Dear Members,

It’s a new year and with our member’s support, our goal is to do even more this year for Marines through our Marine Excellence Awards, Commander’s Forum and Commander’s Professional Library programs. If you are unaware of these important programs and how they help Marines, I encourage you to visit our website HERE.  As a quick summary, last year through these programs your professional association provided 211 separate Marine units with libraries to foster professional development and critical thinking, recognized the professional achievements of over 9,200 well deserving Marines with plaques, swords, trophies, k-bars, dress blue uniforms, certificates and more, and supported battle studies and staff rides of battlefields at Gettysburg, Antietam, the Cowpens, the peninsula and Okinawa for diverse Marine units including the Wounded Warrior Regiment.  With your help, we intend to expand on the effectiveness and scope of these programs. We invite your support.  The website mentioned above shows you several ways you can help.

We look forward to an ambitious professional event schedule this year. It began on 11 January, when MCA&F held our first professional luncheon of the year at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina and we thank MajGen Jon M. Davis, Commanding General 2d Marine Air Wing for taking the time from his busy schedule to serve as the guest speaker. Visit our web site HERE for a brief synopsis of the event, pictures and a video of MajGen Davis’s talk.

As this is being delivered to your inbox, I am in California for the Second Annual Marine West Dinner in conjunction with the Marine Expo. The event kicks off on 1 February and the dinner features BGen Francis Kelley, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command as the guest speaker. If you’re in the area and would like to attend, please call 866-622-1775 ext. 144 to secure a seat. We look forward to reconnecting with West Coast Marines and members.

MCA&F professional events have become “Must Attend” affairs for Marines and members who seek to stay connected and informed on issues impacting our Corps and national security.  I eagerly encourage all to attend for networking and camaraderie.  Visit HERE regularly to see our updated events schedule.

All the Best & Semper Fidelis,

Edward G. Usher, III
Major General, USMC (Ret)
President and Chief Executive Officer


Hassle Free Access to Mission Critical Reading for ALL Marines  – That’s What You Need – And, it’s a Cinch! 
Get on time delivery of your magazines EVERY month! Don’t forget to update your mailing address if you have recently moved. It’s easy - Just log in to your account at our website, HERE, OR, call us at 866-622-1775. 

Not a current member? Click HERE to renew or join and consider a multi-year membership to save hassle.

Unit Commanders – Did you know that you can use appropriated funds to get both Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette for your Marines? Order your Unit Subscriptions TODAY and get your Marines some first class professional reading!  Click Here to order today.


ONLINE access to BOTH Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette comes with EVERY Membership! 

Click the Links below to Visit each magazine’s website TODAY.

Marine Corps Gazette
The February Gazette should have arrived by now.  We are having postal delivery issues and are addressing them with the post office for both Leatherneck and Gazette.  Members can always read both periodicals online.  Some highlights from the February Gazette include:

An article by LtGen Richard Mills, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, Gazette unveils the new LtCol Earl “Pete” Ellis Writing Award, supported by the MCA&F with a call for articles from Marines and civilians on stimulating strategic thinking enabling the Corps to advance successfully into the future.  First prize is $5,000.00.

The focus of the February Gazette is leadership.  There are thought provoking articles that should cause you to reflect on you own leadership style and practical tools for your leadership tool kit.

Also whether you read online or on paper, go to the Gazette blogspot at  That is where the debate and conversation about our Corps is shifting.  Join in the debate and conversation.

By now, many of you have seen your February Leatherneck. We hope you are enjoying all the content, including a bit of a different tale of the Battle of Iwo Jima with some rare photos and, in the digital Leatherneck edition, an unclassified "Action Report" for 21st Marines, and an additional photo slideshow; the tribute to Colonel John Glenn on this 50th anniversary of his historic orbits of the earth; the informative "Post of the Corps" article on Blount Island Command; the Marine Corps' diversity story told by the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and more. Let us know what you think:

Looking forward to March, we'll have a focus on the Marine Corps Reserve-an operational Reserve. Retired CWO-4 Randy Gaddo has two articles on Marine Forces Reserve coming to you in the March issue. Of course, there's more planned for March, but we'll further whet your appetite with a mention of "Crossing the Line." Historian David Sullivan, known for his Civil War expertise, has penned a short piece on an 1862 Marine ship's detachment and it's initiation into the "Realm of King Neptune."

  • Reader / Member Input. Do YOU have something newsworthy to share? Send to  and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.
  • MCA&F – Out and About. MCA&F was fortunate to host a pair of book signing events during December:

    • Fox Company, TBS Breakfast Social. The company Honor graduates gathered at the MCA&F building the morning before their graduation to be recognized for their professional achievements while students undergoing training at The Basic School. Under the auspices of the Marine Excellence Awards Program, the Marine Corps Association & Foundation confers an Eagle, Globe & Anchor trophy to the Company Honor Graduate and plaques and various MCA&F magazine subscriptions to the other awardees.  Attending the event were:

      2dLt Jason E. Kremers – Company Honor Graduate
      2dLt Kyle D. Tucker-Davis – Academic Honor Graduate
      2dLt Seth M. Tompkins – Military Skills Honor Graduate
      2dLt Brandon W. Penner – Leadership Honor Graduate
      2dLt Matthew E. Stilson – Recipient of the Marine Corps Aviation Association Mustang Award

      Congratulations to All!

    Visit our website HERE for additional details and pictures.

    • Commandant of the Marine Corps Combined Awards Ceremony.  MCA&F was on hand at the Combined Awards Ceremony for 2011 at the Clubs at Quantico as the largest awards sponsor, providing trophies and a $250 gift certificate to the primary award recipients and professional reading as well as a $150 gift certificate to the secondary awardees. Award recipients at the ceremony included:

      SSgt Dederick L. Brooks and SSgt Estil F. Martecollado, Recruiter of the Year Finalists
      SSgt Tajanna Draher and Sgt Scott P. Chamberlin, Prior Service Recruiter of the Year Finalists
      GySgt Jimmy F. Richard Jr. and SSgt Charles R. McAdams IV, Drill Instructor of the Year Finalists
      Sgt Phillip B. Castro and Sgt Matthew D. Johnson, Marine Combat Instructor of the Year Finalists
      SSgt Michael N. Czerniak and SSgt Vincent D. Cruz, Marine Security Guard Finalists
      GySgt Robert C. Jones and SSgt Lisa S. Marshall, Career Retention Specialist Finalists


  • Economic Opportunity for Veterans at VetFran
    VetFran, a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association (IFA) which includes more than 450 IFA franchisor member companies, was formed to help veterans by offering financial incentives, training and mentoring on small business ownership in the business franchise arena. By means of their Operation Enduring Opportunity, the campaign seeks to hire and recruit 75,000 Veterans and their spouses and 5,000 Wounded Warriors as franchise owners by 2014.

    Veterans have a proven track record of success in franchising. According to a recent study based on U.S. Census data, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States, providing jobs directly for 815,000 Americans. Over 2,100 veterans have become franchise business owners through the IFA's VetFran program, originally established in 1991.

    For more information about VetFran visit their website at Available incentives and training opportunities are listed by franchise company in the VetFran Directory at

    Additionally, as an integral part of Operation Enduring Opportunity, IFA invites U.S. veterans interested in small business and franchise opportunities to attend the IFA Convention in Orlando, Florida FREE of CHARGE, February 12-14. For additional convention information and event registration visit their website at

  • Websites of the Month.

    • A couple of useful sites from the Veteran’s Administration that may be of assistance to you or a friend:
      • Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Service Homepage.  Site devoted to veteran rehabilitation, employment assistance, counseling and much more:
      • GI Bill Website. Home for all educational benefits provided by the Veteran’s Administration and more:
    • BLACKFIVE. Website devoted to news from war zones, national security and things military with high quality analytical, investigative journalism articles and links along with great images and occasional videos:

And, closer to home, visit the Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette websites and check out the Book Review pages HERE and HERE. These pages feature comprehensive, critical reviews of many of the latest books of interest to Marines. Find one you like and then visit HERE to order it for yourself. Also check out Gazette’s Blog site HERE. Plenty of discussion there along with a new blog contributor.

  • Hot Videos of the Month. Just for fun!

    We have it on good authority, that these guys are off-duty Marines. They are certainly zany enough to qualify and exhibiting the kind of off- the-wall, good humor that Marines invariably exhibit. Looks like this could be a new exercise for combat conditioning!  Bravo Zulu to WHOEVER thought this gag up. Click HERE to see the brief video. 

    Just like Apocalypse Now.  For those who love the smell of cordite in the morning because it smells like victory, this surfing footage with battle carnage raging all about will certainly appeal. (Thanks Dark Roasted Blend)  Click HERE.
  • RICKROLL See exclusive video footage of Korean dictator and golf legend Kim Jong Il hitting 11 holes-in-one on his VERY FIRST golf game. 

Q. Referring to the pivotal exercises that shaped the evolving doctrine of amphibious warfare during WW-II, this irascible Marine leader was quoted after the war as saying “If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, the Japanese bases in the Pacific were captured on the beaches of the Caribbean.” Who said this and what senior command role did he ascend to in the Pacific war?


How to Win.  Send your answers to and please include your name and address so we can send your prize. We will hold a drawing of all CORRECT responses one week from the Member Update release date and then announce the winner in the next edition of the Update.

The Prize! In addition to our brand new Marine Corps Association & Foundation, “Once a Marine – ALWAYS a Marine” Coin, we are now including a copy of one of the late Major Gene Duncan’s Books as a bonus.

Here’s our trivia question from last month:

Question: More Marines in movies about Marines.
“ We are gonna refortify this s__t hole and protect it like it was your daughter’s cherry. I ain’t gonna die here.”

In which movie did this stirring exhortation appear, what was the name of the character who spoke the lines, who is the actor playing the part and which war is portrayed?

Action packed and gritty, the movie was The Siege of Firebase Gloria set during the surprise, Tet, lunar New Year offensive in the Vietnam War. R. Lee Ermey (Gunny Ermey) plays hard bitten Marine SgtMaj Hafner whose recon patrol marches in to a demoralized firebase on the verge of a determined attack by strong Viet Cong forces. SgtMaj Hafner, with a hard Corps Marine attitude takes charge of the defense of the base and fires up morale there with an artful, non-stop harangue of salty language and tactical expertise that saves the day for the defenders and puts the VC in a total hurt locker. Definitely two thumbs up for Gunny Ermey’s colorful language alone, this is a great war movie about Marines with lots of kinetic action and suspense and an interesting perspective on the motives and political dynamics affecting the attacking VC. Good stuff! Get some!

Congratulations to John J. Kennedy Sr. of Summit Hill, Pennsylvania for winning our last contest.

Lots of responses to the question with only a couple of wrong answers. The most amusing wrong response was Clint Eastwood as GySgt Highway in Heartbreak Ridge. Great movie but wrong war and wrong actor playing the wrong character. Many thanks to Marine veteran Robert J. Castaldi, Sr. of Hockessin, Delaware for providing information that, while there was no actual firebase “Gloria,” the movie is believed to be loosely based on events at Firebase Ripcord.  Does anyone know anything about Firebase Ripcord during the Tet Offensive?

This Month in Marine Corps History


Something old and something new! A legend of the Corps and a platform destined to become a legend!

6 Jan 1859
BGen Archibald Henderson, died in office after serving 39 years as Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Commissioned a 2dLt in 1806, he served as part of the Marine detachment on the U.S.S. Constitution during her series of victories in the War of 1812 and was decorated for bravery for his role in some of these actions.  As Commandant, he is credited with stonewalling efforts by President Andrew Jackson to merge the Marine Corps into the Army in 1829 and succeeded in ensuring that Marines remained in the Department of the Navy. Serving in the field as Commandant during the Seminole War in Florida and Georgia in 1836-37, he was brevetted to BGen and legend has it that he left a note pinned to his office door that read, “Gone to Florida to fight the Indians.  Will be back when the war is over.”  On his death after serving the longest tenure of any Marine Commandant, he tried to leave his heirs the house at 8th St and I St in Washington, D.C. after living in it for 38 years – apparently forgetting that it was owned by the government.
Read more about the early history of the Marine Corps and more about BGen Henderson here:

11 Jan 2012           
USMC receives first two production model F-35 Lighting-II’s.
Assigned to 2d MAW’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501, both will be used for pilot and maintenance training at Elgin Air Force Base. A fifth generation fighter, the F-35 is a short take-off and landing (STOVL) aircraft with advanced stealth radar protection features, the speed and agility of a fighter, enhanced sensor and information systems with advanced network-enabled operations and sustainment. The plane is projected to replace both the AV-8 Harrier and the F&A-18 Hornet. Congrats to Marine Aviators!


MCA&F hosts professional and awards dinners, professional lunches, book signings and more. Check out our professional events schedule at Click on the link for details and event registration. Here are a couple of events coming up in the near future:

  • 1 February 2012         
    Marine West Dinner
    at Carlsbad, California – BGen Francis Kelley, USMC, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command as Guest Speaker

  • 29 March 2012           
    MCA&F Ground Logistics Awards Dinner
    -  Guest Speaker - TBD

  • 30 March 2012         
    Book Signing
    with John Gordon, author of Fighting for MacArthur: The Navy and Marine Corps’ Desperate Defense of the Philippines

  • 11 April 2012           
    MCA&F Marine South Dinner (Camp Lejeune)
    -  Guest Speaker - TBD

  • 19 April 2012         
    MCA&F C4 Awards Dinner
    -  Guest Speaker - TBD


Thank you for your service to our country and for your support of our valuable programs for Marines which include:

Commanders’ Professional Library Program
Marine Excellence Awards Program
Commanders’ Forum Program

Visit our website at
to learn more about how the programs work and what they have accomplished for Marines!

MCAF is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation so your support may qualify for tax deductions.

MCA&F is NOW part of the Combined Federal Campaign!
We invite you to make MCA&F at least one of your donation recipients during this year’s CFC Campaign!


CFC Donor Code is 19821

Corporate Support Welcome! MCA&F welcomes corporate support for our professional programs. Contact LeeAnn Mitchell at for more information.

Call Us toll-free: 877-469-6223 (877-4MY-MCAF) or 703-640-0174 (

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