CAMP RIPPER, Iraq --
Many Marines often join the Marine Corps seeking a chance to further their education. Many don’t realize the opportunity is afforded to them not only at military installations in the U.S., but even while forward deployed.
“Knowledge is power. If a Marine takes advantage of education opportunities while they’re in the military, it can help make them be more competitive within their military occupation specialty and in the civilian workforce,” said Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Forbes, administration chief for Regimental Combat Team 8. “For young Marines, it’s the perfect time to take classes. There are plenty of other Marines who are willing to give them a hand with their classes and help them succeed.”
Forbes not only encourages his Marines to take college courses, but he has also enrolled in classes. “How can I expect my Marines to listen to me if I’m not setting a good example to follow,” said Forbes. “I have completed close to 71 credits and I plan on getting a lot more done while I’m here.” Forbes said he’s working toward a degree in human resources.
Assistant operations chief for RCT-8, Master Sgt. James Emch, works with Marines to help them complete necessary documents in order to enroll in classes.
“I help Marines with the first steps of what to look for when enrolling in classes. I also work as a liaison for the education center at Camp Lejeune,” Emch said.
He says that Marines should jump at the opportunity to better themselves and set themselves up for a successful future. Emch also said with the current operations tempo in Iraq, there is no excuse why every Marine in RCT-8 can’t at least take one college course while here.
It takes a little more than leadership to motivate Marines to further their education. It takes a high level of self-motivation and dedication.
“I have no excuse not to take advantage of the opportunity. I mean it’s 100 percent free,” said Sgt. Bruno Macedo, administration non-commissioned officer in charge.
“You can come to Al Asad, work hard and only earn an Iraqi campaign medal, or you can earn your medal and possibly earn a degree too,” Macedo said.
Although Macedo took some time to decide whether he would continue his education, he says he now understands the urgency of obtaining a good education.
“I know I have to get out of the military some time. Whether it’s in three years or 11 years, I want to make sure that I have all the tools I need in order to be successful,” Macedo said.
Not only are Marines getting the opportunity to work toward associate and bachelor degrees, some Marines are going even further. Cpl Nathan Munoz, an RCT-8 armorer, has already obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer science and is working toward his master’s in the same field.
“I realize that having my bachelor’s degree gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door, but I feel that if I really want to be successful I have to continue my education,” Munoz said.
Munoz said that taking classes while deployed is a nice allowance. Even with his work schedule, he felt that he has more than enough time to complete a few classes.
In today’s society, education is a cornerstone in helping individuals succeed in finding a successful career. Not only does education help in the civilian sector, but also proves to be helpful within the Marine Corps. No matter where Marines may find themselves, they can always seek education opportunities the Marine Corps offers.
For more information on the ongoing mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, visit http://www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil/iimeffwd.