Photo Information

Cpl. Jamison A. Sharp fields calls as a Student Services Clerk for the Marine Corps Institute. Cpl. Sharp is an 0111 Administrative Specialist from Paw Paw, Mich.

Photo by Capt. Jeff Clement

2014 Parade Season Ends, MCI's Mission Endures

1 Oct 2014 | Capt. Jeff Clement Marine Barracks

When taps sounded at the end of the final 2014 Friday Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, many spectators may have wondered, “What are the Marines of 8th and I going to do until the next parade season?”

Though it may be the off-season for one of the Barrack’s most well-known events, the Marines of the Marine Corps Institute won’t be sitting back and taking it easy.

The Marine Corps Institute is a company within Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., and it was charged with providing Marines with distance education opportunities since 1920.

Most Marines are familiar with MCI Redbooks, covering topics like Math for Marines, Land Navigation and Anti-Armor Operations. Few Marines in the fleet, however, know where the Redbooks come from.

Distance Learning and Technology Department – Subject Matter Experts and Expert Educators

The Marine Corps Institute offers more than 120 courses to help educate and improve Marines’ performance. Not only do these courses provide points for promotion, they are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council Accrediting Commission, a civilian oversight organization. The Distance Education and Training Council accreditation means that the courses earn college credits.

Writing courses that meet DETC’s rigorous standards is no easy task. The Marine Corps Institute partners experienced staff non-commissioned officers with professional civilian Instructional Systems Specialists. The Staff NCOs are experts in their military occupational specialty, and the civilian Instructional Systems Specialists are education experts.

The Marine Distance Learning Instructor and civilian Instructional Systems Specialist team take complicated MOS technical material and break it down into a logical structure making the content easier to learn. Before an MCI course is released to the fleet, it is validated by a test group of Marines from the target rank and MOS to ensure the content is presented appropriately.

Student Services Division – The Face of MCI

When students need help with enrolling in an MCI course or need a copy of their MCI transcript, they’ll visit the or call 1-800-MCI-USMC. It won’t be a faceless drone in a call center answering the phone, though.

When a student calls, answering will be a Marine like Cpl. Jamison Sharp. He has been with MCI for more than a year and is one of the administrators assigned to the Student Services Division. He leads his Marines to answer student concerns, fix administrative errors, order Redbooks and paper exams, or enroll in an MCI course. Providing excellent customer service is just a part of the Student Services Division’s mission.

On Friday nights during Parade Season, Cpl. Sharp is a Crowd Educator, teaching thousands of parade guests about the history and mission of the Barracks. Like Cpl. Sharp, every Student Services Division Marine puts on their Dress Blue uniform each Friday and has a part in the Evening Parade.

Logistics Department – MCI’s own ordering hub

Marines on ships or at forward operations bases might not have internet access to complete MCIs, but that’s okay. The Marine Corps Institute’s logistics Marines will ship hard-copy Redbooks and paper exams the next business day after an order is received.

The Logistics Department includes the graphics section, Combat Camera Marines who produce top-notch graphics products, like posters and photos. They are augmented by a section of civilian graphic artists who draw the precise technical illustrations in MCI courses.

Ceremonial Excellence and Distance Education Expertise - One command, Two missions

The Marines of the Distance Learning and Technology Department, Student Services Division and Logistics march in the parades, meeting the Marine Corps’ highest ceremonial standards, and serve as road guards and ceremonial-route guides at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery.

These Marines were on the platform at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and were part of the procession at former Commandant, General Mundy’s funeral earlier this year. The Marine Corps Institute Marines also carry out the Barracks’ most solemn mission, Dignified Transfer of our fallen brethren at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Meeting the high standards the Barracks upholds is only possible because of the professionalism and dedication of the Marines of MCI, and they do it all while providing the Marine Corps with unparalleled distance education support.