Semper educare: the history of Marine Corps general education, 1973-1992

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Virginia Tech


This purpose of this study is to provide a description and chronology of the development of general education in the history of the U. S. Marine Corps. A review of the various general education activities, with particular emphasis on the establishment of the Vocational Schools Detachment and the Marine Corps Institute accomplished this purpose. The review encompassed 1739 to 1992.

The problem investigated in this study posed particular questions about the establishment of general education activities. Several research questions guided the investigation through specific periods of Marine Corps history. These questions concerned the establishment of general education activities affected by (1) general education initiatives, (2) Marine Corps leaders and other individuals and their contributions, (3) relationships of the changing size and mission, (4) conditions surrounding their creation, (5) educational styles established, (6) purposes for each, and (7) support measures required by each general education activity.

The historical research method provided the means to reconstruct the past systematically and objectively by collecting, evaluating, verifying, and synthesizing evidence to establish facts and reach defensible conclusions. The researcher collected, categorized, analyzed, integrated, and synthesized data from a mass of sources and interpreted this evidence in context with the sources.

The study found that Marine Corps general education activity development resulted in unique circumstances from a variety of influential change agents throughout five major periods. However, the most influential factor was the occasional leader who interpreted the significance of need and provided leadership to establish or modify a general education activity to meet the need. General John A. Lejeune and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels were the most efficacious in this regard. Other Marine Corps Commandants and various general education activity directors also contributed to the employment and continuance of these activities. The study concluded general education activities resulted from strong leaders with well founded philosophies and vision, and the aptitude to put their concepts into practice.