Apr 27

Marine recognized for Embassy mission in midst of ISIS rise

Maj. Daniel Grainger 2015 Leftwich recipientThis year’s prestigious Leftwich Trophy went to a Marine Corps infantry officer who was the leader in a tense embassy-security in Iraq during the rise of the Islamic State.

In 2014, Maj. Daniel Grainger served as the commander of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines during deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit that lasted close to nine months. While on standby in late-July, the then captain and his Marines were present to reinforce or evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Libya once security efforts began to weaken in Iraq.

“In true MEU fashion, we’re sitting on that mission when things started to heat up with ISIS in Syria in Iraq,” Grainger told Marine Corps Times.

Grainger and about 150 Marines arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in August to help strengthen security in the region since areas like Mosul and Tikrit were conquered by militants after they executed an offensive in northern Iraq.

Grainger was nominated for the award by Lt. Col. Paul Merida, the 6th Marine Regiment’s executive officer, who called his decision a “no-brainer.” According to Merida, Grainger “combines a strong command presence with a tireless work ethic.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 23

A New Congressional Award for Military Kids

MFAN-Military_Youth_Toolkit_Page_1What is the Congressional Award?

The Congressional Award is a public-private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize the achievements of young Americans, no matter where they live.

Why participate in the Congressional Award program?

The Congressional Award program helps military youths become independent, strong, and caring community leaders. The characteristics of military youths – including strong community ties, social skills and resilience – are reinforced through volunteerism.

The Congressional Award program offers opportunities for military youths to volunteer and to gain the support of a mentor who provides additional stability in their lives.

The Congressional Award is a great opportunity for military youths to get involved in their communities and work toward goals that matter to them — and they can participate no matter where they live or if they move.

For a closer look at the program requirements, click to download this PDF to learn more.

Apr 23

Fraternity Accused of Disrespecting Veterans and Urinating on Flag at Retreat

The Warrior Beach Retreat provides veterans with an opportunity to relax and heal. The event was interrupted when a band fraternity brothers disrespected and dishonored the veterans.

According to Warrior Beach Retreat Founder, Linda Cope, the students were antagonizing warriors, throwing marshmallows on the vehicles, breaking American, flags off the vehicles and even urinating on the American flags. Several apology letters have been issued:

The fraternity from the University of Florida’s apology letter:

Dear Warrior Beach Retreat and Veterans,

The brothers of Zeta Beta Tau at the University of Florida would like to send our most sincere apologies to all those who attended your retreat in Panama City Beach, FL this past week.

The behavior of some students who attended this event was out of line, and we apologize on their behalf for the behavior they exhibited. We appreciate everything that you have done for our country and we assure you that the service that you have provided to the United States of America is unparalleled and is honored with the utmost respect.

To know that the actions of certain individuals in our chapter could have negatively affected your retreat is unacceptable to us.
Our Executive Board assures you that we have been working with University officials as well as our International Fraternity to investigate which individuals are responsible for such actions. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 22

Pressure on Marines Corps to lower combat standards for Women

Christina Fuentes Marine Corps

Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro and other Marines from Delta Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East, receive final instructions prior to assaulting an objective during the Infantry Integrated Field Training Exercise aboard Camp Geiger, N.C., Nov 15, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

If women cannot meet a standard, senior commanders better have a good reason why it should not be lowered. This is the announcement the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin E. Dempsey made to the Obama administration’s plan to open direct land combat jobs to women, later known as the “Dempsey rule.” It is now time for the rule to have its first case.

According to the Washington Times, the Marine Corps recently completed research to find out if female officers could finish its Infantry Officer Course. Of the 29 women who attempted the course, none graduated and only four completed the first day’s combat endurance test.

The success rate, or rather lack thereof, is seen as a wakeup call to those in the Pentagon who desire to have a large number of women in the infantry. They are now reviewing the standards and trying to determine which ones are no longer relevant in today’s battlefield.  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 22

From Bare Feet to Combat Boots: Marines in the Making

Gorish United States Marine

Corporal Osmar S. Gorish, a section chief for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, verifies that his M777 155mm Howitzer is adjusted correctly during Exercise Desert Scimitar 2015 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., April 20, 2015. The tough, realistic live-fire training central to Desert Scimitar allows Division units to train in order to maintain readiness and meet current and real-world operational demands.

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – People come from different climes and places, from around the world, to join the ranks of the Unites States Marine Corps. For one Marine in particular, earning the title meant the biggest opportunity of his life.

Being born in Colon, Panama, Cpl. Osmar S. Gorish, a section chief for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, couldn’t imagine that one day he would be in charge of a $2 million piece of equipment for the United States Marine Corps.

We used to play soccer in the streets barefoot and our toys consisted of bike tire rims being pushed by clothes hangers, Gorish said.

“We made a makeshift foosball out of a shoe box, clip hangers and a shaved down rock,” Gorish said.

When Gorish’s mother married his stepfather, he was given the opportunity to come to the United Sates and become a naturalized citizen. He and his family moved to Dallas where Gorish finished high school.

During a job fair at his high school, Gorish noticed a man in blue with a big blue banner reading “MARINES” and quickly approached. He explained that he did not speak English very well and told the recruiter his story.
Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 21

Marine Veteran turned Cop Praised for Refusing to Shoot ‘Suicide by Cop’ Suspect

Screenshot from Marine veteran yelling Shoot ME

Screenshot from video recorded on Police Officer’s body camera.

A police officer has been praised for holding fire as a murder suspect repeatedly begged him to shoot him. The scene was captured on officer Jesse Kidder’s body camera during a tense stand-off on US 52 in Brown County, Ohio.

He had been told to follow Michael Wilcox, 27, and was warned he might be armed.

Suddenly, Wilcox got out of his car and ran at the officer, who is a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq.

He kept charging towards Mr Kidder, saying repeatedly: “Shoot me!” “Get your hands up right now!” the officer screams back.

“Stop! Stop, right there! I don’t want to shoot you man. I don’t want to shoot you…”

Eventually Wilcox, who later told officers he was under the influence of multiple substances, lies on the ground with his arms stretched out. Mr Kidder told TV station WLWT: “Law enforcement officers all across the nation have to deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death.

“I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force.” Chief Randy Harvey, from New Richmond Police Department, praised the officer’s bravery during Wilcox’s “suicide by cop” attempt.  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 21

How Family Life Changed: Leaving Active Duty USMC for the Reserves

How family life changedAs I sit here this morning drinking my coffee, I’m getting butterflies thinking about my husband coming home from his first business trip. I can’t help but feel a little pathetic. I’ve gone through two extended deployments and more schools than I can even count and yet somehow, I have already forgotten what it’s like when he’s away.

After being an active duty Marine for 9 years, my husband recently left, became a Marine reservist and has a full time job in the civilian world. When he was in the process of transitioning out, the job he has now was on a hiring freeze. He had to take a job that would make enough to allow us to qualify to buy our house, but it definitely wasn’t his ideal job. It paid the bills and allowed us to buy our first home and it was a perfect stepping stone to his new career.

Last week, I had to go in and get a new ID. To say I was a little disappointed in the fact that my new ID is now pink is an understatement. Every time I go through the gate or shop at the commissary, I’m reminded that I’m a reservist spouse now. As far as changes go, I don’t really feel any different. We still live close to base and all of our friends are still in the Marine Corps. There isn’t a day that goes by that one discussion doesn’t involve something around the Corps.

I truly thought that my husband being a reservist would change our lives so much, simplify it. It really hasn’t! He still gets calls late at night from the reservists wondering about pay and finalizing details about their next drill date and what the agenda will be.
As for medical, we go to an actual doctor’s office instead of the hospital. This has been a welcoming change. We get insurance through Tricare but we have to pay for it. It’s actually a much better deal than what his current civilian job offers.

Our 3 children haven’t noticed anything different except for that we no longer live on base. This is their first year at a school off base, so it was a chance to meet more local friends that won’t be moving in the next couple of years. They are all under the age of 9 and I think they are just too young to understand the huge life change that just occurred.

All of the worries and stressors that I had while he was transitioning out have definitely eased, we kept going back and forth, wondering if we were making the right decision. If he wouldn’t have opted to become a reservist, I think this would have been a much more difficult transition. We will always love the Corps and completely stepping away from it just wasn’t the best for our situation. However, everyone has their own journey and path and this just happened to be ours.

In my opinion, I get the best of both worlds! I get to see him wear a suit and tie 5 days a week and then once a month, he puts those cammies on! Sometimes I’m even lucky to see him in his Charlies! There’s something to be said about a man in uniform.


Shannon is currently living outside the gates of Camp Pendleton with her husband and kids. She is an avid fitness buff and a Certified Personal Trainer & Health Coach. Follow Shannon’s health tips at The Queen of Peanut Butter.

Apr 21

Marines, sailors participate in UFC Clinic and Fight Night

Uriah Hall Marine Corps

Uriah Hall, professional fighter, Ultimate Fighting Championship, gives Marines fighting tips at the West Gym during the UFC Clinic and Fight Night Viewing, April 18, 2015. The event, which was open to all Combat Center Marines and sailors, began at the West Gym and ended at the Sunset Cinema. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo/Released)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – A Marine and his opponent lock eyes, their faces showing no trace of anticipation. Slowly circling one another, they move close enough to tap hands. Then, with one swift motion and without hesitation, the Marine attacks.

Headquarters Marine Corps Single Marine Program and Marine Corps Community Services hosted an Ultimate Fighting Championship Clinic and Fight Night Viewing at the West Gym and Sunset Cinema, April 18, 2015.

“The Marines and sailors train every day,” said Michael Brown, manager SMP, Headquarters Marine Corps. “It’s important that they enjoy themselves during the time they get to relax.”

The event, which was open to all Combat Center Marines and sailors, began at the West Gym and ended at the Sunset Cinema. There were five UFC fighters who came as part of the event. Three of them, to include Uriah Hall, Diego Sanchez and Joe Lauzon, taught different mixed martial arts techniques. Following the demonstrations, there was a meet and greet where the service members were given the opportunity to ask the fighters questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 21

Welcome to the MEU: The Marine Corps Fire Team

In this episode, follow a fire team of marines as they assault a simulated objective during a live fire training exercise.

Apr 20

Best Books for Marines on the Commandant’s Reading List

Best Books for Marines based on the Commandants Recommended Reading ListOver a number of years, Commandants throughout history have employed a way to expand a Marines range of knowledge by way of the Commandant’s Reading List. Officially known as ‘The Commands Professional Reading List’ (CPRL,) it highlights a variety of literature particularly aimed to support the professional development of Marines. While this list covers an array of themes, three books a year are required to be read, which will be then be recorded in the fitness report of every Marine.

Though all books listed are highly encouraged to be read, we have explored and identified the most reviewed and highly esteemed books on the list to help jump start the selection process. The books highlighted in this article are the top-rated books on Amazon, listed by leadership ranks – also, featured are good reads for several occupations within Marine Corps.

Take a peek at “Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” By Laura Hillenbrand. This book has had over 10,000 Reviews with a 5-star rating, which is quite impressive to have those numbers together. Another indicator that this is an impressive piece of literature is that “Unbroken” was on the New Your Times bestseller list for over 165 weeks. Not only will Marines enjoy reading these books, but many spouses will too.

Commandant’s Choice, Best Book for Marines


Best Book Recommendations for Enlisted Marines

  • Flags of our FathersEntry Level Enlisted (Recruit/Poolee):Making the Corps” By Thomas Ricks (4 ¾ Stars)
  • Primary Level Enlisted (Pvt-Cpl): “Enders Game” by Orson Scott Card (4 ¼ Stars)
  • Career Level Enlisted (Sgt, SSgt): “Outliers” By Malcolm Gladwell (4 ½ Stars)
  • Intermediate Level Enlisted (GySgt, MSgt, 1st Sgt) 

    All Quiet on the Western Front” By Erich Maria Remarque (4 ½ Stars)

    Flags of Our Fathers” By James Bradley (4 ½ Stars)

  • Senior Level Enlisted (MgySgt, SgtMaj)

Hot, Flat and Crowded” By Thomas Freidman (4 Stars)



Best Book Recommendations for Marine Officers

  • Gates of FireEntry Level Officer (Candidate/Midshipman): The Killer Angels” By Michael Shaara (4 ½ Stars)
  • Primary Level Officer (WO, 2nd Lt, 1st Lt): “Gates of Fire” By Steven Pressfield (4 ½ Stars)
  • Career Level Officer (CWO2, CWO3, Capt): “On Killing” By Dave Grossman (4 ¾ Stars)
  • Intermediate Level Officer (CW04, CW05, Maj, LtCol):

Battle Cry of Freedom” By James McPherson (4 ½ Stars)

Blink” By Malcolm Gladwell (4 Stars)


Specialty Books Recommended for Marines




Click here to access the official site of the Commandant’s Professional Reading List.  The list hasn’t been updated since 2013, but expect an update in the near future with General Dunford’s input.

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