Dear Members,

A key aspect of your professional association’s mission is advancing leadership and recognizing excellence. One, very enjoyable way we pursue the end of advancing leadership is through an aggressive professional events schedule. MCA&F’s must-attend events continue to increase in stature and set a high benchmark for professional development and camaraderie within the Marine community because they provide unparalleled opportunities for guests to get “in the know” at the hands of top level Marine and other leaders who address issues important to Marines.

Recognition of Marine excellence is one of our favorite pursuits and provides the theme at MCA&F Awards Dinners where top performing Marines in the ground, C4, ground logistics, intelligence and ammunition technician fields are recognized annually at their corresponding dinners. With help from our members, donors and friends of the Corps, MCA&F has been able to implement new, high quality awards and upgrade others for well deserving Marines in a variety of occupational fields. I can assure you that there is not much better than seeing the pride and appreciation in a Marine’s eyes, and those of his family members, as he stands on the stage to receive an award MCA&F provided with your support. Thanks for supporting Marines!

On 23 May, along with Marine Corps Systems Command, your professional association co-hosted the 3d Annual MCA&F Ammo Tech Awards Dinner in honor of the top performing Marines in that occupational field. LtGen Richard Mills, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration was on hand as the guest speaker for this well attended event and assisted in the awards presentation. During the presentation portion of the dinner, the three GySgt Edwin W. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Ammunition Technician awards were presented to the SNCO, NCO and Marine of the Year respectively and the Ammunition Officer of the Year Award for Exceptional Management was presented as well.
Click HERE to read a brief summary of the event and to see additional pictures and a video.

Coming up on 28 June, we have another opportunity to recognize some great Marines during the 9th Annual MCA&F Ground Awards Dinner. LtGen Dennis J. Hejlik, Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; Commander, United States Marine Corps Bases Atlantic; Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Europe will serve as the guest speaker and assist in presenting the awards which include the Marine of the Year Award for each Marine Division and Marine Special Operations Command and the Leftwich, Chambers, Zembiec and Hulbert Trophies. Visit our professional events page HERE for additional details and registration and for our complete schedule of upcoming events. We hope to see you there, and, if you can attend, I encourage you to register early for this event.

On the subject of professional development, I encourage all of our members to visit our Blog Sites and consider joining the discussions with your own opinions. The MCA&F Blog site is full of Marine history and human interest posts while the Marine Corps Gazette site supports free and candid discussion on controversial issues impacting today’s Marines and the structure and functionality of the Corps. Constructive grousing is an art form that defines Marines at their best.  We hear the Commandant visits frequently to get the pulse of the Corps. Here are some open forums. Be bold and weigh in.

With your help, our programs continue to make a positive impact supporting Marines. In 2011 the MCA&F Commanders’ Professional Library Program provided 271 different Marine units with complete unit libraries to foster professional development wherever the unit was stationed or deployed and we provided an additional 94 unit libraries so far in 2011.  Here is part of a testimonial from BGen Brian Beaudreault, Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command on MCA&F’s support to his organization:

The establishment of a command library here has been met with great enthusiasm, and I can assure you that the books you sent will be put to good use.

It is not easy to find books from the Commandant’s reading list while deployed, making these gifts from your organization all the more valuable. The Marines and Sailors of MARCENT (FWD) will reap the benefits of your generous contribution for years to come as they pursue their education in the profession of arms.”

I always enjoy hearing from our members and supporters.  If you have any stories you might want to share about how the professional association for ALL Marines has made a positive impact in your life or the life of a loved one or comrade I would love to hear about it. Write me at

All the Best & Semper Fidelis,

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


Original Montford Point Marines Attend MCA&F C4 Awards Dinner

Marine Corps Association & Foundation 2011 C4 Awards Recipients

MCA&F Hosts Social Event for Charlie Company, TBS

MCA&F Marine Excellence Awards Program

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Unit Commanders Reminder – Appropriated funds for subscriptions to both Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette for your Marines are approved for use.  Order your Unit Subscriptions TODAY and get your Marines some first class professional reading! Click Here to order today.


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

Marine Corps Gazette
The June issue of te Gazette contains articles that cover a broad spectrum of issues of interest to Marines. There is a debate in this issue on the value of the Foreign Area Officers Program to the Corps. Two articles have diametrically opposed views. Another article addresses the role of reserves in augmenting the active duty force. There are articles in the commentary section on a variety of topics including women in the combat arms. The last topic appears to be the hot button issue of the day in the Corps. Future editions will have more on this issue. Enjoy the June Gazette and join the debate via a letter to the editor, comment on our blog or comment on the web version of an article.

By now some of you have your June Leatherneck in hand or have read it online in our digital edition. We hope you are enjoying it. As you begin the work week after a Memorial Day weekend of remembering those who have gone on to “Heaven’s Scenes,” the June issue articles, “A Legacy 89 Years in the Making,” the story of WW II Marine R.V. Burgin; “Return to Hill 488-“Howard’s Hill” by Vietnam War Marine Ray Hildreth; and “The Korean War: The Chosin Reservoir-Medical Care in Subfreezing Weather” by Dr. Stanley I. Wolf, the 1/7 battalion surgeon, will have even greater meaning. Of course, the June Leatherneck current ops articles remind us that sacrifices are continuing and will continue.

Looking forward, our July issue will include a tribute to David Douglas Duncan, a WW II Marine photographer who went on to world acclaim. Leatherneck met the article’s author, Janet Renshaw, at Major Rick Spooner’s Globe & Laurel restaurant just outside the gates of MCB Quantico. Major Spooner pointed out that Mrs. Renshaw lived in France, not far from Mr. Duncan and knew him quite well. An article commitment followed. Our friend and exceptional researcher, Susan Strange, went to the National Archives and located a treasure trove of WW II photos by then-1stLt David Douglas Duncan. Those images, plus a couple from the David Douglas Duncan collection at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, round out what we believe will be an impressive presentation. So, enjoy the June issue and stand by for July.

  • Memorial Day. On the occasion of Memorial Day on Monday, 28 May 2012, the staff of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation offers our profound gratitude and appreciation to the veterans of all our armed forces for their service and dedication to our country. Thank you. In case you missed it, here is a Memorial Day video that will motivate you:      

  • Reader / Member Input. Have something newsworthy to share?  Send to  and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.
  • Aviation Art Auction.
    The inspiring magazine covers of the May editions of Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette are images of paintings by accomplished aviation artist Jason Breidenbach whose paintings have graced the May, aviation issue covers of Leatherneck annually since 2008. The Marine Corps Association Foundation has the original paintings of the May edition covers and will offer them up to the highest bidder by means of an online auction to be conducted in the 18 May – 14 June time frame. Auction proceeds will go to support MCA&F programs that support recognition and professional development of Marines. Visit the MCAF auction page HERE to get additional details on submitting a bid. Check out the artist’s website at for a look at some of his other aviation art.

  • MCA&F 2012 Birthday Ball Catalog NOW available! Click HERE to browse the Digital Edition of our newest catalog and plan on getting your Marine Corps birthday ball supplies EARLY!  The print version will be available in several weeks. We offer a wide selection of party supplies, mementoes and souvenirs that will enliven any Birthday Ball, retirement, promotion or other martial themed celebration. We are easily accessible ONLINE, very responsive with quick turnaround and, most importantly, we can ship your order anywhere you live or serve.

  • Together We Serve Roll of Honor. Together We Serve, the social media site devoted to promoting camaraderie and connectivity within the armed forces has launched a new program to provide public presentations of service profiles of the military servicemen and women who fell in the line of duty from WW-II to the present.  They aim to locate family members and former friends to help complete the profiles as fully as possible for posterity through the supply of additional information and photographs. Check out their website HERE. And read about their Roll of Honor program here: and
  • MCA&F Out and About.
    On 1 May, retired SgtMaj Frank Pulley, MCA&F’s West Coast Area Representative, was on hand to present the prize to the winner of the Marine Corps Gazette’s 2011 Hogaboom Leadership Essay Contest at Camp Pendleton.  The winner, LtCol Mike Grice, USMC (Ret), a frequent contributor and frequent writing award winner and current MCA&F Blog contributor, received a $3,000 check and a plaque as his prize. His award winning article “Leading with PTSD” was written while on active duty and is slated to be published in the August 2012 edition of Gazette.

  • Websites of the Month
    • Click HERE to visit YOUR Professional Association on YouTube today!
    • Visit the dynamic Blog at Marine Corps Gazette and weigh in with your views and opinions. There are some great discussions going on there on the subject of “Disruptive Thinking,” Air-Sea Battle and perceived lack of leadership at top military and defense levels in the “Dear Boss Letters” piece. Click HERE to check it out and we encourage you to wade into the fray!  Marines are anything but shy about offering their views. We are continually surprised that more of our plain speaking, brutally frank, painfully honest Marines don’t carpe diem all over this opportunity. Especially so when virtually EVERY General Officer of Marines visits regularly to take the pulse of the Corps.
    • Small Wars Journal. If you think controversy about topical issues affecting the military services rages on the Gazette Blog site, go HERE and watch your hair catch on fire. Apoplexy alert!
    • “Freebies:” Veterans and other celebration day “Freebies” for service members and their families like ball games, free meals, races and more.
    • Got Brats? Military brats online –
    • Scholarship Opportunities: Thanks USA provides scholarships for college, technical and vocational training for service member spouses and children.
    • Financial Guidance for Military Members & Families:
      Get clear and practical information about personal finance including savings, investing, retirement, and other items.  Military Money Might addresses money issues, investing, saving, commentary, news, resources, tips, and does it in plain English.
  • Words of the Month.
    • Ineptocrat.  Denizens of convoluted bureaucracies (and higher headquarters) are frequently noted for ineptitude, inefficiency and ineffectuality but an “ineptocrat” exhibits these traits on an epic scale and off measurable charts.  
    • Twittiot.  Social media maladept noted for inept, obtuse, objectionable and usually very publicly embarrassing “tweeting.” Visit MCA&F’s Twitter site HERE and see if you can spot any “twittiots” for us.

Got a creative or witty word of the month for us? Send it to us and we will credit your input!

  • Hot Videos of the Month.
    Nothing better than working out with a large magazine capacity shotgun and a HUGE supply of ammunition. Click HERE to see a great action video.
  • FSMAO to Evaluate Marine Technical Texting and Tweeting Aptitude to Weed Out Twittiots. Read More HERE.

Q. .  “There’s two ways to get off XXXX XXX – flown off or blown off.” What terrain feature in what war does this widely circulated quote about the relentless battle swirling around what location pertain?


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: In a daring reconnaissance in force and attempted rescue of missing colonists, the Marines make an adrenalin pumping, uncontested landing followed by a single armored vehicle assault on a massive but seemingly deserted urban industrial structure. The dread xenomorphs awaken when the Marines discover the location and fate of the missing colonists deep within the complex and a melee ensues with weapons that were supposed to be unloaded due to implicit danger. Who were these Marines, what was the location of the landing, what kind of ammunition became unauthorized mid-way into the operation and what did the expenditure of that ammunition eventually cause to the monolithic structure?

Answer: Our winner provided the most comprehensive answer we have received to date on any of our contests.  His response is printed in full (with a couple of minor edits):

The Marines in question were the Colonial Marines who were transported in the year 2179 aboard the U.S.S. Sulaco to investigate the reason behind a loss of communications with colonists on a distant planet, LV-426. The main recon element landed via dropship at the colonist terra-forming facility on LV-426. Lieutenant William Gorman, the commanding officer of the operation picked, among others, Sergeant Al Apone, Corporal Dwayne Hicks, Private Jenette Vasquez, Private Mark Drake, and Private William Hicks to be the main effort of the operation. The primary weapons utilized by the Marines were the M41A Pulse Rifle and the M56 Smart Gun that used electical pulse to fire 10mm armor piercing, caseless high explosive rounds. Mid-way through the operation while aboard an APC it was determined that firing the caseless rounds could rupture the terra-forming facility processor's coolant systems, which in turn would cause a nuclear explosion. After hearing this, Lt. Gorman ordered rifles and smart guns slung and to only use flame throwers. Unbeknownst to Sgt. Apone PFC Drake and Vasquez kept spare power supplies and readied their weapon systems anyway. Soon after the Marines breach the facility it is discovered that an alien race of xenomorphs has taken control of the facility and is using the colonists as incubators for their eggs. At some point during one of the multiple engagements with the alien threat the caseless ammunition pierced the processor and started a chain reaction that resulted in a thermo-nuclear explosion.

Thank you for all you do in support of Marines past, present, and future.

Tor Peery

Congratulations to Tor Peery of Stafford, Virgina for winning our last contest and thanks for your kind words.

Best Out of Office Auto Reply: We send the MCA&F Member Update to about 101,000 members and friends of the Corps each month.  As expected, we get a lot of automatic, out of the office replies.  This one is probably the most creative we have received and deserves to be read by a wide audience:

I have been allowed to leave I MEF G-5 as part of a prison work release program – if I behave, I will be granted my freedom.  A critical part of this program is that I must no longer care about your concerns.
If you still feel the need to bother someone, call or email XXXXXX. Since he is a newly promoted Master Sergeant, he no longer works and is now just desperately looking for something to meddle in – for the sake of the young Plans Marines, please give him something to do…

Many thanks to MSgt Brett Carroll for this witty message.  Made our day upon receipt.  Send us your mailing address and we will send you an MCA&F Coin.

This Month in Marine Corps History


22 May 1912
Lt Alfred Cunningham became the first Marine officer assigned aviation duty.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1881, he began his military career early serving in the 3d Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment at age 17 during the Spanish American War in which he served as part of the Cuban occupation force.  Returning to civilian life and becoming an aviation enthusiast he spent 10 years selling real estate before returning getting a commission as a 2dLt of Marines in 1909. While stationed at Marine Barracks, Philadelphia in 1911, Cunningham leased a plane to help him learn to fly and in 1912, received orders to report to the Navy’s aviation camp at the Naval Academy for flight training though the actual training occurred at Marblehead, Massachusetts.  After a little over 2 hours of actual instruction there, Cunningham soloed for the first time in a Curtiss seaplane, becoming Naval Aviator number 5 and the first Marine aviator. 

During World War I, because of his extensive aviation experience, Cunningham received orders in 1917 to organize the Aviation Company for the Marine Advanced Base Force and was selected as the commander for this unit and soon was recognized as the leading light on Marine aviation matters. Sent to Europe to observe and gather information on allied aviation efforts, he flew a variety of missions over German lines and then returned to the United States to develop plans for employment of Marine aviation assets to combat German submarines and their bases. The “Northern Bombing Group,” a force of 72 planes, 176 officers and over a thousand enlisted Marines grew from his plans and organizing efforts and arrived in France in July 1918. While in France the Marines under Cunningham’s command conducted 43 raids with British and French aviation elements along with 14 independent raids of their own, shot down 8 German planes, dropped 52,000 pounds of bombs and airlifted a sizable amount of food to encircled French forces.  Cunningham was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts in training, organizing and leading the first Marine aviation command in war.

He was promoted to LtCol while on the retired list, died in Florida in 1939 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Read more about the development of Marine aviation and other key Marine war fighting concepts during the World War I and expeditionary campaigns in the succeeding interwar years HERE.


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:

Special Announcement!
MCA&F NOW broadcasts “Livestream” videos of our professional dinners for the viewing pleasure and convenience of our members and friends of the Corps! Can’t go to the dinner? No problem! View it at home on your computer. It is easy to do. Check out the MCA&F Facebook site or the MCA&F website for the announcement with the link to the Livestream and open it up at the designated time and watch the action.

If you miss the Livestream video then you can still view the event. Just go to our MCA&F website at and click on the “Programs/Events” option on the top tool bar and select “Past Events.” Then select the event of your choice to see a summary, pictures and videos of the event.

  • 23 May 2012
    MCA&F Ammo Tech Awards Dinner
    – Guest Speaker – LtGen Richard Mills, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration

  • 15 June 2012
    Book Signing
    with Mark Mortensen, author of George W. Hamilton, USMC: America’s Greatest World War I Hero

  • 28 June 2012         
    MCA&F Ground Awards Dinner
    – Guest Speaker – LtGen Dennis J. Hejlik, Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic; Commander, United States Marine Corps Bases Atlantic; Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Europe


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

Commanders’ Unit Library Program
To date in 2012, this program has established or enhanced the professional libraries for 73 Marine unit libraries to support commander’s professional development objectives.  Additional requests are processing.

Marine Excellence Awards Program
This year, through the end of March, this program has provided recognition for the professional accomplishments of over 700 Marines with tangible awards in the form of K-Bars, watches, professional books, cash awards, plaques, Marine swords, trophies and complimentary memberships.

Commanders’ Forum Program
MCA&F will support Marine Forces Command’s professional development excursion to a variety of Civil War sites of interest including the Gaines’ Mill and Malvern Hill Battlefields in May with logistic support including a charter bus for transportation.

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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