When we think of the Marine Corps we see soldiers hitting the beach, charging enemy positions, real storm troopers engaging the enemy. But there is another side to the citizen soldier. That is the scholarly side.
The USMC reports that the Marine Corps base in Hawaii houses a facility designed to cater to the needs of such scholars. It is located on the second floor of Pacific Headquarters for U.S. Marine Corps Forces. It is called the camp Smith library, a small but useful facility that caters specifically to warriors who need a keen sense of the strategies and tactics of the world’s great generals and leaders.
Polly Chan, the librarian, says that the library has reference materials and collections designed to appeal to military personnel. It’s not your average library.
Anyone familiar with military research will recognize the Jane’s Military Collection as a standard feature of any military reference section. Marines on operations in Hawaii or those who are doing course work to advance their careers use the library. Some of the volumes there are worth more than $1000 each because of their specialized nature and would be far beyond the means of most individuals.
There is a good selection of recent fiction and there are audio books and audio CDs available, also. Because the Marines fight in various places all over the world, and because the modern-day Marine engages in serious public service work, he or she often needs to learn a foreign language. The library supports this need by stocking various foreign language learning programs.
Other services provided include current newspapers, magazines, literary works from around the world, and the Commandant’s Reading List. Many Marines on base are unaware that the library is there.
The Marine Corps has a long history, and many of the volumes on the shelves detail this history, and the many heroes and everyday people involved with the Marine Corps. But military history reaches into the very dimmest reaches of our past, to the days of tribal warfare, early civilizations, city states, the earliest empires, the development of the nation state, all the way to global wars. The library has volumes that cover these periods. Even modern-day Marines can learn from the strategies of Alexander the Great. He fought on some of the same territory that Marines are fighting on today, including Iraq and even Afghanistan.
When in Afghanistan, Alexander had to fight the same kinds of tribal wars that we are fighting today. Perhaps no other general was as successful as he was in fighting his way through the mountains of Afghanistan and in securing his rearward areas to protect his lines of supply and communication. He did this using superior tactics and by forming local alliances. He even married a local princess in order to further his aims.
The United States Marine Corps has provided this library in the hopes that modern-day warriors will continue to learn from the past.