Dear Members,

As always, your professional association has been busy since the last MCA Member Update.

On, 10 March, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, we held the first of this year’s Combat Development dinners at the Club’s at Quantico. We thank LtGen George Flynn, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration for his support at the dinner. We also thank LtGen Terry Robling, Deputy Commandant for Aviation for taking time from his demanding schedule to share his vision on the future of Marine aviation in this era of constrained resources. Visit our website HERE for pictures, a video and an article about the event.

On Wednesday, 23 March, we went on the road and held our first professional luncheon in Charleston, South Carolina featuring Robert Coram, author of Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak U.S. Marine as the guest speaker. The lunch was well received with about 125 attending.
In April, we look forward to recognizing the top performing C4 Marines from 2010 at the 8th Annual MCA C4 Awards Dinner as part of our Marine Excellence Awards Program. The dinner features LtGen John E. Wissler, Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources as the guest speaker and serves as the occasion to present the prestigious Gray, Littleton, Hamilton and Shea trophies to the respective officer, enlisted, civilian and Marine C4 unit award recipients. Expanding our presence at Camp Lejeune, we will hold the first ever MCA Marine South Dinner there in April with LtGen John Paxton, Commanding General II Marine Expeditionary Force; and Commander, United States Marine Forces Africa as the guest speaker. Visit the professional event schedule on MCA’s website HERE to see our complete schedule.

Our Professional Military Education initiatives are gaining momentum! On 17 March, as part of the MCA Foundation Commander’s Forum Program, we supported the staff of Communications Company, 3rd MLG with the transportation resources and an expert tour guide to conduct a detailed, on-site Staff Ride of the battle of Okinawa. Coming up in April, MCAF will support the staff of The Basic School with transportation, lodging and a tour guide for the 3-day, battle study of Gettysburg. Our MCAF Commander’s Professional Library Program continues to expand support for Marine PME efforts with a total of 29 unit libraries established or expanded this year with an additional 51 in processing or fulfillment and our Marine Excellence Awards Program continues to recognize professional achievements with over 2,100 awards presented to well deserving Marines so far this year.

I invite all of our members and readers to visit MCA on the web regularly. Keep up with the latest news affecting Marines with our Corps Daily News feature and a lot more. Use the MCA homepage, which you can access HERE, as a convenient portal to visit the Leatherneck, Marine Corps Gazette, Marine Corps Association Foundation and websites as well. Regular visits are a great way to keep connected and informed.

Thanks you very much for your support. As always, please let me hear from you.  You can do that by emailing MCA at

Semper Fi,

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


You’re Invited! Renew your membership with your very own professional association – MCA!  And, if you are NOT eligible for MCA membership, then join the Marine Corps Association Foundation. Member benefits are very similar!  Call us toll free at 866-622-1775 or click HERE!


Member Section

  • Reader / Member Input.  Do YOU have something newsworthy to share? Send it to us for consideration for the MCA Member Update! Anniversaries, Reunions, unit news, major milestones? Send to
  • Other Sites of Interest to Marines. We have completely re-worked our “Other Sites” page, categorizing the links to make the site easier to use and adding some completely new links Marines might find useful to check out as well as providing brief descriptions of the included websites. The website can be accessed at the MCA website on the tool bar at the bottom of the homepage. Click HERE to go there directly.

    We welcome reader input on other sites we should also include. Send us your recommendations to
  • MajGen John A. Lejeune Picture. MCA BookStore Manager Holly Balderston presents Mr. Blaine, Manager of the Staff NCO Club at Camp Lejeune, with a framed picture of John A. Lejeune, donated by MCA during NCO Appreciation Night on February 16, 2011. Gunnery Sergeant Wright, far right, helps present the gift to the club.  The photo was from MCA’s extensive photo archive.
  • Unit Nicknames, Mottoes and Plaques. Last month we included a call for Marines to tell us their unit nicknames and mottoes. Results were sparse but we thank retired SgtMaj Nick Sheridan for his input.  Serving in VMF(AW) 235 in Vietnam in the 1967 / 68 time frame, he advises that the squadron was known as “The Death Angels.” Very roguish and lethal sounding. John Finn writes that 1st Bn. 26th Marines were called “The Professionals.”

    Your MCA Update Coordinator had the pleasure of leading Weapons Platoon, 3d Bn, 4th Marines in the 1979 time frame. We called the platoon the “Mad Dogs” and used that as a motivational exhortation as well. The Marines in the platoon liked it. Later, when 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines participated in the West Pac MEU (SOC) program and started using lots of non-standard issue gear our unofficial motto was, somewhat sardonically, “None without Bush Hats” which we got an obliging Catholic chaplain to translate into an amusing and totally faux but official looking Latin epithet.

    What about your unit? What did you call yourself and what was your motto? Share the wealth! 
  • What’s UP with Your Museum?  Want to get the latest information on National Museum of the Marine Corps happenings? Visit their official website to see their events schedule and to read about the latest improvements to the museum, it’s collections and programs. Look for their Newsletter Sign up button at the top of the homepage and sign yourself up to keep informed.

  • Spread the Word.  Now you can share the articles and other features you see on the MCA, Leatherneck, Marine Corps Gazette and websites. When you open the article, these icons appear and all you have to do is click on the appropriate one to share the link on Facebook or Twitter or to email it. Give it a try. Send an article you like to a comrade today!

Of Interest to Marines

  • Personalized News Notifications from MCA Website NOW AVAILABLE                                   
    Don’t miss a thing! Keep your Corps connections STRONG!

    Don’t have the time to visit our sites daily? Sign up for personalized notification of news that matters most to you!  We’ll keep you connected by sending an email with the previous day’s content. Visit for more information.
  • 2010 Force Structure Review. See what your Marine Corps is going to look like structurally and organizationally over the next few years. Visit the Marine Corps Gazette or Leatherneck websites and click on the hotlinked FSR box or click on the hotlink here to read the executive summary. 
  • Government Shutdown. What’s the impact? If the government freezes does the military get paid? Opinions vary and previous shutdowns witnessed a variety of workarounds. Click HERE for a perspective and overview.
  • Too Good NOT to Use – If this isn’t a bumper sticker it SHOULD be!                                              
    If you can read this thank a teacher.... If it's in English thank a MARINE!
  • Marine Gunny Dissed to Parade Rest! – Also Too Good NOT to Use:
    An old Navy Chief and an old Marine Gunny were sitting at the VFW arguing about who had the tougher career.

    “I did 30 years in the Corps, “the Marine declared proudly, “and fought in three of my country’s wars. Fresh out of book camp, I  hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. Finally as a Gunnery Sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and elephant grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire by day and mortar fire all night. In a firefight, we’d fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we charged the enemy with bayonets.”

    “Ah, you lucky bastard!” said the sailor with envy.  “All shore duty, huh?”

    U.S. Navy – Getting over on Marines since 1775!

Q. Referring to the pictured equipment one Marine leader opined that it “…did more to win the war in the Pacific than any other single piece of equipment.”  What is the equipment, what is it’s purpose, who came up with the design upon which this is based and who made the quoted statement?


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

Here’s our trivia question from last month:

Question: Composed of admixtures of benzene, polystyrene and gasoline I was first used by Navy pilots to prepare a Pacific island for a landing by U.S. Marines in WW-II.  What am I, what is my purpose and which island invasion was the scene of my first use in the Pacific war?

Answer: The substance in question is Napalm, which has been used extensively as an incendiary in war to burn off vegetation and to burn out deeply dug in or fortified enemy troops. The consensus on first use in the Pacific theater in WW-II points to Tinian.

Congratulations to LCpl Lucky Palmer of Greenville, New York  for winning the February contest!

Thanks to member/reader Colonel David Coggins who provided the correct answer as well but provided a bit of perspective on the use of napalm on Tinian he got from his father, Roger Coggins who served with Marines there: Regarding napalm, “ It was used to clear vegetation and also worked well setting things on fire including machinery, enemy soldiers and on reverse slopes/dug in forces.  The explosion sucked oxygen out of the fighting holes/caves and suffocated those that didn’t get burned alive or able to make a run for it.”  Remembering the flames he said “…it looked like hell on earth.”

Kind of reminds one of Colonel Kilgore’s famous musing remarks in Apocalypse Now – “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…smells like victory.”

ONLINE access to BOTH Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette is a KEY Benefit that comes with EVERY Membership / Subscription at no extra charge! 

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

Marine Corps Gazette
The April Gazette has a focus on weapons and marksmanship. In addition we look at combat reporting and the role of the combat operations center. In a riveting article on the web, Capt Luis Perez in "Patrol Base Outcast" details some significant lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan. The feature article this month is an excerpt from Bing West's new book The Wrong War. The article looks at Afghanistan from the halls of Kabul to the foxholes of the forward operating base.




Your April Leatherneck marks a couple of significant historical events involving Marines; Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; and one event that many don't know involved Marines. Read "Eyewitness to Murder: The Assassination of President Lincoln." We add a personality piece on Marine veteran Simon L. Leis Jr., the sheriff of Hamilton County, Ohio, since 1987 and face of law enforcement in the county for 40 years and, for your enjoyment, we unveil the singing and song-writing talents of 1stSgt Bob Lay, USMC (Ret). These, plus an excerpted chapter from Bing West's latest book, The Wrong War, which describes the heroism of Cpl Dakota Meyer which resulted in his nomination for the Medal of Honor, an overview article on a very large predeployment training complex at 29 Palms and more on current ops, round out the issue.

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Corps Daily News. Get the latest news about Marines at Corps Daily News featured prominently on BOTH the Marine Corps Gazette and Leatherneck websites as well as on the MCA Homepage. Visiting daily is a tremendous way to stay connected and informed!

This Month in Marine Corps History

6 March 1932           
John Phillip Sousa, former leader of the Marine Band, died at age 79.
Sousa, known affectionately as the “March King” for his authorship of so many stirring examples of martial music, was born in Washington, D.C. and is permanently linked in the public imagination with the Marine Band – The President’s Own. His long association with the band began at age 13 when his father apprenticed him to the Marine Band to keep him from joining a circus band. Later, after learning the art of conducting, he became the bandmaster and served in that capacity during the 1880-1892 period. Sousa is remembered for having inspired the invention of the “Sousaphone” for marching bands and for writing “The Washington Post” march and also “Semper Fidelis” the official march of the United States Marine Corps.

2 February 1968  
U.S. Marines land at Red Beach, Da Nang, Vietnam.

After considerable diplomatic wrangling, the Marines were invited to enter South Vietnam in force for the first time, joining the fray initially to defend the airbase at Da Nnang and thus freeing up South Vietnamese troops to fight the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army.  Elements of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade with BGen Frederick Karch in command landed at Red Beach, north of Da Nang in an effort to keep a low profile as demanded by both Vietnamese and American political and military leaders.  The landing however, was anything but inconspicuous and was met by throngs of school girls and other well wishers who covered the Marines with flower leis and who displayed large signs welcoming the Marines.

23 March 2003           
The battle of Al Nasiriyah, Iraq is joined.
The plan was for Task Force Tarawa the ground combat element from 2nd MEB, to seize the two bridges over the Euphrates that were inside the city of Al Nasiriyah and then allow Regimental Combat Team-1 to pass through and continue the attack. Plans go awry. The Army’s 507th Maintenance Company takes a wrong turn on the highway while moving north to Baghdad and is ambushed in the vicinity of Al Nasiriyah by substantial Iraqi forces who kill and wound many and capture PFC Jessica Lynch and others. Elements of Task Force Tarawa from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade ride to the rescue. Many Marines end up killed and wounded in an intramural dust up with a flight of A-10’s and the Marines are attacked in all directions in the night under cover of a raging sandstorm before it is all through. Sort through the confusing detail of this unexpected but raging battle with two great books:

31 March 1801           
LtCol William Ward Burrows, the second Commandant of the Marine Corps and President Thomas Jefferson select the site of Marine Barracks (8th and I) Washington, D.C.


MCA’s projected events are detailed for you below. You’re Invited. Bring a Friend!

  • 14 April
    MCA C4 Awards Dinner

    Guest Speaker – LtGen John E. Wissler, USMC, Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources
    Crystal Gateway Marriott
    Arlington, VA
  • 27 April
    MCA Marine South Dinner

    Guest Speaker – LtGen John M. Paxton, USMC, Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force; and Commander, United States Marine Forces Africa
    Marston Pavilion
    Camp Lejeune

  • 29 April
    Book Signing with Chip Jones

    author of
    War Shots: Norm Hatch and the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Cameramen of World War II along with Maj Norm Hatch who is the subject of the book
    The MARINE Shop

    Quantico, VA
  • 5 May
    MCA Ground Awards Dinner

    Guest Speaker – General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
    Crystal Gateway Marriott
    Arlington, VA

Visit the MCAF website: for more information on our events and our programs.


Marine Corps Association Foundation membership directly supports Marines and ANYONE can Join!
  Join MCAF Today and support our Corps!

MCAF’s principle programs are:
The Commanders' Unit Library Program – Provides commanders with professional libraries that make professional reading and study readily accessible.
The Commanders' Forums – Provides special professional events specifically tailored by commanders to enhance their Marines’ knowledge of operational art from historical, cultural or operational perspectives. These include battle studies, staff rides, professional dinners and luncheons, as well as seminars and forums.
The Marine Excellence Awards – Provides awards that recognize the professional accomplishments of individual Marines, and Sailors supporting Marines, for scholastic, leadership, or technical excellence.
Your support for the MCA Foundation helps to ensure our great Marines get the professional recognition they deserve and helps enhance their mission success in the complex world in which they operate. Supporting MCAF supports Marines!

Corporate Support Welcome!  MCAF welcomes corporate support for our professional programs. Interested sponsors should contact LeeAnn Mitchell at for more information.

Click HERE to see the complete list of companies supporting Marines through MCA and MCAF events!

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

Zembiec Award. The Zembiec Award for Outstanding Leadership in the USMC Forces Special Operations Command is a new MCAF sponsored award named for deceased Marine Major Douglas Zembiec, known as the “Lion of Falujah” who perished in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The namesake award, rendered by sculptor Mark Austin Byrd is far along in development and will be presented for the first time during the MCA Ground Awards Dinner in May.  Here are some clay renderings:

When You Move – We Want to Move Too!
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