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Marine Corps University Press
Marine Corps University Press logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

6 x 9 paperback
444 pages
PDF download

Shared Experience

Organizational Culture and Ethos at the U.S. Marine Corps Basic School, 1924-1941

Jennifer L. Mazzara, PhD

DOI: 10.56686/9798986259406



From early in the modern history of the Marine Corps, The Basic School (TBS) has played an enormously important role in acculturating Marine officers in the profession of arms. Author Jennifer Mazzara’s exhaustive and detailed research, which included examining the curricula of prewar TBS, shows that the TBS product, the Marine lieutenant, was fundamental to the early victories of the Second World War. As the only basic-level post-commissioning school in the United States that imparts a generalist education, rather than specialist training, TBS is unique among the military schools operated by the U.S. armed forces. Its distinctiveness stems from two primary features: its structure, and what it provides to its graduates. This history reveals TBS’s essential qualities during the interwar period, but it also illuminates the timeless and immutable reality and necessity of this institution that has bound generations of Marine officers to each other and to the Corps.


Methodology: Primary Sources and Collections


Chapter 1. Professional Military Education in Context

Chapter 2. Early History of The Basic School

Chapter 3. Sea Service Heritage

Chapter 4. Land Warfare Doctrine and Fort Benning

Chapter 5. League Island in the 1920s

Chapter 6. League Island in the 1930s

Chapter 7. A Personal View of the Shared Experience: Class of 1937–38 Case Study

Conclusion: Origin of an Ethos



Appendix A. Biographical Notes on Instructors

Appendix B. Staff and Students from the Marine Corps Muster Rolls

Appendix C. Biographical Note for First Lieutenant Anthony A. Frances

Appendix D. Marine Corps History Division

Appendix E. Full-format Sample of Fort Benning Infantry School Curriculum

Appendix F. Books Written by or about League Island Students and Staff

Appendix G. MH-5, Books for Recommended Reading (1933–34)

Reflections on The Basic School

Selected Bibliography

Marine Corps University