Photo Information

Lt. Col. Brian R. Taylor, commanding officer, Marine Corps Institute, presents awards during the Marine Corps Institute 95th birthday celebration at the Washington Navy Yard, on Feb. 4, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans/Released)

Photo by Staff Sgt. Mallory S. VanderSchans

MCI celebrates 95 years

2 Mar 2015 | Pfc. Cassandra Miller Marine Barracks

For more than 95 years Marine Corps Institute Company, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. has supported the learning and advanced education of each and every Marine as well as members of all military branches.


Marine Corps Institute’s history began in November 1919 when Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune issued a post order establishing three new schools: Automobile Mechanics, Music, and Typewriting and Shorthand. Lejeune also announced that 11 new schools would be opening in January 1920.


The post newspaper, Leatherneck, reported 899 enrollments in July 1920 with a later report of 114,000 enrollments by October of that same year. By May 1920, MCI had its first graduate of Vocational Schools, Lance Cpl. Walter C. Irving, who completed the livestock course. Staff Sgt. A. C. Stout became the one millionth student to complete a Marine Corps Institute course in February 1976. In April 1986 Pfc. D. Fenton became the five millionth student to enroll in an MCI course.


Throughout the years, MCI has moved from Quantico, to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., and finally settled in at the Washington Navy Yard.


Since settling down at the Navy Yard in 1967, MCI has supported Marine Barracks Washington with coordinating and executing the evening and sunset parades in order to enhance the Marine Corps’ image to the general public. The Marines of MCI also assist in hosting ceremonial events, assisting with funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, providing a Dignified Transfer Team for fallen Marines at Dover, Del. and executing colors at the Washington Navy Yard.


Many different sections come together to make MCI Company run efficiently. Distance Learning Training Division writes the course materials and exams that are used by the students. Logistics and Production is responsible for shipping out course materials and exams. Information Technology Department runs updates on student records, transfers information to Marine On-line, and keeps the website running. Student Services Division is a helpdesk available to all students with questions as well as grading mailed bubble sheets.


“MCI is like a machine,” said Cpl. Jessica Rafferty, Student Services Division. “We can’t run smoothly without every section doing what they need to do.”


There are many civilians that work alongside the Marines at MCI. They work as course writers, IT specialists, the registrar, and many other things. Without these civilians MCI would be a totally different place. They are a very important part of the process.


“MCI Company has been one of the best units I've ever been a part of during my 22 years in the Marine Corps,” said Master Sgt. Eduardo Alexander, Distance Learning Training Division. “The atmosphere between the Marines and Civilian Marines is like that of a close-knit family, and that's what you want out of any outfit that you're a part of.  It's just been a pleasure to be a part of such a historical unit that services the distant education of Marines worldwide.” 


Recently, MCI Company celebrated 95 years of serving military members by hosting a cake cutting ceremony. During the ceremony Ms. Francesca Strong was recognized as the most senior person at MCI, having been there for more than 15 years. The most junior was Pfc. Kassandra Miller.


Also during the ceremony Mr. Ryan Bair and Mr. Ron Harris were awarded for five years of faithful service to the United States Government. Col. Benjamin T. Watson, commanding officer, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., spoke during the ceremony as did Maj. Joseph McMenamin, the MCI commanding officer. There were many artifacts on display such as a typewriter used to type exams and course materials, pictures of how MCI used to run, and a letter to MCI Company from President Ronald Reagan.


MCI is a one of a kind post. You will never find a place quite like this.


“The experience of working at MCI has been like no other in my professional life,” said Mr. Gregg Tate, Information Technology Department. “I've been a working adult for more than 30 years, and this combined team of Marines and civilians is different than any team I've ever been a part of. Our goal is to train and educate Marines worldwide, but we all also learn a whole lot from working with each other. What an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure it is to assist MCI in its mission, and I've done it for more than a decade.”