MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
When 11 graduates of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program crossed the stage at the Base Theater here, Friday, the first two local female Marine graduates of the demanding course were included.
“I wanted to go out there and do my part as a Marine because I know your career never stops progressing,” said one of the two female Marine graduates, Staff Sgt. Yalunda Jefferson, technician, Telephone Service, Communications and Information Systems Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. “You need to keep going, to reach for the next level. I’ll always work to be better than what I think I can do.”
Upon completion of her green belt instructors training, Jefferson added that she wanted to challenge herself and give back to the Marine Corps.
The challenging two-week long course, complete with classroom and physical training, called for one-on-one combat between the students as they learned their moves and demonstrated their abilities to instructors.
The two female Marines received no special treatment in the hand-to-hand sessions played out on a training mat or in an outdoor sand pit, according to Jefferson.
“We received the same treatment as any other student. In the end, we’re all Marines. There was no deviation whatsoever,” she said. “When we free sparred, we free sparred. When we did grappling, we did grappling. The same with ground fighting. We all did the same training. It wouldn’t have been right if it was any different.”
The other female graduate in the course echoed Jefferson’s motivation for volunteering for the course.
“I didn’t want to be a user, I wanted to give back to the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Heather Chavez, warehouse chief, Base Property Control, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany. “It was a tough two weeks, it was mental, it was physical. We got up at zero four to start and were here until eighteen hundred, sometimes.”
The second week of the course moved quickly, according to Chavez.
“We were evaluated and tested. We weren’t treated any differently. It was the same vigorous program for everybody,” Chavez explained.
According to class officials, MCMAP Class 2-09 had various military occupational specialties represented.
It was the product of study that included spending more than 100 hours of instruction and practical application in a fast paced training environment.
The course involved 15.5 hours of combat conditioning exercises, 15 hours of administrative studies, 18.5 hours of review and sustainment, 24.5 hours of lesson purpose classes, 10 hours of lesson-purpose classes, and 10 hours of advance techniques.
Additionally, 6.5 hours were spent on written and performance examinations.
One graduate came into the training as a black belt level MCMAP graduate, and added to his skills with the additional training.
“I became more proficient in my moves and can execute a move faster now,” said Sgt. Christopher Sinclair, chief, personnel administration, Installation Personnel Administrative Center, MCLB Albany. “I fine-tuned my black belt skills in this class.”
MCMAP graduates not only increase their military skills by successful completion of the course, but also add to their promotion potential.
“The graduates gain a broader understanding of the spirit of the Marine Corps,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. John F. Marbury Jr., MCMAP instructor-trainer at MCLB Albany. “They’re not just users, they’re now giving back to the Marine Corps.”
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Sgt. Maj. E. Hayes, sergeant major, Marine Corps Systems Command, who said martial arts training can make a difference to members of a promotion board.
“If a Marine holds a higher level of martial arts training because of completing this training, it certainly makes a difference. If he or she is on par with their peers on everything else, this training can make a difference in who we select for promotion,” he said.