KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
“Seeing the ability of the Marines from training day one all the way to training day 15 on graduation day is one of the most amazing feelings I have as an MAI/T,” said U.S. Marine Corps GySgt. David A. Waterfield Jr., Marine Corps Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter Specialist Training Chief, Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.
Waterfield, a native of Suffolk, Virginia, is currently the lead trainer for Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Course 1-23, which graduated on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 12th, following the successful completion of the course's culminating event on June 9th.
MCMAP is a synergy of mental, character and physical disciplines, and is in concert with Marine Corps leadership principles. Training in these three disciplines enhances Marines both on and off the battlefield. As an MAI Trainer, Waterfield prepares the future instructors through intense physical and mental training.
“My favorite part of the course is the culminating event. It brings the entire class together and reiterates everything the instructors have been preaching daily over the last three weeks.” GySgt. David A. Waterfield Jr., Marine Corps Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter Specialist Training Chief
Successful completion of an MAI course certifies Marines to instruct and monitor Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training and advance Marines in the program, distinguishing varied levels of experience with different colored belts.
Upon graduating, the students of class 1-23 earned the Military Occupational Specialty of 0916, Martial Arts Instructor. However, in order to become a Martial Arts Instructor Trainer, MOS 0917, Marines must attend the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor Trainer course at the Martial Arts & Fitness Center of Excellence in Quantico, Virginia.
To become an MAI/T, Marines must demonstrate expertise in all areas encompassed within MCMAP, including physical, mental, and character disciplines. Applicants must have a passion for service in the Marine Corps as well as MCMAP, as it intends to challenge applicants both physically and mentally, making it essential for them to constantly remind themselves why they are there.
“When I was an MAI the other instructors made a huge impact on me,” said Waterfield. “Every day training, they always had me eager to be successful with the tie-ins and warrior studies we do, and I wanted to emulate them.”
Photo by Cpl. Arianna Lindheimer
U.S. Marine Corps GySgt. David A. Waterfield Jr., Training Chief, Marine Corps Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter Specialist, Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, left, and U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Cody T. Purcell, Videographer, Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay Hawaii, right, grapple during the culminating event of a Martial Arts Instructor course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 9, 2023. MAI courses certify Marines to instruct and monitor Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training and advance Marines in belt levels. MCMAP is a synergy of mental, character, and physical disciplines, and in concert with Marine Corps leadership principles, training in these three disciplines enhances the Marine both on and off the battlefield.
This impact is what drove Waterfield to want to become an MAI/T. However, there were many moments through the MAFCE course that pushed him to his mental and physical limits.
“When I went to the MAFCE I had to get my stamina back,” said Waterfield. “I was used to running all the time as a drill instructor, but this was a different challenge.”
However, with the three disciplines instilled through MCMAP he was able to push through even the toughest moments.
“The thing that made me not want to quit when things got tough was to train my mind to never want to give up and keep pushing,” said Waterfield. “If I could trick my mind to tell me I could keep going, I could push through anything.”
Since becoming an MAI/T two years ago, Waterfield has run five courses. He shares the most rewarding moment of each course is being able to hand the students their tab at the end of the culminating event and see them progress in their careers.
“If I could tell my students one thing, it is not about them anymore, it never has been,” said Waterfield. “Just like you learn as a recruit, and just like you learn as a Marine. It is not about a shirt and a cert; it is about going out there, developing, training, and properly mentoring the Marines to your left and right.”