24 January 2000

Experience Trumps A College Degree

Ned Dolan 

Captain, United States Marine Corps, (Retired)

The listing from Tony Tang of the various jobs open with all having as a  main job qualification a degree reminded me of a job that was advertised in  CIA in the late 1960s while I was there.  It was for a CIA officer who would  have the CIA desk in NNMC with the CS grade of GS 12.  One of the  qualifications was that the person should have at least a bachelor's degree.   The job description and qualifications were written by the then head of the  CIA Watch Office, a retired Navy captain named Mariner Bertoff.

In CIA at the time was a retired Marine MGYSGT Israel Hinitz who was working  at NPIC at the time as a GS 9 and was unhappy with his job there.  He told  me he would like to try for the job but only had an AA degree he got after  retiring.  I knew Hinitz from the time we both attended Naval Gunfire School  at Little Creek in 1949 and he was SSGT.  I suggested he put in for it as he  had nothing to lose.

I then spoke to Bertoff, who incidently had been Watch Office Head before he  retired and was an old ONI type who had one been Naval Attache in Moscow.   After interviewing candidates, he chose Hinitz  even though he did not have a  bachelor's degree.  After Hinitz had been serving at NNMC for a while he  told me how much he enjoyed the job and thanked me for telling him to try  for it.  Bertoff told me he was glad I suggested Hinitz as he was the best  person from CIA that had ever been there during his running the Watch  Office.  The reason?  As an old top Marine staff NCO, he would get the real  poop from the senior NCOs of the other services and not have to wait until  the party line was established.  The others from CIA who held that job lacked  the same savvy that those who know are the top NCOs.  

The moral of the story is not to rely on degrees as all they prove is that  the person either had parents who could afford college tuition or had the  ability to get the needed loans or scholarship funds and the persistance to  stay.  

Hinitz retired again from CIA when lung cancer caught up with him and since  died.