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Base employees gain knowledge of Corps through Acculturation Class

21 Aug 2009 | Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

Civilian employees from the Combat Center attended the first Marine Corps Accultur- ation Program class aboard the base at the Marine Corps Community Services Training Branch Aug. 14, designed to help them understand the history, culture and traditions of the Marine Corps.

“Civilian Marines are an asset to the Corps,” said Martin Durette, the lead instructor of the acculturation class aboard the Combat Center. “Their support is essential for the success of the Marine Corps mission.”

The class was held by two instructors who drove here from Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif.

“The culture and role of the civilian Marine, I feel, are the most important aspects of the training,” said Rachel Abernathy, a civilian Marine who attended the class.  “In addition, having experienced Marines – retired and active, enlisted and officer – share their personal experiences was instrumental to the program’s success. Understanding the mindset of Marines is only the beginning to better understanding them and enabling us to create programs and services to meet their needs.”

The information the participants learned in the class will help them acclimate to their surroundings, and work with their Marine and sailor counterparts toward their main goal, said Danielle Heinze, an instructor for the acculturation class.

At the beginning of the class, everyone received a guidebook and pamphlets to help them along and to keep as references.

The class was taught in modules designed to help the attendees understand the mindset of an active duty Marine and the way they act and even speak.

The modules included a brief history of the Marine Corps, the culture of the Marine Corps, the organizational structure of the Marine Corps, the importance of civilian Marines, and Marine Corps workforce development.

During the history and culture of the Marine Corps modules, Durette also explained customs and courtesies to the class, and explored the language of Marines.

“Marines have a completely different way of speaking – they have their own language,” Durette said during the class. “You’ll probably hear them talk in the office using an acronym after every other word.”

The participants were given a quick quiz to determine how well they understood Marine Corps jargon – many finally got stuck when asked the meaning of the sentence “a Marine could repel off the Irish Pennant hanging from his uniform,” which is when a Marine has a thread on their uniform.

“You’ll see them outside smoking a cigarette and taking their lighter to their uniform,” Durette explained to the class. “They are not trying to light themselves on fire – they’re just getting rid of the IPs.”

During the class, the students also learned about the structure of the Marine Corps, how a chain of command works and the importance of talking to the Marines in their office.

“They are also humans and they have wonderful stories to tell,” Heinze said. “We need to take that time to talk to them, get to know them.

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