CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The School of Infantry West honored Vietnam Veterans during a dedication ceremony and graduation for the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, Feb. 18.
The battalion’s theatre, which is used for ceremonies and graduations, now hosts a room dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. The Vietnam Room of Remembrance was formerly the theater’s control room, but now features a host of Vietnam War memorabilia, including captured weapons and gear, centered on a plaque that lists the names of 59 Marines who received battlefield commissions.
Battlefield commissions are awarded to non-commissioned officers and staff non-commissioned officers on the basis of merit and demonstration of leadership, promoting them to the officer ranks.
Louis A. Correa, Chapter President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 785, and three of the 59 Marines who received battlefield commissions in Vietnam were present for the occasion. Correa was the guest speaker for the ceremony.
“I notice some differences in today’s military, but in a way it’s no different than it was in my time,” said Correa. “Faces and places change, but the soul and the heart of it all are still there.”
“They’re a class of warrior elite,” said Lt. Col. Brett A. Clark, the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, Battalion Commander. “This is part of our lasting legacy, something we continue to pass on."
In addition to the Advanced Assaultman Course, some of the classes taught in the theater include the Infantry Squad Leaders Course, Infantry Unit Leader Course, Combat Hunter Trainer Course and Advanced Infantryman Course. These classes ensure non-commissioned officers and staff non-commissioned officers are proficient in advanced infantry skills, similar to those employed by the Marines who received battlefield commissions.
The Advanced Infantry Training Battalion conducts military occupational specialty validation and qualification for entry-level and advanced infantry skill progression training, ensuring that Marines are proficient in advanced infantry skills, reconnaissance skills and Light-Armored Vehicle operations in order to provide qualified infantry Marines to service in the operating forces.