Ten Marines, five soldiers, one sailor and one airman recently graduated from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s Joint Corporals Course at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
The intent of the course was to prepare junior enlisted members for their transition from subordinates to small unit leaders. The course helped develop their leadership and mentorship skills, while building their confidence.
“It all starts with the leader,” said U.S. Marine Corp Sgt. Miguel Bolivar, JCC instructor. “We have to raise [the students] up, and teach them the facts. Once they can achieve that, it benefits not just their branch, but the overall mission.”
Even though the various branches interact daily at CJTF-HOA, it has been many of the students’ first time working within a joint service environment. Therefore, the course incorporated information about various service cultures.
“I felt it was important to learn about other branches’ customs and courtesies,” Cpl. Marcus Cruz, Joint NCO course student said. “It allows better cohesion down the line and more fluid operations. It was nice to get feedback [from other services]; as a Marine, we do things in such a unique way. All the branches have a really good work ethic and cared enough to learn about other services; we all meshed, and it was nice to see the support.”
In addition to their daily jobs, the joint-service students dedicated 140 total hours in learning about U.S. Marine Corp academics, history, war fighting skills, drill and sword manual, land navigation, tactical communications, joint operations and combat conditioning.
“The motivation I saw in every single student was the best part,” Bolivar said. “They came in here not knowing what to expect, but seeing them grow day-by-day, learning and feeling more confident about themselves overall, was great.”
U.S. Army Spc. Derek King comes from a family of Marines and said he felt it was important to break the stigma each service carries.
“We are all one team, one fight and we all have our roles; without each other, we cannot defend our country,” King said.
As JCC Class 625-15 moves back into their respective duty positions within CJTF-HOA, they return to work better equipped to lead and mentor their colleagues.