This is the fourth blog entry for Master Sgt. David Wolfe, a security forces Airman from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., who trained at the Marine Corps Staff NCO Academy at Camp Pendleton in southern California. He volunteered for it after learning slots were available for Air Force senior NCOs.
“I knew this would be a challenge and the opportunity to work with the Marine Corps for seven weeks sounded like an awesome chance to grow personally and professionally,” said Sergeant Wolfe, who enlisted in the Air Force in 1992 and has served all over the world, to include the Middle East, Germany, Italy, Alaska and Wyoming. “My wife did three years in the Marine Corps and my oldest son enlisted last summer just after I left for Iraq, and is currently in tech school, so we have some family connection to the Corps as well.”
I recently had the distinct professional privilege of spending seven weeks at the US Marine Corps Staff NCO Academy Advanced Course. Seeing how another service conducts enlisted PME was a serious eye opener. Here are some of my thoughts after this incredible experience.
First and foremost, if you get the opportunity to volunteer to train with another service, jump all over it! Spending time with the Marines was one of the best experiences of my career and cannot be duplicated with a joint PME computer based training class. I learned that it’s never too early to get your haircut, and that calling your peers by their full rank and name instead of just first name is not hazardous to your health. The level of professionalism, or “moto” the Marines display both on and off-duty is tremendous.
Second, I learned that PT is a team sport. While your score on the test is yours and yours alone, preparation should be done as a unit, with some motivational tools woven into the fabric of every session. Developing an all-around fitness program rather than solely working on exercises required for any particular game of physical fitness testing is paramount. We are training for the possibility of carrying our wingman on our shoulders and out of harm’s way, not for a 1.5 mile run.
Lastly, I learned that no matter what task you are completing, the clock ticks at the same rate. Your ability to mentally block out uncomfortable physical situations will directly lead to an increase in your stamina. This will lead to Airmen who can sustain more physical demands in any environment. Running the hills of Camp Pendleton taught me that whatever your think you can endure physically, you can do more. Push yourself in PT, run through discomfort, and you will see an increase you did not think possible.
Thanks to the Staff NCO Academy at Pendleton for an awesome experience this Airman won’t forget.