Marines and Sailors graduate from CDET course

Base Info
Students of the College of Distance Education and Training’s Command and Staff School enjoy the graduate the two-year course, June 4 at the community center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul/Released)
Students of the College of Distance Education and Training’s Command and Staff School enjoy the graduate the two-year course, June 4 at the community center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul/Released)

Marines and Sailors graduate from CDET course

by: Lance Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul, Marine Corps Installations Pacific | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: June 20, 2015

Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and Sailors graduated from the College of Distance Education and Training’s Expeditionary Warfare School and the Command and Staff College June 6, at the community center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

The Expeditionary Warfare School educates and trains company grade officers to serve in an expeditionary environment, according to Marine Corps University. The course focuses on eight key points: the foundation of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, MAGTF doctrine, MAGTF operations, the Marine Corps planning process, amphibious operations, small wars, occupational field expansion, and professional development.

“(EWS students) learn how all the pieces of the Marine Corps come together as one entity and operate in a combat scenario,” said James Hopkins, the regional director for the CDET, Marine Corps University, Okinawa. 

While EWS focuses on the tactical side of warfare, the Command and Staff College focuses more on strategic planning, according to MCU. The college trains senior officers to serve as commanders and staff officers in joint, interagency, and multinational organizations. Students learn to not only fight wars but also how to prepare alternate resolutions to combat and how to help restore order once the smoke clears.

“It really expanded my view of the military’s role in the world,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ben Mathis, a chaplain with the U.S. Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan and graduate of CSC. “It’s not just ‘point us at the bad guys and let us destroy.’ It’s important that we learn to form a plan to rebuild an area before we even send out that initial wave (of troops).”

EWS and CSC are both programs offered by the Marine Corps University’s College of Distance Education and Training. CDET caters to service members who are unable to attend the formal school in Quantico, Virginia. According to Hopkins, the college allows service members stationed abroad to complete their professional military education requirements while keeping up with their busy schedules.

To accommodate their high-tempo lifestyles, students attended a three-hour class every week for two eight-month academic years. Students were able to download the required reading, view seminars and communicate with instructors and fellow classmates online.

“It was a lot of work,” said Mathis “With all the reading, seminars and tests, it can really start to add up, but the organization of the course is really helpful and made it easier to understand.”

For many of the students, the completion of these courses is just the first step in improving as leader.

“The students’ success demonstrates their commitment and desire to continuously improve both personally and professionally.” said Hopkins. “Marines (sailors) can feel confident that they have the best people leading them.”