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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

3280 Russell Road, 2nd Floor Quantico, Va. 22134
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Lieutenants get a taste of active duty before The Basic School

By Lance Cpl. David Flynn | Marine Corps Recruiting Command | March 21, 2011

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Second Lt. Andrew Fink, assistant student judge advocate, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, does pull ups to prepare himself for MCRC’s upcoming physical fitness test as well as The Basic School, where he will go in June. By working at MCRC while waiting to be admitted to the bar, Fink has gotten a preview of active duty outside of TBS.

Second Lt. Andrew Fink, assistant student judge advocate, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, does pull ups to prepare himself for MCRC’s upcoming physical fitness test as well as The Basic School, where he will go in June. By working at MCRC while waiting to be admitted to the bar, Fink has gotten a preview of active duty outside of TBS. (Photo by Lance Cpl. David Flynn)


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Second Lt.’s Andrew Fink, assistant student judge advocate, and Steven Kasdan, project officer, MCRC, take a time out to study The Basic School knowledge. Reading required material before going to TBS will put Fink and Kasdan ahead of the learning curve when they check in for the six months of training in June.

Second Lt.’s Andrew Fink, assistant student judge advocate, and Steven Kasdan, project officer, MCRC, take a time out to study The Basic School knowledge. Reading required material before going to TBS will put Fink and Kasdan ahead of the learning curve when they check in for the six months of training in June. (Photo by Lance Cpl. David Flynn)


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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- For many new second lieutenants, graduation from Officer Candidate School means continuing forward for six months at The Basic School.

The mission of TBS is to train and educate newly commissioned or appointed officers in the high standards of professional knowledge, esprit-de-corps and leadership required to prepare them for duty as company grade officers in the operating forces, with particular emphasis on the duties, responsibilities and war-fighting skills required of a rifle platoon commander.

For some lieutenants, their trip to TBS is delayed, whether due to medical or educational requirements or a lack of available space in a class picking up.

Two of those lieutenants are currently working at Marine Corps Recruiting Command, contributing to MCRC’s mission of turning highly qualified men and women into Marines.

Second Lt. Steven Kasdan, 26, project officer, joined MCRC Dec. 22, 2010, and is responsible for processing investigations. Second Lt. Andrew Fink, 25, assistant student judge advocate, arrived Jan. 14 and helps administer the Platoon Leaders Course, one of the many commissioning programs the Marine Corps offers.

“Second Lt. Kasdan has become an integral part in the processing of congressional inquiries,” said Donald Simpson, administrative specialist, MCRC. “He has taken a lot of pressure off of what normally is a three man crew.”

Though both will eventually follow different career paths, Fink and Kasdan share similar motivations in deciding to become leaders of Marines.

“I always wanted to be in the military,” said Kasdan. “I grew up near Camp Pendleton, Calif., so I had exposure to the Corps. I was attracted to the Marine Corps because it was more of a challenge and placed more of an emphasis on leadership.”

“I felt like I should do something to support the armed forces,” said Fink, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich. “The Marine Corps was the best way to do that.”

Kasdan graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor degree in history and earned a masters in government and politics from the University of Maryland.

Fink earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Hillsdale College located in Hillsdale, Mich., in 2006 and continued on to the University of Michigan where he earned his Juris Doctor in 2010.

Kasdan was unable to pick up at TBS due to tearing his rotator cuff while Fink is awaiting orders after being admitted to the bar.

Marine officers who pursue careers in law must be admitted to the bar in one of the 50 states or District of Columbia before they are eligible to receive orders to TBS. 

“Lawyers who are commissioned during law school are not eligible for orders until they are a member of the bar,” said Fink. “Most of us get delayed going to TBS because of that.”

Unlike Fink, Kasdan does not know what his job will be after TBS.

“For ground option officers, your performance at TBS determines what job you get,” said Kasdan. “My top choice will be infantry because I like the leadership challenges infantry offers.”

Fink and Kasdan will be picking up at TBS in June and prepare everyday for the rigorous six months of training.

“I’ve gotten a head start on the TBS reading list,” said Fink. “I’ve been working out to prepare for the [combat fitness test] and [physical fitness test] and I do [Marine Corps Martial Arts Program].”

“Besides going to physical therapy twice a week, I study TBS knowledge and train by doing things like going on hikes with full packs,” said Kasdan. 

Spending time working in the active duty Marine Corps has helped both Fink and Kasdan prepare for their future career.

“It absolutely has helped,” said Fink. “Working at MCRC has been a good introduction to active duty. It’s not a training environment so I get a glimpse of life outside TBS. What I do is heavy on administrative details, so I’ve learned about the inner mechanics of the Marine Corps.”

Like Fink, Kasdan also has benefited by spending time around the active duty Marine Corps.

“I’ve been able to develop relationships with active duty and former Marines,” said Kasdan. “There’s a strong sense of family here. You need to treat the people you work with like family.”



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