Welcome to your first weekly briefing, my name is Paul, a retired Sergeant Major in the United States Marine Corps. Over the next six weeks I’ll be providing you with weekly updates on what your Candidate is doing throughout the second increment of the Platoon Leaders Course at Quantico. The road to becoming an Officer of Marines is long and hard, but if successful, your Candidate will soon have the honor of commissioning as a United States Marine.
Even though your Candidate has already completed a summer at Quantico, they will have to go through the same in-processing that they had to complete during their initial training. Over the next few days your Candidate will once again be taken from their normal routine and placed in a controlled chaotic environment to begin developing the skills necessary to succeed as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. This can be a stressful time for Candidates, and those closest to them. Don’t worry, it’s just one facet of the experience designed to prepare them for success. The first few days will begin with administrative and medical in-processing, receiving their gear and uniforms, and finally getting placed in their respective training company.
When they aren’t working on administrative tasks, your Candidate will begin to be reacquainted with the Marine culture, Marine Corps leadership, and close order drill. Last summer, when your Candidate went through the first increment of Platoon Leaders Course, they learned about the five leadership principles and traits of the United States Marine Corps. They will be expected to continue to know and live up to these traits as they complete their second increment of training.These qualities will not only make for good leadership, but more importantly make for good Marines. They will also be expected to know the 14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits. The 14 traits are; justice, judgment, dependability, initiative, decisiveness, tact, integrity, enthusiasm, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty, and endurance. This might seem like a lot to remember, but your candidate will be taught the acronym “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE” to help them.
Your Candidate will also begin to learn the Marine Corps Values, how to salute and address others, as well as additional Marine Corps customs.
On top of their classwork, your Candidate will be expected to maintain their physical fitness throughout the duration of training. Their fitness journey will begin with an initial Physical Fitness Test (PFT). This won’t be the last time your Candidate has to take the PFT, they’ll continue to do so throughout training and throughout the rest of their Marine Corps career.
As the end of the week approaches, your Candidate will begin to learn about the M-16, the rifle that they will be responsible for throughout their training. In time, your Candidate will become well-trained and have the confidence required to deliver accurate fire.
Though your Candidate has done this before, the first few weeks are generally the toughest for Candidates, both mentally and physically, as they transition back into their training mindset.
This is where their support system of family and friends – including you – come into play. You have an incredibly important role in your Candidate’s training. Letters from home can strengthen your Candidate’’s spirits and morale, helping them make it to graduation. If you’re not sure what to write at first, try asking them about the other candidates in their platoon, or how they feel being back at Quantico for their final round of training. Consider adding The Dispatch: Weekly Newsletter to keep your Candidate up to date with the outside world.
I’ll be back shortly with more information about your Candidate’’s second week in the Platoon Leaders Course at Quantico. In the meantime, make sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram for information about mailroom closures, giveaways, letter inspiration, and more.
Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Paul Davis