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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Keith Davanzo, a bulk fuel specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, takes notes during Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, Jan. 28, 2021. Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar is a five-day course designed to enhance junior Marines’ leadership development and prepare them for future responsibilities in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo taken by Lance Cpl. Michael Neuenhoff)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Michael Neuenhoff

Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar: Shaping an NCO

7 Feb 2021 | Lacne Cpl. Michael Neuenhoff Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Twenty-nine students graduated Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar Class 1-21, Jan. 29, 2021, at Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS), Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point. The course is designed to enhance the leadership development of junior-enlisted Marines and prepare them for future responsibilities in the Marine Corps.
“Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar is definitely a stepping stone into becoming an [noncommissioned officer] (NCO),” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Makayla Souza, a military working dog handler with H&HS. “The course really helps give insight on how to be a better leader and follower, because it shows how one type of leading or teaching could resonate better with one Marine but not be effective for someone else.”
Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar focuses on the commandant’s efforts to strengthen the Corps’ values and ethos by enhancing small unit leadership development and establishing a program that educates the future NCO corps.
“Our main focus of the course is to prepare junior Marines to take on the role of becoming a noncommissioned officer,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Kenyatta Cone, the seminar chief. “The course also gives the Marines exposure to different sides of the Marine Corps, so our students can begin networking and building relationships with Marines outside their direct military occupational specialty.”
Although leadership is a large focus of the course, the students also receive classes on different aspects of the Marine Corps and life skills that can be used down the road. Marines coming into the course said they were expecting it to be more of a boot camp refresher course but left having learned so much more.
“I thought I was just going to go over drill, marching and acronyms,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Gabriel Feng, a musician with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Band. “But instead, I learned about all types of things like leadership, money management, Marine Corps doctrines and other valuable life lessons I don’t think I’d get anywhere else.”
Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar isn’t held like a traditional class. Instead of textbooks and taking notes, it is more of a group discussion setting. U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nicholas True, a musician with the 2nd MAW band, as well as the class leader and recipient of the “Gung Ho” award, went on to say he was pleasantly surprised with how the course was taught and the structure of the seminar as whole.
“I was fully expecting another class full of PowerPoint presentations and readings where I sit and listen for hours on end, but that wasn’t the case at all,” said True. “Of course we still had PowerPoints, but we had more group discussions, group readings and reflection on what we went over as a class.”
True also shared how he thought he was going to learn about the pecking order of the Marine Corps and that he was the low man on the totem pole so he should stay in his lane. Instead, he learned that regardless of rank, as a Marine his voice can be heard.
“I am an asset,” said True. “Ideas can come from any part of the chain of command. Just because I am a lance corporal, it doesn’t mean I’m not capable of being heard. So now that I’ve learned all these great tools, I can more effectively lead at my level. I learned how to be more tactful in my approach, that staff NCO aren’t scary to talk to, and that I have to hold the Marines around, no matter their rank, to the highest of standards.”
Lance Cpl. True believes the class will make him a better leader “without a shadow of a doubt.” He said he is very passionate about learning and seeking out knowledge on how to better himself.
“This class will absolutely be beneficial to me, not only now, but later on in my Marine Corps career, and most likely whenever I get out of the Marine Corps,” said True. “Any course you take, learn something. You really do get out what you put in so you have to ask those uncomfortable questions, seek out that knowledge that you want. Submission of the ego allows a curious mind to flourish.”


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