Dear Members,

We started February off right with the MCA&F West Coast Dinner in Carlsbad, California. The dinner took place 1 February at the Carlsbad Sheraton Hotel with over 300 in attendance! BGen Francis L Kelley, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command was on hand as the guest speaker. I want to thank BGen Kelley for taking time from his busy schedule to join us.

On the 14th we hosted a social for the lieutenants of Bravo Company at TBS. They sure are an impressive group of young Americans!

Demand for our professional development and Marine Excellence Awards programs continues to grow. So far this year we have delivered over 50 unit libraries to Marine leaders worldwide to assist them in mentoring the professional development of their Marines. We recently redesigned the Boot Camp Honor Graduate Award. The award is now the LtGen “Chesty” Puller Award, a bronzed relief of LtGen Puller that will be presented to each recruit company honor graduate on graduation day. The award crafted by famed sculptor Mark Byrd with the permission and support of the Puller family is a fitting recognition of early accomplishments of these new Marines. You certainly know the namesake of the award and his accomplishments and it’s our hope is that the recipients of the award will exemplify and honor the memory of General Puller.

As always my thanks go to you, our members; our many corporate sponsors such as USAA, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Battelle; and our Foundation donors.  You should know that your association does more for today’s active duty Marines than any other organization – and you should take pride in that fact. 

As we head into March we’re looking forward to co-hosting the 8th Annual MCA&F Ground Logistics Awards Dinner on 29 March with the Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics. The awards presented at the dinner recognize the professional achievements of our Corps’ top performing logisticians from 2011.  General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, will be the guest speaker and awards presenter. I hope you can be on hand to help us recognize some great Marines and enjoy the camaraderie with fellow members and friends of the Corps.

April is bursting with events beginning on 11 April when we will host the MCA&F East Coast Dinner during the Marine South Exposition at Camp Lejeune with LtGen John M. Paxton, Commanding General, II MEF and Commander, United States Marine Forces, Africa as our guest speaker. A little more than a week later, we’ll be back in the Capitol region hosting the 9th Annual MCA&F C4 Awards Dinner in Arlington, Virginia on 19 April. I hope you’re able to attend one of these events. Visit our website HERE to keep up with all our events.

All the Best & Semper Fidelis,

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


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Marine Corps Gazette
The March edition of the Gazette has a focus on training. As we wind down the war in Afghanistan and at the same time seek to prepare for the next conflict, training will be the essential ingredient of preparedness. At the same time the Corps will face a fiscal climate not seen since the late 1970s. In this issue authors write about training and training priorities across a broad spectrum.

The March Leatherneck focuses on Marine Forces Reserve with two feature articles: one describing the historic operational tempo of the Marine Corps Reserve and another documenting its new headquarters. Both articles are by retired Marine CWO-4 Randy Gaddo and Leatherneck is very pleased to have his byline more frequently.

Also, in March, Emily Martin, working with the Marine Corps History Division, dispels some myths on the "Crusading for Right," -often erroneously called "Iron Mike"- statue here on base at Quantico, Dick Camp writes about "The Lang Vei Rescue Attempt" in early 1968 and Civil War historian Dave Sullivan describes USS Vanderbilt's Marine Det's response in an 1862 "Crossing the Line" ceremony. These plus articles on Montford Point Marines and the Congressional Gold Medal, VMM-261's support of 24th MEU, RLT-6 in Afghanistan and the conclusion of Dave Hugel's three-part article on how the Corps changed his direction in life make what the staff think is a well-rounded magazine.

For the April Leatherneck, stand by for retired MGySgt Ron Keene's 40th anniversary tribute to those who stopped the NVA's 1972 Easter Offensive dead in its tracks at the Cua Viet River, particularly the contributions of then-Captain John W. Ripley.

Let us hear what you think:

  • Reader / Member Input. Do YOU have something newsworthy to share? Send to  and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.
  • Marine Corps Gazette’s NEW LtCol Earl “Pete” Ellis Annual Essay Contest.  Designed to stimulate critical thinking about how to advance the Marine Corps effectively into the future, this essay contest is open to both civilian and military writers and calls for articles with an operational focus on the role of the Navy-Marine Team as a crisis response force in the uncertain security environment of the 2015-2024 time frame. The aim is to develop new operational concepts along with thought on the supporting equipment and forces needed for implementation.  Funded by the Marine Corps Association & Foundation, the first prize is $5,000 and submitted articles will be considered for publication in Marine Corps Gazette. Don’t let a blank piece of paper get between you and $5,000! Unleash your out of the box ideas here!  Entries are due between 1 May and 30 June 2012. For more details, read LtGen Richard Mills article here:

  • MCA&F – Out and About.

    • MCA&F West Coast Area Representative at 12th Annual War Dog Memorial Event
      SgtMaj Frank Pulley, MCA&F’s West Coast Area representative was invited to be one of the  keynote speakers at the 18 February event held at the March Army Reserve Base in Riverside, California.  The event honored the significant contributions the country’s war dogs and their handlers have made since World War I. Click HERE for more of the story and additional pictures.

    • MCB Camp Pendleton Marines of the Quarter Awards Presentation
      SgtMaj Pulley was on hand to present the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton Marines with their MCA&F Sponsored Marine and NCO of the Quarter awards at a ceremony held on 10 February.  Congratulations Marines!

  • MCA&F Marine West Dinner During Marine West Expo. The Marine Corps Association & Foundation was well represented at the Marine West Expo at Camp Pendleton California at the end of January and early February.  Staffing a booth at the EXPO, MCA & F staff members SgtMaj Kevin Bennet, USMC (Ret) and Ron Lunn, the association's staff photographer, were on hand to represent the association, greet the many visitors and recruit new members. 

    On Wednesday, 1 February, MCA & F hosted the Marine West Dinner to a near capacity banquet room at the Sheraton, Carlsbad. The dinner featured BGen Francis Kelley, USMC, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command as the guest speaker.

    Pictures of the events follow: (Note - All pictures by MCA & F Staff Photographer Ron Lunn)

    EXPO Pictures:

    Marine West Dinner Pictures:

  • Social Event for Bravo Company, The Basic School. 
    On 14 Feb, MCA&F hosted a social hour for the Lieutenants of Bravo Company, TBS who recently reported aboard for instruction and training as leaders of Marines. Following a mission and membership brief about the professional association for all Marines presented by Colonel John Keenan, USMC (Ret), Editor of Marine Corps Gazette, the company adjourned to the Green Carpet area of venerable O’Bannon Hall where they were celebrated with Marzen beer donated by Biersch Brewing company along with a heavy application of appetizers.  As per custom and, in the strongest of Marine Corps traditions, the assembled Lieutenants devoured the chow in short order and inhaled two complete kegs of designer beer. A good time was had by all and MCA&F was fortunate to be able to welcome several new members. Click here for more pics from the event.

  • Websites of the Month.

    • Try Abu Muquwama – a site focused on counterinsurgency, small wars and Middle Eastern regional security issues. Lots of articles with comprehensive, in-depth analysis on key defense issues. Definitely a good resource for study and debate on issues like the unfolding security situation in Iran.

    • Fun with defense dollars! See what it costs to equip our forces and how much it costs the average household. Check out the graphic at on military spending for an eye opening experience: Additionally, take a look at the “Marines” page with links to educational, tuition and scholarship assistance programs for Marines here:
  • Military Sci Fi Nuts Wanted!
    Click the link to visit a website wanting input on the BEST science fiction for people who serve in the military. Got a favorite? Let them know:

    And, closer to home, visit Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette Online. Check out the Gazette Blog site - - Comments have been on a roiling boil recently on a range of subjects and particularly so with Marine aviation. Get involved and weigh in with YOUR opinion.
    Gazette Blog link image from Gazette main page

    Leatherneck has a series of exclusive video interviews with prominent authors such as Steven Pressfield, Norman Fulkerson, Frank Cox, Col Tim Geraghty, Karl Marlantes and MORE.  Click here: for the video page and click here: to order the book from our online store.

  • Economic Opportunity for Veterans at VetFran
    VetFran, a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association (IFA) which includes more than 400 IFA franchisor member companies, was formed to help veterans by offering financial incentives, training and mentoring on small business, franchise ownership. Through their Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign, they seek to recruit and hire 75,000 veterans and their spouses, along with 5,000 Wounded Warriors as franchise owners by 2014.  For more information about VetFran, visit their website at For available incentives and training opportunities listed by franchise company, visit the VetFran Directory at

  • MCA&F Expands Member Benefits with Addition of Military Discounts! To be activated in early May 2012, this new benefit provides MCA&F Members with privileged access to a wide range of premium brands and products, such as action sports and fitness equipment, apparel, tactical gear, jewelry, shoes and accessories, at special savings of 40% and more below retail. MCA&F members will receive automatic activation to access by logging in to their MCA&F membership account online and then clicking on the link to  From there, members can shop on for everyday premium brands and products rather than closeouts or discontinued items.  Stand by for deep savings in May! Click on the logo to learn more about

  • MCA&F to Launch “MCA&F Corps Connection” Mobile Application! In cooperation with MetroStar Systems, MCA&F will launch a new mobile application (app) entitled “MCA&F Corps Connection” that can be downloaded FREE through the Apple App Store starting in early March 2012. The app enhances the connectivity for Association members, supporters, Marines, Sailors, and friends of the Corps who want to stay abreast of current MCA&F and Marine Corps-related news and announcements. The app will stream constant updates from the MCA&F website, including: Corps Daily News, the professional event schedule, MCA&F Blogs, Today in History, and more! Get ready to down load your FREE app in March! Click on the logo to learn more about MetroStar Systems.

  • Hot Videos of the Month. Read a brief article and see a video graphic about a laser guided bullet envisioned for snipers of the future. Precision, lethal accuracy out to 2 klicks. Thanks to! Hold em and squeeze em! Lick em and stick em!  Rack em and stack em!
  • The Philosophy of Razors. Deep wisdom EVERY Marine can use while practicing ratiocination!

    Occam’s Razor - Attributed to 14th century English friar William of Ockham. The principle that when faced with competing hypotheses, select the one that makes the fewest new assumptions and that the simplest explanation is most plausible until proven false.

    Hanlon’s Razor - Attributed to Robert J. Hanlon of Scranton, Pennsylvania while contributing to a book of jokes about Murphy’s law. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Q. Utterly utilitarian and more linear and voluminous than curvaceous or rakish like others, it leads with clamshells and it’s flatness below makes for a great time at the beach but causes endemic nausea away.  What am I and what do I have to do with Marines?


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 “Once a Marine – ALWAYS a Marine” Coin, we include a copy of one of Major Gene Duncan’s Books as a bonus.

Here’s our trivia question from last month:

Question: 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?

LtGen Holland M. Smith, USMC wrote this line in 1949 after he had risen to command Fleet Marine Force Pacific during the later stages of WW-II.  An interesting character, Smith, nicknamed “Howling Mad”  Smith by his troops in the Philippines before World War I, is widely regarded as “the father” of modern amphibious warfare.  Born in Alabama, he attended Auburn University, graduating in 1901 with a BS Degree.  Serving in the Alabama National Guard while attending college, he rose to become a 1stSgt of a cavalry company and initially sought a commission in the Army.  Commissioned a 2dLt of Marines in 1905, Smith began a career that involved considerable expeditionary and sea duty experience with multiple tours in the Philippines along with duty in Panama and the Dominican Republic, as well as a tour as the Marine Detachment Commander aboard the USS Galveston. His WW I experience led off with command of the 8th Machine Gun Company serving with the 5th Marines followed by a series of important staff and liaison positions.

Following the war, he attended Naval War College and also served as the first Marine officer on the Joint Army-Navy Planning Committee as well as serving as Fleet Marine Officer on the Battleships Wyoming and Arkansas. After a tour at Marine Headquarters as Director of the Division of Operations and Training and later, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, he was reassigned to the 1st Marine Brigade, conducted extensive training of the unit in Amphibious Operations and reorganized the Brigade into division strength, becoming Commanding General of the newly formed 1st Marine Division. In 1942, he took command of the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet and oversaw the amphibious training of the 2d and 3d Marine Divisions before they entered in to combat operations and trained a series of Army units for service in the Aleutians. His organization was re-designated as V Amphibious Corps which he led until 1944 when he was elevated to the post of Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.  He also commanded Task Force 56 throughout the battle of Iwo Jima and was the choice of Navy Admirals in the Pacific to command the invasion force for Okinawa but were overruled for inter service political reasons because Smith had relived an Army general during the Saipan invasion.

Retiring after the war in 1946, Smith wrote an autobiography in 1948 along with co-author, Percy Finch, entitled Coral and Brass. The book highlights the development of amphibious warfare in the interwar years and dwells extensively on the controversy over firing MajGen Ralph Smith, USA at Saipan.

Smith and other like-minded activists spearheaded the drive to equip, train and supply the Marine Corps for effective amphibious operations and helped drive the development of landing craft, amphibian tractors and other supporting craft and helped develop the doctrine, tactics and training that made the Marine Corps so successful in the Pacific war and beyond.

Read more about the history of amphibious warfare here.

Congratulations to Lester Blaylock of Sun Lakes, Arizona for winning our last contest.

This Month in Marine Corps History


2 Feb 1968

Operation Hue City, Tet Offensive began in Vietnam. 
Launched on 30 January 1968 during the Lunar New Year, the Tet Offensive was a surprise campaign all across Vietnam conducted by both irregular South Vietnamese and regular North Vietnamese forces against the forces of South Vietnam and her allies. A particularly bloody campaign which included the slaughter of many civilians, one of the campaign’s most well-known battles was the siege of Hue, a beautiful and ancient city and the provincial capital which lay along the Perfume River and contained a castle-like citadel which was besieged and secured by the Marines after a lengthy and costly battle in urban terrain.  Read a detailed account of the Marines participation and exploits in Phase Line Green.

23 Feb 1945           
Five Marines and a Navy corpsman raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
The most iconic image of Marines in action in history and one so powerful that it influenced the physical shape of the National Museum of the Marine Corps building, the battle in which the picture was taken led Admiral Nimitz, Navy Pacific Fleet Commander to say “On Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Read more about the bitter struggle to seize this key island at allowed American forces to conduct long range, strategic bombing of the Japanese home islands with these books:

28 Feb 1991
Operation Desert Storm ended.
On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and seized Kuwait, unleashing a lengthy round of international political maneuvering resulting in the formation of a large international coalition determined to force Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from the oil rich sheikhdom. Preceded by Operation Desert Shield, an operation that introduced a major force build up in Saudi Arabia, the follow-on operation, Desert Storm, commenced on 17 January 1991 entailing an extensive aerial bombardment and interdiction campaign lasting about 6 weeks and culminating with an equally extensive ground assault by U.S. Army, Marine and coalition forces that swept through Kuwait and deep into Iraq lasting 100 hours and resulting in the liberation of Kuwait. The campaign introduced extensive use of highly effective “Smart” weapons, unprecedented employment of air assets, bold and sweeping ground maneuver and brought the war intimately to viewers around the world on TV.  Read more about how the campaign unfolded in The General’s War:


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:

  • 15 March 2012         
    Spring 2012 MCA&F Combat Development Dinner
    - Guest Speaker: LtGen Richard Mills, USMC, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration and Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command - The Clubs at Quantico, Quantico, Va

  • 29 March 2012           
    MCA&F Ground Logistics Awards Dinner
    - Guest Speaker: General Joseph F. Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps - Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA

  • 30 March 2012         
    Book Signing
    with John Gordon, author of Fighting for MacArthur: The Navy and Marine Corps’ Desperate Defense of the Philippines - The MARINE Shop at Quantico, VA
  • 11 April 2012           
    MCA&F Marine South Dinner (Camp Lejeune)
    -  Guest Speaker: LtGen John M. Paxton, Jr., USMC, Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force - Marston Pavilion, Camp Lejeune, NC

  • 19 April 2012         
    MCA&F C4 Awards Dinner
    -  Guest Speaker - TBD - Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA


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

Thank you to all of our CFC Donors.  We haven’t received a complete listing of everyone who supported us in this CFC Campaign but we do want you to know that we appreciate what you did contribute!

Special thanks to Verizon, New Balance, and Enterprise Holding for their support of our programs for Marines this year as well as a shout out to Manuel Carazo for his continuing support!

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 (

The old adage about “If you got static – you got Com” is just not the kind of quality connection we want to maintain with our members. Help us tone down the static by letting us know when you move so we can ensure uninterrupted service!
When you change your address go ONLINE and update your member profile, call us at 866-622-1775 or email us at

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