USMC amphibious demo

USS San Diego off Red Beach
USS San Diego off Red Beach

Yesterday, Flag Day, members of the Inland Empire Council and others were privileged to be among those attending a training evolution and demonstration of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) concept. It took place on “the beach” at Camp Pendleton.

The event was part of Camp Pendleton’s celebration this year of its 75th anniversary and members of the community were invited to watch and learn more about the Marines and the base. Inland Empire Council received very short notice of the event and it was only possible for a few members to attend. With the impending merger of Tri-City and Inland Empire councils, it is the intention of the council-to-be to expand the range of such activities and access of members to them.

In simple terms, MAGTF involves Navy and Marine forces — air, ground, and sea — in a coordinated amphibious operation. Navy ships bring materiel and personnel to the area, land Marines and their equipment and supplies, supported by Navy and Marine aircraft.

Medium howitzer

The event was much less whiz-bang than similar demonstrations at the annual MCAS Miramar airshow, but the scale and kinds of equipment were quite different. The Camp Pendleton evolution involved Navy ships, amphibious craft, and an actual amphibious landing on an awesome stretch of sand and waves.

Here’s a video (7:00) of highlights.

 

Honoring honor graduates

Each quarter, Tri-City Council presents an award and certificate to the honor graduate of the class at Field Medical Training Battalion-West, MCB Camp Pendleton.

In March, Council President Bill McDonald was joined at the graduation ceremonies by Stephanie Davis, Navy Federal Credit Union, who presented a plaque to honor graduate HA Nicolas Jacquot.

FMTBhonorgrad031717

FMTB-West trains those Navy hospital corpsmen who provide medical support and assistance to Marines. The rating of Hospital Corpsman is the most decorated in the Navy, with 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, hundreds of Silver Stars, and more than 1,500 Bronze Medals.

‘She wasn’t a horse. She was a Marine.’

reckless5Sixty-four years ago, a Marine officer serving in Korea purchased a small mare to assist his recoilless rifle platoon. On Wednesday, October 26, the anniversary of that purchase, a monument was dedicated at Camp Pendleton to that horse, which had become America’s greatest war hero horse. This is a short video (<7 mins) I took of those ceremonies.

The Marines named the horse “Reckless,” a play on the name of the weapons they used. During one five-day battle, Reckless made 51 round-trips on a single day from the ammunition supply point to the firing sites, carrying several 24-pound shells and nearly always under fire. On the return trips, Reckless carried wounded Marines to safety. She was wounded twice that day.

reckless6Reckless was brought to California and was formally made a Sergeant in the Marines in 1954. She was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1959 in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton that featured a 19-gun salute and a 1,700-man parade of Marines from her wartime unit.

A Life Magazine special issue included SSgt Reckless among America’s 100 greatest war heroes.

At Camp Pendleton, SSgt Reckless produced four foals before and after her “retirement” in 1960. SSGt Reckless died in 1968 and is buried at Stepp Stables on base.

You can find much more information about SSgt Reckless at SgtReckless.com and on Wikipedia.

Honoring fathers II

The Tri-City and Inland Empire councils, on Tuesday, honored nine Marines and Sailors from Camp Pendleton nominated by their units as Enlisted Father of the Year.

L-R: Bill McDonald (Tri-City Council), AE2 Richard Smallwood, BGen Edward Banta, HM1 Miguel Murillo, SSgt Ryan Farish, Sgt Matthew Annable, SSgt Reginald Glenn, Cpl Daniel Taylor, Sgt Michael Parker, LS1 Cenon Lu, and SgtMaj Julio Meza.
L-R: Bill McDonald (Tri-City Council), AE2 Richard Smallwood, BGen Edward Banta, HM1 Miguel Murillo, SSgt Ryan Farish, Sgt Matthew Annable, SSgt Reginald Glenn, Cpl Daniel Taylor, Sgt Michael Parker, LS1 Cenon Lu, and SgtMaj Julio Meza. (SgtMaj Christopher Adams was unable to attend.)

The nominees and members of their families, as well as command representatives, attended the awards luncheon at Iron Mike’s, Pacific View Event Center, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Offering remarks and assisting in the presentation of awards were BGen Edward Banta, Commanding General, MCI West/MCB Camp Pendleton, and SgtMaj Julio Meza, MCIW/MCBCP Sergeant Major.

Honorees, in alphabetical order:

  • SgtMaj Christopher Adams, USMC, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39
  • Sgt Matthew Annable, USMC, Headquarters and Support Battalion
  • SSgt Ryan Farish, USMC, Security and Emergency Services Battalion
  • SSgt Reginald Glenn, USMC, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron
  • LS1 Cenon Lu II, USN, Medical Logistics Company
  • HM1 Miguel Murillo, USN, Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group
  • Sgt Michael Parker, USMC, Headquarters and Support Battalion
  • AE2 Richard Smallwood, USN, Marine Aircraft Group 1, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing
  • Cpl Daniel Taylor, USMC, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division

Also among those attending were: Col Joseph Craft, Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion; SgtMaj Michael Saucedo, Headquarters and Support Battalion Sergeant Major; Edward Langmaid, President, San Diego/Imperial Valley Area, Navy League of the United States; Michelle Langmaid, National Director, Navy League; Bob Berman, Vice President, Sea Services, San Diego Council, Navy League; and Maggie Meza, wife of SgtMaj Meza.

Organizations that assisted in sponsoring the event were:

This was the second Enlisted Father of the Year Awards program, in what we hope will continue as an annual tradition. The event joins Navy League programs in the San Diego area that recognizes and honors service members who are mothers as well as spouses of service members.

Day at Camp Pendleton

Air crew with V-22 Osprey and AH-1 Attack Helicopter at MCAS Camp Pendleton
Air crew with V-22 Osprey and AH-1 Attack Helicopter at MCAS Camp Pendleton

For many years, Marine Corps units have invited spouses and family members of Marines to spend a day on base, to get a safe, condensed sense of what their Marines do. They used to be called “Jayne Wayne Days,” befitting for how the Hollywood actor John Wayne “was” a Marine. Today, with many more women marines and a broader range of participants, it’s now a more neutral “J Wayne Day.”

On 28 August 2015, two battalions and the Marine Corps Air Station at Camp Pendleton sponsored a “J Wayne Day.” Members of the Navy League were invited to join family members and others for a day-long set of activities. Joining Bill McDonald from the Navy League of the United States Tri-City Council were two staff members of our community affiliate, Navy Federal Credit Union: Joseph Fant and Zina Ruetskaya.

Here’s a brief video from that day. (You’ll see Ms. Ruetskaya in a red NFCU shirt.)

 

Honoring fathers

Update: Our Marine honoree, Sgt Jerald Davila, and his platoon commander appeared on KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego” on June 19. Logistically, we just weren’t able to get our Navy honoree on the show. View the segment.

More than 100 Marines, sailors, family members, and friends attended the inaugural Enlisted Father of the Year awards dinner June 3 at Pacific Views Event Center, Camp Pendleton. The awards are sponsored by the San Diego and Tri-City councils of the Navy League.

Enlisted Father-7691

BGen Edward Banta, commanding general, MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, assisted in presenting the Enlisted Father of the Year awards for 2015 to

  • Sgt Jerald Davila, 1st Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group
  • GSM2 (Gas Turbine Systems Technician – Mechanical, Second Class) Andrew White, Assault Craft Unit Five
Marine Enlisted Father of the Year Sgt Jerald Davila and wife, Connie.
Marine Enlisted Father of the Year Sgt Jerald Davila and wife, Connie.
Navy Enlisted Father of the Year GSM2 Andrew White, his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Kinley.
Navy Enlisted Father of the Year GSM2 Andrew White, his wife, Jennifer, and youngest daughter, Kinley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nineteen Marines and sailors were nominated by their commands for the award.

The 18 nominees present, flanked by Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, left, and Jon Berg-Johnsen, President, San Diego Council.
The 18 nominees present, flanked by Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, left, and Jon Berg-Johnsen, President, San Diego Council.

The nominees, in addition to the two award winners, were, in alphabetical order:

  • SSgt David Castiaux, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
  • SSgt Cromwell Downs, 3d Assault Amphibian Battalion
  • GySgt Chamous Duhachek, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines
  • HM2 David Flores, Field Medical Training Battalion-West
  • SSgt Sean Fordham, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
  • Sgt Joseph McDonald, 1st Maintenance Battalion
  • Sgt Hudson Nall, Field Medical Training Battalion-West
  • HM1 Corey Nasfell, Battalion Landing Team 2/4
  • GySgt Peter Parker, 1st Intelligence Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force
  • Cpl Gabriel Parks, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines
  • Sgt Eric Regan, 7th Engineer Support Battalion
  • Cpl George Sanchezrobledo, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines
  • SSgt Johnny Santana, Headquarters and Support Battalion, School of Infantry-West
  • Sgt Thomas Settle, Company C, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West
  • SSgt David Simons, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
  • LCpl Daniel Taylor, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division
  • SSgt David Treadwell, Wounded Warrior Battalion-West

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event. Special thanks to Gloriana Arifin, from Classic Chariots, lead event sponsor, for the photos in this post.

This event joined efforts already undertaken by the Navy League in San Diego to honor women and mothers in the Sea Services, as well as spouses. It was the first such event in this area and was limited to commands at Camp Pendleton. Together, the two Navy League councils will  consider expanding it to include commands at other facilities, or extend to San Diego-wide.

As mentioned above, Classic Chariots, headed by Mehdi Chitgari, immediate past president of the Tri-City Council, was lead sponsor of the event. Table sponsors were:

  • AutoZone Auto Stereo
  • Cox Cable
  • Edmonds
  • Miramar Federal Credit Union
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NK Towing
  • Oceanside Therapy Group
  • Pioneer Services
  • USS Midway Museum

Honoring honor graduates

HM3 Cody Limauro, honor graduate, with Brandon Vinton of NFCU, right, and Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, at June 12, 2015, graduation ceremonies .
HM3 Cody Limauro, honor graduate, with Brandon Vinton of NFCU, right, and Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, 12 June 2015.

One of the ongoing efforts of the Tri-City Council is working with our community affiliate, Navy Federal Credit Union, to honor the honor graduate of each class of the Field Medical Service Technician Course — the Navy hospital corpsmen who aid Marines — at Camp Pendleton.

Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015
Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015

These young men and their classmates join the famed “Devil Docs” and the brotherhood of Navy Corpsmen and Marines. The rating of Hospital Corpsman is the most decorated in the US Navy, with individuals receiving 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 946 Silver Stars, and 1,582 Bronze Stars. Those participating in the service technician course undergo rigorous military training to be able to assist the Marines.

Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014
Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014