By Roxanne Baker
Deployments are full of intense action—and often hours of down time.
Professional development through reading and access to a unit library is one way commanders keep their Marines engaged and challenged during stretches of waiting.
First Sergeant Joseph Caputo, currently deployed with Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 13th MEU, is making it easier for his Marines to grow through professional reading. He uses his unit’s professional library to keep his Marines on point with battle studies, tactics and Marine Corps knowledge.
“Access to these books allows me to construct reviews and guided discussions with a wide reference base,” Caputo said.
Marines must know the Corps' heritage, its historic leaders and battles, and a great way to gain that knowledge is through reading. From reading books, those recommended by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and others, young Marines can move forward on their educational goals, improve their chances for promotion and equip themselves for the challenges, both in garrison and in the field.
As technology continually advances, access to professional reading is moving more and more into the digital world. The company first sergeant of Co C is taking advantage of the new technology for his Marines with a modern-day library of Kindle e-books. Each Kindle is loaded with books from the Commandant’s Professional Reading List.
"It allows access to many, many books without having to pack an entire library; storage space is very limited on a ship," Caputo said.
Unit libraries aim to outfit Marines with a ‘2,000-year-old mind’ and ultimately, a more effective 911 force-in-readiness. This shared knowledge of history aims to bring together a cohesive Corps.
Editor’s Note: The Marine Corps Association & Foundation donated Kindles and hard copy books to Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 13th MEU as part of the Commanders’ Unit Library Program. The program provides commanders with funds to establish a professional library for their units.