CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, JAPAN
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - Professional military education is an important element to the development of all Marines. It not only impacts the Marine’s career, but overall proficiency and mission accomplishments as well.
The Marines and sailors who graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School and the Command and Staff College June 6 at the Butler Officers’ Club on Camp Foster dedicated their time to enhancing their military education.
The graduation was the culminating event after two years of instruction in the nonresident programs for both courses.
“The overall goal for both programs is to educate officers in Marine Air-Ground Task Force skills,” said James P. Hopkins, the regional coordinator of the College of Distance Education and Training Okinawa satellite campus. “EWS is designed to prepare officers at the Marine expeditionary brigade level, and CSC prepares officers at the Marine expeditionary force level.”
To better prepare officers for the future of warfare, EWS is adapting the way it is implemented, according to Hopkins.
“In the old model, we used to teach both years in seminar format,” said Hopkins. “With the new format, the students will be able to enroll in the first half of EWS on their own and do self-study. There will be a time limit once the student enrolls in the course. That way they cannot just sit on it until the last minute. The second half of EWS will still be seminar-based with instructors teaching a class, then students engaging in discussion following that.”
With the new program taking effect in fall 2013, the final graduates of the old program will move onto their futures in the armed forces, according to Hopkins.
“We have 165 graduates in the region, including the Republic of Korea, the Japanese mainland, Okinawa and deployed forces in the area,” said Hopkins. “Of those 165 graduates, we have 75 who attended school on Okinawa and received their graduation certificates.”
Graduating from either of the courses is an admirable accomplishment, according to Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, the guest speaker at the event and commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.
“There is no doubt in anyone’s minds how much effort was put into these courses,” said Owens. “It’s a testament to how important the Marine Corps thinks professional military education is. As leaders are increasingly given more information, it is necessary that they know how to sort through it to make the best decisions.”
The curriculum proved to be worthwhile and helpful to most of the students, according to Chief Warrant Officer Francisco D. Munoz, an EWS graduate and tactical communications planning and engineering officer, G-6, communications, 1st MAW.
“In my job, as the communication planner, it is beneficial to know what the other parts of the organization are doing,” said Munoz. “We were given that insight during the seminars. After the instructor taught the lesson, we would engage in open discussion. Each person there was the subject-matter expert in their field. They would tell us how they would operate, and we could see how we affected them and how they affected us.”
The use of historical references and examples can help the graduates with real-world problem-solving and making sound and ethical decisions, according to Owens.
“Use what you have learned here to teach and mentor your Marines,” said Owens. “It is especially important that you share this knowledge and help others understand how the world perceives us.”
Teaching and mentoring not only gives more Marines a chance to learn, but shows that students have taken the themes of the courses and made them their own, according to Hopkins.
“I am extremely proud of the students,” said Hopkins. “They do this school in conjunction with work, family and other commitments they have. It is remarkable what the students have achieved.”
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