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Marine Corps Connection: America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness
TIP OF THE SPEAR
More than 2,500 Marines and Sailors came together this past week to showcase their humanitarian disaster relief capabilities as part of the 2012 San Francisco Fleet Week. The week kicked off Oct. 3 with the arrival of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard the USS Makin Island, and a beach landing by the Navy hovercraft known as a Landing Craft Air Cushion, which can deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to San Francisco and other U.S. cities if a major earthquake or other disaster takes out traditional transportation infrastructure. "In San Francisco, our focus [was] improving readiness for the Bay Area in the event of a natural disaster or national crisis during Fleet Week," said Col. Christopher D. Taylor, commanding officer of the 13th MEU. "With our expeditionary, from the sea capability, combined with the Navy and Coast Guard, we offer a rapid response to humanitarian crises." The 31st annual event also provided an opportunity for Marines to participate in numerous community outreach events including, habitat restoration projects, hospital visits and more. Read more
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Cpl. Colton Duran, an aircraft mechanic for the EA-6B Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, hugs his wife Cathia during a return ceremony at the squadron's hangar aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. More than 100 Marines with the squadron returned from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan Oct 2. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen T. Stewart)
IN THE NEWS
As the Corps shifts from steady combat in Afghanistan to new missions focused in the Asia-Pacific region, the Training and Education Command (TECOM) will see changes of its own according to Maj. Gen. Tom Murray, head of TECOM. "We're seeing a major evolution with 10 years of combat drawing down," said Murray. "We also have financial restrictions that are going to be put on us and also in manpower. So from a training and education standpoint, we're trying to look at all of that." Among the plans in motion are those to revamp pre-deployment workups, reinvigorate jungle warfare training and develop broader cultural expertise in the new area of deployment, all the while bringing awareness to issues such as sexual assault, hazing and proper mentoring. Read more
With the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) expected to arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., later this year, some of the first pilots underwent their own midair aircraft refueling tests. Maj. Ty Bachmann, a test pilot, and Maj. Paul Holst, who is preparing to be an F-35 instructor, had a train-the-trainer day at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Oct. 2 to run the first midair test of the aerial refueling systems. The pilots each flew about 50 to 75 miles offshore before meeting up with a C-130 tanker to replenish their fuel in the sky. The 300 gallons of fuel they took on wasn't much for a plane, but enough to show that the systems were solid and the training was effective, said Holst. Read more
Cpl. Lauren Kohls received the Lance Cpl. James E. Swain Marine Corps Intelligence Enlisted Marine of the Year award Sept. 21. Kohls earned the honor -- reserved for enlisted Marines who "best exemplify intelligence excellence, innovation, and demonstrate dedication to mission accomplishment within the operating forces" -- during her yearlong depolyment to Afghanistan as a Pashto linguist with 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force in 2011. Swain, the award's namesake, was an intelligence specialist who died while engaged in enemy fire in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Read more
Marines from the U.S. and Philippines came together Oct. 8 to kick off their 10-day joint exercise focused on disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and maritime security. Throughout the exercise, 2,600 U.S. Marines and 1,200 Philippines Marines will conduct disaster preparedness drills, live-fire exercises, public service activities such as building classrooms in impoverished areas, a simulated helicopter raid and a demonstration of American aircraft capabilities. The training, now in its 29th year, coincides with the U.S. plan to increase joint training exercises and ship visits to the region as part of the shift to the Asia-Pacific region. Read more
The Marines of Corry Station Pensacola, Fla., brought tears to the crowd at the Sea Turtle Tri kids triathlon Sunday when they helped 11-year-old Ben Baltz cross the finish line. Baltz, who walks with a mechanical knee and prosthetic leg as a result of bone cancer, had completed the 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike ride and half the one-mile run when a screw came loose and his running leg broke in half. Pfc. Matthew Morgan quickly scooped him up and carried him to the finish line with the rest of his Marine brothers in tow. "It was just very touching that the Marines were there," said Baltz's mother Kim. "They picked him up and everybody was cheering and just giving them support and Ben support." Read more
The Marine Corps' first generation of Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network Systems (GREENS) is undergoing testing by Marines of Bravo Battery 1/10 on the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif. GREENS was developed to increase the daily productivity of missions in remote locations and decrease Marines' dependence on traditional energy sources. Each system includes four rechargeable lithium battery packs, two to four solar panels and a controller component that regulates, stores and distributes power -- enough to operate an M777 Howitzer. The Corps is already working to develop a second generation of GREENS, with the intent to make it lighter and even more productive. Read more
As more troops return home this year, the U.S. may see a surge in veterans turned entrepreneurs and a jolt in the economy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which provides training for veterans looking to be self-employed. Today, nearly one in 10 small businesses are veteran-owned, and retired service members are at least 45 percent more likely than those without active-duty military experience to be self-employed. "We think this is an opportunity where we're going to have a lot of veterans who have the right skills to be entrepreneurs," said Rhett Jeppson, associate administrator for veterans' business development at the SBA. "We can help prepare them for the opportunities out there." Read more
At just 24 years old, Lance Cpl. Ben Maenza has already traveled from Florida to California and completed a marathon in less than two hours, all while using a hand bike. Maenza lost both his legs while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. After spending a year and a half in rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Maenza joined Achilles International, a group that helps athletes with disabilities, and began his true recovery by participating in races around the country. "It was exactly what I needed at that point," he said. "It gives you something to work towards; the knowledge that you are capable and you can do it." Read more
Congress is advocating for more resources to support the Corps' shift to the Asia-Pacific, following multiple studies by the Navy, Marines and Pentagon stating there is an underinvestment in the capabilities and facilities that the change requires. Currently a fleet of 29 amphibious warfare ships is allotted for the transition, despite the required minimum of 33 ships, in order to deploy two Marine Expeditionary Brigades needed to seize a major beachhead in an opposed landing. Congress was unable to pass a FY2013 defense authorization bill before adjourning until after the November elections but have made it a priority to build up the Corps' capabilities when they are back in session. Read more
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
A Marine battalion was flown by transport helicopters to a frontline combat position for the first time, when HMR-161 lifted the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and its equipment, during Operation Bumblebee, northeast of Yanggu, Korea.
Pfc. James Jacques, presumed dead 37 years ago following a helicopter crash in Cambodia, was buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 9 -- what would have been his 56th birthday. Jacques was one of 26 Marines in the helicopter sent to rescue the crew of S.S. Mayaguez, an American cargo ship seized by Cambodia's Communist party in 1975. Jacques identification dog tags were found in 1992, but his remains weren't positively identified until this August. Read more
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 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
Congratulations. You are more responsive and informative than any other website contact I can recall. I appreciate that very much. It’s really nice to have someone like you at the MCA “front door.”
W. A. Reed King George, VA
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!!!
It is ALWAYS a pleasure to work with a consummate professional such as SgtMaj (Ret.) Frank Pulley. As the company 1stSgt for Hotel Company, MCT, SOI (West), I’ve attended a number of his briefs and one can visually see a positive change in the student’s attention levels as the SgtMaj delivers his presentation. The SgtMaj truly cares about the Marines and the Marine Corps and represents the MCA in an extremely admirable manner. It has been my experience that all Marines (including myself) benefit from the experience of attending a MCA presentation. And regardless of rank or years of experience, Marines should always seek to increase their level of proficiency and knowledge and MCA briefs provide us with that opportunity.
1stSgt Scott Burton
Just a quick note of thanks to Patty Everett. I arrived home from a week vacation to find a package from the Marine Corps Association. I was expecting to find one of the magazines I requested, however, I was pleasantly surprised to discover both magazines were inside. In a time when it seems no one cares about customer satisfaction I am gratified to discover that customer service is not a lost art at the MCA. Once again I thank you for your efforts on my request. It may have been thing but the effort made a huge impression.
Randall E Page
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'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 just wanted to say thanks so much for making sure the uniform got back
to me in time for my commissioning class's photo. It fits me well and I am so excited for commissioning which takes
place in 17 hours! Thank you again!
MIDN Judith U Kastner
- 31st MEU And Operation Tomodachi: Response In Japan (Magazine Page)
- A Statement From The Commandant Of The Marine Corps General James F. Amos On The Deployment Of The MV-22 Osprey To Japan (Magazine Page)
- Recon Marines Sharpen At-Sea Skills (Photo Gallery)
- “The Pride of the Pacific” (Article)
- Exercise Dawn Blitz: A New Approach to an Old Theme (Article)