Wednesday, August 24, 2011

British Royal Marine Heads OCS Training

By Cpl Jahn R. Kuiper
The Quantico Sentry

As the sun rises on Officer Candidates School, the physical training instructors have the candidates sweating it out on the PT field.  Standing out amongst the growling voices of the instructors is a sometimes cheeky, always motivating British accent that urges the candidates to push themselves and ensures the future officers are conducting training safely.

Colour Sergeant Richy Asson, a British Royal Marine physical training instructor, serves as OCS’ physical training advisor. Asson works directly with the commanding officer to decide the most effective and safest way for candidates to train, and oversees the U.S. Marine physical training instructors.
Few people know how a British Royal Marine earned the position where he helps train future American officers. It began in 1972 when two high ranking officers from OCS and the Royal Marines Commando Training Center in Devon, England, got together.

“The story goes that because the [United States Marine Corps] doesn’t have a MOS that’s a physical training expert that the American officer asked us to send one of our physical training instructors to head up training here at OCS,” Asson said. “In exchange they would send an infantry trained gunnery sergeant to be the adviser to one of our platoon commanders and help administrate one of our platoons of enlisted recruits going through the Royal Marines Commando Training Center. It was a classic ‘switcharoo.’”

Asson was chosen out of the approximately 45 British Royal Marines in his field, because of his wealth of experience. After 20 years of service in the British Royal Marines, 15 of them as a physical training instructor, and after heading the physical training course at the Royal Marines Commando Training Center, Asson was told he would be making the trip across the pond in 2010. Asson holds the rank of colour sergeant which is equivalent to an E-8 in the Marine Corps.

Asson was delighted to be chosen, he said.

“In our field this is the most prestigious job and I’m honored to be here,” Asson said. “This is the job everyone wants because you get to come to America and be an advisor to the colonel, you’re pretty much on your own and get to run things how you see fit and you get to help mold the candidates here at OCS.”

The British Royal Marine is dedicated to fulfilling his mission.

“I make sure the courses here are safe to train on, for example if the obstacle course has ice on it I’ll shut it down,” Asson said. “I make sure the candidates stay safe and see to it that the instructors conduct training properly.”

The leadership at OCS considers Asson’s role to be vital.

“The Marine Corps doesn’t have a physical training expert as a job, so the knowledge and experience he brings is crucial,” said Col. Rick Jackson, the OCS commanding officer. “He is the one that ensures the candidates are meeting the physical standards expected of our graduates and recommends if they are prepared for the rigors of The Basic School. He is the duty expert and without him we would really just be guessing on what the best training would be. Just like a battalion has a gunner as a weapons expert, he is our expert, and I consult with him on all physical training matters.”

But this wasn’t only a commitment for the colour sergeant, but also for his wife and family who came to America with him on the two-year tour.

“I have my wife, Nickey, and my 13-year-old twins, Billy and Megan, here with me,” Asson said. “It was hard, especially for the twins, to adjust with school and all, but now they all are really enjoying being here in America.”

Each day Asson takes it as a challenge to be a good portrayal of the Royal Marines and give his full effort to his mission at OCS.

“I always make sure I give 100 percent and give a good showing of myself,” Asson said. “If I drop my standard, it looks bad on not only OCS but also the Royal Marines. I’m the only one here, so I must give my all to maintain the image of my service. I approach my mission here with the utmost importance.”

- Correspondent: jahn.kuiper@usmc.mil

1 comment:

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