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Face of Defense: Soldier Teaches Other Soldiers

By Army Spc. Debralee P. Crankshaw
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, March 3, 2009 – Students may remember noteworthy teachers for the rest of their lives. But one soldier here said he wants to influence his students not so he can be remembered, but rather to positively affect them.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Meeks, 41st Fires Brigade targeting officer, teaches criminal justice and military science courses at Camp Victory, Iraq, Feb. 19, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Debralee P. Crankshaw

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Meeks, 41st Fires Brigade targeting officer, teaches off-duty criminal justice and military science courses.

“I do it mostly for the soldiers, because I know how hard it is to get a degree while you’re deployed,” the Baltimore native said. “If you’re going to spend so much time away from home, come out with something positive.”

Meeks teaches for Central Texas College, a two-year college based in Killeen, Texas. The classes are designed for soldiers who can’t take correspondence or distance-learning courses.

Meeks offers a one-semester-hour class set up as a seminar, usually taking three to four days for 16 hours total. He also offers three-semester-hour courses that usually take about a month for the 40 hours of work. Classes are offered in the 10th Mountain Division conference room. “I work around the soldiers’ schedule and my work schedule,” he said.

Meeks started teaching by responding to a flyer he saw in Kuwait. He submitted his application and was approved to teach for the college.

“I always wanted to teach classes anyway, so this was my chance,” he said.

Meeks has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and is about halfway through his work toward a master’s degree. He also has four years of experience as a deputy sheriff.

A seminar class called “Introduction to Gangs” is now under way, and a three-credit-hour class called “Crime in America” begins March 16.

Meeks said most of his students are criminal justice majors, but some want the college credit for promotion points. One semester hour is worth five promotion points to a soldier, he explained.

(Army Spc. Debralee P. Crankshaw serves in Multinational Division Center.)

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