Marine Corps Connection: America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness

Read the latest Marines.mil Newsletter, Marine Corps Connection

TIP OF THE SPEAR

MARINES SHOWCASE CAPABILITIES AT 2012 FLEET WEEK

More than 2,500 Marines and Sailors came together this past week to showcase their humanitarian disaster relief capabilities as part of the 2012 San Francisco Fleet Week. The week kicked off Oct. 3 with the arrival of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard the USS Makin Island, and a beach landing by the Navy hovercraft known as a Landing Craft Air Cushion, which can deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to San Francisco and other U.S. cities if a major earthquake or other disaster takes out traditional transportation infrastructure. "In San Francisco, our focus [was] improving readiness for the Bay Area in the event of a natural disaster or national crisis during Fleet Week," said Col. Christopher D. Taylor, commanding officer of the 13th MEU. "With our expeditionary, from the sea capability, combined with the Navy and Coast Guard, we offer a rapid response to humanitarian crises." The 31st annual event also provided an opportunity for Marines to participate in numerous community outreach events including, habitat restoration projects, hospital visits and more. Read more

Also read: Navy Hovercraft Lands in San Fran

Also read: Marines Come Prepared to Annual Event


PHOTO OF THE WEEK


Cpl. Colton Duran, an aircraft mechanic for the EA-6B Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, hugs his wife Cathia during a return ceremony at the squadron's hangar aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. More than 100 Marines with the squadron returned from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan Oct 2. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen T. Stewart)


IN THE NEWS

USMC GENERAL DETAILS TRAINING CHANGES

As the Corps shifts from steady combat in Afghanistan to new missions focused in the Asia-Pacific region, the Training and Education Command (TECOM) will see changes of its own according to Maj. Gen. Tom Murray, head of TECOM. "We're seeing a major evolution with 10 years of combat drawing down," said Murray. "We also have financial restrictions that are going to be put on us and also in manpower. So from a training and education standpoint, we're trying to look at all of that." Among the plans in motion are those to revamp pre-deployment workups, reinvigorate jungle warfare training and develop broader cultural expertise in the new area of deployment, all the while bringing awareness to issues such as sexual assault, hazing and proper mentoring. Read more

F-35 PUT THROUGH REFUELING PACES

With the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) expected to arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., later this year, some of the first pilots underwent their own midair aircraft refueling tests. Maj. Ty Bachmann, a test pilot, and Maj. Paul Holst, who is preparing to be an F-35 instructor, had a train-the-trainer day at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Oct. 2 to run the first midair test of the aerial refueling systems. The pilots each flew about 50 to 75 miles offshore before meeting up with a C-130 tanker to replenish their fuel in the sky. The 300 gallons of fuel they took on wasn't much for a plane, but enough to show that the systems were solid and the training was effective, said Holst. Read more

LEJEUNE MARINE EARNS INTELLIGENCE AWARD

Cpl. Lauren Kohls received the Lance Cpl. James E. Swain Marine Corps Intelligence Enlisted Marine of the Year award Sept. 21. Kohls earned the honor -- reserved for enlisted Marines who "best exemplify intelligence excellence, innovation, and demonstrate dedication to mission accomplishment within the operating forces" -- during her yearlong depolyment to Afghanistan as a Pashto linguist with 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force in 2011. Swain, the award's namesake, was an intelligence specialist who died while engaged in enemy fire in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Read more

U.S. AND PHILIPPINES START JOINT EXERCISES

Marines from the U.S. and Philippines came together Oct. 8 to kick off their 10-day joint exercise focused on disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and maritime security. Throughout the exercise, 2,600 U.S. Marines and 1,200 Philippines Marines will conduct disaster preparedness drills, live-fire exercises, public service activities such as building classrooms in impoverished areas, a simulated helicopter raid and a demonstration of American aircraft capabilities. The training, now in its 29th year, coincides with the U.S. plan to increase joint training exercises and ship visits to the region as part of the shift to the Asia-Pacific region. Read more

NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND

The Marines of Corry Station Pensacola, Fla., brought tears to the crowd at the Sea Turtle Tri kids triathlon Sunday when they helped 11-year-old Ben Baltz cross the finish line. Baltz, who walks with a mechanical knee and prosthetic leg as a result of bone cancer, had completed the 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike ride and half the one-mile run when a screw came loose and his running leg broke in half. Pfc. Matthew Morgan quickly scooped him up and carried him to the finish line with the rest of his Marine brothers in tow. "It was just very touching that the Marines were there," said Baltz's mother Kim. "They picked him up and everybody was cheering and just giving them support and Ben support." Read more

MARINES GET A DOSE OF 'GREENS'

The Marine Corps' first generation of Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network Systems (GREENS) is undergoing testing by Marines of Bravo Battery 1/10 on the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif. GREENS was developed to increase the daily productivity of missions in remote locations and decrease Marines' dependence on traditional energy sources. Each system includes four rechargeable lithium battery packs, two to four solar panels and a controller component that regulates, stores and distributes power -- enough to operate an M777 Howitzer. The Corps is already working to develop a second generation of GREENS, with the intent to make it lighter and even more productive. Read more

VETS CLIMB ENTREPRENEURIAL RANKS

As more troops return home this year, the U.S. may see a surge in veterans turned entrepreneurs and a jolt in the economy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which provides training for veterans looking to be self-employed. Today, nearly one in 10 small businesses are veteran-owned, and retired service members are at least 45 percent more likely than those without active-duty military experience to be self-employed. "We think this is an opportunity where we're going to have a lot of veterans who have the right skills to be entrepreneurs," said Rhett Jeppson, associate administrator for veterans' business development at the SBA. "We can help prepare them for the opportunities out there." Read more

U.S. Small Business Administration Website

WOUNDED WARRIOR FINDS SOLACE IN MARATHONS

At just 24 years old, Lance Cpl. Ben Maenza has already traveled from Florida to California and completed a marathon in less than two hours, all while using a hand bike. Maenza lost both his legs while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. After spending a year and a half in rehabilitation at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Maenza joined Achilles International, a group that helps athletes with disabilities, and began his true recovery by participating in races around the country. "It was exactly what I needed at that point," he said. "It gives you something to work towards; the knowledge that you are capable and you can do it." Read more

Achilles International Website

PIVOT TO ASIA-PACIFIC REQUIRES MORE SHIPS

Congress is advocating for more resources to support the Corps' shift to the Asia-Pacific, following multiple studies by the Navy, Marines and Pentagon stating there is an underinvestment in the capabilities and facilities that the change requires. Currently a fleet of 29 amphibious warfare ships is allotted for the transition, despite the required minimum of 33 ships, in order to deploy two Marine Expeditionary Brigades needed to seize a major beachhead in an opposed landing. Congress was unable to pass a FY2013 defense authorization bill before adjourning until after the November elections but have made it a priority to build up the Corps' capabilities when they are back in session. Read more


THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

October 11, 1951

A Marine battalion was flown by transport helicopters to a frontline combat position for the first time, when HMR-161 lifted the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and its equipment, during Operation Bumblebee, northeast of Yanggu, Korea.


SEMPER FI

LONG-MISSING COLORADO MARINE BURIED WITH FULL HONORS

Pfc. James Jacques, presumed dead 37 years ago following a helicopter crash in Cambodia, was buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 9 -- what would have been his 56th birthday. Jacques was one of 26 Marines in the helicopter sent to rescue the crew of S.S. Mayaguez, an American cargo ship seized by Cambodia's Communist party in 1975. Jacques identification dog tags were found in 1992, but his remains weren't positively identified until this August. Read more