ABOARD USS NASSAU --
As the 24th Marines Expeditionary Unit completes their final Corporal’s Course at sea, corporals have learned basic skills including drill, inspections and other leadership tools. However, this course in particular added a Vessel Board Search and Seizure exercise to conclude the course curriculum.
Thirty-two Marines of the 24th MEU began Corporal’s Course 6-10 July 12 and will graduate Aug. 9. The students had one disadvantage during their course, being deployed aboard a naval vessel. Although this minor obstacle made it impossible for students to train in the field for their final exercise, the course instructors developed the search and seizure exercise with the help of the Force Reconnaissance platoon aboard USS Nassau.
“Under the circumstances and resources we are limited to, I think the VBSS exercise was good,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Shropshire, Corporal’s Course chief instructor, 24th MEU. “We would normally go to the field for this portion of the course, but with the opportunity that was afforded to us we did the best we could.”
Marines of Corporal’s Course 6-10 received a classroom instruction on defensive and offensive operations and this was their chance to apply those lessons.
“We broke the class into small groups, giving them the chance to be in a leadership position. This event, and the many other tools they’ve learned throughout the course, will give them the advantage when they return to their parent commands,” said Capt. Doug Bahrns, platoon commander, Force Reconnaissance platoon, 24th MEU.
The 24th MEU Force Reconnaissance platoon has trained to perform VBSS throughout the deployment. With their vast amount of knowledge in this type of mission, they took the corporals under their wing to prepare them for success.
The Marines spent three days learning the ins and outs of what it takes to perform a VBSS mission successfully. The corporals were taught on basic raid skills, gear preparation, fast rope techniques and overall operation leadership skills.
“It was great to see people learn. Considering the wide range of Marine Occupational Specialties and the little time we had with them,” said Sgt. Jared Hogentogler, assistant team leader, Force Reconnaissance platoon, 24th MEU. “I think they did a great job and I think they all will take something away from it.”
It’s not every day that administrative clerks or a logistics Marines has the chance to experience the training force reconnaissance receives. For reconnaissance Marines enrolled in the course, this was just another walk in the park but also gave them the chance to take the lead and help their fellow non-commissioned officers.
“Having the reconnaissance Marines in my group helped out a lot, they were very knowledgeable and made things run smoothly during the exercise,” said Cpl. Andrew Cenniccola, bulk fuel specialist, Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), 24th MEU. “I thought this was a great opportunity. I am a fueler, so I would have never been able to get this experience or work with these Marines otherwise.”