Dear Members,

I want to wish all our Members, our veterans and, our great Marines a happy and safe 4th of July Celebration. Thank you all for protecting our freedom.

On 23 June, in conjunction with Marine Week St. Louis, we hosted an MCA Dinner there with LtGen Robert Milstead, Jr. Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs as our guest speaker. I want to extend my thanks LtGen Milstead for fitting us into his busy schedule, and for his great remarks. Click HERE to visit the MCA website page with additional pictures of the dinner and Marine Week activities.           

The Marine Corps Association Foundation’s (MCAF) professional development programs continue to grow and expand in support of individual Marines and requests from Commanders to provide programs that highlight Marine excellence and provide unique professional development opportunities. To date, through the auspices of the Marine Excellence Awards Program, MCAF has provided 1,384 deserving Marines with recognition for their professionalism in the form of trophies, plaques, Marine swords, K-Bar’s, watches and professional books.  The Commanders’ Professional Library Program has provided, or is in the process of providing Commanders with 116 unit libraries to assist them in enhancing the professional development of their Marines. Our Commanders’ Forum Program has provided opportunities for Marine units to study historical military operations and visit battle sites. The Gettysburg battle for the Wounded Warrior Regiment, the World War-I battle of Belleau Wood for select staff from 2d Marine Air Wing, and a campaign study of the Civil War Peninsular Campaign of 1862 for participants from Marine Corps Forces Command have been completed and we have additional requests being processed. Your member dues and donations enable the MCA to provide this valuable support to Marines. Please help us if you can as demands for our programs are growing. Select pictures and links to additional pictures are provided further below in your June MCA Member Update.

If you haven’t done so already, please check out our new MCA web log (Blog) located HERE. It started in May and keeps generating interest and response comments from its growing readership. In addition to writers exploring Marine Corps historical events and advice on family life and family separation, the blog also features Andrew Lubin, a well know author who writes about Marines. Currently he is embedded with Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and blogging about his experiences there. I encourage everyone to visit the blog frequently to stay informed and engaged in the discussion.

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

All the Best & Semper Fidelis,

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


Stay Connected! Keep those magazines coming! If you’ve moved recently – Remember to update your MCA mailing address by logging in to your account, OR, call us at 866-622-1775. You can also click HERE to renew or to join.

Unit Commanders – Order your Unit Subscriptions to Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette for Your Marines!  Use appropriated funds to get mission critical reading in to the hands of your Marines. It’s a snap to do! Click Here to order today.


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.
  • Visit MCA on Facebook and Twitter.
  • MCA’s Blog. Explore Marine Corps history, examine issues affecting Marines and weigh in with YOUR views. Get involved in MCA’s new web log today! Click on the banner to visit.

Of Interest to Marines

  • Word of the Month. Bitteroti – An evocative, pejorative and highly useful term, similar in construction to “Literati” or “Illuminati” but used to describe venemous post nubile, spleen-venting harpies.  A flexible construct, it can be used gender neutral, to describe anyone consumed with choleric proclivities. A definite candidate for inclusion in the next update of every Military Terminology Dictionary as in “Major Binotz end of tour MSM got downgraded to an ass chewing and next duty station request to Hawaii got rescinded in lieu of an unaccompanied tour to Adak, forcing him in to the ranks of the Bitteroti.”
  • Fourth of July Fun on San Diego Bay.  Fireworks observation from the decks of historic ships, Maritime Museum admission and a fireworks cruise in San Diego, CA on the 4th of July.  Visit the Maritime Museum website at for details
  • Wounded Warrior Regiment Marines at MCAF Supported Gettysburg Battle Study.  Preceded by an overview of the epic, Civil War battle on 7 May provided by Colonel John Keenan, USMC (Ret), editor of Marine Corps Gazette magazine, the contingent of Marines from the Wounded Warrior Regiment spent 8 & 9 May taking part in a Professional Military Education (PME) tour and battle study of Gettysburg with logistical support from the Marine Corps Association Foundation. MCA provided bus transportation, battle study guides and speakers.  For more pictures of the event visit:

  • Marine Corps Forces Command at MCAF Supported Staff Ride. MARFORCOM conducted a battle study of the 1862 Civil War Peninsula Campaign led by Union General George McClellan on 4 days in early May for their staff. With bus transportation provided by the MCA Foundation and action officers from MARFORCOM knowledgeable about the campaign, staff groups of 15-25, Marines, Sailors and Civilian Marines held interactive discussions on the course of the campaign while touring a succession of sites key to the operation.   Staff ride vantage points for the Professional Military Education opportunity included, Fort Monroe, VA, the site of the campaign’s amphibious debarkation by Union forces; Battle of Dam No 1 near Newport News; and also Drewry’s Bluff near Richmond, VA. Here are some pictures of the PME:

  • 2d Marine Air Wing Staff at Belleau Wood for Staff Ride. During the 3-8 June time frame, selected staff members of 2d MAW were fortunate to participate in a study and PME Staff Ride of the World War-I battle of Belleau Wood.  The event kicked off with discussions about the battle led by renowned author and Marine historian, Colonel Dick Camp, USMC (Ret), followed by transit to France and a tour of various key battle sites. The Marine Corps Association Foundation was pleased to provide a variety of logistics support to make the PME study a success.

  • MCA West Coast Area Rep, SgtMaj Frank Pulley Griping and Grinning with Various Notables

Q. A bursting bomb superimposed over crossed rifles below 3 chevrons.  What am I and when did I get revised?


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: Awarded a Croix de Guerre by a foreign government for gallantry in action, this junior Marine was also awarded BOTH the Navy and the Army Medal of Honor for a single action for attacking an enemy machine gun, dispatching several members of the gun crew and returning through a fire swept battlefield, with eight enemy prisoners.  Who was this intrepid Marine, and at what battle and in which war did this action occur?

Answer:  Marine Pvt John Joseph Kelly of the 6th Marines is the answer! See page 137 of Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines by Colonels Avery Chenoweth and Brooke Nihart for a more complete description of the story. Many respondents chose Louis Cukela as their answer. A very good second guess as Cukela did indeed win both a Navy and an Army Medal of Honor during the Soissons campaign as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, and was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre (among MANY other awards for gallantry). The crux of the matter was Kelly was a Private and thus “junior” while Cukela a GySgt during his similar gallant action and later during WW-I was commissioned a 2ndLt.

Congratulations to Bruce Guthrie of Morongo Valley, California for winning last month’s contest!

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 July issue of the Gazette contains an interesting article with recommendations for how we employ woman Marines in Female Engagement Teams. Two articles provide perspective on the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. They are illuminating and thought provoking. Unmanned aerial systems are the wave of the future in aviation and two articles discuss the training of operators and the command and control of this increasingly vital asset. In addition there are article on leadership, cyber warfare, intelligence and operating in an interagency environment. You will find this issue to be provocative and interesting.

This month, Leatherneck says Happy 235th Birthday America! Our cover features the "President's Own" United States Marine Band and inside we lead off with the recent Virginia International Tattoo and the Marines who helped celebrate America. We add to that a feature by a writer embedded with Co F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines in Afghanistan; an update on Marine recruiters; an article on a Vietnam War Marine and his triumph over personal demons; and, a look back to the Marines deployed to Iceland 70 years ago as Hitler's Germany flexed its muscles. We hope you 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


1 June 1942 Recruiting of black Marines begins
While the Marine Corps has now long been integrated and now has black Marines comprising almost a fifth of the total force, it was not always that way.  In 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order affirming full participation in defense programs regardless of color, race, creed or place of national origin and demanded the government, including the armed forces, lead the way.  Recruiting began on 1 June 1942 with the intention of establishing segregated units devoted to Base Defense with white officers in charge.  A training camp at Montford Point at Camp Lejeune was expanded for the purpose of training the new recruits and recruiting efforts were aimed at finding candidates who had cooking, mechanical and related skills that would allow the camp to function in the absence of white Marines, who were not made available to perform vital housekeeping services.  Immediate efforts to identify and groom black Marines with leadership abilities were also made in order to make up for the absence in junior NCO leadership in the ranks throughout the training regimen.  Many “teething” problems arose training, developing, fielding and assimilating this initial force of black Marines but they served well and honorably and many with distinction.  Read more about the history of our black Marines at the Montford Point website HERE and in these books:

3 June 1918 4th Marine Brigade fought at Les Mares Farm, Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry France
With almost 50 divisions freed up when the Russian’s surrendered on the Eastern Front, the German high command rushed troops to the Western Front with the aim of decisively defeating the allies before substantial U.S. forces could enter the fray.  Decimating the British 5th Army in the North around the Somme with two offensives, a third offensive was launched against the French at the 3d Battle of the Aisne, resulting in a German advance that surged to within 40 miles of Parris. Into the breach was thrust two U.S. Army Divisions, the 2d, which included a brigade of Marines, and 3d, in order to redeem the situation after force marching in to the area. During the evening of 1 June, advancing Germans forced a breach in to the French lines, left of the Marines and 1st Bn, 5th Marines and elements of the Marine, 6th Machine Gun Battalion marched 0ver 10 kilometers through the evening to plug the gap in the line. For the next 23 days, Marines and American soldiers were attacked and conducted many attacks of their own through wheat fields and forests until finally clearing Belleau Wood of German resistance and earning an  enduring reputation for marksmanship and battlefield ferocity while picking up an equally enduring and evocative nickname – “Devil Dogs.”  By way of aftermath, over 9,777 U.S. casualties were incurred with over 1,800 killed.  The extent of German casualties is unclear, though they include over 1,600 taken prisoner.  The name of the wood was changed by the French government to honor the Marines who fought there and is now called “Bois de la Brigade de Marine and the entire 4th Marine Brigade was awarded the Croix de Guerre – which is why the 5th and 6th Marines who comprised much of the Brigade, still wear the fouregere in remembrance.  Sgt Ernest Janson (Serving as Charles Hoffman) repelled 12 Germans and killed two with his bayoned becoming the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in World War I and many other Marines earned Navy Crosses becoming legends of the Corps during the battle.

Read about the battle in detail:

5 June 1944 LtGen H.M. Smith was designated the first FMFPac Commander
Called by many the “Father of U.S. Amphibious War,” Holland M. Smith was born in Alabama
and attended Auburn University before joining the Marine Corps and serving with various Marine expeditionary forces in the Phillipines, Panama, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere before the first world war. In 1917, he sailed for France in command of the 8th Machine Gun company in the 5th Marines. Later sent to Army General Staff College, during the war, he became the first of 6 Marines to complete the course and then returned to France as Adjutant of the 4th Marine Brigade serving with the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division near Verdun. As a staff officer, he served in communications, coordination and liaison roles through the battles of Belleau Wood, Meuse –Argonne offensives and others and was awarded a French Croix de Guerre with palm and a Purple Heart Medal- awarded for merit.

In the interwar years, Smith saw a variety of sea duty and joint, Army-Navy planning billets giving him valuable planning experience he would use in World War II. At the start of the war, he served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps under visionary transformer Commandant, MajGen Thomas Holcomb.  He would later lead the 1st Marine Brigade and transform it in to the 1st Marine Division and then commanded an organization that became the Amphibious Force, Atlantic fleet, training 1st Marine Division and two army divisions in Amphibious operations in the process. In 1942 he took command of Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet, training 2d and 3d Marine Divisions and Army units in Amphibious operations. His organization later evolved in to the V Amphibious Corps and fought through a succession of Pacific campaigns before he was named Commanding General Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.  Later, he would command Task Force 56 in the amphibious seizure of Iwo Jima. He retired at age 64 as a LtGen and was promoted to General upon his retirement.

Somewhat temperamental, he was known to his troops as “Howling Mad” Smith and is remembered for causing significant inter-service bitterness when he relieved an Army General (also named Smith) during the battle for Saipan for moving his division too slowly sparking controversy that still rages today.  Maintaining fractious relations with his Navy counterparts as well, his screaming matches with amphibious colleague, Admiral Richmond K. (“Terrible”) Turner were so turbulent that their boss, Admiral Spruance commanded that Turner was in charge of everything until the Marines got ashore and then Smith was in charge thereafter – which seems to be at the heart of formal Amphibious Operational doctrine on command relationships to this day.

Read more about the times and the history of the development of Amphibious Operations that our Corps made in to its trademark specialty:


See what is coming up on MCA’s professional events schedule at Click on the link for more information and registration.


MCAF membership directly supports Marines and ANYONE can Join!
Join Today and Help Support our Corps!

Your support will go to fund:

  • Marine Excellence Awards Program (We are the LARGEST provider of awards recognizing Marine professional achievements in the World!)
  • Commanders' Forum Program (Professional Military Education discussions on operational, cultural and historical topics as well as battle studies and staff rides.)
  • Commanders' Professional Library Program (Containing the Commandant's Professional Reading List and other professional reading selections chosen by Marine units)
  • Leatherneck and the Marine Corps Gazette for Wounded Marines
  • Leatherneck in Recruit Buckets
  • Other important programs as requested by the Marine Corps!

MCAF Donates Laptops to Wounded Warrior Regiment. Thanks to MCAF coordination efforts, 50 computer laptops were provided by the Hewlett Packard Corporation, along with 50 Windows 7 licenses for MCAF to donate to Marines of the Wounded Warrior Regiment to aid in the convalescence and continuing education programs.

GOOD News – MCAF is now part of the Combined Federal Campaign!
CFC Donor Code – 19821

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

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

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

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