Dear Members,

Recognition of excellence in Marines is one of our key missions and I am pleased to report that your professional association was able to assist in providing well-deserved recognition to a long overlooked group of Marines who made a tremendous impact on our war effort in World War II and who helped spearhead racial integration of our Corps. Approximately 20,000 African-American Marines were recruited in WW-II and received their basic training in the segregated, Montford Point boot camp at Camp Lejeune between 1942 and 1949.

In recognition of their service, the Marines who trained at Montford Point will be honored with the highest civilian award granted by the U.S. Congress – The Congressional Gold Medal. The original Gold Medal will be presented to the Montford Point Marines on 27 June in Washington, D.C. and it will then be displayed for posterity at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.

The Marine Corps Association Foundation is proud to have led a coordinated effort to provide funding for 550 Congressional Gold Medal representation medals to be presented to the surviving Montford Point Marines, or their direct lineal descendants, at a ceremony at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. on 28 June 2012. The representation medals are faithfully rendered in bronze based on the original Gold Medal created by the U.S. Mint with design assistance from the Montford Point Marines Association. We thank Mr. Manuel Carazo, Marine Federal Credit Union and the Tawani Foundation along with our members for their support for this recognition. We also thank the Montford Point Marines for their service and contributions to our nation’s defense. Visit HERE to read a history of the Montford Point Marines.

Supporting Marines is integral to our mission and it is made possible by your membership. Since the beginning of the year, MCA&F has provided 107 Marine units with libraries to foster professional development and has provided over 1,140 individual Marines with professional recognition in the form of awards including Marine swords, K-Bars, watches, professional books, plaques, trophies, cash and complimentary memberships.

On 28 June, along with HQMC, Plans, Policies & Operations Division, we will host the 9th Annual MCA&F Ground Awards Dinner with LtGen Dennis J. Hejlik, Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Command; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, as the guest speaker and awards presenter. During the presentation ceremony, each Marine Division’s Marine of the Year, the MARSOC Critical Skills Operator of the Year and the recipients of the Leftwich, Hulbert, Chambers and Zembiec awards will be recognized for outstanding leadership in 2011. It is not too late to register so join in the camaraderie and help us recognize some awesome Marines if you are able. Click HERE to read the biographies of the award recipients and check our website after the event to read a summary of the speaker’s comments and to see a video of the event.

Our next big event is the MCA&F Professional Dinner slated for 6 September 2012. We are fortunate to have General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as our guest speaker for that event. We anticipate considerable interest so I encourage you to register early for this event and I hope to see you there. Bring a friend! Click HERE to view our complete professional events schedule and to register.

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


MCA&F Supports Marine Honor Graduates With New “Chesty” Puller Award

Manuel Carazo visits MCA&F

MCA&F 2012 Ammo Tech Award Recipients

MCA&F Makes a Positive Impact On Marines

New MCA&F Award Honors Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez

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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.


and Marine Corps Gazette

Visit each magazine’s website TODAY. Click the links below!

Marine Corps Gazette
The Gazette as usual, highlights the issues that are being debated in the Corps. This month it is the assignment of women to the combat arms. Read Capt Katie Petronio’s article and wade into the debate. As we look to return to our amphibious roots, three articles highlight the current state of amphibious capability and why amphibious operations are a key component of our national security. From training to fitness reports there is something for you in this month’s Gazette. Join the debate and conversation on our blog at

Your July print edition of Leatherneck is headed your way in the mail and the digital edition is already standing tall, ready for inspection by all who view it online via smartphone, tablet or your personal computer. In this issue, we’re very proud of the tribute to David Douglas Duncan, a WW II Marine photographer who went on to world acclaim. The article’s author, Janet Renshaw, unveils the life of Mr. Duncan so many who do not know his work may see the magic he created. Getting access to the images in our article and in the online slideshow linked in our digital edition was a challenge met by an exceptional researcher, Susan Strange, who ferreted out WW II public domain images from the National Archives and The Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, which manages the David Douglas Duncan collection.

This article anchors a July issue which includes a tribute to the pomp and circumstance of Marine Barracks Washington in celebration of the Fourth of July; an article on the Marines at the Battle of Bull Run; a recognition of the dedicated, professional efforts of the Corps only Personnel Retrieval and Processing Company; and, an informational overview of your Marine Corps Association as it approaches a century of service to the Corps. These, plus an update on Marine operations in the War on Terror and current training efforts, round out our Nation’s birthday Leatherneck issue.

  • Reader / Member Input. Got something newsworthy? Send to and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.
  • Aviation Art Auction.
    Our auction winners are:
    C. Katalenas who won the “Marine Aviation Through the Ages” painting.
    J. Driscoll who won the “A Trio of Marine Aviation Icons” painting.
    M. LeLand won all three of the Ammo Gift cards.
    T. Meeker won the “My Rifle” Plaque.

    Congratulations to all the winners and thanks for your support. Check the MCAF web site often for other auctions.
  • MCA&F 2012 Birthday Ball Catalog NOW available! Click HERE to browse the Digital Edition of our newest catalog and get your Marine Corps birthday ball supplies EARLY!  We offer a wide selection of party supplies, mementoes and souvenirs that will enliven any Birthday Ball, retirement, promotion or other celebration.  We are easily accessible ONLINE, very responsive and, most importantly, we can ship your order anywhere you live or serve.
  • MCA&F - Out and About - In and Around.
    MCA&F’s West Coast Area Representative, SgtMaj Frank Pulley, USMC (Ret) was on hand at the MCRD San Diego Recruit Graduation on 15 June to present the new Company Honor Graduate Award named after LtGen Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller. On that day, the award went to LCpl I.P. Sewalt, who was the honor graduate from Platoon 3210, India Company, 3d Recruit Training Battalion. Here is LCpl Sewalt holding his Puller Award along with his recruiter, SSgt R. A. Borja from RSS Lewisville, Texas and his Senior Drill Instructor, GySgt E. D. Ramirez, along with SgtMaj Pulley.

  • Websites of the Month
    • o Click HERE to visit YOUR Professional Association on Facebook today!
    • Visit the Marine Corps Gazette’s Blog and share your views and opinions on the contentious topics of the day. Click HERE to check it out.
    • Veterans United - Looking to buy property with a Veteran’s Administration Loan? Check this site before you do. Of particular value are their automated calculator tools including a VA mortgage calculator, VA funding fee calculator, VA loan limit calculator and FAQ and terms glossary page along with a useful list of links of value to any veteran in need of assistance.
    • Like modern military weapons? Go here: Lots of great pics and specs for infantry weapons, ships, vehicles and aircraft. Good stuff!!!!
    • Here is an intriguing, high tech surveillance and warfare idea:
  • Words of the Month.
    Got a witty word or term for us?  Send it to us and we will credit your input!

    Bureaucratic Sclerosis – A debilitating affliction of some high level, hierarchical organizations characterized by juggernaut like momentum, total loss of initiative, complete decision making inability  and listless, lotus-eater like demeanor. Usually found in government and sometimes in high echelon military staffs.

  • Marine Corps to revive inter-service sports teams – starting with Quidditch. Read More HERE and enter our contest to win a Nimbus 2000!

Q. What the Deuce? Three items. What pieces of gear are they and what are they for?

A) Four of them with itself? Bigger than one plus eighty, used indirectly, heavy and no longer in use.

B) It’s mother in a two letter, informal term of affection with itself? Still in use by us and many other countries after over 90 years of service.

C) Itself and a half? Rudimentary compared to what is in service today but better than pedestrian locomotion.


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 last month’s Trivia Contest question:

Question: “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?

Answer: The saying pertains to Hill 881S, Khe Sanh, South Vietnam. The Marines there burrowed deep on orders of (then) Captain William Dabney, Commanding Officer of two heavily reinforced rifle companies of the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines.  Dabney was the son-in-law of Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller (retired). He admonished his men to dig to make the trenches deeper. They slept by day and dug by night. He promised: "I will report the first man I see without his flak jacket and helmet!" His men later would say, "Thank God he made us do it." Sgt. Joseph M. Jones of Chatahoochee, FL is credited with coining the phrase, "There are only two ways to get off this hill: flown off or blown off.

On 15 April 2005, at the age of 70, Colonel William H. "Bill" Dabney, USMC (Ret) was awarded the Navy Cross in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 21 January to 14 April 1968 at Khe Sanh, Hill 881S.

Also, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle VA, in the Vietnam exhibit, when you exit the rear of the helicopter onto the warm LZ, that is a recreation of Hill 881S.  Col. Dabney's unit was known as the Purple Foxes to whom a monument has been erected on the south side of the Museum.

Read more about Marines in Vietnam from our extensive collection HERE.

And here is a great one about Marines in action in the hill fights around Khe Sanh:

Congratulations to veteran Marine, Robert Castaldi of Hockessin, Delaware for winning our last contest and for providing a particularly comprehensive and interesting answer.

This Month in Marine Corps History


1 June 1942
Recruiting of black Marines began.

As a means of increasing manpower resources during World War II and in an effort to begin deal with the social evil of racial segregation, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802 establishing fair employment practices that initiated the beginning of the demise of racial discrimination in the armed services. The executive order was signed in June 1941 but it took almost a year to implement the reception of black Marines into the Marine Corps and their initial entry involved segregated training with a separate recruit training facility at Montford Point at Camp Lejeune, NC.

Almost 20,000 black Marines trained at Montford Point and their service throughout World War II resulted in changed attitudes. Initially the vision was to have black Marines in segregated units during the war and then discharge them all after the war leaving the Marine Corps an all-white organization yet again. The conduct of the war however proved the worth and capability of these new Marines. In recognition of changing attitudes after the war, President Harry S. Truman, in 1948, signed Executive Order No. 9981 which did away with racial segregation in the armed forces and the very next year saw the end of Montford Point as a recruit training facility with black recruits now assimilated at the San Diego and Parris Island Depots with everyone else.

Visit the Montford Point Marine Association website HERE to read a first rate overview of how Montford Point developed and its impact. Here are two great books that provide a more definitive history of the assimilation of black Marines and the contributions they made:

2 June 1918
French Croix de Guerre awarded to those serving at Belleau Wood, France, 2-13 June.

During this period, Marines serving in the 4th Marine Brigade fought at Les Mares farm, Belleau Wood and at Chateau Thierry winning a hard fought reputation for tenacity, ferocity and expert marksmanship. The Marines of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments were recipients of 2 awards of the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) as a result and wear the Fouragere, in lieu of the medal, in honor of the achievements of those veterans to this day. Read more about the Marines in World War I:

15 June 1944
The 2d and 4th Marine Divisions made an assault landing on Saipan.

Following World War I the Japanese occupied Saipan in the Mariana Islands and governed it under the auspices of a League of Nations mandate after 1922. Heavily populated by the Japanese in the 1920’s with over 25,000 settlers, raising the island’s population to around 30,000, the island experienced a boom in the sugar and fishing industries. With the growth of Japanese militarism and imperial ambitions, the island was heavily garrisoned by the Japanese who viewed it as part of their last line of defense in a series of outlying defensive belts around the Japanese home islands.

After the war started, the Marianas were early determined to be strategic objectives that would allow U.S. forces to cut off Japan from her forces to the south and west and would allow the construction of air bases that could accommodate the new B-29 Superfortress which had the range to conduct offensive air operations to Japan from Saipan. 

The battle for Saipan started on 13 June with 15 U.S. Navy battleships and 11 cruisers variously firing over 165,000 rounds ashore in the pre-invasion bombardment. The amphibious assault started at 0700 on 15 June with about 8,000 Marines from the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions landing in over 300 LVT’s and the Army’s 27th Infantry Division landed the following day.

During the course of the ensuing land battle, the Japanese navy conducted a counterattack which became known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea and resulted in the loss of 3 aircraft carriers and over 300 planes with some of their most experienced pilots. With resupply and reinforcement impossible, the Japanese determined to fight to the last man and used the many caves on the island to hide during the day and attack with ferocity at night. Under steady, relentless pressure, by 7 July the Japanese had nowhere to retreat and conducted the largest banzai charge in the war. Over 4,000 Japanese troops, including many who were severely wounded surged forward in a suicidal charge that overwhelmed several U.S. Army units and resulted in over 650 American casualties and over 4,300 Japanese deaths.   This failed attack broke the back of the defense and the island was declared secured 2 days later on 9 July.

Aside from the massive suicide charge, the battle had several other unusual and controversial events that stand out, including the relief of MajGen Ralph Smith, USA, Commander of the 27th Infantry Division by LtGen Holland M. Smith. The circumstances and judgment surrounding the relief continues as a controversial, inter-service issue to this day. The mass suicide of Japanese civilian settlers as the battle was ending was another event that was seared into the memories of those who witnessed them throwing themselves and their children over what has become known as the “Suicide Cliffs” and the official war films showing the event are heartbreaking.

Read more about the battle of Saipan:


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:

  • 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

  • 6 September 2012         
    MCA&F Professional Dinner
    – Guest Speaker – General Martin Dempsey, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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.


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 94 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.

Montford Point Marines Honored with MCAF Assistance
On 14 June 2012, Dr. James T. Averhart, Jr. was present at MCA&F offices in Quantico to accept a check for the purchase of 550 replica medals of the Congressional Gold Medal that will be awarded to the Montford Point Marines on Wednesday, 27 June.  On 28 June the surviving Montford Point Marines will be honored at a presentation ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington and will be presented with their medals. Read MajGen Usher’s “From the General” letter above for additional details.

New Award for Basic School Honor Graduates
With help from members, sponsors and donors, MCAF was recently able to upgrade the Basic School Honor Graduate Award. The upgraded award is the Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez Honor Graduate Award and is presented to the Marine of each Basic School graduating company who demonstrates the highest potential for future leadership and responsibility in the Marine Corps. The Award was rendered in bronze infused resin based on an iconic picture of Lt Lopez storming the sea wall at Inchon at the head of his Marines in the Korean War shortly before the action which led to his posthumous award of the Medal of Honor. Check the link in the
“Your Membership Dues and Donations Support Today’s Marines” section further above for additional details and an overview of Lt Lopez’s action.

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.

Don’t Forget that MCAF is a Combined Federal Campaign Participant!
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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