Going Virtual: International Class that Pioneered Online Course Format Graduates with Fanfare

Nine officers from six U.S. partner nations graduated on June 5 from the U.S. Naval War College’s International Maritime Staff Operators Course.
Nine officers from six U.S. partner nations graduated on June 5 from the U.S. Naval War College’s International Maritime Staff Operators Course, a program on planning and execution of joint maritime operations for international military officers. (U.S. Navy photo by Jaima Fogg/released)

NEWPORT, R.I. -- A special class graduated on June 5 from the U.S. Naval War College’s International Maritime Staff Operators Course, a program on planning and execution of joint maritime operations for international military officers.

The nine officers from six U.S. partner nations arrived in Newport in March just as the college began stay-at-home restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, a 12-week class designed as a hands-on, practical small-group experience had to quickly shift to an online format with students working from their rooms, said associate professor Paul Schmidle, course director.

Naval War College leaders praised the graduates for being adaptable and resilient under these conditions.

“We have this slogan in the U.S. Navy, ‘Don't give up the ship,’” said Rear Adm. Shoshana S. Chatfield, Naval War College president.

“I want to very deeply express my appreciation to you for sticking with it, for understanding that the material in this course is so important that your continued dedication and attention was required to find a way to not give up on receiving this education,” she said.

Dean Michael White of the College of Maritime Operational Warfare told the graduating class – in a ceremony also held online – that they will benefit from the time invested.

“As our nations get together for maritime exercises and operations, it will sound very familiar to you because we will now have a common lexicon, a common understanding of how we put together plans and missions to do good,” White said.

Thomas Mangold, dean of the International Programs department, said this class should be very proud of its accomplishment.

“We'll be talking about your experiences here in Newport for many years to come,” he said. “Thank you for what you’ve done helping us bring this course online.”

The graduating officers are Lt. Cmdr. Masato Makuuchi of Japan, Maj. Chalita Mrad of Lebanon, Maj. Bachir Matta of Lebanon, Lt. Edson Claudino Anahy of Madagascar, Lt. Sandy Jean Marc Tsimandravantsoa of Madagascar, Lt. Cmdr. Valentim Macamo of Mozambique, Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Abdiel Martinez of Panama, Lt. Nawaf Saad M. Alshuhayeb of Saudi Arabia and Lt. Abdullah Abdulaziz A. Alnajim of Saudi Arabia.

Class spokesman Mrad of Lebanon thanked the Naval War College staff for keeping the program going.

“Overcoming the relevant impediments was challenging, but extremely fruitful,” he said.

The next course in this program is expected to begin as scheduled in August.

For more information about the course, to go https://usnwc.edu/college-of-maritime-operational-warfare/International-Maritime-Staff-Operators-Course.

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Jeanette Steele, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
06/15/2020

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