Platoon Leaders Course Sr. | Quantico

Paul here with your week 3 update for Platoon Leaders Course.

Training is all about developing the skills, knowledge and confidence required to succeed as an Officer in the Marine Corps. To that end, your candidate will start the week with a refresher on Operation Orders. During your candidate’s first summer at Quantico they were introduced to an Operation Order, a directive issued by a commander to subordinate commanders for the purpose of coordinating an operation. Candidates use the standardized structure for operations orders that is used across all branches of the United States Armed Forces. They’ll spend this week working on writing orders and issuing them. It’s important when candidates issue orders that they speak in a clear, forceful, conversational tone. A key part of issuing an order is displaying confidence so that their subordinates, who will receive the order, can trust that their leader is making the right decisions. Your candidate will have lots of opportunities to practice issuing orders, building their confidence over time.

Last week candidates were reintroduced to Land Navigation, and for good reason. They’ll have multiple in the field exercises this week that will give them the opportunity to continue to harness their skills. The first Land Navigation exercise will be held during the day, the second conducted at night. During a Land Navigation exercise candidates are given a tactical scenario, a map and lensatic compass to navigate to multiple checkpoints within a designated time period.

When they aren’t in the field for land navigation, candidates will take their first Combat Fitness Test (CFT) of training. The CFT is designed to ensure that Marines are able to meet the physical demands their jobs will require during combat. Not only do candidates need to pass the final CFT during Platoon Leaders Course in order to graduate, but will continue to take the CFT once a year for the rest of their Marine Corps career. The CFT is composed of three different events. The first event is movement to contact where candidates are timed for an 880-yard sprint that mimics running under pressure in a combat environment. The second event is an ammunition lift. Candidates must lift a 30-pound ammunition can from the ground to overhead as many times as possible within two minutes. The last event is maneuvering under fire. This event requires candidates to complete a 300-yard obstacle that consists of many combat related challenges including; a variety of crawls, resupplying ammunition, throwing a grenade, agility running, and dragging and carrying another Marine.

To wrap up the week, candidates will take their second exam, go on a 6 mile hike, complete an additional field training exercise, continue to learn about Marine Corps history, and have another small unit leadership evaluation.

That’s all for this week’s update. Once the week is over, your candidate will be half way through training for this summer. In your next letter, ask how they did on their CFT and find out if they are enjoying their Land Navigation exercise.

I’ll be back next week with intel on week 4 of the Platoon Leaders Course at Quantico.

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Paul Davis