COLONEL WALTER G. FORD, USMC (RET)
Marine Corps Association Publisher/Editor, Leatherneck Magazine
Colonel Walt Ford retired from the U.S. Marine Corps on 1 July 1999 after over 30 years of active service. He became the editor for Leatherneck-Magazine of the Marines, in August 1999, and added the responsibilities of Marine Corps Association publisher in 2007. Since becoming editor, Leatherneck authors have earned the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Colonel Robert Debs Heinl Award for excellence in historical writing three times and the magazine has won a Printing Industries of Virginia printing excellence award. Colonel Ford has served as a judge for the annual Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Awards program-evaluating and selecting DOD print, broadcast and digital media winners-since 2003. He also is currently the chairman of the National Marine Corps Council and a director in the USMC Combat Correspondents Association Foundation.
Colonel Ford is a native of Cleveland, Texas. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1969 with a BS degree in History and was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps in January, 1969. He also holds an MA degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University (1982). He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officers Advanced Course (1977), U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Honors, 1982), DIA’s Defense Attaché Training Course (1983) and the Department of State’s Senior Seminar (1992-34th Seminar).
During his Marine Corps career, he commanded at the platoon, company, battery, battalion, regiment, special purpose MAGTF levels and was commander, Third Marine Division for two months in 1994. He served in the Republic of Vietnam for six months in 1970-71. His assignments immediately prior to retirement were as the executive assistant to the Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, followed by a tour as head of the officer assignments branch in the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department.
Leatherneck has been in continuous publication since 1917 when it originated as the base newspaper for Quantico in 1917. It evolved to a twice-monthly magazine and then to a monthly magazine. It was published by the Marine Corps Institute until 1943 when the Leatherneck Association was formed. The magazine was staffed by active duty combat correspondents, illustrators and photographers until after the Vietnam War when budget legislation mandated civilianization of both Leatherneck and the Marine Corps Gazette. Leatherneck Association merged with the Marine Corps Association in 1976 and still relies heavily on Marines for content.