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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Earning the tab

By Cpl. Matthew Brown | | August 13, 2010

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Staff Sgt. Antonio Gomez, drill instructor, Company H, 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, center, and Sgt. David Chavez, Osprey Mechanic, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-161, left, attempt to keep in line with their squad mates during the fireman carry.

Staff Sgt. Antonio Gomez, drill instructor, Company H, 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, center, and Sgt. David Chavez, Osprey Mechanic, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-161, left, attempt to keep in line with their squad mates during the fireman carry. (Photo by Cpl. Matthew Brown)


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Sgt. Michael Dickinson, forward observer, 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Marine Forces Reserve, left, performs upper body strikes on squad mate Cpl. Ryan Bottoms, avionics technician, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-161, right, during a landing zone drill.

Sgt. Michael Dickinson, forward observer, 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Marine Forces Reserve, left, performs upper body strikes on squad mate Cpl. Ryan Bottoms, avionics technician, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-161, right, during a landing zone drill. (Photo by Cpl. Matthew Brown)


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Staff Sgt. Benjamin Maynard, tool room staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-462, yells commands to his classmates in order to keep their squad push-ups organized.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Maynard, tool room staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-462, yells commands to his classmates in order to keep their squad push-ups organized. (Photo by Cpl. Matthew Brown)


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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO -- The Marines of class 4-10 are currently attempting to become Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors and set the example for their fellow Marines at the depot’s Marine Corps Martial Arts Satellite School.

“The role of a MAI is one of leadership,” said Sgt. Keun Chung, squad instructor trainer, Marine Corps Martial Arts Satellite School, Support Battalion.  “That’s why it’s required that a Marine must be at least a corporal and at minimum, a gray belt, to take the course.”

During the three-week course, Marines are taught a wide variety of lessons in order to better help them teach Marines MCMAP.

“We are trying to make our students well rounded and ethical warriors,” said Chung. “We do this by emphasizing what we call the synergy.”

Mental, physical and character disciplines make up the synergy which, according to Chung, makes Marines different.

“It’s like a three-legged stool, so if anyone is lacking too much in any of the disciplines, it will be a wobbly and ineffective,” Chung said. “As a Corps, we do humanitarian efforts, police action, fight wars in populated areas and must use the continuum of force. You can’t just go out and kill people.”

The students are taught these lessons through tie-ins, warrior case studies and martial culture studies.

“With warrior case studies, we look in depth at Marines of the past and present who displays the synergy,” said Chung. “We do tie-ins during things like PT (physical training) and belt sustainment and compare lessons we are teaching or examples of what Marines have done in the past to whatever the students were doing.”

Martial culture studies include discussions on the positives and negatives of other cultures, which had warrior classes that stood above the rest and how students can try to emulate them.

“As a culture, we try to learn and take from other cultures to better our own,” Chung said. “The synergy is our bread and butter here.”

The course also emphasizes teamwork, leadership, combat readiness, fitness and realism.

“The course stays away from green (PT shorts) on green (shirts),” said Chung. “We don’t fights wars in PT gear, we fight in cammies with boots on our feet and flaks (armored vests) on our bodies.”

Chung added that, although it is not the primary objective, combat conditioning can be one of the most difficult parts of the course.

“When it comes to fitness, we are trying to get the students combat conditioned so they can be more effective when they get to the field,” Chung said. “A lot of Marines haven’t conditioned their bodies for that kind of use, which makes the PT very difficult for some.”

“As I work my way through the course, I am learning there is nothing more important than teamwork,” said Sgt. Timothy Bicker, recruit screener, Receiving Company, Support Bn., Recruit Training Regiment. “We wouldn’t be able to ever finish some of the drills we have to do without it.”

Bicker also said that teamwork in particular has been and still is the most physically demanding part of the course.

“Being a good member of a team, which is the most difficult part of the course, means to ignore personal pain and focus at the mission at hand,” Bicker said. “Even as a sergeant, I am still learning how far I can push myself and how to break my preconceived limits.”

Although he is slated to graduate from the three-week course Aug. 20, Bicker says he can already tell that taking the course is worth the effort.

“I am not done yet, but I can already tell I’m becoming a better leader, a better Marine and a better martial artist,” Bicker said. “I recommend the course to any Marine (noncommissioned officer) and above who want to better themselves as leaders and instructors.”

For more information on becoming a MAI course student or increasing belt levels, contact the depot’s MCMAP satellite school at (619) 524-5114.



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