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Marines check in with Erika Armenta and Matt Joseph, San Diego State University student veterans and Los Angeles and Perrysburg, Ohio natives respectively, prior to the Basic Training for Higher Education Conference aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., April 12. Service members of all ranks, veterans and family members were welcomed by a continental breakfast and various representatives from local colleges.

Photo by Cpl. Melissa Wenger

Miramar goes back to Basic Training for Higher Education

17 Apr 2013 | Cpl. Melissa Wenger

Local universities came together to host an education seminar at the Bob Hope Theatre aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar April 12.  The Basic Training for Higher Education Conference informed active duty servicemembers, veterans, and dependants of the opportunities available to them in the collegiate world.

Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, commanding general of Marine Corps Instillations West, paid a special visit to the station to hone in on the reason why he feels that higher education is important. 

“Your commandant believes very passionately in that we take care of you in the Marine Corps so that when we go back to society, you bring your Marine ethos, you bring your leadership and you’re a better citizen out there for our country,” he said.

Following opening remarks by Coglianese, representatives from San Diego State University, California State University San Marcos, University of California San Diego, University of San Diego and San Diego Miramar College formed a panel to present different points of view and to answer questions from potential future students.

“What we’re here for is to try to impart knowledge about what is the next step… regarding admission eligibility, how and when to apply and what you can expect as far as some of the basic veteran services that each of the campuses offer to the military,” said Frank Roberts, event coordinator, military liaison officer for SDSU and a Claremont, Calif. native.

As a retired soldier who spent 23 years in the Army, Roberts knows that commitment and making a positive impact doesn’t end with active service.  
 
“We want a lot of these young men and women to stay in San Diego County,” he said.  “Each one of us really doesn’t care which school they pick, and that’s why it’s an [intercollegiate] event… but we want them basically to stay, go to college and hopefully get a job here in San Diego County after they graduate.”

The universities are gaining a keen asset in students with prior military service.

“We know that they’ve served, they’ve served honorably, they’re going to be older, more mature, more focused on what they want to study and what they want to do, and there’s going to be less goof-off time when they get to the university,” said Roberts. “We know that they’re going to be solid citizens as a student there at the university… whether they join something or don’t join something, they’ll still be a role model in class just by sitting there and learning.”

Coglianese left the conference with words of confidence not only in the caliber of schools in Southern California, but his Marines as well.

“I’m honestly impressed with these universities, and those of you that know me know I would not say this if I didn’t believe it,” said Coglianese. “I care a lot more about you all than anybody else. Universities are great, but that’s not where my heart is; it’s about the young Marines and noncommissioned officers that have done tremendous things in serving their country.” 

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing