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Base Commander Col. Joseph Murray addresses Civilian Marines on the second day of the Marine Corps Acculturation Program at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Aug. 13. The program was created to help civilians transition into their careers as government employees and provide a historical seminar about the Marines they support. Instruction for the course was provided by Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Jamie Deets and Gunnery Sgt. (Ret.) Nathan Taylor.

Photo by Ida Irby

Marine Corps Acculturation Program prepares civilian Marines

20 Aug 2015 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

The Marine Corps Acculturation Program was held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Aug. 12-13. Civilian Marines were provided with tools to understand the organizational structure of the Marines they support.

The course explained the core values, traditions, icons, courtesies and history of the Corps in hopes to generate a more productive work environment. Many Civilian Marines consist of prior service members, military spouses and government employees from other agencies, each working together to support the war fighting capabilities of the Marines.

“This course shows me more clearly how I can support Marines,” said Brian Lewis, contract specialist, Marine Corps Systems Command.

As part of the monthly course, the class visited the Tun Tavern, a restaurant in the NMMC. It is remembered as the birthplace of the Marine Corps where Marines were recruited in Philadelphia for naval expeditions just before the start of the Revolution.

During their visit the class met a Marine Corps drill instructor, who showed how discipline is instilled into each Marine. “Speaking to a drill instructor, I realized that they are normal people; however it was amazing seeing and understanding the things Marines go through,” said Lewis, a U.S. Navy veteran with 4 years of civilian service.

A tour of the museum was an eye opener to many civilian employees. Elinora Ayer, human resource assistant at the Marine Corps Military Awards Branch, is working with Marines for the first time after 15 years as a government employee. She admitted not knowing the culture of the Marines she worked with each day, and added, “Understanding organizational structure of the Marine Corps, military jargon, and rank structure will help me do my job better.”

A Civilian Marine panel offered an opportunity for the class to see successful transitions into working as a Civilian Marine. The panel participants included retired Sgt. Maj. Parisa Fetherson, program manager of Marine and Family Programs, Joseph P. Riley, deputy police chief Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Michael Smith, command deputy inspector general. Discussions triggered an exchange of viewpoints from veterans who now serve as Civilian Marines.

“The roles that each of you plays and the professions that you have chosen are important to the installation and the community; so never lose sight of that,” said Smith.

The civilian employees in transition asked many questions of Fetherson who reminded the class to try and, “keep an open mind and remain objective, because we are all people who share the same human experiences and the same challenges in life.”

Civilian Marines often have a long history of government service.

Base Commander Col. Joseph Murray spoke of a civilian who worked on Quantico for 43 years. “Civilians like her are part of the team here,” he added, “We tend to do the most with the least, as we work to provide support to Marines and their families. We all see you as Civilian Marines, and part of that eagle, globe and anchor.”

In his closing remarks Murray added, “I encourage each of you to learn your jobs, nevertheless go out and see what the Marines have to offer and what you can gain from the other things offered on base.”
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