Faculty members take part in Marine workshop

Two Western Carolina University faculty members recently observed and participated in Marine officer training hosted by the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico, Va.

David Dorondo, associate professor of history, and Jennifer Schiff, assistant professor of political science and public affairs, attended the Educators’ and Key Leaders’ Workshop, which highlights the education and training men and women undergo to become Marine officers capable of leading soldiers in combat.

Workshop activities included learning about combat leadership skills and patrolling; watching a Sunset Parade at the Marine War Memorial in Washington, D.C.; touring Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 and the president’s squadron; and participating in training at the Officer Candidates School.

The Marine Corps selects about 20 educators each year from the Southeast to attend the workshop, which was held this year June 24-28. Dorondo and Schiff were nominated to attend the workshop by Ryan Hermance, president of the WCU Student Government Association.

Upon her return to Cullowhee, Schiff said she particularly enjoyed visiting the National Museum of the Marine Corps and participating in an officer candidate leadership course. “Out of everything, it was the people we met who impressed me the most – both through their dedication and commitment to the Marine Corps and through their desire to be of service and give back to their country,” she said. “They could not have impressed me more.”

Dorondo agreed with Schiff’s sentiment. “I did not meet a single Marine who did not impress me with his or her bearing, dedication, purposefulness and pride in being in the Corps,” Dorondo said. “The series of briefings we received over the course of the week, particularly the recurring emphasis on ethical leadership, revealed all of these qualities very forcefully.”

Among the activities he participated in, Dorondo said he found the Sunset Parade to be “stirring and profoundly moving,” and he also enjoyed taking part in a simulated combat patrol, which he had a chance to lead, and a Leadership Reaction Course. He said he also enjoyed the visit to the National Museum of the Marine Corps.