Iraq-bound Lejeune Marines log on to train for deployment

8/22/2008 By Cpl. Meg Varvil , II Marine Expeditionary Forces Forward

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, Marines have continued to uphold their tradition of war-fighting excellence as they provide security to, and help rebuild Iraq.

Key to the Marines’ ever-changing role in the war on terrorism is their exhaustive training, and as warfare has evolved, so too have Marines’ predeployment training requirements. As II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) prepares for its scheduled deployment to Iraq early next year, traditional classroom curriculum has found its way onto a computer screen.

In preparation for previous deployments, Marines were forced to sit through numerous classroom lectures to learn about subjects like improvised explosive devices, checkpoint operations, cultural awareness, operational security, and law of land warfare.

Taking advantage of technology, the Marine Corps now employs computer-based training through websites, such as MarineNet ( and Navy Knowledge Online (, and the use of compact discs (CDs).

“Online courses provide choice,” said Capt. Lamar Winslow, assistant operations officer with II MEF Headquarters Group. “They let Marines take classes they otherwise may not have the time or resources to set up.”

Since Marines’ busy schedules are not always conducive to the classroom environment, internet and CD courses allow Marines to learn on their own time and at their own pace, especially since most courses can be accessed from home computers.

“Last time I deployed, we only took two online courses,” said Cpl. Marcus Cameron, who serves with the Force Effects Coordination Center, II MEF (Fwd). “Having more computer-based courses for the upcoming deployment lets me get a lot more done in less time, and I can do them on my own.”

Even Marines who completed several online classes for their last deployment noticed a vast majority of the information had been changed or updated since then.

“The online courses are becoming more robust,” Winslow said. “They are constantly updated, and they teach a very broad scope of information.”

Most computer-based courses are designed to teach the basics of a particular subject, and the user must pass a quiz to complete the course and receive credit for having done so. However, to remain ahead of the curve and sustain mission readiness, Marines still place importance in follow-on training to supplement the online courses.

“Knowledge is one of those things you have to sustain,” Winslow said. “Online courses provide a wide array of introductory level information, but we must also continue to reinforce this training.”

The online courses are the first layer of II MEF (Fwd)’s tiered approach toward ensuring its Marines and Sailors are prepared for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For more information on II MEF (Fwd), visit the unit’s web site at, and to learn about the ongoing mission in Iraq, go to