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Sergeants Philip Kelly (Near) and Derrek Cardinale (Far), receive Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals from Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of Marine Forces Reserve, for their work as Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar trainers after educating senior enlisted advisors in the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans auditorium, Aug. 27, 2014. The train-the-trainer course was designed to inform senior enlisted advisors on the new Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar implemented throughout the Marine Corps. The seminar was implemented to inform lance corporals of the resources available to them, as well as motivate them to succeed and strive for the next rank.

Photo by Cpl. J. Gage karwick

Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar Training

2 Sep 2014 | Cpl. J. Gage Karwick The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marine Corps Reserve senior enlisted advisors gathered in the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans auditorium Aug. 27, 2014 to attend a lance corporal seminar. The course exposed the senior enlisted personnel to the seminar their junior Marines will be taking by having the advisors play the role of lance corporal students.
Marine Corps University, with the help of senior enlisted Marines throughout the Marine Corps, created an intricate curriculum for Marine lance corporals. The students are given an opportunity to better understand the resources available to junior Marines. The lance corporals who may have been enlisted for many years are reminded why they joined the Marine Corps by reinvigorating their motivation and strengthening their warrior spirit during the seminar.  

Implemented in 2013, the seminar stands on the belief of four strands of rope, each representing a different value: physical, mental, spirit and social. The educators explained that without all of these values properly entwined together, the rope will fall apart.

“I watched one of the sergeant instructors teaching his class when we were first testing this seminar,” said Sgt. Maj. Laura L. Brown, Marine Corps University enlisted professional military education adviser. “He placed note cards on his student’s hands and feet, and then told them to get in the pushup position. I rushed over there a little worried about what I was seeing. Then, he told them ‘so you all think you can continue in life without one of these values.’ 

"He told the Marines to lift one arm off the ground representing spirit. When they did they began shaking. He also told them to lift one leg off the ground representing physical and they fell over. He showed them that the loss of one causes us to be unbalanced and the loss of two makes us fall over," said Brown.

Until now, the Marine Corps has had no official class or seminar designed specifically for lance corporals.  

“The Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar is a seminar that is built around societal ills that concern today’s lance corporals,” said Brown. “It is similar to our corporal’s courses and falls under the umbrella of enlisted professional military education. We think that it’s important from the time that you leave the yellow footprints to the time that you retire, mentoring needs to be constantly occurring.”

The Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar is built to remind lance corporals why they are important to the Marine Corps.  The seminar is structured similar to the Marine Corps Corporals Course with classes such as ethics, leadership skills and corps values.

As many Marines know, the promotion process varies from job-to-job and Marine-to-Marine with various difficulties such as a promotion score for a specific field, productiveness and conduct, and individual effort. This process of promotion can cause many Marines to retain their rank as lance corporals, and to many this can be disheartening.

“I feel it’s important to get to those lance corporals that have been in the Marine Corps for three to four years that haven’t picked up corporal yet re-motivated,” said Sgt. Derrek Cardinali, Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar leader. “They are the future of our Corps. We need to mentor them as to not make dumb mistakes, and we do it by allowing them to discuss options with each other in an open forum.”

Rather than a formal environment, the seminars will be taught using the Socratic teaching method. Named after the Greek philosopher Socrates, the method is considered to be excellent at teaching and the development of critical thinking skills. The method aims at provoking a deeper understanding of any subject matter where students are encouraged to question everything. The method uses your own words to convince you that you know less than you originally thought. When less sure, you are forced to open your mind to various possibilities you had not considered.

“It is important to get this information as soon as they can,” said 1st Sgt. Mario Aguero, the Inspector-Instructor First Sergeant with 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group. “It is a stepping stone for all other courses. It’s a great approach that the Marine Corps is taking, we have different generations of Marines in our Corps and not every one learns the same way. This is just a new way of learning for a new generation and it’s important that we, as leaders, learn what it is all about so we can implement it properly and connect with our lance corporals.”

With the completion of the senior enlisted advisors’ brief experience, the advisors returned to their respective units with tools provide the seminar to their Marines.