Future Marines learn combat leadership
By Lance Cpl. Pedro Cardenas
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | May 02, 2013
SAN DIEGO --
A large factor in the Marine Corps’ success is strong leadership. Accordingly, combat leadership classes are incorperated in recruit training curriculum to give recruits the tools necessary to develop and sharpen their leadership qualities.
Recruits of Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, analyzed the importance of leadership during a combat leadership class aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 9.
The purpose of the class was to introduce recruits to the environment and special characteristics of battle in order to succeed during combat operations.
During the combat leadership class, recruits learned several characteristics of war; such as physical exhaustion, the fog of war and casualties. Recruits learned Marines are expected to take charge during stressful times and make effective decisions regardless of the circumstance.
Throughout the class, recruits learned that being a leader also includes being able to make sound, moral decisions.
“Combat leadership is being able to be in a field environment and take charge of Marines while still making ethical decisions,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ryan S. Clagett, drill instructor, Platoon 1063, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “Past events have Marines making unethical decisions. We have rules and regulations to uphold as Marines.”
Throughout recruit training, drill instructors attempt to replicate the stress and intensity of combat. Although no training can fully compare to combat, the intent is to get recruits used to working under duress.
“We want Marines to get a little taste of what combat is like during training,” said Capt. Jeffrey C. Marston, company commander, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “We need Marines to go out into combat and excel.”
Recruits learn the importance and factors of combat leadership in order to have a foundation to build upon in the Fleet Marine Force.
“They could hypothetically, by the end of the year, go into a combat zone and need to apply it immediately,” said Clagett. “They have to learn it early on and start planning for it now.”
The Marine Corps prides itself on being a service which demands leadership at the lowest level. Upon arrival to recruit training, some recruits are given leadership billets such as guide and squad leader. However, if they do not perform well in these positions, they are replaced by recruits who demonstrate superior abilities.
“Regardless of your job, you are a Marine rifleman first and foremost,” said Marston. “Confusion and uncertainty during combat—you have to thrive in those conditions.”