United States Marines risk their lives daily to protect our country, and staying well-informed of potential threats is essential to their preparedness.
FSCJ’s Dr. Andrew Holt recently took the time to talk to Marines from the reserve unit in which he previously served as sergeant. The history professor considers last month’s lectures some of the more rewarding teaching experiences of his career.
Having studied the Islamic State in depth over the past 18 months, Dr. Holt’s lectures on January 9 and January 23 offered a background on the militant group, and emphasized to Marines the importance of recognizing any dangers it could pose.
Dr. Holt’s opportunity to deliver these lectures arose after a conversation with Captain Luis Jones, commanding officer of Company B, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion. Captain Jones expressed concerns about the readiness of his Marines in any potential conflicts with what has been called the most well-funded terrorist state in history.
“He said that young Marines need to keep this threat, as well as other potential threats, on their radars, as they may well end up fighting them at some point,” Dr. Holt said. “I was enthusiastic about the idea, seeing it as a small way in which I could offer something to these fine Marines who so regularly have risked their lives for us.”
Dr. Holt said the experiences were far from teaching the typical history lecture. Though he did cover the recent history of the organization, which rose to international prominence in June 2014, he also discussed the dangers the Islamic State poses to international, national and even local security. Dr. Holt highlighted recent arrests of Islamic State sympathizers in North Florida, stressing to the Marines the need to be alert and careful.
Both lectures received a positive response, and one Marine even expressed interest in becoming a professor someday. The Marines also made a positive impression on Dr. Holt. “I came away from these talks inspired by the extraordinarily high quality of the people serving in our Marine Corps and comforted to know that such men are defending us, “ he said. “If my talks were successful in fostering awareness and readiness…then I certainly count them as among the most important lectures I have given.”
To read Dr. Andrew Holt’s blog about his experience, click here.