QUANTICO, Va.—Staff Sergeants looking to brush up on—or, honestly, learn—the fundamentals of their profession will have a brand new opportunity with the Marine Corps' new remedial Corporals Course for Staff Sergeants (CCFSS), starting next month at Marine Corps University.
The course is aimed at Staff Sergeants who, for whatever reason, are unable to function at the minimum level of competency the Marine Corps expects of a Corporal.
CCFSS will feature an intensive ten week program focusing on the basics of leadership, drill, physical fitness, proper appearance, and any of the dozens of other core tasks most Marines learn during their several weeks at Corporals Course and then forget just as quickly.
“Over the last few years we've been seeing a growing number of overweight and under-motivated Staff Sergeants coming through our Career Course,” Maj. Gen. William Mullen, head of Training and Education Command, told Duffel Blog.
"These are Marines who‘ve been in for over a decade, yet they can’t make weight, follow simple instructions, or even keep themselves clean-shaven," Mullen said. “We found we were spending too much of Career Course doing remedial programs for things they honestly should have learned in Recruit Training.’
According to Mullen the Marine Corps originally planned to just send designated Staff Sergeants back through Recruit Training, but several experimental classes never even checked in, and an investigation has still not uncovered where they spent those three months—or how they were all awarded Navy Achievement Medals.
While the Marine Corps has been able to remove substandard non-commissioned officers through time in service limitations, substandard staff non-commissioned officers have historically been allowed to served a full 20 years for retirement purposes.
The result is a large number of Marines categorized as "Lazy, Inefficient, Fat, and Expecting Retirement," or LIFER.
Although the Marines began two separate programs in 2012 to convinced LIFERs to get out early—Voluntary Separation Pay and Temporary Early Retirement Authority—CCFSS is a recognition that there are still too many LIFERs in the ranks who just won’t get out.
Based on the overwhelmingly favorable response MCU has already been getting from Fleet units, Mullen said not to be surprised if in the coming years the program is expanded to include Corporals Course for Gunnery Sergeants, Corporals Course for Master Sergeants, and Corporals Course for Master Gunnery Sergeants.