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Marines refine critical thinking skills when they put their ideas on paper and make well reasoned arguments, or research historical people and events and distill the key lessons for application to today’s challenges.  Writing contests give Marines the chance to do these things, and the competition of a contest can also motivate them to participate.   Marines share what they have learned and their ideas for how to make our Corps better.

The Marine Corps Association & Foundation support many writing contests through our flagship publications and professional military schools, but we also like to support writing contests within units across the Corps.  Often, the ability to get more junior Marines involved in writing is done at the unit level: battalion, squadrons, regiments, groups, or Division, Wing, and MLG.  Units decide the contest topics, frequency, and judge the entries.  Winning entries may be publishable in the Gazette or Leatherneck, but the Marine Corps Association Foundation also adds some incentive with small cash prizes and certificates or plaques.  

Typically, we provide cash awards annually, as the culmination of a writing contest, with for example, $150 first prize, $100 second prize, and $50 third prize cash awards.  But, you can run the unit writing contest quarterly, choosing winners who will receive certificates from MCAF, and then use those quarterly contests to arrive at your overall annual winners.  Depending on the size of the contest, the cash awards could be adjusted to reflect the significance.


For a unit that desires to start a writing contest, contact the MCAF staff using the form below.  Provide us your concept of how the writing contest would be conducted in your unit.


For questions or additional information, please contact MSgt Preston Mitchell, USMC (Ret) at p.mitchell@mca-marines.org703-640-0144.

Allow time for processing.  All approvals must be in place when unit writing contests are started.

PLEASE NOTE: Support for writing contests (cash awards, certificates, etc.), when offered, constitute an unconditional gift and require the Commanding Officer (under $3000) or Commanding General (over $3000) holding Special Court Martial Authority, to accept the offer under the authority of MCO 5800.16-V8 (Legal Support and Administration manual) 01 May 2018. A letter of gift acceptance is required to be returned to MCAF.