BETHESDA, Md. (1/20/2012) — Marines who want to progress
through the ranks of noncommissioned officer and staff
noncommissioned officer frequently have the opportunity to
go through leadership courses such as corporals and
sergeants courses. These courses provide the basic
fundamentals essential for Marines to lead their
subordinates and provide structure and stability both in
combat and in garrison. For Wounded Warrior Marines, the
possibility of attending leadership courses wasn't
previously an option. Today, the Corps is bringing the
courses directly to the Marines.
The graduating class of the first Wounded Warrior Detachment
corporals course at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Bethesda, Md., Jan. 16, 2012. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Daniel A.
A group of Marines who sustained injuries during deployments
graduated the first Wounded Warrior Corporals Course at the
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md.,
"The detachment staff wanted something to
help these Marines continue their professional development,"
said Gunnery Sgt. Boris Peredo, instructor with the Staff
Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Base
Quantico, Va. Peredo was one of three instructors who
volunteered to teach the two-week course.
biggest thing I try and get across to Marines is it's not
about them; it's about the Marines they lead," Peredo said.
"It's about putting their needs aside and being able to talk
to other Marines and setting them up for success. Being able
to say you're down but not out is a big part of leadership."
For many of the Marines taking the course, it gave them
the opportunity to remember why they joined the Marine Corps
and motivated them to continue their career in the Corps.
"The course challenged me to get back in the mindset of
being an NCO," said Cpl. Rory Hamill, who sustained injuries
to his right leg while deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd
Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. "We can lose that mindset
easily here since the focus is on recovery instead of being
The course was identical to other
corporals courses, including periods of instruction on sword
and guidon manual, mentoring, counseling and how to
effectively lead junior Marines.
stuff was altered, such as field operations and regular
running, lifting weights or other activities our injuries
prohibit," said Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, who sustained
injuries to the right side of his body from an enemy grenade
in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2010 with 2nd battalion, 9th
Physical training wasn't the only
aspect of the course altered for these Marines. Many events
such as land navigation and sword manual were discussed in
detail as opposed to performed due to the injuries of some
of the students. Despite the challenges, the instructors
ensured training topics were covered in detail so the
Marines would be able to confidently train and mentor their
"They had to adapt a lot of the
training schedule to the wounded Marines because, obviously,
there are guys missing arms, guys missing legs who cant do
everything," Hamill said. "They adapted but made sure we
The Marines were thoroughly taught and
tested throughout the course. The challenges they faced
brought the Marines together and helped them embrace the
fact that they remain a band of brothers.
everyone was excited to come to class everyday but I think
it makes the guys think about reenlisting and it puts the
Marines priorities in order," Carpenter said. "It lifted
morale and increased our motivation these two weeks we were
Although the wounded Marines signed up for
the opportunity, many were admittedly apprehensive in the
beginning but were appreciative of the experience by
"I chose to take the course because I
plan on staying in the Corps," Hamill said. "I love this
organization. Being here and all the help I received, even
after my injury, has motivated me even more. This is my
family and I love it."
With the course now complete,
these Marines can concentrate on their goals and their
future in the Corps.
"Getting injured puts things in
perspective and makes you grow up in your professional and
personal life," Carpenter said. "I definitely consider
reenlisting more now since before I was injured."
Although the experience was unique for the Wounded Warrior
Regiment, it was a learning and growing experience for the
students, the staff and everyone involved.
these Marines makes you realize who you are as a Marine; I
think I needed this more than they did," Peredo said. "It
hits home because Im able to stand; Im able to move around
and theyre not. These are good Marines and now they realize
they have something to offer back."
Peredo said they
got through to most of the class and reminded them things
they forgot while being isolated from the Corps at the
"A lot of Marines treat this like a
petting zoo, they come here because they feel sorry for the
wounded Marines," Peredo said. "They dont need that, they
need to be taught and trained like Marines."
detachments goal is to continue corporals courses and other
professional development for wounded warriors with classes
at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Camp Pendleton, Calif.,
and Camp Lejeune, N.C.
More photos available below
By USMC Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Wetzel
Marine Corps News
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