Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- The Marine Corps provides equal opportunities for all who earned the title United States Marine. It relies on command equal opportunity representatives to ensure all Marines understand the importance of equal opportunity and resources available to ensure fairness across the Corps.
To help fulfill the command-sponsored equal opportunity program on the East Coast, more than 25 Marines attended the Equal Opportunity Representative Course at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Dec. 1-4.
The course provided Marines from as far away as Recruiting Station Detroit the required skills to act as equal opportunity representatives and manage a command equal opportunity program.
“During the course we try to change the way the Marines think by teaching them about themselves,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Scott, the equal opportunity advisor for Cherry Point. “During the course students identify perceptions, attitudes and beliefs common to all of us. This makes them conscious of other attitudes or misconceptions others may have, allowing them to listen to Marines without judgment, regardless of their own attitudes and beliefs.”
The course structure is broken in four phases. During phase one, the students learn the Marine Corps’ equal opportunity policy. Phase two includes the study of individual and group behavior, while phase three indentifies the aspects of discrimination. During the final phase, students are provided with the skills and information to fulfill their responsibilities as equal opportunity representatives.
According to Scott, the collective theme of the course boils down to leadership and troop welfare.
“Not all leadership issues are EO issues,” said Scott. “However, all EO issues are definitely leadership issues.”
The course was very professional yet entertaining, said Gunnery Sgt. Emanuel Torres, the equal opportunity representative with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
“During the course there were many challenging group discussions,” said Torres. “However, the instructors of the class did a great job controlling and guiding the different conversations.”
According to Torres, some of the most important information he learned during the course were the rights of the victims.
“Knowledge is power,” said Torres. “This class takes topics and puts them in black and white for the EO representative and for anyone who seeks their advice.”