The Marine Corps will debut a pilot version of the resident Sergeants Course that cuts the time spent away from home almost in half. Sgt. Kelly Pipe, left, amphibious vehicle operator at Marine Corps Systems Command aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico and Sgt. Dustin Lavery, engineer equipment operator at Headquarters and Service Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island are recent graduates of the course. (Ameesha Felton / Marine Corps)
Sergeants who figured they’d be too much in demand within their commands to attend a resident school this year may get that opportunity after all. The Marine Corps will debut a pilot version of the resident Sergeants Course that cuts the time spent away from home almost in half.
A four-week version of the Sergeants Course will run three times this year at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va..
The aim of the shorter courses is to increase opportunities for sergeants to attend resident PME, according to Marine administrative message 062/14, dated Feb. 7 and signed by Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, president of Marine Corps University. That has been a goal not only of Training and Education Command but also the Marine Corps as a whole.
The pilot program affects only three of the five resident courses for sergeants held at Quantico. Class 3-14 is set to run March 3-April 1, while Class 4-14 will run May 12-June 11; and Class 6-14 will be held Sept. 9-Oct. 8. The remaining two courses at Quantico and courses offered at any of the other staff noncommissioned officer academies will remain the traditional seven weeks, on the dates originally announced.
Sergeants are required to take the distance version of the course in order to be considered PME complete and eligible for promotion to staff sergeant. But it’s also recommended that sergeants take the follow-up resident course, typically held six times each year at each of the staff NCO academies. Traditionally, about 3,300 sergeants attend the resident course, including about 200 reservists.
Questions about whether the curriculum will be altered to accommodate a shorter class time were not answered by press time.
Some leaders have said the drawdown could make resident courses tougher to attend, as fewer Marines are available to carry out jobs with their commands. Shorter time in resident schools might alleviate those concerns for one of the Corps’ largest communities.