The recent article in your paper, "Soldiers go from combat to class," prompts me to relate how the military's educational opportunities provided me with a successful career over the 34 years I served as a Marine.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1948. At the time, it had a total strength of just under 75,000 Marines post-World War II. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, I was sent to Parris Island to be a drill instructor and train Marines for combat duty in Korea. After a period on the drill field I was appointed as a second lieutenant under a Marine Corps temporary officer program. I arrived in Korea as the war ended, and then served as part of the occupation forces in both Korea and Japan for the next 16 months.
During this time, I started taking college correspondence courses. Upon my return to the U.S., I continued pursuit of a college degree through the military off-duty education program. This program helped me to ultimately obtain a permanent commission, and was a motivating force that led to both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
I was most grateful for the encouragement of my military leaders to use the off-duty education program that led to a successful military career.