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 email@example.com.
All the Best & Semper Fidelis,
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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How to Win. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
2 June 1918
15 June 1944
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 www.mcafdn.org. Click on the link for details and event registration. Here are a couple of events coming up in the near future:
If you miss the Livestream video then you can still view the event. Just go to our MCA&F website at www.mca-marines.org 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
Marine Excellence Awards Program
Commanders’ Forum Program
Montford Point Marines Honored with MCAF Assistance
New Award for Basic School Honor Graduates
Visit our website at www.mcafdn.org
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