Corporals course navigates jungle, strengthens leadership skills
By Lance Cpl. Donald T. Peterson
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | December 06, 2012
JUNGLE WARFARE TRAINING CENTER, Okinawa, Japan --
As time ticks away, Marines navigate through the jungle trying to find their final checkpoint before the clock runs out.
Students with Headquarters and Service Battalion’s corporals course raced against time when they traversed through the jungle during a land navigation course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center on Camp Gonsalves Nov. 30.
Land navigation is a perishable skill that requires consistent training to avoid forgetting the basics altogether.
“This course was hard to navigate, but fun,” said Cpl. Jaylenn B. Person, a supply administration and operations specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The terrain is thick the whole way. You cannot follow any paths because any paths you find could lead you to the road or deeper into the jungle,” said Person.
The jungle terrain proved to be both physically demanding and dangerous to navigate, according to Lance Cpl. Andrew L. Elgin, a military policeman with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
“It was very difficult to maneuver through the jungle,” said Elgin. “If you lose your footing you could injure your leg or ankle. We found ourselves having to move from tree to tree, staying low and sometimes sliding down hills. The few hills we did climb required us to send our best climbers up with the rope and then throw the rope down for other Marines to make the climb.”
Teamwork and listening to the instructor are key to making it through the course in the allotted amount of time, according to Sgt. Justin D. Lofay, an instructor with Headquarters and Service Battalion’s corporals course and automotive maintenance technician with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd MLG, III MEF.
“You could tell the difference when they actually took their time to work as a team to get to their next point and when they were just rushing,” said Lofay. “When they worked as a team they moved smoother from one point to another instead of accidentally going too far or winding up at the wrong point.”
Headquarters and Service Battalion’s corporals course plans on using the Jungle Warfare Training Center for future classes to practice their land navigation skills needed in the jungle.