SECNAV Spencer’s 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Message

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By Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy

To our Marines, civilians, families, and friends:

For 243 years, United States Marines have set the standard for military excellence, ready to respond at any time, in any place, whenever there is a need.

One hundred years ago, the enemy called them the Devil Dogs for the way they turned the tide at Belleau Wood. Seventy-five years ago, the shores and jungles of Tarawa shook with the determined charge of United States Marines. And fifty years ago, Marines like Gunnery Sergeant John Canley imposed order on the chaotic urban battlefield of Hue.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)
WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)

It was my honor to meet now Sergeant Major Canley (retired) and to add his name to the Hall of Valor following his receipt of the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was a reminder of the service and sacrifice of the unbroken line of patriots, from its beginning in the earliest days of the revolution, through the Marines it was my honor to serve alongside, to the warriors who stand watch throughout the globe today.

Polly and I are forever grateful for all that you, your families, and your loved ones do for our nation. Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation with a committed sense of urgency. We are accountable for how and where we invest our time and our resources, and we must understand the readiness and lethality we gain from those investments.

Solve the problems in front of you. Send solutions up the chain, and empower those you command to do the same. Ask yourselves and each other how can we accomplish our mission better, faster, and more efficiently. With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity, and accountability the American people have come to expect from the Corps after 243 years of honor and valor.

Happy Birthday, Marines. God bless you, God bless the United States Marine Corps, and God bless the United States of America. Semper Fi.


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SECNAV Spencer’s 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Message

Sexual Assault: Not in My Navy

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By Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Photo: Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Many of you are familiar with my philosophy of “Ship, Shipmate and Self.” In the Navy and Marine Corps, we ensure the mission is accomplished, we watch out for our comrades and we must take care of ourselves. When it comes to preventing and stopping sexual assault, the same applies. Sexual assault strikes at the dignity, health, and welfare of our people, it erodes trust and cohesion, and it undermines the readiness of our force. Together, we must combat sexual assault crimes.

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. During this month, Navy Medicine will focus its efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through command-level education and special events. Sexual assault prevention is a priority year-round, but this month I want talk to stress what Navy Medicine is doing to tackle this issue and how we must come together to prevent sexual assault every day of the year.

While we work to eliminate this crime from our service, we will continue to care for the victims when these unfortunate incidents do occur. It is crucial we support the sexual assault victim and hold offenders accountable. When a victim tells us that they have been sexually assaulted, we believe them and protect their privacy. We must create safe environments free from sexual assault and harassment.

Navy Medicine is committed to the quality of care we provide to victims.  We’re increasing the capability to provide timely, readily accessible medical-forensic examinations (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination – SAFE). Last month, we made revisions to Navy Medicine policy establishing training requirements for health care providers to conduct SAFE examinations. Standardized SAFE increases capability and improves the patient experience. Standardization also allows for consistent evidence collection and reporting whether it is at one of our military treatment facilities at home or in a forward-deployed operational area.

Recent sexual assault prevention and response program changes have also resulted in increased access for patients and improved readiness for our Navy Medicine providers. Specifically, as a result of the recent SAFE policy update, our Regional Commanders are ensuring the availability of sexual assault medical response capability 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all our service members. Navy Medicine Regional Commanders are also in the process of appointing a Regional Sexual Assault Program Manager to ensure that the Department of Defense standard of care of sexual assault victims is met at the local medical command level.

Awareness and support of those affected by sexual assault is critical, but prevention is vital. We are leaders at every level, and I expect you to exert compassionate and intrusive leadership to stamp out anything that fosters a condition where sexual assaults could occur. Look into any trends or occurrences of sexual assault, unwanted behavior, or on-duty or off-duty atmosphere where trouble can arise. We also need to pay attention to the use and prevent the abuse of alcohol. In many case, alcohol is a contributing factor in sexual assaults.

Every command has access to a sexual assault response coordinator for witnesses and/or victims to report issues. Don’t be that person shaking their head after the fact saying “I saw this coming and I didn’t do enough to prevent it.”

I take this issue very seriously, and I expect you to do the same. We will be a stronger military, a stronger Navy and a stronger Navy Medicine enterprise as we stand together to combat sexual assault crimes.

Somewhere out there is a young man or woman who is considering either joining, or staying in our Navy. As they consider the pros and cons for themselves, one of them must never ever be fear of sexual assault or inappropriate sexual behavior. Not in my Navy! Not in our Navy!

I am so very proud of the work you do each day. Let’s lead together to a Navy that sets the example in honor, courage, and commitment. Thank you for your service and as always, it is my honor and privilege to serve as your surgeon general.

———-

Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.

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Sexual Assault: Not in My Navy

First Lady Joins Maryland Governor at Veterans’ Bill Signing

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Story by Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service

First Lady Michelle Obama watches Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, seated, third from left, sign the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 during a ceremony at the State House in Annapolis, Md., April 17, 2013. Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, far left, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., second from left, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, right, joined O'Malley. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

First Lady Michelle Obama watches Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, seated, third from left, sign the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 during a ceremony at the State House in Annapolis, Md., April 17, 2013. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at the State House in Annapolis on April 17, 2013, as he signed into law the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013.

The Defense Department collaborated in development of Maryland’s comprehensive bill, designed to streamline credentialing and licensing procedures for service members, veterans and their spouses.

“We have asked them to risk their lives in combat, manage dozens of peers, operate complicated machinery, oversee millions of dollars of assets and save lives on the battlefield,” Obama said. “And then, when they come home, we’re also asking them to repeat months of training for skills they’ve already mastered. So we have to ask ourselves: how does this make sense?”

The first lady said enacting the bill represents more than merely “eliminating a few bureaucratic headaches” for veterans and their spouses.

“This is about improving the financial security for thousands of military families,” Obama said. “It’s about giving veterans and their spouses an opportunity to build their careers and create a better future for their children.”

As part of their Joining Forces initiative, in February, the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, addressed the National Governor’s Association as part of a call to action to bring millions of veterans into the civilian workforce.

“With the Iraq war over [and] the war in Afghanistan winding down, more than a million service members are going to be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning back to civilian life,” Obama said. “And that comes on top of the hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses already out there looking for work.”

While the first lady noted much progress in veterans’ employment over the past few years, she acknowledged that there is still more work to do. As of March 2013, roughly 783,000 veterans were unemployed and looking for work, including 207,000 post-9/11 veterans.

“We need more businesses to make big, bold commitments to hire and train our veterans and military spouses,” Obama said. “We need more hospitals … colleges and employers from every sector to recognize our veterans’ and military spouses’ unique skills and experiences and give them a fair shot at a job.”

Prior to the bill-signing, Obama visited the U.S. Naval Academy, where she ate lunch with midshipmen and met with a number of health care professionals who have served the country for years and mastered highly technical, high-demand skills.

Introducing the first lady at the State House was 23-year Navy veteran and former Senior Chief Petty Officer Andrew Hite, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while on active duty. Hite said he experienced anxiety about pursuing a degree.

“Even though I served this country for more than two decades as a radar tech, an avionics electronics technician and an avionics instructor, I was unable to receive even a single college credit with all of my military experience and numerous formal training courses I completed on active duty,” Hite said. “Legislation that’s being signed today will ensure the well-deserved recognition of our country’s veterans’ efforts of service and acknowledge their military experience and their formal training received while serving our country.”

The legislation, Hite emphasized, will remove the barrier of time.

“It will help shorten the time required to complete the desired degree by allowing credit for the often-expensive knowledge [veterans] have gained during their military service,” Hite added.

Maryland joins a growing list of states that have taken legislative or executive action to help service members, veterans and their spouses get the credentials they need to successfully transition to the civilian labor market.

“Your bill here in Maryland is one of the best bills we have seen in the entire country,” Obama said. “You’re helping our veterans obtain professional credentials … earn college credit … and making it easier for military spouses to continue their careers as they transfer to your state.”

O’Malley also addressed the plight of veterans before signing the bill.

“These individuals should never come home, after overcoming all the barriers they have for us, and face barriers to employment, barriers to licensing, barriers that prevent them from keeping a roof over their children’s heads and providing them with a loving home with economic security and dignity.”

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First Lady Joins Maryland Governor at Veterans’ Bill Signing

Marines Blog

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Colonel Walt Ford, USMC (Ret)

DiamondVsBasilone

Who is the Ultimate Marine’s Marine? Each day, we’ll compare two Marine Corps legends across three categories: Service (actions while in uniform), Legacy (how their service continued to impact the Corps and the world) and Motivation (esprit de corps and overall badassery). The Marines Blog will judge initial rounds internally and guest writers will take over for the final rounds. Be sure to make your voice heard by voting in our simultaneous fan bracket here on the Marines Blog. Share your opinion on our Facebook page, or tweet your thoughts with us @usmc using the hashtag: #UltimateMarine

This round is being judged by Colonel Walt Ford, USMC (Ret), the publisher for Marine Corps Association periodicals and editor of Leatherneck Magazine. Leatherneck, started by then-Brigadier General John A. Lejeune in 1917 as the Marine Barracks Quantico newspaper, and becoming a magazine published by the Marine Corps Institute in 1921, was an official publication of the Marine Corps, staffed by active duty Marines until 1972. It’s mission continues to be to tell the Marine Corps story, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Searchable archived articles back to 1921 may be accessed via the magazine’s website.

ViewBracketThe Marine Corps has more than its share of myths and legends, but few Marines are surrounded by less fact and more fiction than Master Gunnery Sgt. Leland “Lou” Diamond and Gunnery Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone. While these two definitely rate high in the pantheon of Leatherneck Lore as “Giants of the Corps,” and previous bloggers have superbly presented much about each and his legacy, I’ll add a few tidbits for your consideration and, for what it’s worth, give you my take on each, relative to theViewFanBracket established criteria: Service — Their actions while serving in uniform. Motivation — motivating stories/anecdotes/details about them. Legacy — How their actions continued to impact the Corps/world after they left. From that we’ll consider which of these two legends has the more lasting impact on our Corps of Marines.

MGySgt Leland “Lou” Diamond (and not Diamond Lou, who would also make for a very interesting discussion), famously known as “The Honker” because of his loud, often obnoxious voice clearly heard above the din of barroom or battle, was heralded as the master-mortarman of World War II, and certainly was one of the most eccentric Devil Dogs to ever pull on dungarees.

He was a fairly old railroad switchman when he decided to take part in the action in France. Promoted to corporal before deploying from Quantico, the self-confident, cocky Marine cussed and killed the “Boche” from Belleau Wood to the Armistice. Returning Stateside, the salty Lou Diamond was discharged in August 1919. But he quickly found “civvies” didn’t fit him well and came back to his family — the Corps. For the next two decades, America forgot about professional warfighters like Lou Diamond. But Diamond was happy. First he served as an armorer. Then he was in a machine gun company while doing duty with those machine gun artists, the Fourth Marines, in China.

The mortars became Lou’s sweethearts and hundreds of stories began to circulate through the Corps about the amazing accuracy of Lou Diamond’s 81mm mortars. His proficiency with the 37mm cannon and heavy machine guns gained the respect of the Japanese too.

Manila John Basilone — well, he’s documented as coming to the Corps in July 1940 as a “doggie” and didn’t even go to Marine boot camp. Is that important? Over the history of the Corps, there have been a great many soldiers see the light and come to the Corps. Boot camp? While few WWII leathernecks did not complete recruit training, a great many Marines who went to war as part of “The Fire Brigade” in August 1950 had not gone to boot camp — don’t make the mistake of telling one of them he’s not a real Marine!

Both these leathernecks were brave, dedicated to their profession and much loved by their Marines who would follow them to Hell and bring back the Devil if asked. In the case of Lou Diamond, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in WWII, but this came years after the fact. Manila John was recommended for the Medal of Honor by the battalion commander of 1st Bn, 7th Marines, LtCol Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, for his actions on the night of Oct. 24-25, 1942. He was awarded the medal during a formation in Balcombe, Australia, in May 1943. Basilone also earned a Navy Cross leading his men on Iwo Jima, and the Purple Heart when he was killed in action on Iwo.

Service: GySgt John “Manila John” Basilone

Both these giants were loved by their Marines as professionals, but also because of their often eccentric personalities.

When Diamond was on liberty, he was known to have a beer bottle in each hand but was no roisterer. Still, he liked his beer. Once at a China station, where the nearest bar was far from the post, Diamond is said to have set up a Chinese man in the bar business right across the street from the Marine barracks. He was known to hold forth with salty tales even after the lights were out.

But Diamond has no edge on Basilone. Basilone’s prodigious appreciation of alcoholic libations was heralded from the Philippines to the States, certainly in New Zealand and Australia, and his homemade “hooch” on Guadalcanal was legendary. Opposite of Lou, Manila John was known as a bit of a brawler on liberty who really could turn out your lights.

Family, well Lou was married to the Corps — right to the end. Manila John — he enjoyed the ladies until a very pretty young hash-slinger in a Camp Pendleton mess hall, Sgt. Lena Mae Riggi, won his heart. They married on July 7, 1944, and shortly thereafter Gunnery Sgt. Basilone was sent back to the Pacific where he was killed on Iwo Jima leading his Marines, Feb. 19, 1945.

She christened the Navy destroyer escort USS Basilone (DDE-824) in 1949 and later helped erect a statue in her husband’s honor at Raritan, N.J. She never remarried, stating, “Once you have the best, you can’t settle for less.”

Lou’s family members were all Marines and the families of his Marines. Many of the Marine children on base at San Diego imagined that the Lord had a scraggly white goatee, a lot of hash marks on his sleeve and a stern visage, just like Master Gunnery Sgt. Lou Diamond.

How did Lou Diamond look? Well, we know from the photo above about his goatee and white hair, but let’s read what Gunny Sgt. Mickey Finn said on that subject:

“One day, coming back from Nicaragua, I got off the train at Quantico, and there was Lou Diamond with his bulldog, Bozo. This Bozo was the ugliest bulldog I ever saw. But, I would say that Bozo was considerably prettier than Diamond.”

Beside Bozo, the homely bulldog at Quantico, Diamond had many pets. At the time the First Marine Division was preparing to leave New River for the South Seas, Diamond was the owner of a particularly ornery goat named “Rufus” and a couple of “trained” chickens whose names were said to be too impolite to print. These were left in New River under the care of a farmer. While he was in the Solomons, rumor had it that Diamond sweated about meat shortages back in the States because he was fearful that Rufus and the educated chickens might be barbecued in his absence.

Basilone? Well, he had no known pets.

Motivation: Master Gunnery Sgt. Lou Diamond

Both Lou Diamond and Manila John were media darlings. Both were on the cover of various magazines such as Time, Life and Leatherneck. In 1949, several million Americans once again re-heard Diamond’s story via the “Cavalcade of America.” Then in a June 1, 1955, television version on the “Cavalcade of America” originally entitled, “The Old Breed,” and later dubbed “The Marine Who Lived 200 Years,” Ward Bond played Lou embellishing the already ostentatious reputation of the by-then deceased “Diamond in the Rough.”

Of course, Basilone is much more well-known today because of the 2010 HBO miniseries, “The Pacific.” Basilone was also featured in the 1995 Iwo Jima documentary, “Red Blood, Black Sand.”

Books, well I don’t recall any on Lou Diamond, but two 2010 books quickly jump to mind on Manila John. One, billed as family-authorized and on the Commandant’s Professional Reading List is, “I’m Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life Of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC.” Opinion only — a much more balanced, well-presented book on Manila John is “The Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone,” by noted Marine veteran and author, now-deceased James Brady. Both books positively portray Manila John.

Legacy: GySgt Manila John Basilone

Every Marine today is taught of the heroism, leadership and commitment of Manila John Basilone. Lou Diamond is lost in history to most Marines. Bringing him to life again via this blog is fantastic and I’m proud to be part of the effort. But, in overall service, motivation and legacy, the tip of the hat and hand salute has to go to Gunnery Sgt. John “Manila John” Basilone.

— — — — — —

Round One

Daly vs Lejeune

Foss vs Hulbert

Diamond vs Gray

Basilone vs Johnson

Puller vs Barnum

Hathcock vs Mawhinney

Vittori vs Glenn

Butler vs Davis

Round Two

Daly vs Foss

Diamond vs Basilone

Puller vs Hathcock

Glenn vs Butler

— — — — — —

The fan bracket has taken a different turn than the Marines Blog. Today’s fan match is between Gen. Alfred Gray and Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. Read the first round blog to catch up on Gray and cast your vote below.

Take Our Poll
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Children’s Story Books Come to Life

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Gavyn, 19 months, hugs one of his favorite Sesame Street characters, Cookie Monster, during the Marine Corps Community Service’s event, “Storybook Fantasy Night” at the Clubs at Quantico on March 7. More than 40 children attended the event. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Antwaun L. Jefferson

More than 40 children, accompanied by their parents, came out to the Marine Corps Community Service’s event, “Storybook Fantasy Night” at the Clubs at Quantico on March 7.

“The purpose of this event is to have a really nice dinner, have a little entertainment for the children and to promote reading,” said Beth Cranz, recreation supervisor, Simper Fit Branch, Marine Corps Community Services.

With the freedom to dress as any of their favorite story book characters, children came dressed in classic outfits such as princesses and super heroes and movie characters such as Harry Potter. There was also MCCS staff that dressed up as well.

Soon after, entering the building, the buffet opened and children, with their parents help, enjoyed a healthy menu, including baby carrots, bagged apples, baked chicken and steamed broccoli.
Because the event promoted reading, every child received a free book to take home.

Three volunteers dressed in Cat in the Hat outfits and read books to the children.

Across the sea of children there was nothing but smiles and laughter. The final event of the night was Bob Brown Puppet Theater who performed a skit called “Mother Goose Caboose.”

“My shows are performed with trick marionettes that have been strung to perform seemingly impossible feats such as skating, performing on a trapeze, juggling and even blowing up a balloon,” said Bob Brown, co-owner, Bob Brown Puppet Theater. “These tricks really draw in the older crowds and parents by making them wonder how I did it.”

Brown easily stole the spot light and the children’s attention through silly, ridiculous and creative puppets.

“This is mostly a night to dress up and enjoy a night with the family,” Cranz said. “The children were excited and seemed more attentive at the storytelling and the puppet show. Overall, the event was a success.”

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Children’s Story Books Come to Life