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U.S. Marine Maj. John Kelly, plans officer with 1st Marine Logistics Group, instructs lieutenants at the 1st MLG Lieutenant Seminar, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 20, 2016. 1st MLG implemented the course earlier this year to build knowledge and networks between first and second lieutenants within the Group. The three day course is scheduled quarterly, so junior officers can become better leaders and mentors to the Marines under their charge. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Abbey Perria)

Photo by Sgt. Abbey Perria

Lieutenants learning to lead

21 Oct 2016 | 1st Marine Logistics Group

Camp Pendleton, California - Earlier this year, 1st Marine Logistics Groups implemented a new course designed to build knowledge and networks between first and second lieutenants within the Group. Capt. Derek Donavan, a prior student from the course, instructed the Oct. 19 – 21, 2016, Lieutenant Seminar, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

"I sat thought this same course when I was a lieutenant," said Donavan, the course coordinator and operations officer with 1st MLG. "It made me think of things that I wasn't doing, things that I could do better, what I was doing too much of."

Few units have a similar course, 1st MLG took it upon themselves to supply their junior officers with a continued education after The Basic School and Military Occupational Specialty schools.

"This is the first place I've heard of doing a course like this at the lieutenant and captain level," said 1st Lt. Daniel Jagears, a student and a financial management officer with 1st MLG. "I've learned quite a bit from my peers around me and the captains ahead of me."

Maj. John Kelly, a course instructor, did not have this program available to him as a lieutenant, but can attest to the value of information and communication amongst peers at the lieutenant level.

"It would have been nice to have resources and a peer group of lieutenants outside of my shop I could get to know," said Kelly, a plans officer with 1st MLG. "There is an aspect of networking and being able to support each other, so that would have been a super useful thing for me to have."

For Jagears, the last time he was in such a large group of peers was at TBS, over a year ago. Brig. Gen. David A. Ottignon, the commanding general of 1st MLG, spoke to his class about the importance of the "Lieutenant Protective Association" and its continuation amongst them.

"The ‘Lieutenant Protective Association' is a historical custom for all lieutenants to band together and protect one another, to ensure that we are looking out for one another," said Jagears. "You can find out what works for someone or doesn't work, so you learn from your peers."

As junior officers, lieutenants have the closest contact with enlisted Marines, so it is imperative that they are provided the skills they need to lead and mentor Marines, according to Kelly.

"We are talking about encouragement, protection, fostering your subordinate relationships … setting the example and the ability to teach," said Donovan. "For career progression and credibility, they need time as a platoon commander."

The seminar is scheduled quarterly; filling the gap of practical experience with resources and a support system, so 1st MLG lieutenants can master their roles and responsibilities within the Marine Corps.

"The biggest take away is mission first, Marines always," said Jagears.

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