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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Marines encouraged to read, understand

By Staff Sgt. Michael Reed | | August 19, 2004

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How do leaders know if their Marines are reading? By talking to them, most importantly, by reading yourselves and discussing your reading with your Marines.

Blount Island Command officers gathered Aug. 9 at the quarters of Colonel Carl D. Matter, commanding officer, Blount Island Command, aboard Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, for Professional Military Education on Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack."

"As Marines, it's important for us to read, and educate ourselves," Matter said.

According to Matter, his reasoning for selecting this book is obvious.

"Plan of Attack" is the definitive account of how, and why President George W. Bush, his war council and allies went to war to defeat Saddam Hussein.

"I feel it is important for all of us supporting this effort (referring to the war in Iraq) to study, and understand the elements of power applied, and also the president's course of action," Matter explained.

When most Marines think about reading, the "Commandant's Reading List" comes to mind. However, ALMAR 244/96 reestablishes the commandant's intent for the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program. The ALMAR renames it as the "U.S. Marine Reading Program," and changes the reading list to "Strength of the Pack... Strength of the Wolf," reemphasizing the power of that metaphor, as our guiding theme for reading and discussing. The ALMAR went on to say, "we must make time for reading... much as we do for physical training. It is not enough though, to simply read alone... we must read and discuss."

"In evaluating a Marine as a warrior, we do not count the number of books read in a year," he said.

"Instead, we gauge the capacity for sound military judgment. Yes, the Marine Corps certainly expects... in fact requires... the reading of books annually from the list. But the output we desire is daily display of military judgment that will serve our Marines and the American people in time of war," Matter concluded.


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