Marine Corps recruiters in Chantilly, Virginia trained Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Chantilly Academy cadets during the Cadet Leadership Course on Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington, June 25.
It is not uncommon for military branches to conduct joint training requiring multiple services to work together to accomplish a mission. Service men and women cross train to become more well-rounded and gain a better understanding of the other branches they might find themselves serving with in real world environments.
The Cadet Leadership Course is a program for the Academy’s top first year cadets who are planning to return next year, and its purpose is to grow their leadership, followership and teamwork skills to prepare them for positions of increased leadership responsibility the following year.
“The course benefits the cadets by providing an environment where they learn new skills, expand old ones and stretch themselves beyond what they think they can achieve,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas E. Lambert, senior aerospace science instructor.
A majority of the cadets are high school juniors and seniors, such as Raymond Palmer from Fairfax, Virginia, who are looking for knowledge of what to expect when they serve.
“I feel like this course is definitely giving me the upper hand of knowing what to expect in the military,” said Palmer, an Arlington Career Center senior.
When told about the camp in 2014, the Marines offered to help with the tactical training day portion.
“Basically, the Marines run that part of our camp,” said Lambert. “We were very eager to have the Marines come and train the cadets in an area where they had excellent expertise.”
On tactical training day, the Marines provide Meals Ready to Eat and information about them. They also provide training in low crawl, high crawl, camouflage techniques, proper use of camouflage face paint, basic squad tactics and buddy carrying.
The scenarios the Marines put the cadets through gave them firsthand experience of what it means to be a leader, according to Staff Sgt. Justin E. Thurber, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Station Frederick Recruiting Substation Chantilly.
“They’re instantly taught leadership by putting them in charge of a fire team that is moving to enemy contact,” said Thurber, a Shawnee, Kansas native. “We teach them that as a leader you never leave a man or woman behind, and that if you’re in charge, your subordinates will follow you anywhere.”
The lessons were intended to develop the cadet’s abilities and make them more comfortable by the end of the training even though some may have had prior similar experience.
“At first I was kind of nervous to step up and lead because I’m new to the corps, but now I just want to get out in front of everyone and show them I can do it,” said Palmer. “Watching the demonstration, I thought it would be easy because there are a lot of woods where I live, so I’m always crawling through the grass and dodging behind trees. Here, I realize it’s difficult because you have to hit the dirt and get up at the right time, and move around quietly.”
This was the second consecutive year the Marines led the tactical training day portion of the course.
“In their feedback, most cadets rate the tactical portion of the week as their favorite part which is a reflection on the excellent training the Marines provide and the fact that they make it engaging and fun for the cadets,” said Lambert.
The cross-training experience helps the cadets who are looking to pursue other branches outside the Air Force and allows the Marines to get more involved with the students and staff of the schools they work with.
“I am a mentor to the kids,” said Thurber. “It makes me feel good that I had the opportunity to teach 16, 17 and 18 year olds more about the Corps.”