Newport, Rhode Island - The Iannacone family of Florida has two reasons to celebrate at U.S. Naval War College's (NWC) graduation ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island, today.
The reasons the family came to Newport for a week are that both father Al and daughter Monica, a Navy Reserve lieutenant, will receive their master's degrees at the event -- an accomplishment that may be a NWC first.
The two spent the last three years going through the course offered by NWC's College of Distance Education. The first year, they took the Fleet Seminar Strategy and War course together, spending many nights around the dinner table going over the material.
"This is a great week for all of us," said Al, director of Personnel Support Detachment, Naval Station Mayport, who spent 27 years in the Navy before retiring and starting a new career as a Navy civilian.
Monica, who currently serves as U.S. 4th Fleet's deputy administrative officer and operational support officer, said while going through the course was hard work, it was made easier by having her father with her.
"I learned a lot from him," she said. "I would read the material in the books, and talk about it in class. Then I would also discuss it with him. I think I got a lot more out of the classes than if I would have taken them by myself."
Monica, who will be promoted to lieutenant commander next month, says this was an important course for her.
"Joint Professional Military Education is something that I will always need," she said. "This education helps me significantly with my peers to be able to be a planner. Also, having the network of other officers I met through the college is very beneficial."
For her dad, it was also natural that he would pursue this educational opportunity.
"I [spent] 27 years in the Navy and [am] a lifelong learner, so this was great," he said. "And for the first year, we were able to work together."
The father-daughter duo also attended the Current Strategy Forum (CSF) held at NWC during graduation week. CSF is an opportunity for the nation's public servants, scholars, and senior military officers to join the college faculty and students to discuss the future strategy of the U.S. military.
"The Naval War College is an outstanding institution," Al reflected. "Being part of the Current Strategy Forum was special. We are thankful to be a part of it."
Monica was also thankful for the support she got during the class.
"The Naval War College support has been great over the course of this program," she said. "It made a huge difference."
Reflecting on whether this degree will help her career, Monica said, "I hope so."
Her father proudly beamed at his daughter and added, "It will."