In the wake of travel and safety restrictions forced by the COVID-19 pandemic the Corps has started accelerated online seminars for gunnery sergeants in lieu of the traditional program at a Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
The class is required to be completed before gunnery sergeants can be considered for promotion. The seminars, announced in a new Marine Corps administrative message, will all be completed before the the fiscal year 2021 promotion boards convene.
The accelerated course will only last eight weeks, nearly cutting in half the normal 15-week course said the Tuesday MARADMIN. But the shortened time does not come with a curtailed curriculum.
“This is an aggressive seminar program designed to meet educational promotion requirements in this unique time,” the MARADMIN reads.
An official familiar with the situation aboard Fort Worth said they could not give a number for how many Marines on the base have tested positive for the virus, but did say an event happened in early June that caused Marines to return to teleworking.
Most of the seminars will be conducted via the MarineNet Moodle Portal and available whenever the gunnery sergeant has time to complete it ― though some of the seminars will be held at a scheduled time via Adobe Connect virtual classrooms, Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told Marine Corps Times in a Thursday email.
“The volume and depth of work is such that two days are typically devoted to online coursework and the rest of the week for study, research, collaboration, reflection, and reading,” Stephenson added.
The first wave of three seminars conducted by the Okinawa Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy instructors began on July 20 and only was open to Marines stationed in the “Far East,” according to the MARADMIN.
The second wave of five seminars is set to begin Aug. 10 and is open to Marines deployed around the world.
Seats are limited to only 12 Marines per seminar and commands are asked to “prioritize Gunnery Sergeants and only submit nominations for those who are expected to be” eligible for promotion in fiscal year 2021.