MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines serving with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, are utilizing a new training regimen called the Warrior’s Path Program, held weekly at the Camp Margarita chapel, for Marines checking into their first duty station.
The program was created to help start the careers of junior Marines on the right foot.
“This is a new program that has been out now since October (2012),” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert W. Peters III, the chaplain of HQBn. “It is not new for Marines to have a mentor program or give guidance to each other. This is just a new way for Headquarters Battalion and the commanding officer to package it and get it out to our Marines to maximize their success.”
The course includes six periods of instruction which are split up into two classes each.
Senior staff noncommissioned officers throughout the battalion teach classes about sexual assault and suicide prevention, learning to cope with stress, fitness, relationships, ethics and social media during the program.
These topics are not only relevant but critical to building the ideal, holistic warrior.
“This course reinforced the lessons we all learned in recruit training,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, a Marine serving with the 1st Marine Division Band, a native of Smyrna, Tenn. “(Bearing) customs and courtesies have been topics I have paid extra attention to.”
The program’s building block approach relies heavily on the discussion between the junior Marines and their seasoned instructors.
“This path is for the new Marines fresh out of military specialty school,” said Peters, a native of Panama City, Fla. “The classes are typically taught by experienced, senior Marines. The older Marines have seen a lot more, and they talk about things that young Marines need to know to be successful. They speak guidance and wisdom into their lives.”
Warrior’s Path classes are taught primarily by first sergeants and master sergeants with at least 20 years of experience in the Corps.
“What I did was reinforce guidance to these junior Marines,” said 1st Sgt. Ryan Blue, the Communications Company first sergeant. “These Marines are entry level and the best way for the battalion to greet them is to make sure that they are on the correct path for success. They are our responsibility and future of our Corps.”
At the completion of all these briefs, the young Marines receive a certificate signed by the sergeant major and the commanding officer of HQBn.
“It essentially labels them with the approval and validation of the commanding officer,” Peters said. “They have been given every chance to succeed and to start their new duty station off on the right foot.”
Though Warrior’s Path is still fresh to the battalion, it has shown signs of longevity.
“If the program keeps going the same way it has been, I would not at all be surprised that something similar would spring up at other areas in Camp Pendleton.” Peters said.
Classes are held at the Camp Margarita chapel at 3 p.m. every Tuesday afternoon.