The Romanian military sought assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps to help
set up a training school, in an effort to mass-produce non-commissioned officers.
The plan is to train senior enlisted personnel to take over much of the decision-making
duties and command functions.
By the end of this year, Romania will have 40,200 NCOs and warrant officers,
a number that will outweigh three times the officer corps of 18,000. The total
number of Romania’s armed forces will be 112,000 by the end of 2003, according
to government documents.
“The first problem was that we had to understand how to create the fighting
NCO,” that also is a leader, Col. Mihai Chirita told National Defense.
Chirita runs the NCO school.
The school came to life in 1999 with the help of the U.S. Marine Corps, which
provided training assistance.
The school trains the NCO in tactics, but also encourages them to choose a
specialist track that they can use in the force or later in their civilian life.
Up to 600 students graduate from this school each year. It costs about $2,000
to put an NCO through training for one year, said Chirita.
Gunner Marius Postaliu took the drill instructor course at the U.S. Marine
base in Quantico, Va.
“They teach you how to plan your time, how to do everything in five minutes.
They taught us small details that we were not aware we could do in such little
time,” he said. “We learned new tactics, new physical training and
close combat, which we will teach here as well.”
They also have practiced survival in the water wearing all their equipment,
something they had never done before, he said. “They just throw you in,
and then they ask you if you can swim. You say, ‘No,’ and then they
tell you to make it to the other side,” Postaliu said.
The NCO school is planning to incorporate martial arts training, similar to
the Marine Corps’ courses. “These methods teach you how to handle
certain weapons,” he said. “We can’t do all, because it all
Martial arts methods involve a certain amount of physical pain and abuse that
may be hard to use on the Romanian soldiers, said Chirita. “The soldiers
may think that we are trying to harm them physically instead of just training
Gunnery Sgt. Constantin Radu said that they had to change basic practices,
once they started training with the Marine Corps.
“We used to communicate among each other verbally,” he said. “The
MC has taught us hand signals and signal systems based on their handbooks.”
On a larger scale he said, the Marine Corps, “made us see that being a
NCO does not mean being in a company, taking care of equipment.”
Competition for training at this school is fierce. There are about 10 people
for one spot. The candidates are both military and civilian. About 100 women
also are currently training at the center, and the first female instructor has
just graduated, said Chirita.
The U.S. company Cubic Defense has a contract with the Romanian Army to advise