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Marines pick up new skills, reinforce old ones

By Lance Cpl. Anne Henry | | May 8, 2013

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MCAS FUTENMA, Okinawa - The environment was purposefully stressful and tense as Marines with Marine Air Support Squadron 2 performed unfamiliar tasks during small-unit leader evaluation April 19 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

The evaluation consisted of nine drills along the perimeter running path around MCAS Futenma, known as the Habu Trail, and tested the leadership skills of sergeants and corporals within the squadron. Participating Marines worked to become proficient in various responsibilities required of successful small-unit leaders, such as effective communication and assembly of the M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

“We wanted to show the Marines that they not only need to be a subject-matter experts in their own military occupational specialty, but they also need to accomplish missions outside of their MOS,” said Sgt. Maj. Reginald Robinson, the sergeant major of MASS-2, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The Marines are already very good in their own fields; however, we need to make sure they are well-rounded in order to sustain themselves and carry out the mission in a combat environment.”

The squadron set up different stations throughout the evaluation to test squad leaders’ problem-solving and leadership abilities in functional areas they would not normally perform.

“Today, we have the Marines doing challenges on everything from motor transportation to the assembly and disassembly of an M2 .50-caliber machine gun,” said Lt. Col. Steven K. Barriger, the commanding officer of the squadron. “We wanted the Marines to be able to tackle different tasks across a broad MOS spectrum, while drawing from the knowledge of individuals around them.”
The leadership evaluation proved to be both challenging and beneficial, as the Marines adapted well to the situations they were presented, according to Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Garcia, an air support operator with the squadron.

“Although I struggled at some of the stations today, I feel like I picked up new skills,” said Garcia. “I struggled with the assembly and disassembly of the M2 .50-caliber machine gun because I am not used to handling the weapon, but this experience will definitely improve my skills.”

For the NCOs of the squadron, the leadership challenges afforded them the opportunity to test their skills in other job fields, as well as reflect on how they performed in a leadership role, according to Robinson.

“The purpose of this event was to evaluate the small-unit leaders; the sergeants and corporals who were leading the squads,” said Robinson.

Because tasks were unfamiliar to the Marines, decisive leadership and quickly adjusting and overcoming the obstacles was critical for mission accomplishment, according to Robinson.

“The events developed unit cohesion and challenged the Marines both physically and mentally,” said Robinson. “I feel like the Marines performed very well today despite being put in situations outside of their comfort zones.”

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/106194/marines-pick-up-new-skills-reinforce-old-ones#ixzz2SgHRkgS4
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