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Airmen take on corporal’s course

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable
  • 407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

Two Airmen from the 407th Air Expeditionary Group were recently given the unique opportunity to join forces with the United States Marine Corps as an instructor and participant of the corporal's course, Aug. 19 through Sept. 4, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

The course normally provided to only Marine corporals to educate and prepare them for leadership as they progress to the next rank, was made available to Airmen participants as well as instructors.

Staff Sgt. Kadir Amat, 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron cable and antenna maintenance supervisor, took the Marine Corps up on their offer to help instruct the course, while Senior Airman Michael Foree, 407th ECS cyber transport technician decided to enroll in the course.

“The Marine Corps extended the offer to Airmen noncommissioned officers that have completed enlisted professional military education to become instructors,” Amat said. “I didn’t really know what all it was going to entail but I like a challenge, and love mentoring so I decided to volunteer.”

Amat, a Bronx, New York native, deployed from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is one of six instructors teaching the course to 63 Marines and one Airman.

Foree, who is deployed from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia and a native of Peoria, Arizona, said when his leadership told him about the course he was instantly interested.

“They have different core values, rank structure and things that, but it’s just like in basic military training when you are drinking from a fire hose, and you just get used to it,” said Foree.

The corporal’s course hosted by Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response-Central Command is a 14-day formal training event designed to educate Marine corporals on the duties and responsibilities of an NCO. The course focuses on requirements of leadership, drill, traditions, land navigation and physical training.

The course is comparable to the Air Force’s Airman Leadership School, which is a requirement for senior airmen before their promotion to the rank of staff sergeant. Likewise completing the course is an eligibility requirement for Marines before promoting to the rank of sergeant.

“It’s pretty similar across the board to ALS as far as public speaking, history, leadership skills,” said Amat. “The biggest difference being the rigorous physical training.”

Every morning at 4:45 a.m. the day starts with formation followed by an intense workout at 5:00 a.m.

“We stick to a very vigorous PT schedule, very grueling,” said Amat. “It’s 14 days of no kidding workouts, we are rucking, we are running, doing calisthenics in ‘boots ‘n’ utes’ [boots and utility uniform] and flak vests.”

“They all finish together as a team, that’s the key,” he added.

Another big portion of the course is drill.

“The Marine Corps is the only branch of the military to include swords in their drill, so every Marine or Airman is issued a sword,” Amat said.

Even though Amat was not familiar with ceremonial sword drills he was quick to catch on.

“I grade them on how well they perform the movements, bearing, technique and posture,” said Amat. “I’m doing base honor guard so I kind of have an idea of how things are supposed to go and it becomes second nature.”

Foree was also quick to learn the new drill movements.

“It’s cool, it’s what eight-year-old me always wanted to do,” said Foree. “As a kid you always want to play with a sword and me being 22 now it’s a dream come true.”

The chief instructor of the course had nothing but praise for the one senior airman attending his demanding course.

“Overall Senior Airman Foree has performed, he’s done excellent on his exams, he’s done well on the performance fitness tests and he has proven that he is better than some of the Marines here, because he is still here and some of the marines that started the course are no longer here,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco Salas, corporals course chief instructor.

Salas shared similar sentiments on Amat, the first Airman instructor he has had for the course.

“Staff Sgt. Amat has been doing an amazing job leading physical training and instilling his knowledge as an NCO in the Air Force to the Marines, he added. “The Marines are learning a lot from him as well as what you guys do in the Air Force.”

According to Amat and Foree, the Marines were quick to treat them just like one of their own.

“I think in the beginning they were expecting me to wuss-out,” said Foree. “But when I went into this I knew I was going to finish, and I think they saw that and accepted me.”

After this deployment Amat said he is thinking about future instructing possibilities in his career.

“It’s the best thing I’ve done so far on this deployment and I’m really having a lot of fun with it,” Amat said. “I’m honored to even be considered to do this and I take pride in that.”