SDI Visits Marine West at Camp Pendelton

  • SDI Admin

During Marine West, a Military expo held earlier this month at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Marines learned firsthand about the products and services companies like firearms technology school Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) can offer Military personnel. “It was great for us to have a presence there and we had a big draw,” said Dale Grinage, education liaison coordinator at SDI, as he explained his role in helping fellow Marines understand the importance of learning everything there is to know about firearms, including the AR-15. “Every Marine is a rifleman,” noted Grinage, a Marine Corps veteran. “Every Marine should have overall knowledge of that weapon.”

Grinage spoke to more than 200 Marines during the two-day expo and discussed how the courses offered by SDI can help them delve deeply into firearms information. For example, classes teach the origins of the AR and other firearms — from their inception to modern-day technology — and the steps for properly cleaning these guns by dismantling them. SDI offers an Advanced Gunsmithing certificate program and an Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree. “Marines (when I was active duty), were not allowed to completely breakdown the weapon for cleaning,” Grinage explained. “This meant that we had to get the weapon as clean as possible with it not being fully disassembled. Military personnel can greatly benefit from our courses, such as the Advanced Armorer’s courses, although they still need to abide by the military regulations regarding what they can and cannot do. But they will have an extensive knowledge in that particular platform.”

Marine West, founded in 1992, is annually hosted and held at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, at Pacific Views Event Center. During the event, Marine commands throughout Southern California send delegations to visit the exposition, which showcases “the latest technology and prototypes aimed at preparing today’s Marines for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.” While Grinage wasn’t able to actively recruit Marines to SDI, he did provide information about the school and the education it offers so that the Marines can contact SDI directly. Military personnel are able to take advantage of Military/VA benefits to fund the 8-month certificate program or the 16-month associate’s degree program. “They’re [Military personnel] promoting education for younger Marines, so this is a good fit,” the Marine veteran and education liaison pointed out. Grinage went on to explain that students are also eligible for field-study programs and could possibly have opportunities to be hired either by companies they’ve studied under or by similar companies.

It was the school’s first time making an appearance at Marine West. But Grinage said school representatives have visited Marine South, held annually at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC, and Modern Day Marine, held annually at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA. Students from both events have attended the school.

For more information about the expo, please visit their website at

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