Q & A with retired United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, Eric K. Yingst. Eric's hometown is Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. He plans to graduate with his MA in Applied Communication in 2018. Read more to learn about his experiences in the Marine Corps and the MA in Applied Communication. 

  1. What is your previous degree(s) in and where did you earn it/them?
  • Master of Arts Degree in National Strategic Studies, Marine Corps University
  • Master of Arts Degree in Computer Information Systems Management, Webster University
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, Shippensburg State University, Pennsylvania
  1. Why did you select UM-Flint for your graduate studies?
  • The Applied Communication Program could be completed exclusively online, non-resident
  • The University of Michigan maintains a reputation for academic excellence
  1. Please tell a little about your military background. In which branch of the military did you serve? What regions of the country have you served?
  • Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserves in August 1989, I served in Ammo Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group (FSSG), Greenville, South Carolina; and as an infantryman in Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Shippensburg State University, Pennsylvania, I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in December 1993. As an officer, I served as a Company Commander at Marine Corps Base, Albany, Georgia leading over 400 Marines and Sailors; as well as a Company Commander with 6th Marine Infantry Regiment leading over 700 Marines and Sailors. My overseas operational experience includes deployments with Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) 8, Port Au Prince, Haiti; Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) – Horn of Africa (HOA), Camp Lemonier Djibouti, Africa; and I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), Camp Fallujah, Iraq. I also served as a Military Advisor to the Kuwait Armed Forces Command, Control and Communications Director (J6) and Kuwait Marine Battalion Commander, Kuwait City, Kuwait. My professional experience obtained from over 25 years of military service spanning both domestic and international environments includes service as a leader of Marines, an infantryman, communications officer, and security advisor.
  • I retired from Active Duty Service in the United States Marine Corps in July 2015 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
  • My duty stations, in addition to the aforementioned deployed locations, include:

    • Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, Georgia
    • Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina
    • Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
    • Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia
    • United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida
  1. How will/has the Applied Communication degree helped you in your military career?
  • Presently, I am serving as a Senior Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Advisor, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Fort Meade, Maryland. I am responsible for developing written correspondence, plans, and strategies in support of tactical level military actions, as well as strategic international engagements. My duties require routine personal engagement with United States and international partner senior leaders to include ambassadors, deputy chiefs of mission, ministers of defense, and senior United States defense officials.  As a Middle East security expert, my extensive travel in the region includes the countries of the Levant, the Gulf States, and Central Asian States.
  • As a trusted security advisor to senior United States leaders, foreign allies, and international partners I joined the program because I wanted to sharpen my communication skills in order to enable me to better fulfill my present responsibilities.
  1. How does the convenience of the online program help?
  • My present duties require travel to the Middle East and Europe on a monthly basis; and I would not be able to participate in this program were it not for the flexibility and convenience its online nature offers.
  1. What has been a major challenge for you during your master’s studies?
  • Perhaps the greatest challenge associated with being a part of this program is the balancing of operational (work) responsibilities with my family and academic commitments – in essence the tyranny of time.
  1. What is something that has surprised you about UM-Flint?
  • I have been surprised at how professional the faculty has been in accommodating my academic needs in relation to my occupational commitments.
  1. What sets the Applied Communication program apart?
  • The quality of instruction coupled with the invaluable collaborative interaction with fellow program cohort members has cultivated an academically and personally enriching learning environment.
  1. What is your highest aspiration? How will obtaining your graduate degree from UM-Flint help in pursuing it?
  • I ultimately plan to pursue a Doctorate Degree that will further support my present strategic security advisory responsibilities while also laying the foundation upon which I can bring my career experiences to the academic environment in order to cultivate the next generation of national security advisors.