MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., --
After months of preparation, the first "NCO Den" opened for the corporals and sergeants of the Installation Personnel Administration Center at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., where the Marines are being moulded into proficient leaders, capable of carrying the Corps.
The den was created to provide the noncommissioned officers of IPAC with a meeting place to develop strategies, share ideas and propagate best practices to better guide the junior Marines the sergeants and corporals are charged with leading.
"NCOs currently conduct weekly meetings in the NCO Den where we can have a distraction free environment to discuss operational commitments and improvements that can be made within the NCO and below population," said Sgt. Dara Long, an administrative specialist with IPAC.
As a leader, sound decision making is imperative, according to Long.
"NCOs are the backbone of the Marine Corps," said Long, a native of Chalan Pago, Guam. "We are working supervisors that ensure the job gets done.”
The den was provided for the NCOs by the officers and senior noncommissioned officers of IPAC. All of the furniture, televisions and accessories were donated by the Marine Corps University, Marines with IPAC and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
The NCOs are grateful that they have a place to call their own and make decisions as a group, said Sgt. Elie Celestin, an administrative specialist with IPAC.
"I felt grateful that our leadership cared about us enough to build an area specifically for NCOs," said Celestin, a native of Homestead, Fla. "All the NCOs signed a scroll painted in the NCO Den to let us know that our legacy will continue once we leave."
The intent of the NCO Den is to give IPAC’s junior leaders a place to speak frankly, plan strategically and share best practices amongst the NCO corps. Moreover, the NCO Den is a tangible sign of IPAC’s reliance on its corporals and sergeants to stay firm as the backbone of the Corps, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Rubeck, the IPAC staff noncommissioned officer in charge.
"It's all about empowering NCOs," said Rubeck, a native of Port St. Lucie, Fla. "The den will help NCOs develop into better leaders. The more their leadership skills are honed, the more adept they are going to be to accomplish any mission they're assigned.”