Murphy's Law: I Learned Calculus in Baghdad

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June 13, 2007: Even in Iraq, most of the troops are combat support, and many work regular shifts, under pretty comfortable conditions. This makes it possible for them to do what American troops have been doing overseas for over half a century, take college courses. Many are conducted in classrooms, via instructors hired by the University of Maryland, which has been handling the program since the 1950s. But an increasing number of schools allow courses to be conducted via computer (and before that by mail). The Internet based courses are very popular. There's no count on exactly how many troops are taking college courses in Iraq, but it's believed to be several thousand. Most troops spend all their time in heavily fortified bases (FOBs, or Forward Operating Bases), and while there are plenty of other ways to spend your time, many see the studies as a worthwhile way to deal with off-duty time. However, combat units, and some on-call combat support units, leave little off-duty time for anything but eating, sleeping, getting ready for the next mission, and maybe a little X-Box.

 

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