Dear Members,

Your professional association continues to be busy supporting Marines!

On 14 April, MCA, in conjunction with HQMC C4 Division, hosted the 8th Annual C4 Awards Dinner in Arlington, VA to recognize the professional achievements of the top performing Marines in the C4 community in 2010. We thank LtGen George Flynn, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration for giving his perspective on current constraints, the operating environment and where we are heading and also for helping present the 2010 awards. Click HERE for an account of the evening, additional pictures and a video presentation.         

MCA hosted the MCA Marine South Dinner, our first-ever professional dinner at Camp Lejeune on 27 April with LtGen John M. Paxton, Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force; and Commander, United States Marine Forces Africa as the guest speaker. Thanks to LtGen Paxton for taking the time from his busy schedule to speak to our guests. A brief summary of his remarks, event pictures and a video of his presentation will be posted to our web site shortly.

In May, MCA will host the 8th Annual MCA Ground Awards Dinner along with HQMC Plans, Policies and Operations Division in order to recognize the accomplishments of the 2010 Marines of the Year and the top performing ground combat arms MOS award recipients. The dinner serves as the annual occasion to present the Leftwich, Hulbert and Chambers award trophies and will be the first occasion to present awards to the Marine Special Operations Community including the new Major Douglas Zembiec memorial award and the MARSOC Critical Skills Operator of the Year Award. General Joseph F. Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps will be our guest speaker and will assist with the award’s presentations.             

Also in May, MCA, along with Marine Corps Systems Command, will host the 2nd Annual MCA Ammo Tech Awards Dinner to recognize the top performing Marines in the Ammo Tech community during 2010. BGen Francis Kelley, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command has agreed to be the guest speaker for the event.

We hope you will be able to join us at both events. Click HERE to access our event schedule and receive registration information, directions and event details.

In addition to our professional dinners where Marines, members and guests benefit from the candid perspectives of our top leadership on the topical issues affecting us all, MCA continues to support Marines in other professional development initiatives. Since the beginning of the year, through our MCAF Marine Excellence Awards Program, MCA has recognized 1,076 individuals with awards ranging from trophies, plaques, binoculars, Dress Blues, Marine swords, watches, professional books and complimentary membership. Additionally, certificates of achievement were presented to 1,884 individuals for academic excellence.

Our MCAF Commander’s Professional Library Program continues to grow and has provided 31 units with books from the USMC professional reading list to establish unit libraries with 61 additional requests currently in the fulfillment process.

The Commander’s Forum Program provided lodging, tour busses and a guide for a Gettysburg Staff Ride for the staff of The Basic School (Pictures further below) and also provided transportation and a guide for the MTACS-18 battle study of the battle of Okinawa. In May 2011 we will support a battle study of the battle of Antietam for the Advanced Infantry Battalion East. Member support enables all of these initiatives.

Thank 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


We Want to Keep You Close and Connected ALWAYS! Keep your membership with your professional association active!  And, if you are NOT eligible then we invite you to join the Marine Corps Association Foundation. Member benefits are very similar and membership in either helps support Marines!  Call us toll free at 866-622-1775 or click HERE to renew or to join.


Member Section

  • Reader / Member Input.  Do YOU have something newsworthy to share? Send it to us for consideration and possible posting in the MCA Member Update! Anniversaries, Reunions, unit news, major milestones? Send to and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.

  • Looking for Member Help!  Help us grow — Tell your friends about MCA!
  • Visit MCA’s Facebook Page. Lots of great postings, stories and anecdotes by MCA friends and members there.  Amusing, informative and interesting, we invite YOU to join us as a Facebook friend today and visit us there often.

    Responding to our April Facebook question about how Marines did on the rifle range, Richard Stevenson posts: “…memory is shakey after 45 years but I think it was 225 expert with M-14 and expert with M-1911 but do not recall the score.  ALWAYS shot expert with my MOS weapon, the flame thrower.” (Emphasis added…)  We think there should be a flamethrower marksmanship badge and Richard should get the first one!  
  • Public Service Announcement for Marines in Pennsville NJ Area.  The Salem County Detachment of the Marine Corps League is sponsoring a bus trip visit to The National Museum of the Marine Corps on Saturday, 14 May leaving at 0800. For more information: Many thanks to Tony Costa, veteran Sergeant of Marines for the notice.
  • Unit Nicknames, Mottoes and Plaques.  Our quest for input continues to yield input.

    Michael Bergamini from Texas reminds us that 1st Battalion, 9th Marines is known as “The Walking Dead” one of my personal favorites. Michael seems to have served with Bravo company. A friend and car pool companion of your Update Coordinator used to tell sea stories to the effect that the name derived from Vietnam where the Battalion had so many casualties the name just fit.  He used to joke, convincingly that he was issued a Purple Heart medal with his check-in sheet upon joining on the theory that it just saved time. Anyway, “The Walking Dead” is certainly “Roguish” and a name with which one can identify. The new zombie mini-series by the same name has GOT to be popular in 1/9?

    Veteran Sgt Roman “Ski” Milanowicz advises us that he served in VMFA-451 who were known as the “Warlords” which is both motivating and martial. Their motto is “Vini, Vici” Latin for “We come, we conquer” a contraction of Julius Caesar’s famous pithy declaration Vini, Vidi, Vinci (I came, I saw, I conquered) Apologies to classicists if the translation is off a bit.

    Here is a great picture of Firebase “Cates” which overlooked the Khe Sanh plateau in 1969. Retired LtCol Ron Coulter wrote us that he was the commander of the 1st Provisional 155 Howitzer Battery there in 3d Bn, 12th Marines in 1969. The battery was called “1st Prov” and the fire base was called “Marine Barracks Cates.” The four towed 155 mm Howitzers were called the “Four Guns of the Apocalypse” and each was named. As they could not remember the actual names of the four horsemen from the bible they picked names that were close; “Death,” “Destruction,” “Disease,” and “Doom.” Their 4’x 6’ Firebase sign remained until “1st Prov” moved off the hill and the unit was disbanded when 3d Mar Div pulled out of Vietnam. Great story and we thoroughly approve of the howitzer names!

    What about your unit? What did you call yourself and what was your motto? Let’s up the ante next month and include aviator call signs.  Share the wealth! 

    To prime the pump - 2 anecdotes. The editor of Gazette told one recently about a Marine who provided the voice of “Bambi” in a Disney production, became a Marine aviator and hid his Disney voiceover connection from EVERYONE to keep from having the call sign “Bambi” stick to him like a tar baby. No one found out until AFTER his Marine service.

    MCA’s area representative for the Quantico area, SgtMaj Kevin Bennett – a GRUNT by training, experience and inclination, did a tour with the air wing and of course got a call sign for this tour of duty.  Awesome call sign –“Earth Pig” for which he is inordinately proud! As any good ground pounding grunt SHOULD be!           

    What about YOU?  The good, the bad…the ugly – Let’s have it!

  • MCA Social Hour with 1stSgt’s & MSgt’s Course. On 20 April elements of MCA’s marketing department, spearheaded by Quantico Area Representative, retired SgtMaj Kevin Bennett hosted a social hour at Quantico’s SNCO club. SgtMaj Bennett provided all attendees with an in-depth brief on the Marine Corps Association mission, programs and membership benefits, raffled off some professional reading and then participated in camaraderie with the class. Here some of the event pictures:           

  • Gettysburg Staff Ride.  Between 13-15 April, the staff of The Basic School held a Staff Ride to study
    The epic,3-day battle at Gettysburg, PA. Your Marine Corps Association Foundation provided the resources enabling this professional development event through the MCAF Commanders Forum Program. MCAF provided the transportation, lodging and tour guides for the study. Here are pictures of the event with the TBS staff in front of the MajGen George G. Meade Memorial and also in front of the Virginia Memorial. (Photo by Capt Brian Muncy)

  • MCA’s Blog – Get Ready for it!!  We are standing up our new Blog site, accessible through our home page in early May 2011. Check it out – Even BETTER…Get involved.

Of Interest to Marines

  • Marine Corps Connections. Subscribe to HQMC’s weekly email newsletter.  Visit the link and provide your email address and they will send it to you weekly. The newsletter is an official USMC news vehicle, designed to keep you informed and is full of stories about Marines and what your Corps is doing.

  • Tunes for Marines! Hear WW-II Marine aviator and swashbuckling actor Tyrone Power, recite the “Ballad of the Leatherneck Corps.” Listen to rocking piano legend Jerry Lee Lewis play “The Marines’ Hymn and a whole lot more great music for Marines on MCA’s new Master Guns Playlist. The ONLY way THIS will NOT get you fired up is if you can’t fog a mirror anymore!  Oh by the way -  April is Leatherneck’s Marine Corps Music Month on Facebook and Twitter! VISIT TODAY!

One from Hollyweird…

Q. Bud leaves the farm and moves in with Uncle Bob and family, meets and then marries cowgirl Sissy and develops an arch rivalry with prison rodeo star Wes Hightower while training to ride a mechanical bull in an epic contest during a period of “Hard hat days and honky tonk nights.” Add bar fights, western music and attempted robbery. Two of the aforementioned characters are veteran Marines. Who are the Marines and what is the movie?


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: 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?

Answer: The craft in the picture is an LCVP based on an original design by Andrew Higgins for use in Louisiana swamps.  Also known as a “Higgins” boat after it’s designer, it was used in the ship to shore movement phase of Amphibious assaults and could transport combinations of up to 36 troops, a 6,000 lbs vehicle or up to 8,100 lbs of cargo. Over 20,000 LCVP’s were built by Higgins Industries and other licensed companies between 1941 and 1945. Rendered in heavy duty plywood, the boat had a crew of 3, was armed with two .30 caliber machine guns and was present at virtually every assault landing in World War II and beyond landing tens of thousands of Marines and soldiers on hostile beaches all over the world.  

The quote is from LtGen H.M. “Howling Mad” Smith according to page 183 of Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines (which your MCA Member Update Coordinator peruses monthly for fresh but obscure trivia ideas…) though many readers chose General Dwight Eisenhower by mistake. Eisenhower, according to the Wikipedia article on LCVP’s had a similar quote praising the designer. 

Many readers selected LtGen Victor H. “Brute” Krulak mistakenly as the author. A picture Krulak took in China years before the war showed a Japanese barge of an interesting flat bottom design with an innovative bow ramp that he sent to HQMC to spark interest in Japanese intentions and to spur similar developments for the Navy/Marine team. Read all about Krulak’s impact on Amphibious Warfare in his book First to Fight.

Many thanks to retired LtCol Ron Coulter for providing an interesting anecdote about the LCVP picture we ran with the contest. The boat pictured is from the USS Henrico (APA-45) which was part of the invasion fleet at Normandy (Omaha Beach) and later participated in the invasion of Okinawa in the Pacific where she was hit by a Kamikaze but survived, continuing to serve until 1973. 

Congratulations to Theodore Araujo Esquire of Syracuse New York for winning last month’s contest.

Thanks also to Cpl William Dunn USMCR of Reedville, Virginia for a charmingly incorrect trivia question answer. His answer to last month’s question was:

“…GNS or Great Navy Ship…On January 2, 1952 after a year with a Marine Rifle Company in Korea, I arrived on the coast of Korea on my way home. This Great Navy Ship was on the shore waiting to take us out in the harbor where the USS Gen. William Weigle was waiting for us to board and take us back to the states. It will always be that “Great Navy Ship.”

We totally concur.  LCVP = GNS…YES!

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 May edition of the Marine Corps Gazette has as a focus Marine Aviation.  The Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt Gen Terry Robling writes about the state of Marine Aviation. Other articles explore the issue of an aviation component for MarSOC and why an unmanned aerial system has limitations when compared to a piloted aircraft.  In addition there are two articles with suggestions on how the Corps can reduce the suicide rate among Marines. This is a difficult issue but our authors have some actionable suggestions. We also are publishing in this issue the second installment of Bing West's "The Wrong War."  His writing gets you as close to the fight as you can be without needing a helmet and flak jacket.  Please enjoy this edition.


While your May Leatherneck has a focus on Marine aviation, you will find a solid mix of current operations and training, Marine history, along with your monthly ration of Leatherneck Laffs and interesting reader comments in the Sound Off section. Our aviation focus includes articles on Harriers in Afghanistan, an update on unmanned aircraft, air operations in Libya, and historical articles which include a heli-borne raid at Cam Sa during the Vietnam War and an article on Marine glide bombing in Haiti. We cap the issue with the Commandant's Force Structure Review and plans for the Corps future as a "middleweight" fighter. Enjoy!

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


Correction to March Edition. Many thanks to eagle eyes and Vietnam veterans SgtMaj Richard Devon, USMC (Ret) and GySgt T.L Avery for pointing out our egregious date error on our posting about a 2 February 1968 Marine landing at Red Beach at Da Nang, Vietnam.  The real landing was on that day in 1965. TYPO – No time warp! Sorry about that guys. Your Update Coordinator will be doing bends and thrusts and Marine Corps pushups until these two guys get tired. Down up, down up, down up…

4 April 2004
Operation Vigilant Resolve – the first battle of Fallujah commenced in Iraq.
Rising insurgent activity, culminating in the widely publicized deaths of 4 Blackwater military contractors led U.S. efforts to pacify the city and restore order.  Facing off against up to 24 separate and heavily armed insurgent groups, elements of the 1st Marine Division surrounded the city with troops, concertina and roadblocks. After 3 days of intense fighting with the Marines using precision air strikes by AC 130 gunships and considerable sniper activity, it was estimated that Marines were in control of 25% of the semi abandoned city. Highly vocal complaints by prominent Iraqi’s and adverse media coverage about Iraqi non-combatant casualties led to a cessation of fighting on 9 April and ultimately a withdrawal in May. The insurgency grew and the Marines went back to Fallujah in December and finished the job.

Here are some great books on the battles of Fallujah that are ALL very much worth reading:

9 April 2003

Cpl Edward Chin, of 1st Tank Battalion tied a chain around the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Al-Firdos Square and a Marine Tank retriever pulled down the statue.

Following the fall of Baghdad and the ouster of Saddam’s government, a crowd of jubilant Iraqi’s gathered in “Paradise” square and attempted to pull down Saddam’s statue in a show of contempt for their former leader. Unsuccessful in their attempts, U.S. Marines intervened with a chain and a tank retriever which did the job on live television with millions of viewers world-wide. Joyful Iraqis gathered in the thousands to celebrate and pummel the statue with their shoes – a sign of gross disrespect in the Arab world.



25 April 1913
The formal charter of the Marine Corps Association was established.
Read MCA’s history HERE.

27 April 1805

Marine Lt Presley O’Bannon raised the American flag over Derna, Tripoli.
Participating in the campaign to stop the pirates of the Barbary Coast (North Africa) from seizing American commerce and enslaving Americans, Marine Lt Presley O’Bannon, along with 7 Marines and 2 Navy midshipmen, along with some mercenaries seized the fortress of Derna in conjunction with an offshore Navy squadron which provided shore bombardment. For his bravery, O’Bannon was presented with a “Mameluke” sword by an Ottoman prince who was attempting to regain his throne in Tripoli and allied himself with the Americans for this purpose. The Mameluke sword has served as a side arm for Marine officers ever since. The event is memorialized in the Marine’s Hymn lyric “…to the shores of Tripoli.”

As a side trip, the still surviving U.S. Navy frigate “Constitution” was part of the squadron that did the shore bombardment during this episode in Marine and Naval history in an early example of “Combined Arms” and Joint operations reinforcing the efficacy of the Navy-Marine team.

In a further side trip, here is an apocryphal anecdote about the Constitution that has been in circulation for at least 40 years that captures the boisterous “SPIRIT” (pun intended) of the time.

The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) as a combat vessel carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last 6 months of sustained operations; she carried no evaporators. On 22 July 1798, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston.

She left with 475 men, 48,600 gallons of water, 7,400 cannon shots, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission - to harass British shipping. Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving on 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine. On 18 November she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five, British Man of War and captured and scuttled 12 English Merchant ships, salvaging only the rum.

By 27 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde. Her Raiding Party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799 with no cannon shot, no food, no rum, no wine, no whiskey and 48,600 gallons of stagnant water.

According to Snopes – which used devastating logic and, actual math to demolish the cheerful scenario, the anecdote is actually bogus. Click HERE for the whole argument.

MCA’s position is WE DON’T CARE.  If it ain’t true – It ought to be and we think the Constitution definitely qualifies as a GNS (Great Navy Ship) Splice the main brace – the Sun is over the yardarm somewhere!


Here is what is coming up.  You are invited – Bring a friend!

  • 5 May
    MCA Ground Awards Dinner

    Guest Speaker – General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
    Crystal Gateway Marriott
    Arlington, VA
  • 24 May
    MCA 2011 Ammo Tech Awards Dinner

    Guest Speaker – TBD
    Springfield Hilton
    Springfield, VA
  • 23 June
    MCA Marine Week Dinner

    Marine Week St. Louis
    Millennium Hotel
    St. Louis, MO

Review the complete professional events schedule at for more information and registration.


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

Great News — MCAF Now Included in CFC
We just received great news! The Marine Corps Association Foundation has been found eligible for inclusion on the National/International Part of the 2011 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Charity List! Our CFC code is 19821. If you contribute to the CFC, we hope you'll designate MCAF as at least one of the charities you would like to support! That way we can continue to present the best awards to our Marines, provide professional libraries for units, provide PME's and forums to Marines, and support our Wounded Warrior's professional activities.

MCAF Supports the Wounded Warrior Regiment

Many thanks to Hewlit-Packard for donating 50- laptop computers to MCAF for use by the Wounded Marine Regiment to aid in the convalescence of some of their members.  Many thanks also to Microsoft for donating 50 Windows-7 licenses to go with the laptops.

MCA recently purchased and donated 25 i-Pods and 15 Kindles as well as a sizable quantity of books on the USMC professional reading list to the Wounded Warrior Regiment for the establishment of their professional library. Many thanks also to all MCAF supporters for the resources enabling this assistance.

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 (

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