MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marines and Sailors with Cherry Point's Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training took to the field for their first Warrior Night March 28, aiming to reinforce NCO leadership, unit camaraderie and esprit de corps.
The noncommissioned officer planned and led event gave the unit's students a chance to see a side of the Marine Corps uncommon in the aviation community. The leadership shown by the squadron's NCOs gave the students an example of leadership to emulate, according to Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel W. Benischek, squadron gunnery sergeant.
"We did it as a way to reawaken our NCOs and bring our young Marines back to center," said Benischek. "A student and NCO Warrior Night gives our sergeants an opportunity to reawaken their leadership and show them that they can take charge of their Marines."
As part of the Corps-wide Reawakening campaign, CNATT planned the Warrior Night for more than a month, according to Benischek. The NCOs put ground level leadership into practice by organizing all logistics and planning for the event, to include a six-mile hike, presentations by Marines with Cherry Point's 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, field games and a field mess night. The event gave the NCOs hands on experience in preparing a unit for hikes, and being responsible for their junior Marines welfare and safety, which developed their leadership abilities, according to Benischek.
CNATT's mission is to prepare junior Marines in the aviation field for a vital role in the Marine Corps' aviation community. It is one of 24 schools in the Navy's aviation training structure that prepares its students to maintain and repair Marine Corps fixed-wing aircraft.
The Warrior Night gave the NCOs a chance to lead and connect with the students whom they train, according to Sgt. Travis N. Thompson, an instructor with CNATT. Working with CNATT's command leadership, the NCOs took an idea and put it into action, said Thompson.
"Some of the sergeants got together with the commanding officer and sergeant major because they wanted to do something to build morale with the junior Marines and the students. Together we came up with the Warrior Night," said Thompson.
Thompson sees a direct correlation between the Warrior Night and the Marine Corps' Reawakening campaign. He hopes the CNATT students, many of whom will soon enter the fleet, take the experience and apply the example of leadership throughout their careers.
"As far as fitting into the Reawakening, (the commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps) really want the NCOs to take charge again," Thompson said. "So we came together to build this for our students. I believe the event helped build camaraderie and competitiveness within the unit."