Chronologies - 2006


1 January – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,418,514 of whom 178,704 were U.S. Marines.
3 January – Donald Winter was sworn in as the 74th Secretary of the Navy, replacing Navy Secretary Gordon England.
5 January – Marines with 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, deployed to Afghanistan from Hawaii in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  This was the unit’s second deployment to Afghanistan and replaced fellow Marines from 2d Battalion, 3d Marines.  Marines with 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, began arriving home at Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii, four days later. 
6 January – Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area (MCABWA) deactivated during a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, California, as part of a consolidation plan begun by the Marine Corps the year before.  Originally established in 1944 as Marine Activities, Naval Air Bases Command at El Toro, California, MCABWA was reactivated under that name in November 1957.  The new Marine Corps Installations West assumed the duties of MCABWA.
7 January – Marines with 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, deployed for the third time to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
13 January – The Marine sentries were dismissed for the final time at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  The demand for combat troops brought an end to the 155-year tradition of Marines assigned to sentry duty at the elite military academy.  Their duties were assumed by civilian security officers.  
15 January – The Marine Corps’ first tactical helicopter squadron, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161, celebrated its 55th birthday while deployed to Iraq 
for the third time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The squadron was established 15 January 1951 and was the first to deploy troops in a combat zone utilizing helicopters during the Korean War. 
15-27 January – Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1/2 and Iraqi army soldiers conducted Operation Koa Canyon along the Western Euphrates River Valley in Iraq.  The operation’s aim was to disrupt insurgent activities and to root out their weapons caches.  Forty-five weapons caches were uncovered and destroyed.  There were no coalition casualties. 
19 January – Col Douglas P. Yurovich became the first Marine Aviator to assume command of a Navy Carrier Air Wing (CVW).  Col Yurovich relieved Navy Capt Michael Spence of command of CVW 9 during a ceremony aboard the USS Midway.   
23 January – Col Adele E. Hodges became the first female to command Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
27 January – The Marines and civilians of the 8th Marine Corps District formally re-established the command in Fort Worth, Texas.  The command was displaced from New Orleans five months earlier by the devastating Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that swept across the Gulf Coast.
29 January – Marines with 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, returned home from their second combat deployment to Iraq.
1 February – The 1st and 2d Marine Divisions both celebrated their 65th anniversaries.  The 1st Marine Division was established aboard the battleship Texas at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while the 2d Marine Division was officially organized at San Diego, California, in 1941.
5 February – Marines with the command element of II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) returned from Iraq to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
5 February – The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (3d MAW) took operational control of air operations in western Iraq.  The 2d MAW transferred authority almost one year to date after having taken control over the area from the 3d MAW in 2005.  
7 February – Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group deployed to Iraq.  A second wave of Marines from the same unit deployed later in the month on 19 February.
9 February – Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 26 returned to MCAS New River, North Carolina.  Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 332 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 also returned home to MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina.  The squadrons had been deployed in support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
10 February – Almost 900 Marines with 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, returned from Iraq to Camp Lejeune, after being deployed to the area for seven months.
15 February – The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) deployed with the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG).
17 February – Eight Marines and two airman were killed when two CH-53E helicopters crashed during a training flight in the Gulf of Aden, near the coastal town of Ras Siyyan in Djibouti.  The aircraft and the Marines involved in the crash were from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464.  Two Marines survived the crash, including the pilot of one of the helicopters.  
19 February – Marines with the 31st MEU deployed to the Republic of the Philippines in response to a devastating mudslide that occurred two days earlier.  Roughly 300 Marines from the Okinawa-based unit helped dig for survivors as well as helping to clean up in the following days.  
19 February – Nearly 3,000 Marines assigned to the 13th MEU returned to Camp Pendleton, California, after being deployed for seven months.      
24 February – The 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism) was deactivated at Camp Lejeune and its components scattered to other commands throughout the fleet.  
24 February – Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) was activated at Camp Lejeune.  It was the first time that Marines formally fell under the U.S. Special Operations Command. 
27 February – Marines with 3d Radio Battalion returned home to Hawaii from Iraq.  The next day, Marines with 2d Marine Division started arriving home from Iraq at Camp Lejeune.  
28 February – I MEF assumed responsibility for Iraq’s volatile Al Anbar Province from II MEF.  It was the third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi 
Freedom for the Camp Pendleton-based I MEF. 
1 March – Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 returned home to MCAS New River after being deployed for seven months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 also returned home to New River from Iraq on 6 March while Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 began returning several days later on the 14th.    
3 March – The first operational MV-22 Osprey squadron, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (VMM-263), was activated at MCAS New River.
6 March – Marines with 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, deployed yet again to Iraq from MCB Camp Lejeune.  The unit returned from its last deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2005.
9 March – Army LtGen Peter Chiarelli, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, directed further investigation into events surrounding a 19 November 2005 attack in Haditha, Iraq.  Marines were under investigation for possible violations of the rules of engagement in the death of more than 20 Iraqi civilians. 
11-12 March – Hawaii-based Marines with 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, deployed to Iraq’s Al Anbar Province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The unit had returned less than a year earlier from a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 also deployed to Iraq two days later.
16 March – A preliminary hearing was held for two Marine combat water survival instructors in the 1 August 2005 drowning death of a drill instructor.  The two instructors were charged with manslaughter, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty in the drowning of SSgt Andrew J. Gonzales at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California.  Two other Marines also facing charges were still waiting to have hearings scheduled.
19 March – Today marked the third anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  In 2003, Coalition forces, including Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), crossed the Kuwaiti border into Iraq, leading to the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
__April – Marines from 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, arrived in Iraq and took control of a large portion of Fallujah.  The unit focused on training Iraqi Security Forces and conducting counter-insurgency operations for Regimental Combat Team 5.
3 April – Marine Reservists of Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, returned home to Seal Beach, California, following a six-month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  All 125 members returned safely.  
7 April – The battalion commander of 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, and two company commanders were relieved of command amid the investigation into whether Marines from the battalion killed numerous Iraqi citizens in Haditha on 19 November 2005.  The incident was still under investigation.
12 April – The Marine Corps banned the use of synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon by Marines conducting operations outside of forward operating bases and camps in Iraq due to the increased burn risk associated with those materials.  When exposed to extreme heat and flames, clothing containing some synthetic materials like polyester melt and can fuse to the skin, causing horrific, disfiguring burns.
12 April – Approximately 900 Marines and sailors from 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, returned to Camp Lejeune following a seven-month deployment to Iraq.
15 April – The U.S. military, including Marines, wrapped up its relief efforts in Pakistan.  U.S. assistance began shortly after the area was devastated by an earthquake on 8 October 2005.  According to the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, the “mission was the ‘longest disaster assistance effort in U.S. military history’ and the largest humanitarian mission since the Berlin airlift of the 1940s.”    
17 April – Marines repelled an attack by Sunni Arab insurgents in Ramadi, Iraq, when the insurgents launched a coordinated assault against the city’s main government building and two U.S. observation posts.  There were no U.S. casualties resulting from the 90-minute attack.  
23 April – The Japanese government agreed to pay more than $6 billion to move nearly 8,000 Marines and their dependents out of their camps on Okinawa and to a new base on Guam.  The Marine Corps would cover the remaining $4 billion.  The scheduled move to Guam was part of a larger Pentagon initiative to realign its forces in the Pacific to reflect a post-Cold War security environment. 
15 May – The 2d Force Reconnaissance Company (2d Force Recon) was deactivated and its members used to create the first company of the Marine Corps’ new Marine Forces Special Operations Command, 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion (2d MSOB).  About five platoons and the headquarters section of 2d Force Recon were shifted to 2d MSOB with the other two shifted to 2d Reconnaissance Battalion.
18 May – The Marine Corps announced its plans to pull out the majority of its troops serving in Afghanistan.  Although Marines comprised the first conventional ground unit into the country following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, U.S. Army and NATO forces were to assume the defense of the fledgling Afghan government and the continuing hunt for Osama bin Laden and his supporters.
18 May – Marines from the Hawaii-based 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, started arriving home from Afghanistan after completing a five-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  The unit lost three Marines and a Navy corpsman while deployed.
18 May – The Camp Lejeune-based 2d Transportation Battalion was deactivated and its assets redirected to all the other battalions within 2d Marine Logistics Group.
24 May – Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, announced Marines would face criminal charges for the 19 November 2005 incident that left more than two dozen citizens in Haditha, Iraq, dead.  The Marines, whose names were withheld, were from the Camp Pendleton-based 3d Battalion, 1st Marines.
25 May – Seven Marines and a corpsman were accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi man after dragging him from his home in Hamandiyah, Iraq, on 26 April 2006.  The Marines were suspected of killing the man and then attempting to cover up the crime by planting a weapon on the victim and making it appear as if the man was in the process of planting a roadside bomb.  The incident was still under investigation.     
28 May – Marines and sailors of III MEF were deployed to Indonesia to provide humanitarian aid following a devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake.     
6 June – The Marine Corps dedicated its first Islamic Prayer Center at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.  The building had been in use by the base’s Muslim community since the end of 2005 and plans were announced for the building of a larger facility by 2009.
6 June – Approximately 6,000 Marines and sailors deployed to the Middle East as part of the Iwo Jima ESG and the 24th MEU for a scheduled six-months.  The 24th MEU was comprised of its command component, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365, and MEU Service Support Group 24.
10-13 June – Marines with Company I, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, engaged insurgents in direct firefights twice over a three-day period at Observation Post Bears near Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq.  Several Marines were wounded in the attacks but no deaths were reported. 
13 June – President George W. Bush nominated Iraq veteran LtGen James T. Conway as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps.  The nomination was then sent to the Senate for approval. 
15 June – The site for the memorial honoring those killed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon was dedicated.  The memorial covers two acres and is scheduled to be completed in 2008.  Plans include having 184 illuminated benches, representing each of the people killed, with lighted reflecting pools under each bench.  
16 June – Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 (HMM-266) was deactivated during a ceremony at MCAS New River.  The deactivation was in preparation of converting the squadron to a tiltrotor squadron featuring the MV-22 Osprey.  The unit is scheduled to re-activate as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 in a year.
21 June – The Marine Corps announced that seven Marines and one corpsman would face murder charges in the death of an elderly Iraqi man killed in the village of Hamandiyah in April.  All eight men were from 3d Battalion, 5th Marines.
26 June – The eligibility rules for the awarding of the Combat Action Ribbon were revised to include those who “render satisfactory performance under enemy 
fire” even if no shots are fired in response.  The increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by warring factions led to the change in the eligibility standards.  ALMAR 025/06 announced the new criteria. 
29 June – The officer in charge of swimming instruction at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego was given a letter of reprimand and docked $2,000 in pay by the officials after it was determined that the captain was derelict in his supervision of three instructors when SSgt Andrew Gonzales drowned 1 August 2005.  Court-martials were scheduled later in the year for three others in the case. 
7 July – Vice President Dick Cheney thanked Marines and sailors of the 22d MEU for their service in Iraq during a visit to the USS Wasp in Norfolk, Virginia.  The Nassau ESG returned in May 2006 from the Persian Gulf after a six-month deployment. 
15 July – Marines and sailors with 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, arrived at Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq, to replace 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. 
16 July – The U.S. began evacuating American citizens from Beirut, Lebanon, as hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel continued.  The Iwo Jima ESG, including the 24th MEU, rushed to the area.  Small scale helicopter evacuations started immediately but, on 20 July, Marines landed in country for the first time in 20 years to help with the mass evacuations of American citizens by sea.  After evacuations ended 26 July, the U.S. military switched focus to humanitarian aid for the local population.  The Marines completed their mission and left the waters off Lebanon in late August.    
24 July – Marines from 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, rescued three Iraqi hostages and uncovered a large weapons cache near Fuhuylat, Iraq, during Operation Spotlight.  The uncovered weapons included a fully assembled vehicle-borne IED as well as numerous other munitions.  Iraqi army soldiers assisted in the operation.   
25 July – The commanding officer and sergeant major of Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 (MWSS-371) were relieved of their duties for a loss of confidence in their abilities.  An investigation into the allegations against them was pending.  
25 July – The Marine Corps opened its first recruiting office in the Northern Marianas.  A single Marine recruiter was moved from Guam to the tiny island of Saipan, the largest body of land in the Northern Marianas.  The Saipan office falls under the administrative control of the 12th Marine Corps District’s recruiting station.  
29 July – Two MV-22B Ospreys from Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 completed the aircraft’s first ever trans-Atlantic flights.  The Osprey successfully flew from North Carolina to England and back again.
1 August – The Naval Criminal Investigative Service concluded its investigation into the murders of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq, by Marines and handed the case over to a military prosecution team.
2 August – The U.S. Senate confirmed LtGen James T. Conway to be the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
4 August – BGen Angela Salinas took command of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, the first woman commanding officer in the recruit depot’s history. 
10 August – Camp Pendleton officials opened the Wounded Warrior Center, based on a similar program at Camp Lejeune.  The center is designed to help wounded Marines and sailors who are too well to be hospitalized but not well enough to return to their units or the civilian world.
15 August – Marines with the 11th MEU began returning home to Camp Pendleton after a six-month deployment.  The MEU was deployed to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf since 15 February 2006 with elements participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom for a time.
20 August – Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer responsible for the iconic World War II Iwo Jima flag-raising image, died at the age of 94 in Novato, California.  Mr. Rosenthal won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for the image that appeared on the front page of nearly every American newspaper, a 3-cent stamp, and served as the inspiration for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. 
21-25 August – Marines from 9th Engineer Support Battalion deployed from Camp Hansen, Okinawa, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  
22 August – Marine Corps officials announced they had been authorized to recall thousands of Marines to active duty from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), a segment of the reserves that consists of those who left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligation.  It was the first time the Marine Corps planned to use the involuntary recall since the beginning of the Global War on Terror.  MARADMIN 397/06 announced the recalls.
23 August – Marines with 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, began deploying to Iraq from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.  The unit had deployed previously to Afghanistan in June 2005, but this was the unit’s first deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
30 August – Col F. Brooke Nihart, the author of the U.S. Military Code of Conduct and Navy Cross recipient, died of heart and kidney ailments at the age of 
87.  Col Nihart also served as deputy director of Marine Corps museums from 1972-1991 and contributed numerous articles on military history, weapons, and uniforms.  He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
31 August – As the Marines of 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, began deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the unit was among the first to return to Iraq for a fourth tour. 
6 September – Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 began arriving home at Twentynine Palms, California, following a seven month deployment to Iraq.
11 September – Marines around the world, including those serving in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, marked the fifth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.  
13 September – The Marines of 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, began deploying from Kaneohe Bay to Iraq for a seven-month tour while the Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 and 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, began arriving home in Hawaii two days later after also serving six months in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
13 September – The first of three Marines facing court-martials in the drowning death of SSgt Andrew Gonzales in August 2005 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego was found not guilty of dereliction of duty.  The court-martials for two other Marines involved in the case were scheduled to start in October. 
13 September – The 15th MEU, as part of the Boxer ESG, began a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions.
15 September – Famed photographer, Joe Rosenthal, was posthumously awarded the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal by the Marine Corps in a ceremony held at the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco, California.   
21 September – The AV-8B Harrier component of the 24th MEU ended a short but productive stint in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Marines serving with HMM-365 flew 136 combat missions over Afghanistan in just 13 days, dropping a total of 17 precision-guided bombs.  The 24th MEU was stationed in the Arabian Sea as part of the Iwo Jima ESG.
21 September – The 2005 Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership award was presented to the widow of Capt John W. Maloney.  Capt Maloney, who was killed 16 June 2005 by an IED in Iraq, was the first officer to be awarded the prestigious trophy posthumously in the award’s 27-year history.  ALMAR 015/06 in April 2006 announced the 2005 recipient.
25 September – Three enlisted Marines were ordered to stand trial for the alleged April 2006 kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man in Hamandiya.  The three Marines were ordered court-martialed by LtGen James N. Mattis, commanding officer of Marine Forces Central Command.  Four other Marines and a Navy corpsman were still awaiting preliminary hearings in the same case to determine if they too would face court-martial.
2 October – Marines with 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, returned home to Camp Lejeune following the unit’s seven-month deployment to Iraq.  The unit lost 17 Marines during the deployment.
5 October – A second Marine was found not guilty at court-martial following a two-day trial where he faced charges of involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty in the 2005 death of SSgt Andrew Gonzales.
5 October – Hawaii-based 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, arrived home after spending almost seven-months in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Eleven Marines died during the deployment.
5 October – NATO assumed leadership for international military operations throughout Afghanistan, building on the efforts of the U.S. led-coalition to extend the authority of the Afghan government and create the conditions needed for reconstruction and development within the country.
16 October – The Department of Defense announced it would resume mandatory anthrax vaccinations for servicemembers and civilians deploying to U.S. Central Command and Korea.  The mandatory vaccination program had been the center of several court cases in recent years and had been offered on a voluntary basis.
23 October – Family, friends, and survivors gathered at the Beirut Memorial on Camp Lejeune to mark the 23rd anniversary of the devastating bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.  The 1983 attack resulted in the death of 241 Marines, sailors, and soldiers.
26 October – PFC John Jodka III became the first of the eight defendants to admit he participated in the killing of an Iraqi civilian earlier in the year.  He pled guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice as part of a plea bargain requiring him to testify against the Marines still awaiting trial.  Four days later, attorneys for LCpl Tyler A. Jackson announced that a plea bargain had been reached for their client also.  LCpl Jackson would also plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his testimony.  
1 November – Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Robert Magnus, visited the Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, in Ramadi, Iraq.  He spoke with the Marines about several topics, including the situation in and culture of Iraq, as well as about protective gear. 
10 November – The National Museum of the Marine Corps, located outside the gates of Marine Corps Base Quantico, was officially dedicated on the Corps’ 231st birthday.  President George W. Bush, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Michael W. Hagee, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Peter Pace, were among the 15,000 people attending the opening ceremonies. 
10 November – President George W. Bush announced that Cpl Jason L. Dunham, a Marine who died of combat wounds in April 2004, would be the first Marine to receive the nation’s highest military decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions while serving in Iraq.  Cpl Dunham died protecting other Marines from a grenade released by an Iraqi insurgent.  The presentation of the medal to his family was expected to take place in early 2007.
10 November – Marines around the world, including those serving in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, celebrated the Corps’ 231st Birthday.
13 November – Gen James T. Conway became the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps following a change of command ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.  Gen Michael W. Hagee, 33rd Commandant, retired from the Marine Corps after serving for 42 years.
13 November – A third Marine charged with kidnapping and murdering an Iraqi man in the town of Hamandiya on 26 April 2006 reached an agreed upon plea bargain.  LCpl Jerry E. Shumate, Jr., pled guilty to the lesser charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice days later on 21 November.  He was sentenced to 21 months in the brig.  PFC John Jodka III had reached a plea bargain in October 2006 on the same charges and was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the slaying on 15 November.  The next day, LCpl Tyler A. Jackson, who had also reached a agreement, was sentenced to 21 months as well.  All three were to be dismissed from the service.  Four more Marines still faced court-martial in the case.
16 November – Approximately 2,200 Marines of the 15th MEU were pulled from ships afloat in the Persian Gulf and began preparation for deployment to the Al Anbar Province in western Iraq.  The exact location was not released nor were the specifics of the Marines mission. It was the third time the unit had been sent to Iraq since 2003.   
6 December – Maj Megan McClung, a 1995 Naval Academy graduate, became the first female Marine officer to be killed in Iraq.  Maj McClung was serving as a public affairs officer with I MEF when she was killed by a roadside bomb near the town of Ramadi.  She was the fifth female Marine to die in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
7 December – Today marked the 65th Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Nearly 500 survivors of that fateful day gathered to remember those lost.  In total, the attack killed 2,390 Americans, injured another 1,178, and catapulted the U.S. into World War II.
15 December – Marine Corps Mobilization Command (MOBCOM) mailed out 150 letters to Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) Marines, calling them back to active duty for approximately one year.  IRR Marines are Marines that have completed their active-duty or Reserve contracts and whose only requirement to the Corps is to keep their addresses up to date with MOBCOM in the rare chance there is a need to recall them.      
18 December – Robert M. Gates was sworn in as the 22nd Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.  Secretary Gates replaced outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. 
21 December – Eight Marines were charged in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha in November 2005.  Four of the Marines, all enlisted, were charged with unpremeditated murder while four officers, who were not present during the actual incident, were accused of dereliction of duty for failures in investigating and reporting the deaths.
26 December – Former President Gerald R. Ford passed away at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 93.  In the following seven days, nearly 4,000 servicemembers, including Marines, took part in a national farewell to President Ford that took place in California, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.
26-27 December – Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen James T. Conway, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj John L. Estrada, visited with Marines throughout Al Anbar Province in Iraq.  The pair spoke about ongoing current concerns within the Marine Corps as well as answering questions from junior Marines.
31 December – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,371,533 of whom 178,477 were U.S. Marines.
Reference Branch
USMC History Division

Marine Corps University