in place at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

But the statue has long had a personal meaning to Maj. Gen. Angela Salinas, director of the Manpower Management Division of Manpower and Reserve Affairs. She told the crowd gathered in the museum’s atrium July 5, 2013, of the 12-inch Molly Marine statue that was given to her on her graduation from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. in 1974. The sculpture was awarded to the female recruit who best exemplified the meaning of being a Marine.

Thirty-nine years later, Salinas is the highest-ranked female in the Marine Corps, and she said Molly has had a place in every office she’s occupied. “She stands as a constant reminder of my roots and the legacy that’s been entrusted to me,” she said, adding that the statuette gave her the confidence to reach beyond what she would have imagined herself doing.

“Molly connects our past with our present and gives us hope for the future,” Salinas said.

The original statue, depicting a young woman in uniform, head held high, holding a book and a pair of binoculars, was created to help recruit women during World War II. It was the country’s first monument of a female in service uniform. Other replicas stand at Parris Island and in front of the Gray Research Center aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps’ new Molly Marine statue stands among other Marine Corps legends in the museum’s Semper Fidelis Memorial Park. The statue was dedicated in a ceremony July 5, 2013. (Photo by Mike DiCicco)

Betty Moseley-Brown, president of the Women Marines Association, which was a major donor to the statue project, said Molly represents the courage and commitment that every female Marine exhibits when she leaves home to volunteer her service.

“We stand taller, we walk with a quicker step, we rest easier because of our service and the service of men and women today who are standing the watch,” said Moseley-Brown, who is a Marine Corps veteran.

“The revolutionary change in the role of women in our Marine Corps in the last 70 years is an important part of our history,” said retired Lt. Gen. Robert Blackman, president and CEO of Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, which supports the museum.

When he joined the Corps in 1970, there still wasn’t a female pilot in the entire service, and women only served at bases and stations, he said, noting that the military has now lifted a ban on women serving in combat.

Currently, about 13,000 of the Corps’ 203,000 Marines are women.

Dedicating the new statue, which stands among representations of other Marine Corps legends in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park beside the museum, Cmdr. Laura Bender, regimental chaplain of the Wounded Warrior Regiment, said, “We dedicate ourselves anew to all for which [Molly] stands.”

The statue was sponsored by the Women Marines Association, the Young Marines, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, and Capt. John Cusack and his daughter Sgt. Kristen Cusack.

New Dining Facility Dedicated At The Basic School

(Sue and I were aboard MCB Quantico when General Amos was there.
We were attending a L.I.N.K.S seminar a short distance away.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Patriotic music wafted from the Quantico Marine Corps Band. The Basic School was bustling with activity as its newest servant sat, ready to begin its post on June 27, 2013.

As various officers recognized the accomplishments of the late 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez, a new dining facility, named in his honor, was dedicated at TBS aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, greets family members of late 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez, during a dedication of Lopez Hall at The Basic School aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 27, 2013. The new dining facility was dedicated in honor of Lopez who was killed at Inchon, South Korea on September 15, 1950. Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/109577/new-dining-facility-dedicated-basic-school#.UdMqwZyrE1s#ixzz2Xv4JQCMD

“This is holy ground,” said Amos. “Lieutenants will walk by plaques, read the inscriptions and hope to be like Lt. Lopez.”

In September 1950, after scaling a South Korean seawall at Inchon, Lopez was hit by gunfire while attempting to throw a grenade. He dropped the grenade and fell to the ground. Due to his injuries, Lopez couldn’t grasp the grenade to throw it again. Instead, Lopez chose to absorb the blast himself, protecting his men.

“What caused him to lead those Marines,” asked Amos. “It began in his character and growing up at his house, but I would suspect he got those things that caused him to be such a great leader right here at The Basic School.”

The school that trains Marine officers to lead in combat situations welcomed its modern addition, filled with artifacts honoring Lopez’s memory and replacing a building that has served meals since 1958.

“We transfer the traditions found at O’Bannon Hall to this hall,” said Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, commanding officer of The Basic School. “Lopez Hall is adorned with items of personal and historical significance to Lt. Lopez.”

Naming buildings after Marines is not a light task, according to Amos, but dedicating buildings to Marines like the Medal of Honor recipient, Baldomero Lopez, is an honor.

“Why do we hang on to the stories [of past Marines] and keep them fresh in our minds,” wrote Ray Walker, former Marine who served with Lopez, in a letter. “Keeping stories alive will set the standard for new officers.”

Pfc. Samuel Ellis

Faculty Advisors Make Impact Throughout Marine Corps

In eight weeks, sergeants are molded, taught and influenced by faculty advisors from the Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico during one of six yearly Sergeants Courses.

Sergeants attending the course have graded assignments, attend roughly 30 classes and participate in physical fitness. The platoon of sergeants is divided into squads, each with it’s own faculty advisors to help lead small group discussions and to allow the Marines to open up and discuss their concerns.

“Our goal is for the sergeants to gain as much knowledge as possible,” said Gunnery Sgt. Alex Brown, faculty advisor, Sergeants Course, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. Knowledge is what makes a person better and makes a better Marine, he said.

Gunnery Sgt. Weinburg Allen, staff non-commissioned officer in charge, Sergeants Course, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, leads his platoon of sergeants during physical training at Sergeants Course

The course focuses on a broader learning method than Marines are given during Boot Camp, Marine Combat Training and Military Occupational School.

“They are adults, so they get treated and taught that way,” said Gunnery Sgt. Weinburg Allen, staff non-commissioned officer in charge, Sergeants Course, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. “The environment is supposed to make them feel relaxed and comfortable so they ask the questions they want answered.”

Each faculty advisor teaches five to six classes each cycle and are able to take their own approach to their designated topic.

“The idea is to have the sergeants learn from their advisors’ experiences, as well as, their peers in their classroom,” said Allen.

“They completely eliminate stress from the situation,” said Sgt. Mitchell Pirtle, motor vehicle operator, Fort Leonard Wood. “Eliminating the stress means more participation and group discussions.”

Sergeants Course also gives the sergeants a chance to interact with leadership other than their own.

“We are providing them with another outlook to things,” said Allen. “This course is designed for sergeants who have only been in their rank for about two years, so we are helping them to develop their Marine Corps knowledge, as well as, how to help their Marines make better life choices.”

Ethics is one of the main topics of the course.

“Your personal ethics might be different than the Marine Corps ethics,” said Brown. “But as a leader you have to learn how to make decisions based on the Marine Corps ethics and teach those under you how to do the same. They come here to make the next generation of Marines better but, in doing that, they are also bettering themselves.”

The faculty advisors also gain from each course.

“I don’t do this for the class gifts at the end of the course,” said Brown. “The biggest reward I receive is later on in a Marine’s career, when they make a point to send me an email or give me a call to tell me about the good things that are happening in their career.

“The fact that I made a big enough impact to have them contact me means more than anything else.”

How to Graduate from the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class

The Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer showed up at your college or university, told you about the Platoon Leaders Class program and you decided to join.


Now, as you get closer to attending your first summer training session at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the adventure-and the challenge-of your life to date.

In the span of six brief weeks, you’ll be transformed by the Marines into someone much different from the average college Joe or Jane.

You’ll learn to march, salute and fire a weapon.

You’ll experience the satisfaction of conquering seemingly impossible physical tasks including six weeks worth of Marine Corps physical training.

Further, the obstacle course, confidence course and other challenges you’ll encounter are designed to test your capabilities both as an individual and as a future leader of Marines.

PLC is a month and a half of tough, demanding work, but it’s the most popular method by which young men and women begin their Marine Corps career.

Read The Rest Of This Entry

Wounded Marines Are Down, Not Out

Marines who want to progress through the ranks of noncommissioned officer and staff noncommissioned officer frequently have the opportunity to go through leadership courses such as corporals and sergeants courses. These courses provide the basic fundamentals essential for Marines to lead their subordinates and provide structure and stability both in combat and in garrison. For Wounded Warrior Marines, the possibility of attending leadership courses wasn’t previously an option. Today, the Corps is bringing the courses directly to the Marines.

A group of Marines who sustained injuries during deployments graduated the first Wounded Warrior Corporals Course at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md., Jan. 17.

“The detachment staff wanted something to help these Marines continue their professional development,” said Gunnery Sgt. Boris Peredo, instructor with the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Peredo was one of three instructors who volunteered to teach the two-week course.

“The biggest thing I try and get across to Marines is it’s not about them; it’s about the Marines they lead,” Peredo said. “It’s about putting their needs aside and being able to talk to other Marines and setting them up for success. Being able to say you’re down but not out is a big part of leadership.”

For many of the Marines taking the course, it gave them the opportunity to remember why they joined the Marine Corps and motivated them to continue their career in the Corps.

“The course challenged me to get back in the mindset of being an NCO,” said Cpl. Rory Hamill, who sustained injuries to his right leg while deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. “We can lose that mindset easily here since the focus is on recovery instead of being a Marine.”

The course was identical to other corporals courses, including periods of instruction on sword and guidon manual, mentoring, counseling and how to effectively lead junior Marines.

“Obviously some stuff was altered, such as field operations and regular running, lifting weights or other activities our injuries prohibit,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, who sustained injuries to the right side of his body from an enemy grenade in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010 with 2nd battalion, 9th Marines.

Physical training wasn’t the only aspect of the course altered for these Marines. Many events such as land navigation and sword manual were discussed in detail as opposed to performed due to the injuries of some of the students. Despite the challenges, the instructors ensured training topics were covered in detail so the Marines would be able to confidently train and mentor their junior Marines.

“They had to adapt a lot of the training schedule to the wounded Marines because, obviously, there are guys missing arms, guys missing legs who cant do everything,” Hamill said. “They adapted but made sure we understood.”

The Marines were thoroughly taught and tested throughout the course. The challenges they faced brought the Marines together and helped them embrace the fact that they remain a band of brothers.

“Not everyone was excited to come to class everyday but I think it makes the guys think about reenlisting and it puts the Marines priorities in order,” Carpenter said. “It lifted morale and increased our motivation these two weeks we were together.”

Although the wounded Marines signed up for the opportunity, many were admittedly apprehensive in the beginning but were appreciative of the experience by graduation day.

“I chose to take the course because I plan on staying in the Corps,” Hamill said. “I love this organization. Being here and all the help I received, even after my injury, has motivated me even more. This is my family and I love it.”

With the course now complete, these Marines can concentrate on their goals and their future in the Corps.

“Getting injured puts things in perspective and makes you grow up in your professional and personal life,” Carpenter said. “I definitely consider reenlisting more now since before I was injured.”

Although the experience was unique for the Wounded Warrior Regiment, it was a learning and growing experience for the students, the staff and everyone involved.

“Teaching these Marines makes you realize who you are as a Marine; I think I needed this more than they did,” Peredo said. “It hits home because I’m able to stand; I’m able to move around and they’re not. These are good Marines and now they realize they have something to offer back.”

Peredo said they got through to most of the class and reminded them things they forgot while being isolated from the Corps at the medical center.

“A lot of Marines treat this like a petting zoo, they come here because they feel sorry for the wounded Marines,” Peredo said. “They dont need that, they need to be taught and trained like Marines.”

The detachments goal is to continue corporals courses and other professional development for wounded warriors with classes at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Wetzel , Headquarters Marine Corps


Civilians Get A Taste Of Marine Corps Ethics

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Thirteen executives from industries such as national security, telecommunications and an international beverage conglomerate, went through simulated ethics training here at TBS on Jan. 5. The participants came to The Basic School to learn how the Marine Corps teaches ethics in everything they do, using honor, courage, and commitment as the pillars to their foundation of decision making.

This group of civilians twice previously visited MCRD Parris Island, S.C., to see how ethics-values based training is taught to Marine recruits. The civilians are from the master of business administration program and executive members of the Center for Ethics and Corporation Responsibility J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

“It was suggested to us, after our second visit, by Col. Eric M. Mellinger, head of the recruit training regiment, that we go to Quantico to The Basic School to see how the same principles are then taught and training to the lieutenants as a leadership function,” said Dr. Steven D. Olson, the center director.

The civilians were split into three fire teams and had to hike through a marked trail at TBS to accomplish different missions along the way. With every mission faced, there was an ethical challenge thrown into the mix.

For example, during one challenge they had to secure a water point where they were confronted with a mother whose daughter who was injured by an IED. The group had to make a decision to help the daughter and how to do that without offending the customs of the local tribe.

“Inaction is a form of action,” said Maj. Dan M. Dowd, command section head warfighting at TBS. “We accomplished our mission of securing the water point but when it came to the courage of helping the girl, we didn’t do so well.”

After the exercise was completed, the group discussed what they did and didn’t do, and how they could have done things differently. Many of the participants agreed that, even though they met their goal of securing the water point, they didn’t accomplish the overall goal of building good connections with the tribe.

“You can learn a lot about people by what they don’t do and don’t say,” Dowd said to the group. “If you are the person in charge, you have to make the choice of taking action or not taking action. The leader isn’t the only person who can say something. We all have morals and values, we all know the right thing to do, so why wouldn’t you say something? Are you going to just take orders and have no real responsibilities, or are you going to say something when the right thing isn’t being done.

“It’s difficult to figure out how to go about doing the right thing,” continued Dowd. “But that’s why we do the training.”

The training didn’t end there. After the discussion, the group was split in half and sent on separate missions, where they encountered a simulated genocide and an IED explosion which injured one of their own.

With each mission, they were faced with ethical choices and the challenge of adhering to the ethos of the Marine Corps: honor, courage and commitment.

“One of the things we want people to take away from this is a duty and obligation,” said Olson. “We want them to have responsibility that pulls them forward to a higher ethical structure rather than, ‘what’s the minimum I can do to get the advantage.’ We knew we couldn’t teach it and that it would have to come from experience, so that’s why we came here.”

“Ethics is essential to mission accomplishment,” said Olson. “The Marine Corps has been showing that for years. Now it’s time for the corporate world and business students to see and appreciate that.”


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