Dear Members,

The high temperatures seem to have captured the summer across the country. I hope you are enjoying the season and keeping cool! Looking to the early fall, MCA and MCAF will host the inaugural Intelligence Awards Dinner on 15 September in Arlington, VA. General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, is on tap to be the guest speaker. Also in the works for late 2011 or early 2012 is the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Awards Dinner to be held here in northern Virginia. These new professional dinners will serve as annual opportunities to recognize the achievements of the top performing Marines working in the intelligence field and great caregivers and volunteers supporting the recovery of our wounded Marines. Click HERE for the MCA Professional Events Schedule for more details and registration. You’re invited, and we hope to see you at both events!

Thanks to your generous support, our Marine Corps Association Foundation programs continue to make a positive impact on Marines. The MCAF Commanders’ Professional Library Program now shows a total of 136 Marine units provided with professional libraries or in the process of completing their acquisition. The MCAF Marine Excellence Awards Program continues providing incentives for professionalism and tangible recognition of superior achievement by Marines. To date this year, over 1,800 Marines have been recognized with awards of trophies, plaques, swords, K-Bar knives, binoculars, professional reading material and other valued items while over 2,500 additional Marines have been recognized with certificates of achievement.

Our Commanders’ Forum Program stands out as a great program that enhances the morale and professional development of Marines. The recent Gettysburg battle study in support of Wounded Warrior Battalion East mentioned in last month’s Member Update is a great example of what this program provides to commanders in mentoring their Marines. See the recently posted video of the battle study HERE for a powerful example of the value of MCA’s special support programs.  Photo image of the Gettysburg Staff Ride

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 your magazines coming on time and to the right address! If you’ve moved – 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 – Use appropriated funds to get mission critical reading in to the hands of your Marines. Order your Unit Subscriptions to Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette for your Marines!  It’s a snap to do! Click Here to order today.


  • 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? Marine jokes, anecdotes, sea stories, pictures? Take a chance on earning Your Very Own 15 minutes of fame and glory!

    Send to and our Member Update Coordinator will consider including your item.

  • Pictures from MCA Events.  Our long time staff photographer, Ron Lunn, attends virtually all of MCA’s professional events and takes photographs of the events which we post on our website, usually with a brief story about the event and guest speaker highlights. Click HERE to visit our past events page and view the pictures, story and videos taken of our past events.
  • MCA Book Signings.  We were fortunate to host recent book signing / meet the author events with acclaimed authors in June and July. On 30 June, Steven Pressfield, author of The Afghan Campaign, which is on the USMC Professional Reading List and Gates of Fire, which used to be on the list was at The MARINE Shop at Quantico to sign copies of his new book about Marines – The Profession. Click HERE to view a video interview with Mr. Pressfield.

    On 12 July, The MARINE Shop at Camp Lejeune hosted Medal of Honor recipient, Col Wes Fox, USMC (Ret) author of Marine Rifleman: Forty-Three Years in the Corps and Courage and Fear: A Primer at a book signing and on 20 July, they hosted Norm Fulkerson, author of American Knight: The Life of Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC.  Click on the book covers to read a brief summary of each book.  
  • 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.

  • Website of the Month. Check out the “Gothic” tanks in the “Steam Punk” section of the Dark Roasted Blend website HERE. Marine Corps Systems Command and the Navy’s Chaplain Corps are no doubt doing backflips!
  • Words of the Month. Neologisms for your amusement and use…

    Flabbergasted – An adjective signifying how appalled you are over how much weight you have gained while on leave.

    – A noun indicating the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person that doesn’t get it.

    A noun describing someone who is all talk and no action.

  • Renowned Japanese movie monster Mothra to make historic MCA Building flyover in August! Read MORE.

Q.To the consternation of the Army, I had my Marines cut in front of stalled Army units to put Marines in a position to capture a strategic castle.  Who am I, what is the name of the castle and in which battle did this event occur?


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 the late Major Gene Duncan’s Books as a bonus.

Here’s our trivia question from last month:

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

Answer: This is the rank insignia of a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, valid from 1898-1937. The design was later changed with the addition of 2 “rockers” under the chevrons while deleting the bursting bomb but retaining the crossed rifles.  See page 153 of Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines for additional details.

Congratulations to Robert R. Jordan of Morristown, Indiana for winning last month’s contest with a highly detailed and illustrated email tracing the development of GySgt rank structure over the years. Great stuff – Many thanks!

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
This month we feature a report from Afghanistan by Ed Darack. Ed was embedded with Marines in country and has not only written about his observations but brought back video of field operations. His article contains a link to video that will transport you to the battlefield. In addition we have articles on training, logistics and leadership. One article we especially recommend is on "Marine Corps Advisors, Past and Present." Read about how lessons from the past are applied today. We hope you enjoy the August Gazette.

Leatherneck's August issue again focuses on the bullseye with a solid mix of Marine Corps history and current operations' articles. Guadalcanal in WW II; the 1st Marine Division Association and its "Last Man Bottle" from WW II; retired Marine Captain Ed "Machete Eddie" McCourt in Vietnam; the conclusion of a two-part article telling the story of a helo crew chief in Vietnam who, after many years, has come to cope with the losses of the Vietnam War; the refined skills found in Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command; and an update article on wounded Marines pursuing videography and video-editing training are all in this issue. These articles, plus more on Marines in Afghanistan, and short stories from bases and stations around the Corps and Leatherneck's standard Sound Off, Leatherneck Laffs and Gyrene Gyngles make for good insight on the Corps. We hope you like it.

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 July 1920    MajGen John A. Lejeune became the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Born in 1867, John Archer Lejeune, from Louisiana is a Marine icon, known affectionately as a “Marine’s Marine” and served for 40 years through some pivotal events in Corps history. Initially attending a preparatory course at Louisiana State University, he eventually won an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy from which he graduated, second in his class in 1888 and was subsequently commissioned a Marine 2dLt in 1890. His initial Marine service included duty at a succession of Marine Barracks throughout the country and service as detachment commander on several ships to include the cruiser Cincinnati and the battleship Massachusetts. Promoted to Major in 1903 while stationed at HQMC, he was ordered to take command of a battalion of expeditionary Marines afloat and then deployed to Panama for service. Following a tour at Marine Barracks Washington, he served as commander of the Marine Barracks in the Phillipines and as commander of the 1st Brigade of Marines. He graduated from Army War College in 1910 and then spent time serving in Cuba, and Panama. While serving in Cuba in 1913 as a LtCol, he founded the Marine Corps Association, establishing its focus on professional development for Marines. In 1914, now as a Colonel, with the 2d Advance Base Regiment, he landed in Mexico and served as part of the occupation force in Veracruz.  Returning from occupation duties, his assignment to HQMC brought promotion to BGen and the duties of assistant to the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Subsequently, he commanded the new Marine Barracks at Quantico, Virginia and when the United States entered WW-I he was posted to France in 1918 and was promoted to MajGen.  While serving with the American Expeditionary Forces, he commanded the 4th Brigade of Marines in the Army’s 32d Division and later commanded the Army’s 2d Division becoming the second Marine officer to do so.  In recognition of his operational and leadership skills, he was awarded the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre by the French and also the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals.

In addition to being the driving force behind the Marine Corps Association, in 1923, MajGen Lejeune, then serving as the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps was also the driving force behind the foundation of the Marine Corps League.  After serving 9 years as Commandant he accepted the position of Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute retiring from active duty in 1929 to accept the position and serving there for 8 years until 1937.  He was promoted to LtGen on the retired list in 1942 and died some months later with his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetary.

One enduring legacy Marines inherited from MajGen Lejeune is the reverential treatment all Marines hold for the Marine Corps Birthday.  Since 1921, every year on the 10th of November MajGen Lejeune’s inspiring birthday message, along with the birthday message of the current Commandant, is read out to Marines in commemoration of the event.  Few Marines have had such an impact on our Corps!  Read his fascinating memoir:

6 July 1905    Marines escort the body of John Paul Jones from France to Annapolis.
America’s first great naval hero was a bold and enterprising commander but, arguably, a difficult personality being prickly with seniors and subordinates alike throughout his maritime career. Best known for his hotly contested action between his ship Bon Homme Richard (42 guns) and the larger British frigate Serapis (50 guns), his naval career also included considerable, but lesser known success as a commerce raider and conductor of land based raids against British interests causing consternation in the British isles and at the Admiralty during the Revolutionary War.

Born in Scotland in 1747, he went to sea at age 13 as an apprentice seaman and made several voyages to Fredericksburg, Virginia where his older brother resided. Serving several years aboard British merchant ships and slavers, he later grew to detest the cruelty of the slaving industry and abandoned a profitable slave ship in Jamaica, making his own way back to Scotland. 

In 1768, while serving on a small brig, he started his path to advancement when his captain and first mate died of “Yellow Jack” at sea.  As a reward for bringing the ship safely back to port, the owners appointed him the brig’s master.  In one of several voyages on the brig, Jones had an insubordinate crew member severely flogged causing dissension with the crew. When the crewman died shortly thereafter his professional reputation was severely tarnished. On his next ship he killed a crewmember in a wage dispute ending in a sword fight. After that Jones traveled to Virginia to settle affairs for his deceased brother and began his deep affection for America that ultimately led to his joining the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War.

In 1775 Congress set about standing up the Continental Navy and establishing a supporting force of Marines. With help from Richard Henry Lee and other members of Congress, Jones, then in Philadelphia, was commissioned a 1stLt in the Continental Navy and was appointed commander of the Alfred. This ship, with a small squadron and a small contingent of Marines was directed towards the Bahamas where a raid on Nassau was conducted by the Marines, their first action in the Revolutionary war, resulting in the capture of valuable munitions and ordnance much needed by the Revolutionaries.

A succession of actual and promised but rescinded ship commands followed. Briefly in command of the Providence, Jones embarked on a 6 week commerce raiding voyage to the coast of Nova Scotia capturing 16 ships as prizes and inflicting considerable damage ashore on British interests. A follow on raid there while in command of the Alfred again, while waiting for completion of one of the new frigates Congress commissioned, he captured an additional ship but failed in his mission of raiding the land to free American prisoners.

Traveling to Boston, Jones feuded with his seniors and was given command of the smallish Ranger instead of a new frigate. Sailing to France, he met and formed a friendship with Benjamin Franklin, who served there as an American Commissioner. In 1778 Jones again took to the sea in Ranger, received the first salute of an American vessel from the French, a 9 gun salute, and made his way to the west coast of Britain with the aim of causing maritime havoc there.  Following an abortive raid on Whitehaven and misadventures at sea with bad weather and a crew of dubious loyalty and competence, Jones missed an opportunity to capture a British sloop of war (Drake) anchored off Ireland, losing an anchor in the process.  Making another attempt on Whitehaven in England, Jones led a small boat raid which spiked the harbor defense guns and attempted without notable success to fire the over 200 ships in the harbor. Following additional misadventures of little success, Jones withdrew again across the Irish sea to again engage the Drake, capturing her after a furious exchange of cannon fire. Placing his 1st Lt (Thomas Simpson) in charge of the capture, the two vessels returned to France after serious quarreling between Jones and Simpson, leading to Jones attempting to court martial Simpson. Evidence that the Jones leadership had alienated the crew led Commissioner John Adams to intervene in Simpson’s behalf. The capture of the Royal Navy sloop of war Drake was one of the few victories enjoyed by the Continental Navy did much for American morale and helped inspire the establishment of the U.S. Navy after the revolution.

In 1779, Jones was appointed commander of the Bon Homme Richard (42 guns) and led a 5 ship squadron against England in a diversionary attack while a concurrent flotilla of Spanish and French ships also approached.  Proceeding up the east coast of England, Jones caused panic as his ships proceeded North. Off the Yorkshire Coast, Jones met up in the early evening of 23 September 1779 with a large merchant convoy escorted by the Serapis and a much smaller armed escort. Attempting to grapple with the larger and better armed ship, Jones succeeded after his ship was seriously damaged by cannon fire.  With Marines sweeping the decks of the enemy with dedicated musketry, and continued canon fire by both ships, the issue became confused with Jones’ subordinates trying to surrender their ship and considerable damage to both ships. Trying to verify the surrender, the British commander asked if Jones had “Struck?” ( pulled down his colors…). Jones remembers retorting “I am determined to make YOU strike” though crew members reported to newspapers ashore that he had said “I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike!” After repulsed boarding attempts by the British a grenade tossed in to the Serapis exploded, lighting off a considerable quantity of black powder on the lower gun deck of the Serapis. Additional combat with other ships in the squadron participating finally led to the Captain of the Serapis surrendering. Bon Homme Richard sank after the battle and Jones, now in command of the captured Serapis proceeded to neutral Holland.

Honored the following year by the King of France with the title “Chevalier” (Knight), Jones returned to America where he was appointed to command the America (74 guns) and when the ship was instead given to the French, he took service in the Russian Navy where he was rumored to have had an affair with the Czarina and fell afoul of Prince Potemkin (of Potemkin village infamy). After fighting the Turks for the Russians for several years, he left Russia embittered and finally settled in France.  Appointed to be the U.S. Consul to the Dey of Algiers, he died of nephritis in Paris before he could take up his appointment.  Buried in a French Royal family cemetery, the property changed hands and purposes several times and his final resting place became obscured until located after painstaking research in 1905. The following year his body was returned to the United States by the USS Brooklyn escorted by 3 other Cruisers and was joined by seven Battleships at the U.S. Coastline. Jones was interred in Bancroft Hall of the U.S. Naval Academy following a ceremony with President Theodore Roosevelt giving a lengthy tribute. In 1913, he was re-interred in the rotunda of the Academy’s Chapel where he rests in a massive marble and bronze sarcophagus.

11 July 1798    The U.S. Marine Corps was re-established by an Act of Congress, succeeding the
Continental Marines.
Soldiers serving on ships and frequently referred to as “Marines” had long been a feature of maritime life in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the American colonies they were commonly embarked for the sustainment of the ship captain’s authority and also as a defense against pirates and privateers. Marines, in this sense, were in fact present on some of the warships raised by General George Washington at the very start of the American Revolution. After the battles of Lexington and Concord, it was recognized that Americans would have to organize viable naval forces to help protect seaports and to capture scarce supplies from the British through commerce raiding. Marines were a necessary adjunct to these endeavors. After meetings of the Continental Congress’s Naval Committee headed by John Adams at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, naval forces were established and a proclamation issued authorizing the raising of 2 battalions of Marines for service at sea in boarding and landing parties and to prevent mutiny. In practice the Marines enlisted in the Continental Marines served in individual ship crews for the most part and took part in a number of raids and individual ship’s actions during the course of the war. Within a couple of years after the end of the revolutionary war, the Continental Marines had essentially fizzled out after fielding 131 commissioned officers and approximately 2,000 enlisted Marines variously during the war.

Following the establishment of the country in 1789, recognition of the need for naval forces was widespread and in 1794, Congress authorized construction of a series of well-armed frigates ( the dashing warship of choice for commerce raiding and patrolling…) and, four years later, as the new ships became available, Congress formally established the Department of the Navy and, in July 1798 formally established the United States Marine Corps within the Department. Within a year, the American Navy along with embarked Marines were involved in an undeclared Naval war with France and would soon begin a protracted battle against the Barbary pirates off Tripoli, Libya.

Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines has a very good account of the founding of the Continental Marines, their actions during the Revolution and how the U.S. Marine Corps grew out of that beginning.


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

We have some first rate authors lined up for book signings in the next two months:

  • 12 August - Major Rick Spooner, author of The Spirit of Semper Fidelis and also A Marine Anthology in the Spirit of Semper Fidelis at The MARINE Shop at Quantico

  • 19 August - Charles “Chip” Jones, author of War Shots, Norm Hatch and the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Cameramen of World War II at The MARINE Shop at Camp Lejeune

  • 14 September - Dave Ulbrich, author of Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Modern Marine Corps, 1936-1943 at The MARINE Shop at Quantico


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

MCAF is now part of the Combined Federal Campaign!
We invite you to include the Marine Corps Association Foundation as at least one of your donation recipients!

     CFC Donor Code is 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.

Memorial Donations
Good news!  We just modified our MCAF website donations page to enable you the option of making donations in honor of, or in memory of specific individuals or whether to make a general donation. Click HERE to check it out at the MCAF website today!

Wounded Marine Donations
Now you can add a donation to our Wounded Marine Fund when paying your invoice or renewal. Just note the amount of donation in the gray box that says, "I'm including an additional donation in the amount of $____ to provide support to Wounded Marines." Additional details about donations are HERE.

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