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New library helps Marines with promotion

By Sgt. Stephen D'Alessio | | July 11, 2005

A new Commander’s Library was created this month to expedite professional learning and promotion for Marines deployed here.

The library, located in the Truck Company dispatch office, strictly contains Marine Corps Institute books used by Marines to learn and brush up on everything from basic infantry and leadership skills to writing essays and using proper grammar.

First Sgt. Adriel G. Fonseca, Truck Company first sergeant, instituted the change that already has 50 Marines closer to their promotion goals.

“I created this library for when the Marines are not on convoys and they get bored,” said Fonseca, a Buffalo, N.Y., native.  “It helps the Marines work toward promotion while filling up the dead time between operations and convoys.  That’s definitely the most important thing about it.”

Fonseca started the library by collecting books, called MCIs, Marines had already completed.  Instead of ordering new packages, which can take more than a month to receive here in Iraq, the Marines can now walk to the library and begin studying for their test.

Normally, individual Marines mail their bubble test sheets in after they take their proctored test and await the results, hoping to receive their grades and points before the next promotion date.  Faxes and snail mail are the usual vehicles for the paperwork, which gets sent to the Marine Corps Institute headquarters at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va.

Now, the tests are collected in bulk after a mass testing, which occurs Fridays here.  The tests are then tracked by the date Marines are tested, the date the test was delivered and the date that it posts in the Marine Corps Total Force System.

“It started here, but now the entire camp is invited to come and use the library,” said Fonseca.  “I found that after work the Marines had nothing to do.  If they worked on MCIs, it would normally take two to three months to receive their MCI, complete it, mail it in and receive their score.  With this new system, an MCI can be completed on average in two to three weeks.” Fonseca command library system eliminates the lengthy mailing process, significantly reducing the time it takes to receive a final grade.

No materials are required for the testing or studying, according to Fonseca.  His library contains all of the non-resident professional courses per grade from private to gunnery sergeant.  Individual MCIs can be scanned or, if many of the same tests were taken, he can mail them in bulk.

“We’ve been bombarded lately,” said Fonseca.  “Marines have been showing a lot of interest.”

In addition, each Marine has their own file containing the dates and grades of their testing.  The files are sent to each Marine’s company office and it documents their progress.

“We have a system and it works,” said Fonseca.  “Now, Marines can come down to the dispatch office, check out a vehicle and an MCI,” he added, laughing.  Most importantly, it keeps the Marines’ minds occupied.”