HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., Sept. 13, 2017 — Deploying overseas for the first time as a member of the Air Force’s security forces can be a daunting experience for a young airman with less than two years of service.
However, Airman 1st Class Colby Morin, a member of the 66th Security Forces Squadron here, said he relished the opportunity to take on a new challenge. He volunteered to attend the Marine Corps’ Lance Corporal Seminar shortly after arriving to his deployed location in Southeast Asia.
“The five-day seminar was an opportunity for me to grow professionally and learn more about the Marine Corps, whom we were working side-by-side with providing security at the installation,” said Morin, who grew up in Barre, Massachusetts.
Ahead of Peers
The goal of the seminar is to enhance small unit leadership and ensure a better understanding of Marine Corps ethos, leadership fundamentals and the total Marine concept for Marine Corps lance corporals. The seminar is run at the unit level by an organization’s command sergeant major or senior enlisted advisor.
“The course was extremely beneficial because instead of having to wait two-and-a-half years to go to Airman Leadership School, I was able to complete a course very similar to ALS before many of my peers,” Morin said.
Morin was the only security forces member to volunteer for the course.
“If we aren’t effective leaders who possess good leadership qualities and traits, we can’t lead the airmen behind us,” he said. “This class improved my leadership abilities and better prepared me to become the airman the Air Force wants and needs.”
Before attending the seminar, students complete an online course called “Leading Marines.” The course and seminar are prerequisites for promotion to corporal within the Marine Corps.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Carl Oestmann, who was Morin’s deployed security forces squadron manager, lauded Morin for accepting the challenge in an email to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Pepper, the 66th Security Forces Squadron superintendent.
“The Marines for the first time invited [Air Force] E-3s to participate in their Lance Corporal Seminar,” the chief wrote. “Not only was he [Morin] removed from shift for these days to learn and broaden his perspective, he went beyond other airmen by completing five Marine Corps online tests before the course began.”
Morin encouraged others to take on similar joint professional military education opportunities.
“It was a great opportunity to learn more about our mission partners and how they perform the mission at home and while deployed,” he said. “There was a lot of information sharing between us that was beneficial to everyone involved.”
Morin’s supervisor here said he was not surprised to learn he accepted the challenge to broaden himself while deployed.
“He is a go-getter and if there is a mountain to climb, he’ll be the first one to attack it,” said Staff Sgt. Cody S. Hoffman, the element leader for Bravo Flight, 66 Security Forces Squadron.
By attending the course and providing feedback to leaders in his deployed unit, Morin was able to influence decision-makers on whether other airmen will attend the seminar at that location in the future.
“His feedback was valuable in us assessing having future [Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron] airmen attend,” Oestmann said.
The course included Marine Corps-led physical training and a long run with the local sergeant major on graduation day.
A two-time security forces squadron airman of the quarter and the 66th Air Base Group Airman of the Quarter for October 2016, Morin spoke about how the seminar broke down barriers between the young service members.
“In addition to attending the seminar and having an opportunity to change any misconceptions they might have had about the Air Force, we served right alongside them, securing the base,” he said. “I think through it all they had newfound respect for the Air Force and what we bring to the fight.”
By Mark Wyatt