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Training for leaders hones top level mentorship

30 Jun 2009 | Cpl. Daniel A. Blatter

As 1st Marine Division leaders plan and prepare for future deployments, it’s important that all leaders understand the basics of building solid training plans as well as scheduling the plans properly.

The lead organization for the Infantry Train-the-Trainer (IT3) Program, the Mobile Training Company, School of Infantry West, has been tasked with conducting instruction in the systems approach to training for unit leaders within the operational forces.

Marines are taught that a systems approach is a basic yet standard way to organizing and conducting operations utilizing a checklist, timelines and practical applications.

The MTC has provided Marine leaders with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, a week-long event to train the unit’s leadership on how to organize, plan, resource, support, and execute standards-based training.

The T3 training began June 22 with 21 Marines absorbing two days of classroom instruction. The instruction focused mainly on unit training management. Following the classroom instruction, the course moved to live-range 703 from June 24 to 26, where the MTC conducted multiple basic training exercises to instruct and demonstrate the systems approach to training. 

“All we are really doing is getting back to the basics and showing Marines how to lead,” said Capt. Keith M. Montgomery, the officer-in-charge and lead instructor of the MTC. “We teach a way to train using a systems approach to training and unit training management.

“The Marine Corps, in essence, has gotten away from the basics, due to a lot of time constraints in between deployments,” said Montgomery, 35, from Lake Arrowhead, Calif. “So what we do is go around to units and get them back into the basics. Mainly, we are showing them a way to train.”

This is the second time HQ Bn., the only non-infantry unit to receive this type of training, has participated in the T3 program, as Military Police Co. was the first to receive it just weeks ago.

“It’s our job to keep our Marines engaged at all times,” said Gunnery Sgt. John M Austin, the staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the MTC. “You want to maximize your training time, because we don’t always have that extra time.

“Marines make our job,” said Austin, 30, from Houston. “It’s our job as leaders to make sure they have the best quality training.”

The goal of this training was to provide Marines with a proper foundation in the systems approach. This training will also increase Marines ability to conduct specific events in an organized and proficient manner.

“You have to approach each training event knowing what your unit or audience is capable of,” said Staff Sgt. Trevor L. Goff, 27, a platoon sergeant with Truck Co. A., HQ Bn., from Kalamazoo, Mich. “The main goal is to set our Marines up for success.”

Throughout the class, Marines were forced to think outside the box when building solid training plans, present their plans, and then receive critiques to clear up discrepancies.

“We show Marines the importance of standard-based training while utilizing checklists to make sure they are meeting those standards,” said Montgomery. “We also demonstrate concurrent training, so they get the most out of their training time.”   

Upon completion of IT3 training, the training unit will have three weeks to plan and coordinate a tactical small unit leader’s course.

“This is the leadership of Headquarters Battalion, our future leadership,” said Montgomery. “What the Marines here need to do is take this process back to their unit and apply it so they can create future leaders of Marines.”