Marine Corps Connection: America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness

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MARINE WEEK CLEVELAND

MARINES ARRIVE IN CLEVELAND FOR A FRIENDLY VISIT


The Marines have landed in Cleveland for Marine Week 2012. From June 11-17, Marines will demonstrate community, country and Corps through simulated Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) demonstrations, hands-on exhibits and community service projects. "Hopefully the public will have a better understanding of their Marines and that we understand about keeping the faith with both our veterans and their families," said Lt. Col. Michael Hubbard, inspector-instructor for 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, the local unit supporting Marine Week. "It's also our chance to get out in the community to say thank you for supporting us, and the military in general," said Capt. Craig Thomas.
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Visit the Marine Week Cleveland Homepage
Marine Week Cleveland Schedule of Events
See Photos from the Events at the Marine Corps Flickr Page

SCIENCE AND TECH EXPO SHOWCASES CAPABILITIES OF AMERICA'S EXPEDITIONARY FORCE IN READINESS


The U.S. Marine Corps Science and Technology Expo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened Monday as part of Marine Week Cleveland. The expo features displays of state-of-the-art weaponry, ammunition and robotic equipment while allowing attendees to experience a simulated firing range and combat operation center. Citizens and local Marines alike enjoyed the opening day of the expo. "It's exciting for [my family] to see all the American might and its glory," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Mark Moriarty, a Purple Heart recipient who serves with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. "We're a military family and it's important to support the Marines." The Science and Technology Expo is free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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QUANTICO BAND DOES SOUSA, SHOW TUNES AND...THE BEATLES


The Quantico Marine Corps Band is bringing a taste of its own music to the Rock and Roll Capital of the World as part of Marine Week Cleveland. Ranging from show tunes to the Beatles and everything in between, the band will be sure to please music enthusiasts. Staying true to their roots, the band will play plenty of marches by John Philip Sousa, former conductor of the United States Marine Corps Band and composer of "Semper Fidelis," a song honoring the Corps' motto. "Music is one of those things that really has no barrier as far as language or the way it communicates to people," said Sgt. Jeffrey Fangman, the Quantico ensemble's bandmaster and a member of the trumpet section. The 63-Marine ensemble, based at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., plays for an array of events and is one of 10 Marine bands stationed around the world.
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Learn More About the Quantico Marine Band

MARINE WEEK PHOTO CONTEST: UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS OF MARINES


In conjunction with Marine Week Cleveland, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is hosting a photo contest for all attendees with a camera or smartphone. The mission: to photograph as many Marines throughout the week and upload the images to Cleveland.com. Submit images directly to the site, via the Cleveland.com app or email them to edit@cleveland.com. All photographed Marines must be uniform, there may be only one Marine per photo, and the photo must show the Marine's face. Full contest rules can be found by following the "Read More" link below. The reader who uploads the most photos of individual Marines will win a digital camera.
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NEWS

MONTFORD POINT MARINES TO RECEIVE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL


Congress will award the Montford Point Marines, the first African American Marines to serve in the Corps, the Congressional Gold Medal June 27 in Washington, D.C. Of the nearly 20,000 Marines who trained at the segregated Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., between 1942 and 1949, about 400 are living today and will receive the nation's highest civilian award granted by Congress. "I think it's well deserved and it's long been waited on," said retired Sgt. Maj. Nethaniel James, president of the Montford Point Marine Association, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Chapter 10. "They're a special group of men. These men did so much for their country." Designed and approved by the Montford Point Marine Association, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Mint, the Montford Point Marines Congressional Gold Medal will be preserved at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., near Marine Corps Base Quantico.
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MARINES FIRST TO GET TSP OPTION


Marines are the first service members eligible to contribute to a Roth after-tax option for their retirement Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Unlike other TSP options, Roth contributions are tax free when withdrawn, provided Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements are met. The Marine Corps Total Force System's pay and personnel components are more integrated than the Army, Navy and Air Force system, said David McDermott, Defense Finance and Accounting Service deputy director of operations. That simpler design allowed DFAS to roll the Roth option out faster to Marines. Although the Roth option began June 1, it won't be available on the MyPay website until later this summer. Marines wanting to sign up or adjust contributions before then will need to submit a TSP election form to their Servicing Administration Center.
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Visit the TSP Website for More Information

SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY


The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary at the annual Celebratory Gala in Washington, D.C., June 2. At the gala, the Scholarship Foundation announced $575,000 in new contributions that will help fund college educations for the children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen. "Our mission is to give back to those who sacrifice so much for our freedom," said Margaret B. Davis, president and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation. "We are honoring Marines by educating their children." The Scholarship Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest provider of scholarships to military children, particularly those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat, or who have demonstrated financial need. Since 1962, more than $67 million has been awarded in 27,000 scholarships.
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Visit the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Website
Visit the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Facebook Page

SAN FRAN FLEET WEEK TO FEATURE DISASTER RELIEF EXERCISE


For the third consecutive year, San Francisco Fleet Week will feature a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise to improve the interoperability of military and civilian personnel during a real natural disaster. Fleet Week is scheduled for Oct. 4-8. "It's a means for us...to take on some very complex problems that we don't typically spend our time on," said Maj. Gen. Melvin Spiese, I Marine Expeditionary Force's deputy commander, who also leads 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). A natural disaster in a densely populated area like San Francisco would pose significant challenges, such as impassable roads, limited drinking water and fresh food, and overwhelmed communications networks. 1st MEB will take a lead role in the October exercise in San Francisco, with elements of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 23rd Marines and 4th Force Reconnaissance Company expected to participate.
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MARINE TWINS REUNITE IN JORDANIAN DESERT


Marines training during exercise Eager Lion 12 were seeing double in the desert. Twin sisters Cpl. Chandra House, a military policeman with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Cpl. Chayna Blackwood, an intelligence analyst with Marine Forces Central Command, ended up together in Jordan by chance. Once their commands found out the identical Houston, Texas, natives were in the same area, they arranged to have them meet and spend some time together. "Even though we have only seen each other a few times in the past few years it's moments like this when we get to see each other, in Jordan of all places, on deployment away from home -- that makes it all worth it," said House.
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FIRST EVER WARRIOR FAMILY GAMES HELD AT CAMP PENDLETON


To get caregivers more involved in the physical rehabilitation of their Marines, the inaugural Warrior Family Games brought together more than 200 wounded warriors and their families for a day of recreation June 1 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. "When a Marine is wounded, their family's involvement in the recovery process is critical," said Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood, commanding officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West. Participants tried their hand at various sports, including rock climbing, tennis, track, air-rifle shooting, horseback riding, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball and archery -- similar to the events wounded and injured Marines competed in last month at the Warrior Games. "Seeing all the Marines out here having a great time and keeping active is awesome," said Amy Sanchez, a Marine spouse. "It really shows the families what being a Marine is all about."
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AT 79 YEARS OLD, RETIRED MARINE STILL GOING THE EXTRA MILE


Retired Marine Tom Knoll has run far enough in the past thirty years to circle the world three times. While stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in the mid-70s, he decided to lace up his running shoes rather than simply donate money for fundraisers. Since then, he has run more than 76,000 miles and raised more than one million dollars. Now, the 79-year-old will take a 1,650-mile victory lap from New Orleans to the Canadian border to culminate his years spent running to raise money for various charities. "This one here is just to show that senior citizens can do stuff too, and also to make some money for everyone," he said. "I am doing it for the guys and gals that lose a leg, lose an arm, get fixed and are ready to go back."
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HEROES

HOW 9/11 TURNED A NEW IMMIGRANT INTO A PROUD MARINE


Sgt. Than Naing knows that determination is half of the battle when it comes to achieving one's goals. The Burma native overcame great odds to become a Marine and has since been wounded fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After watching the events of 9/11 unfold, he knew he wanted to join the military, but he spoke little English. He spent the next year learning the language skills needed to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. During a deployment to Iraq in 2006, he was shot in the left shoulder. Rejoining his unit after extensive rehabilitation, Niang was again shot during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. He is currently recovering at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and hopes to be able to deploy again. "I felt like I needed to do something for this country," said Naing, who became a United States citizen in 2007. "That's what being a citizen is all about."
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TRANSITION

VETERAN CAREER FAIR COMING TO QUANTICO


The RecruitMilitary/Modern Day Marine Veteran Career Fair will be held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 26, connecting businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies with service members transitioning back to civilian life. The job fair will be held in conjunction with the 2012 Modern Day Marine Military Exposition, which runs Sept. 25-27. "We've established working relationships with industry associations, non-profit organizations and government agencies, and maintain a comprehensive database of job candidates," said Drew Myers, CEO of RecruitMilitary. "It's a pleasure to now team with the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition in serving our transitioning military personnel and veterans."
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MORE COMPANIES VOW TO HIRE MILITARY SPOUSES


As part of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, 34 new companies and organizations recently pledged to recruit, hire and promote military spouses and help them find careers that can be maintained within a military lifestyle. The newest members of the partnership include Clear Channel Radio, Goodwill Industries, Humana Inc., Tri-West, MetLife, Safeway (Vons) and US Bank. The companies help to reduce the stress on mobile military spouses by identifying portable career paths, according to Rob Gordon, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. "We're not just talking about jobs, we're talking about careers," he said. Since the partnership launched last year, more than 22,000 military spouses were hired and more than 446,140 jobs were posted on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership jobs web portal.
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Visit the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Website

TRIPLE AMPUTEE LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN


Sgt. Thomas McRae has one goal driving him to finish physical therapy: to walk his sister down the aisle at her wedding in August. Five months ago, the 30-year-old explosive ordnance disposal technician lost both his legs and left arm in an improvised explosive device blast in Helmand province, Afghanistan. After undergoing extensive surgeries, he now practices walking on "shorties," straight, metal prosthetics that help him regain his balance and gait. With the help of parallel bars and a "crutch arm" for standing and walking, McRae continues to regain his strength and mobility. As he continues rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his prosthetic legs will be extended in 10 inch stages until they reach McRae's full height of 5'9."
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THANK YOU

WOUNDED PENNSYLVANIA MARINE, FAMILY STUNNED BY GENEROSITY


Lance Cpl. Mark Fidler will receive a handicapped-accessible van and motorized wheelchair, thanks to his hometown community of Upper Tulpehocken Township in Bucks County, Pa. Fidler lost both his legs due to an improvised explosive device blast during his deployment to Afghanistan last fall. "We're pretty much blown away by the generosity of people," said his mother, Stacy Fidler. The James E. "Bing" Miller Charitable Foundation provided a grant for the van, which will be donated by a local Lions Club member who wishes to remain anonymous. "The privilege to honor someone who was willing to give his life for our country and end[ed] up receiving the wounds that he did is an overwhelming feeling of humanitarian giving, as well as patriotism," said Gus Miller, chairman of the Foundation. Fidler is still recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., but will return home soon.
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