Mandatory MCI promotes leadership

9/16/2009 By Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr. , Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

One Marine Corps Institute course has been mandatory for promotion to corporal for some time, but a few Marines still need the course to earn or keep their stripes.

Two years ago, Marine Administrative Message 370-07 introduced the “Leading Marines” MCI as the replacement for its outdated predecessor. The message stated all lance corporals must complete “Leading Marines” by Oct. 1, 2008, to be eligible for promotion.

According to Sgt. Maj. Danny Smith, the senior enlisted advisor for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the initial number of 2nd MAW Marines not qualified for promotion was high due to confusion regarding the new requirements.

“The numbers that started out were probably close to 1,000,” said Smith, referring to Marines who had not taken the MCI. “Once we went through the system, it dropped to about 250. Now I’m expecting it to be, once I get the information in, less than 50.”

MarAdmin 181-09 clarified the previous message about personnel who have not completed “Leading Marines.” Smith said even though the MCI is required, those who completed the original “Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership” before September 2008 are exempt.

However, MarAdmin 181-09 stated all Marines promoted to corporal from Oct. 1, 2008, must have completed the “Leading Marines” MCI by June 2009 or else face administrative reduction in rank.

“There will be a uniformed process for those individuals who have not done the MCI,” Smith said.

Though some Marines may be exempt, Smith said he encourages everyone to take “Leading Marines”.

“What I’m telling sergeants major throughout the wing is that even if the Marine completed ‘Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership,’ … it is an old, antiquated MCI that doesn’t cover the mentoring process and doesn’t cover current world situations,” Smith said. “The new ‘Leading Marines’ MCI does just that.”