It’s a Small Corps

There are many relationships found within the Marine Corps. Some are established before joining the Corps, and some are established after.

Staff Sgt. Peter Gosnell, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1069, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion and Sgt. Leslie Gosnell, combat marksmanship trainer, Weapons and Field Training Bn., are a couple who met after joining the Marine Corps and are currently working together training recruits.

This type of relationship can have positive effects on reruits training here.
This platoon seems more relaxed than other platoons have been, said Sgt. Gosnell, who is the CMT for her husband’s platoon.

“I think part of it is name association,” said Staff Sgt. Gosnell. “Since (the recruits) already trust me, it is easier for them to trust her.”

One key to training recruits in marksmanship is the senior drill instructor and CMT relationship, he added. Some drill instructors will try to teach the recruits techniques they feel work better than what the CMT is teaching. These techniques may work better for the drill instructor, but may not work for the recruits.

The CMTs teach recruits the basics of marksmanship, said Sgt. Gosnell. It is important for every recruit and Marine to have the basic understanding before they try more advanced techniques.

Trust is not only required between the recruits and the CMT, but also between the senior drill instructor and the CMT.

If the senior drill instructor does not trust the instructors and contradicts what they are teaching, then the recruits won’t listen to the CMT during the classes.

Staff Sgt. Gosnell believes it is his job as a senior drill instructor to build up the CMT to his recruits to reinforce that initial trust.

“I think one reason they trust her more is because they know I trust her,” he said.

These recruits are more willing to talk to her than past platoons, said Sgt. Gosnell. Most recruits are afraid of sounding unintelligent, so they won’t ask questions when they don’t understand what is being taught. Part of being a CMT is breaking through that barrier by showing the recruits she is an instructor and a Marine. Once they realize that, they will open up by telling stories and asking more questions.

Though it is rare, there is another form of relationship that is pre-established. A kind of relationship built over many years, like that of siblings who have grown up together.
Sgt. David Blea, CMT, WFTBn., is the CMT for his brother, Recruit Dustin Blea, Platoon 1065, Charlie Co., 1st RTBn.

One difference Sgt. Blea sees between his brother and the other recruits in the platoon is the trust his brother has in him. He seems to pay attention more and really takes what Sgt. Blea is teaching to heart and applies it, said the older Blea.

Recruit Blea understands what his brother is saying and what he expects of him since they grew up together, said Recruit Blea.

The younger Blea didn’t find out his brother was going to be one of his CMTs until his senior drill instructor introduced the platoon to Sgt. Joshua Washington, CMT, WFTBn., and Sgt. Blea.

Washington believes, if there is an opportunity to increase a recruit’s morale on the rifle range, then he will be more likely to qualify, and that is what is important.

Recruit Blea does not treat his brother like a brother, he respects him as a CMT just as the other recruits do, Washington added.

Sgt. Blea requested to be the CMT for Platoon 1065, because he knew his brother would listen to him and learn more.