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Marine Corps Connection: America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness
The Commandant of the Marine Corps recently announced that the Corps will conduct a comprehensive study of policies that restrict women from permanent assignment to ground combat units or ground combat military occupational skills. "I have directed that measured and responsible research be conducted to provide me with the information and data necessary to make an informed and educated recommendation on potential policy changes," stated Gen. James F. Amos in an All Marine (ALMAR) Message signed April 23. The research study includes an exception to policy that will allow the assignment of female junior officers and staff noncommissioned officers into select ground combat element units, such as artillery and tanks, at the battalion level, in several occupational specialties already open to female Marines. The study will also include quantitative research into ground combat element physical performance standards and training, as well as a total force survey.
After a one-year tour commanding coalition forces in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Maj. Gen. John Toolan spent a week sharing his experiences and perspective with policy research groups, news media and members of Congress in Washington, D.C. and New York. The former commander of NATO's Regional Command Southwest said the Afghan national security forces have made tremendous progress, but still require U.S. aid, instruction and capabilities. "From a military perspective, we have taken it pretty far. But we need to start handing it off to the law enforcement professionals," said Toolan.
Bruised, ill and with nowhere else to turn, one Afghan girl went to Camp Leatherneck in January 2011 seeking protection. Her name was Malika, and her brothers had beaten her after accusing her of having a romantic relationship with a young man who was already betrothed to another woman. In southern Afghanistan, that amounts to a death sentence. In despair over the situation, she had apparently ingested rat poison or insecticide before she arrived at the Marine forward operating base. But the Marines would not let Malika's brothers kill her, or let her kill herself. "We saw someone in real need of help. We couldn't turn her away," said Maj. Jennifer Larsen. "This was one life we could affect in a positive way, and we did."
The Marine Corps' Experimental Forward Operating Base (ExFOB) process is designed to identify and evaluate commercial technologies that can increase the self-sufficiency of expeditionary forces. ExFOB will host invited vendors to demonstrate their technologies at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 30-May 4. The demonstration will evaluate wearable electric power conversion and distribution systems, and man-portable water purification systems for individuals and small units in expeditionary environments. "We know that resource efficiency aids in combat effectiveness, and that our investments in reset and modernization will provide a force that operates lighter, faster and at reduced risk," said Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps. "Likewise, our force will be more energy efficient to support the type of operations expected of us in the future. To do this, we are changing the way we think about and use energy."
Marine Cpl. Derek Kerns and Cpl. Robby Reyes were honored by Marines and Sailors from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group during a memorial ceremony aboard the USS Iwo Jima April 18. Kerns and Reyes died April 11 when the MV-22 Osprey they were traveling in crashed during Exercise African Lion 2012 in Morocco. Their fellow crew chiefs shared stories about the Marines during the ceremony. Toward the end of the event, Sgt. Maj. Ricky Jackson, the senior enlisted Marine for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), conducted a ceremonial roll call, during which silence fell when Kerns' and Reyes' names were called. The playing of taps and a three-shot-volley rifle salute concluded the memorial service. "Today we honor them through words; tomorrow we honor them through actions," said Col. Frank Donovan, commanding officer of the 24th MEU.
Navy Lt. Dennis Kelly, the chaplain of 1st Radio Battalion and 1st Intelligence Battalion, is one of three finalists for the Military Fatherhood Award. The award, sponsored by the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), recognizes a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his children, makes extraordinary efforts to father from a distance or while deployed, successfully balances military and family life and mentors military families. Kelly is the father of five, including twins. In addition to his day job, his duties include being a youth sports coach, a Sunday school teacher, a Tiger Cub den leader and chauffer to his children. "It's a special privilege that we have to be fathers. I consider that God has entrusted this task to me and has uniquely qualified me to do it," Kelly said. The winner of the Military Fatherhood Award will be decided by popular vote on NFI's Facebook page. Voters must 'Like' the NFI page to vote and can vote every day until May 20.
More than 150 Boy Scouts and staff members with the Boy Scouts of America's Far East Council attended a weeklong camping trip in Okinawa, Japan, April 8-14 thanks to Combat Assault Battalion (CAB). The CAB Marines provided clean water for drinking and showering, as well as tents, air conditioning and refrigeration units. "Back in the states, the Boy Scouts of America are able to use resident camps that are already set up with everything we need," said Renny S. McDermett, camp program director for the Far East Council. "Here in Okinawa, we just do not have that luxury." This is the first time the CAB Marines have supported civilians, putting into practice their training for humanitarian missions and disaster relief. "Being able to have an exercise where we are providing water to civilians has really helped us see and experience what it might be like when we respond to a crisis," said Lance Cpl. Dustin P. Turner, a water support technician.
The Office of Management and Budget announced April 23 that veterans' health care programs under the Department of Veterans Affairs will not be subject to budget cuts as a result of sequestration. The Budget Control Act of 2011, which included sequestration as a mechanism for cutting federal programs if a deficit spending agreement wasn't reached, specifically exempted veterans' benefits but had no clear statement about what would happen to veterans' medical care expenses. Sequestration is looming because Congress and the White House failed to reach an agreement on a 10-year, $1.2 trillion deficit reduction plan.
Warrant Officer Kelly Minkler was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device 'V' for valor for averting injury to his Marines Sept. 3, 2010, while on patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Minkler, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) section leader at the time, rendered safe a command-pull improvised explosive device (IED) that consisted of an anti-disturbance switch and a 35-pound directional fragmentation charge -- a tactic that had never before been seen. "I used the components after the device was safe to train other EOD technicians and infantrymen on this new, lethal threat to help preserve the lives of my fellow Marines," said Minkler, who is deployed again to Afghanistan with 1st EOD Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), as the company operations officer.
My Name is Sergeant Major Juan. M. Hidalgo, Sergeant Major of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) out of Camp Pendleton, CA. Sergeant Major (Ret.) Frank Pulley is one of my mentors and is someone that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. The MCA and SgtMaj Pulley do a phenomenal job in helping us recognize our Marines and Sailors and they continually demonstrate that they are always more than ready to support; anytime...Anyplace! And on behalf of the entire 13th MEU, I thank you very much!
Sergeant Major Juan. M. Hidalgo
I received the shipment of plaques, books and certificates today for
mail call. It was more exciting to me than candy or magazines! Thank
you very much.
1stSgt Thomas M. Burkhard
Member saying thanks to our Customer Service Representative, Skylar Hand.
Thank you so much for your help!!! I think you should be commended for your excellent customer service! You were extremely helpful and I was about to get upset about my order but you handled it before I could say anything. You are the best. Thanks again!!!
Just wanted to let you know that I got the sword yesterday with time to spare. It showed up unscathed due to the excellent packing job despite the rough postal process. And most importantly it looks great and the Bahraini’s couldn’t be happier! Thanks again for all of your assistance.
Major Wayne Phelps
3d LAAD Bn XO
Security Force, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
Major Wayne Phelps
Thank you so much for taking the extra time and making the extra effort
to ship another hat to me for my husband last week. The second hat
arrived last Thursday... and he was tickled with it. Although it may be
"only a hat" it is a very special hat in many ways. He will always be a
proud Marine dad, and your kindness is very much appreciated.
I'm so pleased to see all the great merchandise you are stocking and the awesome promotions. Your store was dissappointing a few years ago and I shopped only at Sgt Grit.
Now, I can find what I am looking for with you guys.
I want to relay my many thanks to everyone at Marine Corps Association and Military Historical Tours for providing me the opportunity to experience such a wonderful trip to Russia. Had I not won this trip through MCA I may have never taken advantage of such fantastic travels. The group, the Russian Tour guide (Oleg Alexandrov) and Charlie Dunn were wonderful companions during the trip. It will be a memory I will cherish all of my remaing days on this earth.
Again, Many thanks and Semper Fidelis!
1stSgt Bradshaw, USMC (Ret.)
I received them this morning. Thank you so much for your help! you guys are awesome and you will have my business for any uniform or military need in the future as well as a hearty recommendation via word of mouth to anyone who wonders where they should purchase uniforms from!
Thanks for the email; I purchased the two Marine Corps. Cups for my brother who served with the First Marine Div. in Vietnam . He was very pleased with the cups and I was very impressed with the purchase. The online catalog did not do the product the justice it deserved. Thanks again and I am sure you will hear from me in the future.
I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone at the association for sponsoring the Ground Awards Dinner on 3 June at the Crystal City Marriott. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and were tremendously pleased with the hospitality shown to us and the great accommodations. As well, I wanted to thank the association for the DVD of the event that was mailed to me. It is something that I will keep and treasure for the rest of my days. Again, thanks for everything.
Capt Chris Conner
- Weekend Extra - November 25, 2012 (Magazine Page)
- EOD Orphans (Article)
- A Battalion Reading Policy (Article)
- 2dMarDiv Change of Command (Magazine Page)
- Women in Combat: The Bogus Old Arguments Rise Again (A Rebuttal) (Article)