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NORFOLK, Va. - Every year Military Sealift Fleet Support Command sponsors a senior civil service mariner to return to the classroom and train alongside members of a service mix of officers and senior civil servants in a joint professional military education curriculum. This year’s selectee is First Officer Robert Foor, and he’ll soon be heading to the U.S. Naval War College, in Newport, R.I., to commence his studies.

First Officer Robert Foor is Military Sealift Fleet Support Command's selectee to attend the U.S. Naval War College this fall. (Photo courtesy Military Sealift Fleet Support Command)A civil service mariner with 10 years of Military Sealift Command experience, Foor will study at the College of Naval Command and Staff and pursue studies in each of the Naval War College's three core subject areas: national security affairs, strategy and warfare, and joint maritime operations.

Foor looks forward to the opportunity to return to the classroom.
“I was raised to value a good education, never stop learning, and take every available opportunity to expand my intellectual horizons. Throughout my life, and especially my MSC career, I’ve held on to these principles and it has opened many doors for me. I see the war college as a tremendous opportunity for a higher level of education with studies in subject matters that directly relate to my job and career field.”

A 2001 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Foor started sailing upon graduation.
“Sailing and going to sea was never something I imagined doing as a career when I was younger. My family comes from a long history of service in the military, and mostly in the field of aviation and service in the Air Force, so I’m the black sheep in my family that went to sea.”

It was while sailing he heard of the Naval War College opportunity.
“I first heard about this opportunity from Capt. (Thomas) Hartley while serving as a second mate aboard USNS Mount Baker. He told me to give it much consideration once I had enough years of service as either a chief mate or captain and said it would be an invaluable opportunity that would enhance my career. Earlier this year Capt. (Peter) Long approached me while serving aboard USNS Lewis and Clark and asked if I was interested in applying … The application process wasn’t very hard at all. The requirements and expectations were explained very clearly in the announcement promulgated by MSFSC … I submitted my name and carried out several application requirements, and here I am.”
Looking to the challenges this next year of studies will bring, Foor commented, “I expect this to be a tough and demanding program, but very rewarding. I have aspirations to one day sail as master and I fully expect to broaden my leadership skills, better understand decision-making challenges at the executive-level, and encompass a broader sense of awareness by learning about the challenges faced by other services and government agencies while carrying out the defense priorities of our Nation. In turn, I look forward to the opportunity to represent MSC and enlighten fellow attendees with MSC’s mission and capabilities.”

Foor is but the most recently selected CIVMAR to attend the Naval War College. In past years CIVMARs Thomas Finger, Steve Ferguson, John Burns, David Every, James White and Craig Upton, amongst others, have each been assigned for the year long training.

According to White, “The program at the NWC is academically challenging and is taught by a top-notch faculty. The program focuses on "big picture" issues of national security strategy and policy, which I feel gives me a good insight into how national security decisions are made and how MSC fits into national defense strategy. Attending the NWC was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I and my family greatly enjoyed. I was able to earn my master’s degree while I was there which, otherwise, is hard to fit in with the demands of maintaining a career at sea with MSC.”

MSC gains too by sending senior CIVMARs to NWC as Capt White explained, “All the CIVMARs who attend the NWC serve to raise awareness, through interaction with classmates and faculty, of how MSC contributes to the mission of the Department of Defense. I feel this aspect of attending the NWC is just as important as the education received.”

From Military Sealift Fleet Support Command
Posted by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy