___ January – The Secretary of the Navy approved the name “Osprey” for the tilt-rotor aircraft program formerly referred to as the “JVX.” The program will produce the replacement aircraft for the aging CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter fleet. Its new overall name is V-22 Osprey and its variants will be referred to as MV-22 for Marines, HV-22 for Navy, and CV-22 for the Air Force.
___ January – The “Stingers” of Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 167 celebrated 90,000 accident-free flight hours. Based at Camp Pendleton and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, the squadron’s milestone marked 14 years of accident free flying. Using AH-1J Sea Cobras and UH-1N Hueys, its mission has been to provide attack and utility helicopter support to landing forces during ship-to-shore movements and operations ashore.
1 January – The strength of the armed forces was 2,138,339; 197,641 were Marines.
2 January – General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., the 25th Commandant of the Marine Corps, died of a heart attack at his home in Fort Washington, Maryland, nine days before his 70th birthday. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, General Cushman was commissioned in 1935. Awarded the Navy Cross for heroism as a battalion commander during the recapture of Guam in 1944, the general went on a quarter of a century later in Vietnam to command more troops in combat --- Marine and soldiers --- than any other Marine officer. Prior to serving as Commandant in 1972, General Cushman was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He retired from the Marine Corps 1975 after 40 years of active duty service. The general was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 7 January.
4 January – Three deceased Marine Medal of Honor recipients were honored at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, with the dedication of new streets in the South Mesa housing area. The streets: Littleton Court, Christianson Court, and Johnson Court, were named after Privates First Class Herbert A. Littleton and Stanley R. Christianson, and Sergeant James E. Johnson. The Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for their actions in the Korean War.
9 January – The Douglass Room of the Diamond Hall Staff NCO Club at Quantico, Virginia, was dedicated. The room was named in honor of Sergeant Major Frederick B. Douglass, one of the 225 Marines killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, on 23 October 1983. During the dedication ceremony, Lieutenant General David M. Twomey, Commanding General, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, assisted Mrs. Shirley F. Douglass in unveiling a portrait of her late husband. The portrait will be permanently displayed in the Douglass Room. The recently renovated room will be used to host small conferences, meetings, and private parties. Douglass Hall, Marine Barracks 75 at Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, Massachusetts, was also named in honor of the decorated Boston-born Marine last year.
14 January – The U.S. Army announced it had selected the 9mm Beretta 92SB-F pistol as the replacement for the aging Colt .45. The Marine Corps will spend approximately $29 million for a total of 91,000 weapons with delivery extended through FY-89. The Beretta 92SB-F fires a 9mm parabellum round in a15-round staggered magazine. The new pistol is expected to have a service life of 10,000 rounds and to cost under $200.
19 January – The 2dLt John P. Bobo, the first of the five new-construction maritime prepositioning ships (MPS) built by the Quincy Shipbuilding Division of General Dynamics, was christened at Quincy, Massachusetts. Named in honor of Marine Second Lieutenant John P. Bobo, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, the Bobo and each of her sister ships will be able to carry roughly one-fourth of the cargo needed for 30 days of sustained operations by a 16,500-man MPS Marine Amphibious Brigade.
21 January – President Reagan’s second inauguration marked the 47th consecutive inauguration in which “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band performed. Due to severe cold weather, inaugural ceremonies were held in the Capitol rotunda. In addition to the Capitol ceremonies, members of the Marine Band performed at a variety of inaugural events including three of the inaugural balls. Music for the events focused on American composers that included Copeland, Chadwick, Schuman, and Sousa. The Marine Band was directed by Colonel John R. Bourgeois.
21 January – Marine Major General Ion M. Bethel, former Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps, died in Torrance, California. He began his Marine Corps career as an enlisted man in 1918 and was discharged a year later. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1925, General Bethel joined the 4th Marines in China during 1927 and again in 1935. He participated in the Peleliu invasion during World War II and served as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Clothing Depot, Philadelphia, and the Marine Corps Supply Depot, Albany, Georgia, during the 1950s. He retired in 1958.
22 January – Eight Marine Medal of Honor recipients were the honored guests of The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. The Medal of Honor winners were in the Washington area to take part in Inauguration activities. Among the recipients present were General Louis H. Wilson, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Honorable Joseph J. Foss, a former governor of South Dakota. Other Medal of Honor recipients present were Colonels Mitchell Paige, Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., and William E. Barber; Lieutenant Colonels Wesley L. Fox and Howard V. Lee; and Mr. Jacklyn Lucas.
24 January – The Marine Corps accepted delivery of its new combat trainer for the F/A-18 Hornet. The trainer, operational with Marine Aircraft Group 11 at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, consists of two domes 40-feet wide along with two fully instrumented F/A-18 cockpits. Built by Hughes Aircraft at a cost of $24 million, the trainer incorporates an electronically created flight environment providing pilots with a 360-degree coverage of the earth, sky, and targets.
25 January – Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, Jr., fired some of the Marine Corps’ newest battalion-and company-level infantry weapons including the M-16A2 rifle, the Shoulder-launched Multi-Purpose Assault Weapon (SMAW), the MK-19 machine gun, and the M-40A1 sniper rifle. The Secretary, accompanied by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, also used the Quantico visit as an opportunity to recognize a Marine who was instrumental in the development of the M-16A2 rifle. Major Michael W. Smith, the rifle’s developmental project officer, was awarded the Legion of Merit medal on behalf of President Reagan.
27 January – Major General Frank C. Croft, USMC (Retired) died in Coronado, California. A 1928 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, General Croft was designated an aviator in 1930 after training in San Diego and Pensacola. He saw action on Bougainville, Guam, and Peleliu during World War II, winning the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for service on Guam. During the 1950s, General Croft commanded the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and later served as Assistant Commander of the 1st Aircraft Wing. He retired in 1959.
30 January – A demonstration firing of the developing Upgunned Weapon Station (UGWS) was held in Quantico, Virginia, for personnel at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Among those attending were Brigadier General James M. Mead, Director of the Manpower Plans Policy Division, and Brigadier General Ray M. Franklin, Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Studies. The UGWS would enhance the ability of amphibian assault vehicles to make a landing in a hostile environment. The Marine Corps has been developing the UGWS for use on the AAVP7A1, formerly designated the LVTP7A1 (tracked landing vehicle, personnel).
30 January – Marine Attack Squadron 331 became the first operational AV-8B Harrier II squadron in the Marine Corps. Located at Cherry Point, North Carolina, the “Bumblebees” made a transition from A-4M Skyhawks to Harrier IIs over a two-year period.
___ February – Camp Lejeune’s first fast-food restaurant – a Burger King – opened. It is the first Burger King on a Marine base and only the second nationally franchised food establishment to be so located. McDonald’s operates a facility at Camp Pendleton. Burger King will turn a percentage of its sales over to the base to be used for recreation programs.
4 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved an acquisition decision memorandum that recommended the procurement of the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank for the Corps’ future armor needs. After extensive developmental and operational testing of the M1A1 in an amphibious environment, the Marine Corps Systems Acquisition Review Council, headed by the Assistant Commandant, General James K. Davis, considered three other armor alternatives for the Corps which included the M60A1 with improved fire control system, and the M60A3. The council found the M1A1 alternative to be the most effective. Deliveries to the Fleet Marine Force are expected to begin during 1989.
4 February – The first of a two-part Woman Marines Review was concluded with the publication of Marine Corps Order 1300.8M (Change 2). The directive contains formal policy on the classification, assignment, and deployment of enlisted women Marines. Similar policies regarding women Marine officers will be forthcoming with the second half of the review. The directive contained four objectives: to ensure commanders have sufficient men for deployment requirements; to control the combat risk for women; to guarantee equitable opportunity for men and women to serve in the Fleet Marine Force and the supporting establishment; and to ensure fair and equitable career progression for all Marines.
6 February – The Maritime Prepositioning Ship Stephen W. Pless was christened during ceremonies at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company shipyard at San Diego, California. The ship was named in honor of deceased Marine Major Stephen W. Pless, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Vietnam War. Mrs. Edwin Meese was the ship’s sponsor. The Pless is the sixth of 13 Maritime Prepositioning Ships to be named.
6-7 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, delivered the annual Marine Corps Posture Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In his statement, General Kelley asked Congress’ continuing support in maintaining Marine readiness and the Corps’ “unique capability to respond to national security needs across the entire spectrum of conflict.”
7 February – For the first time in Marine Corps history, a board of general officers selected a woman to be advanced to the rank of brigadier general. Colonel Gail M. Reals was selected from a group of 312 colonels. Currently serving as Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, Virginia, Colonel Reals enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1954 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1961 through the meritorious noncommissioned officer program. Her decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and three meritorious unit citations.
8 February – The USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) was commissioned at Lockheed Shipbuilding Company, Seattle, Washington. Brigadier General William A. Bloomer represented the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the ceremony, which 1,500 guests attended. LSD-41 was part of an 8-ship program to replace the LSD-28 class vessels. These dock landing ships are traditionally named for historic sites.
10 February – The recently established Terrorist Threat Section, Counterintelligence Branch, Intelligence Division, Headquarters, Marine Corps, completed its first Mobile Training Team (MTT) presentation concerning terrorism and terrorism countermeasures to approximately 2,500 civilian and military personnel assigned to the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia. The eight one-hour presentations are provided to inform all Marines and civilian personnel assigned to Marine commands of the terrorist threat and individual protective measures against the threat.
19 February – A ceremony honoring the 40th anniversary of the assault on Iwo Jima was held at the Marine Corps War Memorial where some 700 people gathered. The ceremony included a message from President Reagan read by Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley.
19 February – Hundreds of Marine survivors of the battle for Iwo Jima gathered at reunions in honor of the campaign 40 years ago. At a reunion held on Iwo Jima, American and Japanese veterans dedicated a war memorial. In English and Japanese, the marker commemorates the “reunion of honors.” Additionally, an Iwo Jima reunion was held on the battleground at Vicksburg, Mississippi, as an alternative for veterans unable to go to Iwo Jima. This date marks the landing on Iwo Jima in which more than 70,000 Marines participated.
21 – 24 February – Approximately 1,000 Marine reservists from the 4th Marine Division were involved in a Mobilization Operational Readiness Deployment Test (MORDT). The units involved were elements of the 24th and 25th Marines from Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois.
22 February – Forty years after Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Colonel Justice M. Chambers was wounded on Iwo Jima, General Paul X. Kelley presented the Chambers Trophy for Leadership to a Marine reservist. Colonel Chambers died in 1982. Captain Alfred R. Marshall, Jr., with Company C, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, became the first recipient of the Chambers Trophy. The Chambers Trophy for Leadership is open to any company grade officer who exhibits extremely effective leadership and commitment, and serves in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve or on active duty as a member of the Full-Time Support Program with the 4th Marine Division.
___ March – A decision of the Commandant of the Marine Corps to reassign responsibility for furnishing WestPac afloat Marine Amphibious Units (MAUs) from the 1st Marine Brigade in Hawaii to Marine units in Southern California was implemented. Hereafter, the 1st Marine Division, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Force Service Support Group will maintain two standing MAUs—the 11th and the 13th – which will alternate deployments to the Seventh Fleet. The31st MAU, the permanent headquarters that served as the command element headquarters for afloat forces deploying to Seventh Fleet from Hawaii, will be deactivated.
___ March – Marine reserve units began receiving the new M-16A2 rifle and the new M-198 howitzer. As a part of total force modernization, units of the 23d and 25th Marines began receiving M-16A2 rifles and artillery batteries of the 1st Battalion, 14th Marines began receiving M-198 howitzers.
4 March – Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 301, located at Marine Corps Air Station (Helicopter), Tustin, California, logged 75,000 accident-free flight hours in CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopters. During a ceremony commemorating the event, the squadron was presented a plaque by Boeing-Vertol, the manufacturers of the CH-46.
4 March - Colonel James F. Buchli, the Marine mission specialist for Shuttle Mission 51C, returned the Commandant’s colors that he carried into space onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, to General Paul X. Kelley. Shuttle Mission 51C, flown 23-27 January, was the first space mission for Colonel Buchli, who began his Marine Corps career as an infantry officer in Vietnam. Graduating from the U.S.Naval Academy in 1967 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, Colonel Buchli became the first Marine naval flight officer to wear astronaut wings.
5-14 March – The 11th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU), comprised of 1,800 Marines and sailors, took part in amphibious operations during Exercise Kernel Usher 85-2 in Southern California. The 11th MAU was in its final phase of training before a six-month deployment to the Far East.
8 March – Major General Donald McPherrin Weller, USMC (Retired), a pioneer in the development of naval gunfire support tactics, died at the age of 77. A1930 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, General Weller commanded the 2d Battalion, 12th Marines at Bougainville and Guam. Following World War II, he served as Chief of the Naval Gunfire Section, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, and during the 1950s and early 1960s, General Weller commanded the 10th Marines and the 3d Marine Division. He retired from active duty in 1963. His military decorations included the Legion of Merit and two Bronze Stars.
9 March – The Maritime Prepositioning Ship PFC James Anderson, Jr., was renamed during ceremonies held at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation Sparrows Point Yard at Baltimore, Maryland. The ship was renamed in honor of Marine PFC James Anderson, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously) for gallantry during the Vietnam conflict. The MPS PFC James Anderson, Jr., which is the seventh of 13 Maritime Prepositioning Ships, will provide the Navy and Marine Corps with a significant new dimension in mobility, sustainability, and global response.
13 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of three streets at the Light Assault Amphibious Vehicle Battalion Complex site, Las Flores Area, Camp Pendleton, in honor of three Marines from California who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: Second Lieutenant Albert O. Nelson, Jr., Private First Class Clyde J. Valstad; and Private LeMarr Fisher.
13 March – The naming of the Courthouse Bay Area Dining Facility at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The dining facility was named in honor of Sergeant Thomas G. Keown, USMC (Deceased). Sergeant Keown was serving with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit in Beirut, Lebanon, when he was killed in the 23 October 1983 terrorist attack on Battalion Landing Team 1/8 Headquarters.
13 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a conference room at the Marine Corps Institute, Washington, D.C., in honor of the Institute’s founder, Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune.
15 – 22 March – Approximately 1,500 Marines participated in Exercise Cold Winter ‘85 in Norway. Marines of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade teamed up with Norwegian, British, Canadian, and Dutch troops. Designed to enhance operational readiness among forces that protect NATO’s northern flank, the exercise tested the forces’ capabilities during winter conditions.
15 – 27 March – The 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Exercise Team Spirit ‘85 near Pohang, Korea. The 10th annual combined field training focused on rapid deployment for the defense of the Republic of Korea. Approximately 200,000 United States and Republic of Korea military personnel participated in the exercise, which featured the first Team Spirit landing executed under cover of total darkness.
21 - 30 March – Marine “Skyhawks” from the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing participated in Exercise Border Star ‘85. The exercise was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and included Marine reservists from VMA-131, VMA-124, VMAQ-4, and VMGR-234, along with personnel from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and a Canadian airborne regiment. The purpose of the exercise was to test the compatibility of American armed forces in a joint combat situation.
25 March – Marine Corps Bulletin 1020 contained several changes to uniform regulations which included the wearing of rank insignia on the camouflage utility cover, rank insignia on the camouflage utility coat, and the mandatory possession date of 1 July for olive green undershirts to be worn with the utility uniform.
26 March – Marine Attack Training Squadron (VMAT) 203 stationed at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, witnessed the last sortiesMarine pilots will fly for training in the “A” model Harrier. VMAT-203, the only Harrier training squadron in the Marine Corps, began AV-8B training on 1 April, although the squadron will still use TAV-8As prior to training students in AV-8Bs. VMAT-203’s “A” model Harriers were transferred to Marine Attack Squadrons 542 and 231.
27 March – The 2d Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) Battalion, the first such battalion in the Marine Corps which activated one year ago, finished a 10-week training exercise at the Infantry Training Center, Fort Benning, Georgia, with 47 LAVs. The reason for this training was to qualify LAV crews on the Army’s computer-operated 25mm multiply moving-target ranges that are used to qualify M2 Bradley Crews. This range is the only one of its type in the United States. The training value of the exercise lay not only in qualifying the LAV crews on gunnery ranges, but also in utilizing those skills in a battalion-sized combined arms operation. This, in conjunction with airlift operations, demonstrated the ability of combat-ready Marine units to rapidly deploy to possible theaters of conflict.
27 March – Retired Marine Major General Frank H. Lamson-Scribner died at the age of 83 in Charleston, South Carolina. A Marine flier for more than 25 years, the general entered the Marine Corps in 1923 upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. During World War II, he served as the Air Officer, Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet and was Assistant Commander of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea.
___ April – Sergeant Major Philip V. Malarski was selected as the Marine Corps’ first Reserve Division Sergeant Major. Sergeant Major Malarski, who has served as a drilling reservist for the past 27 years, will serve as the senior enlisted reserve advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs.
__ April – The 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade, a contingent of the Corps’ readiness enhancement program, improved its ability to move 12,500 men to the Persian Gulf within a week, equipped to fight for 30 days without resupply. This was made possible by the advance positioning of supplies on ships in the Indian Ocean. The maritime pre-positioning ships concept represented a significant new dimension in mobility, readiness enhancement, and global response.
___ April – The Commandant of the Marine Corps made final decisions to bring the permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) concept into effect over the next several years. The Corps will have a total of 13 permanently established MAGTF headquarters and will place far less reliance on temporary command elements formed at a time of crisis. The MAGTF’s new structural lineup includes three amphibious force headquarters, five amphibious brigades, four amphibious units, and one brigade.
1 April – The Marine Corps Air Facility at Camp Pendleton, California, was officially redesignated as Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, California.
9 April – The Army’s Central Intelligence Laboratory in Honolulu positively identified the remains of six American servicemen who died during the Vietnam War that were recently returned to the U.S. by the Vietnamese. Four of the six men were Air Force officers who were shot down over North Vietnam and listed as missing in action. The other two, an Army soldier and a Marine, were listed as prisoners of war who were known to have died after being captured. The Marine was identified as Sergeant Robert C. Sherman of Danville, Illinois, who was captured in South Vietnam of 24 June 1967.
15 April – The Marine Detachment on the USS Independence deactivated as the ship was scheduled for a complete overhaul.
23 April – Marines from the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit made an amphibious landing on the Caribbean coast of Honduras as part of Exercise Universal Trek ‘85 that began 12 April. One of the largest military exercises held in Central America, with 7,000 U.S. participants, Universal Trek ‘85 was designed to integrate Marine, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army forces that might be used against enemy forces in the Caribbean region.
26 April – The Commandant’s White Letter No. 11-85 addressed the Marine Corps’ initial six-year enlistment program. The Quality Enlistment Program (QEP) became available only to high school graduates who meet the Corps’ most stringent standards. In return for their six-year commitment, these Marines receive certain incentives, which include a choice of military occupation specialty, and initial appointment to private first class with subsequent promotions to lance corporal and corporal. In 1985, 5,000 Marines are expected to enlist through QEP.
26 April – Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 533 received an award for outstanding achievement in tactical aviation from the Association for Naval Aviation during its annual symposium/convention in Arlington, Virginia. The award was presented to the “Hawks” for their performance aboard the USS Saratoga during 1984, which included work in the use of the A-6E tram to control naval gunfire from an airborne platform at night.
26 April – The Marine Corps performance evaluation system received its own “fitness report” from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In his White Letter No. 10-85, the Commandant placed major emphasis on the accountability and accuracy of individual reports and records. Improvements the Commandant seeks will result from a simplification of the current system which includes a shift from semiannual to annual reports, a two-thirds reduction in the types of reporting occasions, and a standardization of the reporting chain.
30 April – On this date, ten years ago, U.S. Marines completed evacuation operations of Americans and selected foreign nationals from the American Embassy in Saigon in Operation Frequent Wind. The last two Marine in-country battle casualties of the Vietnam War also occurred with the deaths of Corporal Charles McMahon, Jr. and Lance Corporal Darwin Lee Judge. This date also marked the decade anniversary of the surrender of the Government of South Vietnam to North Vietnam Communist forces.
30 April - 16 May – More than 43,000 U.S. military personnel, including 1,200 Marines of the II Marine Amphibious Force, participated in Exercise Solid Shield ‘85. The purpose of the operation was to exercise command and control of military forces in a simulated combat environment. Solid Shield ‘85 was conducted along the East Coast and the adjacent waters and was highlighted by an air assault and amphibious landing at Camp Lejeune. The exercise was the 22d in a series of joint exercises conducted annually by the Commander in Chief Atlantic Command.
30 April – Station Operations and Maintenance Squadron (SOMS) was activated at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, by Brigadier General William A. Bloomer, commander of Marine Corps Air Bases, Western Area. Comprised of the former station S-3 department, the weapons department, and the air freight section, the new squadron would also provide administrative support of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department. SOMS was established to provide a more effective organizational structure.
6 May – A CH-53D Sea Stallion from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 crashed off the island of Yakushima in the Sea of Japan. All 17 Marines on board were presumed dead after a day-long search. The helicopter was en route from Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, in central Japan, where it participated in a Friendship Day celebration, to its home base on Okinawa when the crash occurred.
10 - 16 May – The 1985 Competition in Arms Program was held at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Matches. The Lauchheimer Trophy, presented to the shooter with the highest aggregate score in both the rifle and pistol match, went to Master Sergeant Ricardo Rodriquez. Marines from Quantico, Virginia’s Marksmanship Training Unit held 19 of the 33 highest scores in the distinguished shooters category, and marksmen from the Western Division won 10 of the 20 individual team awards.
10 - 20 May – The 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) used the unloading of the PFC William B. Baugh at Wilmington, North Carolina, to stage Reception Control Exercise 1-85. The exercise was the first major test of the 6th MAB’s plans for receiving and processing supplies and equipment from maritime pre-positioning ships (MPS) in a contingency reception area. Having completed its assignment as part of MPS-1T, the Baugh was being unloaded in preparation for reassignment to MPS-2.
15 May – Marine Detachment, USS Forrestal (CV-59) was activated at Naval Station, Mayport, Florida.
15 May – Colonel Gail M. Reals, USMC, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general at Quantico, Virginia, where she was stationed. Brigadier General Reals was the first women to be selected by a promotion board for the rank of general.
18 May – The Maritime Prepositioning Ship PFC Dewayne T. Williams was christened at the General Dynamics Shipyard, Qunicy, Massachusetts. The ship was named in honor of Marine PFC Dewayne T. Williams, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in the Vietnam War.
24 May – A revised order on the Training Policy for Women Marines (MCO 1500.24D) was released. It stated that women Marines were no longer exempt from certain portions of the annual essential subjects test and that they will be expected to maintain and demonstrate proficiency in areas relatively unfamiliar to them in the past. The directive stated that since women Marines serve in many different units and MOSs, their exposure to danger in a hostile environment cannot be precluded.
27 May – In his Memorial Day message, General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, remembered all of America’s valiant dead as well as living veterans. He stated “As Marines, we are committed to serving our country with honor – to keeping faith with every American serviceman who fought and wept, and died, on a distant battlefield.”
28 May – This year’s Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. Award in Marine Corps history went to Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times for his article, “America’s Failure in Lebanon” published in the New York Times Magazine, 8 April 1984. Major General John F. Condon presented the award on behalf of the Commandant of the Marine Corps during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Historical Center.
30 May – The keel was laid for LHD 1, Wasp, in a ceremony at Ingalis Shipbuilding, a division of Litton Industries, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, authenticated the keel plaque at the ceremony. The Wasp, scheduled for delivery in 1989, was the first of the new class that will replace the “Iwo Jima” LPH class and augment the existing “Tarawa” LHA class to provide amphibious lift capabilities into the decades ahead.
30 May – Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 204 located at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, North Carolina, completed five years of accident-free flying. The squadron logged 24,588 flight hours in CH-46 and Ch-53 aircraft.
31 May – The 1st Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) Battalion was activated at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, with Lieutenant Colonel Lyle D. Gearhart assigned as commanding officer. By the end of 1985, the command would reach an interim strength of 31 Marine officers and 375 enlisted men and hold 56 LAV-25s.
1 June – Marine Corps Air Stations (Helicopter) at Tustin, California, and New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina, were redesignated as Marine Corps Air Stations.
1 June – Major General William W. Davis, USMC (Retired), died in San Diego, California. Commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1922, General Davis served with the Marine Corps in the Dominican Republic, China, and Nicaragua during the 1920s and 1930s. During World War II, he served as Amphibious Tractor Officer for Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, participating in the Marshalls, Marianas, and Okinawa campaigns. While in the Pacific, General Davis commanded the 25th Marines. Prior to retiring in July 1955, he served as Commanding General, Troop Training Unit, Pacific, in Coronado, California.
10 June – A detachment from the 2d Marine Division sailed with a flotilla of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships from their east coast homeports to mark the beginning of UNITAS XXVI, an annual series of exercises conducted by United States and South American military forces. The mission of the six-month cruise through Caribbean and South American waters was to promote hemispheric solidarity and foster goodwill and military professionalism between participating countries.
17 June – Seven U.S. Navy ships carrying 100 warplanes and helicopters and 1,800 Marines of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit sailed toward the eastern Mediterranean Sea near Lebanon. The Marines were brought in as a “show of force” as 37 American passengers from TWA’s Flight 847, hijacked 14 June, were being held in separate locations in Beirut.
18 June – Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, received a new commanding general. Major General Louis H. Buehl relinquished his command to Brigadier General Joseph B. Knotts during ceremonies at W.P.T. Hill Field at the base.
19 June – Four off-duty Marines and two American businessmen were among 13 people slain when terrorist gunmen opened fire on an outdoor café in San Salvador, El Salvador. The Marines, who were embassy security guards, were unarmed and dressed in civilian clothes when the attack occurred. They were: Staff Sergeant Thomas T. Handwork of Beavercreek, Ohio; Staff Sergeant Bobby Joe Dickson of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Sergeant Gregory H. Weber of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Sergeant Patrick R. Kwiatkowski of Wausau, Wisconsin.
22 June – Retired Brigadier General Walter S. McIlhenny, USMC, died at the age of 74. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1936, he served 31 months in the Western Pacific during World War II, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts. Relieved from active duty in 1945, the General continued his Marine Corps affiliation with the Marine Reserves until 1959. President of the McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce Company, he was one of the founders of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas.
30 June – The mid-year strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,151,568, of whom 198,241 were Marines.
1 July – The 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade reactivated as a permanent headquarters at Camp Pendleton, California. This activation was part of the new concept for organizing and manning six Marine air-ground task force headquarters to permit more detailed planning for deployment.
1 July – Marine Lieutenant General D’Wayne Gray, USMC, took command of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Lieutenant General Charles G. Cooper, who had held the post since June 1983, retired after 35 years of Marine Corps service.
1 July – Marine Corps Air Station (Helicopter) at Futenma, Okinawa, was redesigned as a Marine Corps Air Station. The “Helicopter” designation was dropped as the air station, like Tustin and New River, lands and services not only helicopters, but a variety of other aircraft.
5-16 July – Nearly 10,000 U.S. and Thai troops, which included Marines of the 11th Marine Amphibious Unit, participated in Exercises Cobra Gold ‘85, an annual training exercise in and around the Gulf of Thailand. The exercise consisted of multi-threat operations at sea during which the amphibious task force surface combatants and other support ships transited international waters and conducted training involving simulated air, surface, and subsurface threats.
6 July – A military historian, Colonel Angus Malcolm Fraser, USMC (Retired), died at the age of 72. Colonel Fraser, a decorated combat veteran of World War II and advisor to a Korean Marine Corps regiment during the Korean War, retired from active duty in 1964 after nearly 30 years in the Marine Corps. He later became a senior research analyst in Chinese matters with the Institute for Defense Analysis and other research groups where he authored a number of studies and articles on a wide variety of military topics.
6 July – The USS Elrod (FFG-55), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, was commissioned at Brunswick, Georgia. The Elrod was the 100th ship commissioned into the U.S. Navy at the Brunswick harbor. The ship was named in honor of Marine Major Henry T. Elrod, a native of Georgia, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle of Wake Island in World War II.
11 - 13 July – All-Marine grappler, Sergeant Greg Gibson, was selected to wrestle on the United States’ World Team after completing the World Wrestling Team Trials held at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sergeant Gibson, a 1984 Olympic silver medalist, became the only wrestler in the world to win medals in three styles of world-class competition.
15 July - 11 August – About 2,300 Marines from the 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Exercise Bright Star ‘85, the largest U.S. exercise ever in the Middle East. Under the command of Brigadier General Edmund P. Looney, Jr., Marines participated in operations in Egypt which included an amphibious landing with Egyptian troops and a live-fire exercise. Bright Star involved about 9,000 U.S. servicemen and also included operations in Jordan and Somalia.
19 July – President Ronald Regan designated this date as National POW/MIA Recognition Day in honor of returned prisoners from all wars and in keeping with the nation’s commitment to resolve the Indochina POW/MIA issue. The President called on all Americans to join in honoring all former American POWs, those still missing, and their families who have endured and who still suffer extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of this country.
23 - 30 July – More than 300 shooters, representing the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their respective reserve units participated in the 24th annual Interservice Rifle Championship Match at Quantico, Virginia. The National Guard team claimed top honors, the Army team placed second, and the Marine Corps team placed third. Marine Corps’ shooters also claimed title to several individual and team awards.
25 July – Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger announced Marie Corps Air Station (MCAS) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as the recipient of the 1984 Secretary of Defense Environmental Quality Award. MCAS Kaneohe Bay promoted awareness of environment protection and enhancement through excellence in water quality protection and conservation, hazardous waste management, and an active community relations program. The award was presented annually by the Department of Defense Environment Quality Program to recognize excellence in achieving national goals to protect the environment.
2 August – Male Marine recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, began qualifying with the M-16A2 rifle and women Marine recruits at Parris Island were tested in close order drill with the M-16A2s on 29 July as a result of a recent change in the training order for women Marines. The transition from the M-16A1 to the M-16A2 continued throughout the Corps with more than 100,000 M-16A2s already in the hands of Fleet Marine Force Marines. The transition was scheduled to be completed during fiscal year 1989.
9 August – In observance of the 40th anniversary of V-J Day and to honor former Commandants, the Marine Corps Historical Foundation hosted a reception at the Marine Corps Historical Center which was followed by the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks, 8th and I. In addition to General Paul X. Kelley, former Commandants of the Marine Corps Wallace M. Greene, Jr., Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., and Louis H. Wilson were in attendance along with Lieutenant Colonel Donald T. Regan, USMCR (Retired), the White House Chief of Staff, and about 450 other guests.
12 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps selected Captain Dennis J. Hejlik as the 1985 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for outstanding leadership. Captain Hejlik was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 22d Marine Amphibious Unit. The Leftwich Trophy is awarded annually to a Marine captain serving with Fleet Marine Force who best exemplifies the leadership qualities exhibited by Lietuenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr., who was killed in Vietnam in 1970.
14 August – Retired Marine Lieutenant General Merwin H. Silverthorn, died at Bethesda Naval Hospital at the age of 88. General Silverthorn received the Navy Cross and Silver Star for heroism in World War I. During the Second World War, he served as chief of staff of the III Amphibious Corps and took part in landings on Guam, Peleliu, and Okinawa. At the end of World War II, the general was chief of staff of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. The general was named Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1950 and served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, before retiring in 1954.
15 August – The Marine Corps took delivery of the first variant of the light armored vehicle (LAV), in ceremonies at the Marine Corps League’s exhibition at the Sheraton Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ninety-four LAV(L)s were scheduled to be delivered within one year. With a cargo capacity of about two tons, the LAV(L) has roof hatches that allow the loading and offloading of standard NATO pallets. A small crane was also incorporated at the rear of the vehicle with a capacity of 1,100 pounds and 360 degree traverse.
15 August – Four Marines and a Navy corpsman were honored during the Marine Corps League’s fifth annual force-in-readiness exposition. The awards are presented yearly to deserving enlisted Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman/dental technician who distinguished themselves by contributing to combat readiness in the Fleet Marine Force. The 1985 Marine winners were: Gunnery Sergeant Valaile Fuiava, Jr., received the Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hatchcock II Award for marksmanship training; Sergeant Joseph J. Busweiler received the Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick Award to a Marine in the ground combat element of an FMF unit; Gunnery Sergeant Melvin E. Farr received the Sergeant Harry D. Meyers Award to a Marine in the combat service support element of an FMF unit; and Staff Sergeant Raymond F. Hilfiger received the Sergeant Major Frederick B. Douglass Award to a Marine in an aviation element of an FMF unit.
23 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Camp Barrett Enlisted Club at The Basic School, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of Private First Class Oscar P. Austin, USMC (Deceased). Private First Class Austin was attached to the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines when he was killed in action on 23 February 1969 near Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the engagement that claimed his life.
23 August – The naming of the new gymnasium at Camp Elmore, Norfolk, Virginia, in honor of Private First Class Michael Hopkins, USMC (Deceased), was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Private First Class Hopkins was attached to Company K, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines when he was killed in action on 4 July 1966 in the vicinity of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.
24 August – In ceremonies held at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s Sparrows Point (Maryland) Yard, a Maritime Prepositioning Ship was named in honor of Marine Private Harry Fisher. A native of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Private Fisher was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with the American Legation Guard at Peking during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The Private Harry Fisher has the capacity to carry 120,000 square feet of vehicles, 313 ammunition and refrigerated cargo containers, and 615,083 gallons of fuel.
30 August – The 1st Marine Brigade at Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, was redesignated as the 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB). The unit was renamed and reconfigured to conform with the maritime pre-positioning ships (MPS) structure. The 1st MAB is third and final brigade in the Corps to join the 6th and 7th MABs in the MPS mission.
3 September – The naming of the enlisted club at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, in honor of Lance Corporal Joseph R. Wynn, Jr., USMC (Deceased), was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. A native of Tifton, Georgia, Corporal Wynn was attached to the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division when he was killed in action on 14 May 1965 near Nam Yen, Republic of Vietnam.
4 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of four access roads at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of four Marine security guards who were killed 19 June 1985 in San Salvador, El Salvador. The honored Marines are: Staff Sergeant Bobby J. Dickson, Staff Sergeant Thomas T. Handwork, Sergeant Gregory H. Weber, and Sergeant Patrick R. Kwiatkowski.
7 September – The 1stLt Alex Bonnyman was renamed during ceremonies at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation Beaumont Yard, Beaumont, Texas, in honor of Marine Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle for Tarawa.
11 September – The enlisted galley at the Meridian Naval Air Station, Meridian, Mississippi, was dedicated to the memory of Lance Corporal Roy M. Wheat, USMC (Deceased). Corporal Wheat, from Moselle, Mississippi, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam while serving with the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines. Medal of Honor recipient, Colonel Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
12 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of five facilities at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California in honor of the five Marines from California who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: Lieutenant Colonel George W. Ward, Captain Edward R. Browne, Gunnery Sergeant Robert R. Eggleston, Sergeant Edward G. Courteau, and Corporal Richard B. Blinder. The facilities include three childcare centers, a multi-purpose building, and a temporary lodging center.
13 September – Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, was activated at Marine Corps Air Station, Tustin, California. The activation completes the reorganization of the Marine Corps primary assault helicopter structure for 15 12-plane squadrons.
14 September – Over 20,000 members of the American and Okinawan communities attended the 8th Annual Friendship Day held at Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma, Japan. The event included displays, aerial demonstrations, and stage programs. The goal of the successful event was to increase understanding of the mission and capabilities of U.S. forces in the Pacific and to enhance relations between Okinawans and the American military.
15 September – This day marked the 35th anniversary of the 1st Marine Division’s amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea, and the beginning of the Inchon-Seoul Campaign. From assignment to execution, the Inchon Landing operation was accomplished in record time – about 20 days. It was one of the shortest periods ever allotted to a major amphibious assault that included the planning, assembly of ships, and the mounting out of a combined force of 29,000 Marines and support personnel.
16 September – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 451, located at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, exceeded 30, 000 accident-free flight hours. The milestone represents almost eight years of flying in the squadron’s F-4 aircraft.
18 September – A new commissary at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California, was dedicated in honor of Lance Corporal Bruce D. Patterson, the first Marine from Barstow to die in the Vietnam War. Corporal Patterson served with the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines and was killed in combat 13 January 1967. Brigadier General Joseph P. Hoar dedicated the 19,000-square-foot structure in special ceremonies.
28 September – Lieutenant General Richard O. Mangrum, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, died in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1928, General Mangrum commanded the first dive bomb squadron, Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 232, at Guadalcanal and was awarded the Navy Cross for successful attacks on Japanese naval units. He saw duty in Korea as commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12. During the early 1960s, he served as Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Commanding General, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, and Director, Marine Corps Educational Center, Quantico. He assumed the office of Assistant Commandant in 1965, remaining in that position until his retirement in 1967.
1 October – Marine Corps infantry battalions began returning to the 13-man rifle squad as the first step in a comprehensive fine-tuning of selected ground combat units. The rifle company’s 13-man squad, composed of three four-man fire teams, was one portion of the Commandant’s Ground Force Structure Enhancements Program. Other changes included the activation of antitank battalions in each Marine Amphibious Force, reactivation of the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, and restructuring the heavy machine gun section of the infantry battalion.
1 October – As a result of a revised training policy for women Marines, released last May, women Marines officially began training much the same as men in areas such as marksmanship, close order drill with rifles or swords, and some forms of tactics. Primarily, the training involved the “12 Essential Subjects” taught to all enlisted Marines. Female recruits began qualifying on rifle ranges the same as male recruits. All other women Marines, most of who have never fired the M-16 rifle, also began to qualify. Women Marines also began learning about such tactical measures as squads in defense, fields of fire, fighting positions, cover-concealment-camouflage, mines and booby traps, and the use of grenades. Nuclear and chemical defenses were also covered as well as the use of deadly force as part of guard duties.
3 October – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of five streets at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, in honor of the following five Marine Medal of Honor recipients who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: Captain James A. Graham, Staff Sergeant Karl G. Taylor, Sergeant Paul H. Foster, Sergeant Walter K. Singleton, and Corporal William T. Perkins, Jr.
3- 7 October – Marine astronaut Major David C. Hilmers served as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of the Atlantis, the third shuttlecraft in NASA’s fleet. The Department of Defense mission released two military communications satellites in space. Atlantis was commanded by Air Force Colonel Karol J. Bobko, and three other crew members served on board.
10 - 13 October – The 1985 Marine Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association’s convention in Chicago. Captain Michael C. Albo of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 212 was named the Marine Aviator of the Year and the recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Award. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 212 also received the Robert M. Hanson Award for the fighter attack squadron of the year. The Lawson H.M. Sanderson Award for the attack squadron of the year was won by Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 332. The helicopter squadron of the year award went to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163.
10 October - 28 November – Marines from the 35th Marine Amphibious Unit participated in Exercise Bear Hunt ‘86 held in the Republic of Korea. The joint airborne/air transportality exercise included tactical training with tanks, artillery, air evolutions, and a live-fire maneuver.
13 October – The names of five Marine Corps military actions were added to the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Sculptor Harold Vogel added the following to the memorial: Lebanon 1958, Vietnam 1962-1975, Dominican Republic 1965, Lebanon 1981 – 1984, and Grenada 1983. Already engraved on the memorial’s base were previous campaigns since the Corps’ founding in 1775. The cost of the additions was shared by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, the Marine Corps Association, and the U.S. Naval Institute.
14 October – Retired Major General Edwin Bliss Wheeler, 67, died at his Dallas home after a heart attack. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1941, the general participated in several Pacific Island campaigns. During the Korean War, he was commanding officer of the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion and the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. In Vietnam he also commanded the 3d Marines, 1964-1965, and the 1st Marine Division, 1969-1970, after which he became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1 Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps until his retirement in 1972.
15 October – Marine helicopter, CH-46 Sea Knight, crashed into Onslow Bay off North Carolina and sank, killing 15 of the 19 servicemen on board. The helicopter, attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, was participating in a training exercise involving the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It crashed after taking off from the USS Guadalcanal, an assault helicopter ship used for beach assaults. Of the victims, 14 were Marines and one was a Navy chaplain.
18 - 19 October – Marine helicopters flew over China for the first time since 1949 to perform a support mission for Vice President, George Bush. Four UN-IN Huey helicopters from Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, stationed at Futenma, Okinawa, provided support transportation for Vice President Bush from Shenzhen, China, to Hong Kong.
22 October – Retired Lieutenant General Richard G. Weede, 74, died in Portsmouth, Virginia. Commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1935, the general served as commanding officer of the 2d Battalion, 10th Marines during the Okinawa campaign. In the Korean War, he commanded the 5th Marines and later became Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. The highly decorated general retired from Marine Corps service in 1969.
22 October - 19 November – More than 4,300 Marines and sailors participated in MAB CAX 1-86, a combined arms exercise involving the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB). Marines from Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Stations at El Toro, Tustin, Yuma joined units based at Twentynine Palms for the exercise. The purpose of the CAX was to exercise command and control of the MAB in fire-support coordination, particularly in combat arms operations.
23 October – The Department of Defense announced that more than half of the new German-style Marine Corps and Army helmets, replacements for the M1 “Steel pot” helmets, were defective. First worn by soldiers and Marines who took part in the invasion of Grenada two years ago, the new molded Kevlar helmets were being phased in for use by all U.S. armed forces. The Pentagon said half the new helmets were being made improperly by the Gentex Corporation of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, thus jeopardizing the lives of servicemen wearing them.
30 October - 6 November – Marine astronaut Colonel James F. Buchli served as a mission specialist on board the space shuttle Challenger. The flight, designated “Space Lab D-1,” was dedicated to a space lab mission. It was chartered by the West German Space Institute and was the first foreign space lab dedication. The crew consisted of two West Germans, one Dutch, and five American astronauts.
31 October – The Marine Security Guard Detachment at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, performed superbly when coping with the incident involving the entry into the embassy of an armed Soviet solider. Marines disarmed the soldier and housed him, under guard, for five days before he was released. The Soviet soldier was apparently homesick and wished to return to his homeland. Additionally, Marine security guards also contended with Soviet and Afghan troops that surrounded the embassy compound and cut off the electrical service shortly after the Soviet soldier entered the embassy.
3 November – Commander Tom Bernard, a 37-year-old member of the United States Coast Guard from Hayes, Virginia, won the 10th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Bernard crossed the finish line with a time of 2:19:16, just 30 seconds ahead of Brad Ingram, a 29-year-old former Marine, who took first place last year. Marines accounted for more than 1,000 of the 9,900 entrants. Another 1,700 Marines and sailors provided support from start to finish lines and behind the scenes.
10 November – Marines throughout the world celebrated the 210th birthday of the Marine Corps. On this date in 1775, the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia authorized the recruitment of the first two Marine battalions. In his birthday message, the Commandant asked, “that all Marines rededicate themselves to the hallmark of our Corps …professionalism, courage, integrity, and selfless devotion to duty.”
14 November – The first of a series of Senate Armed Services Committee hearings were held in Congress concerning the reorganization of the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Statements were given by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley.
15 November – Headquarters, 11th Marine Amphibious Unit was activated at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. This headquarters was charged with a specific responsibility for planning and conducting amphibious operations as a forward deployed Marine air-ground task force under Landing Force, Seventh Fleet.
24 November – The Marine Corps Astronaut Selection Board selected 18 Marines to represent the Corps as potential candidates for the NASA astronaut training program. Captain E. Deborah Elke stationed at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, was selected as a mission specialist candidate marking the first time a woman Marine was selected. NASA will screen applications from all services in early 1986.
26 November - 3 December – The second flight of NASA’s Atlantis was piloted by Marine astronaut Lieutenant Colonel Bryan D. O’Connor. The mission included a space construction test and the launching of three communication satellites.
27 November - Marine General George B. Crist, assumed the duties of Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), replacing the Army’s retiring General Robert C. Kingston. General Crist’s selection marked the first time a Marine was appointed to head a unified command. President Reagan announced on 1 November that General Crist was nominated for promotion to the grade of four-star general and assignment as the Commander in Chief of the Central Command. On 22 November, after Senate confirmation General Crist was advanced to his current grade during ceremonies at the Pentagon. USCENTCOM, formerly the U.S Rapid Deployment Task Force, was established as a unified command in January 1983 and its one of six unified commands.
28 November – A nine-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr. was dedicated during ceremonies at The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia. The sculpture depicted a Marine officer in combat gear, one hand holding a rifle and the other beckoning in a gesture of leadership. Sculptor Felix De Weldon cast the statue as a copy of the Leftwich Tropy he created. The trophy has been awarded annually since 1979 to the outstanding Marine captain serving with the ground forces of Fleet Marine Force. Leftwich was killed in action in Vietnam in 1970.
___ December – Retired General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., 23d Commandant of the Marine Corps, became the first life member of the Marine Corps Association (MCA), General Greene, 78, was an annual member since 1931 when he was a second lieutenant. Life memberships were established in November for the first time in history of the MCA, which was founded in 1913.
___ December – The new high mobility, multipurpose, wheeled vehicle (HMMWV), nicknamed the “Hummer” started arriving at training commands and Fleet Marine Force (FMF) units. Priority in FMF deliveries went to the II Marine Amphibious Force. The Marine Corps is slated to procure five different models of the Hummer to replace the Jeep. The Corps also received a number of vehicles to meet the loading dates for MPS-2 (7th Marine Amphibious Brigade) last month.
5 December – Former Marines who in 1950 survived the heroic but costly withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea held their first national reunion. More than 1,000 Korean War veterans participated in the 35th anniversary reunion held at Camp Pendleton, California. One of the reunion’s honored guests was Medal of Honor recipient General Raymond G. Davis, USMC (Retired), who commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines at the reservoir.
7 December – Lieutenant General John C. McQueen, USMC (Retired), died at Stanford University Medical Center, California. A 1921 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the general served in Haiti and Nicaragua during the 1920s. During World War II, General McQueen participated in the Marshall and Marianas Islands campaigns. He was named Chief of Staff of the 6th Marine Division and served with the division on Okinawa. In the 1950s, he was named Director of Marine Corps Public Information and later Director of the Marine Corps Reserve. The general retired in 1958 after serving with the Military Assistance Advisory Group to the Netherlands.
10 December – The General Gerald C. Thomas Endowment Fund for Amphibious Warfare Research was established at the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia. Supported by a grant from the Elizabeth S. Hooper Foundation, the fund will provide approximately $17,000 annually to the Education Center to support research projects by students and faculty at the Command and Staff College, Amphibious Warfare School, and Communication Officers School.
23 December – The naming of an access road to the Serra Mesa Housing site at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Marine Lance Corporal William R. Prom was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Lance Corporal Prom was serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, when he was killed in action on 9 February 1969 near Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, during Operation Taylor Common.
23 December – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a new football field at Camp Kinser, Okinawa, in honor of Sergeant Jackie Roberts, USMC. Sergeant Roberts was a member of the 1985/1986 3d Force Service Support Group varsity football team. He sustained a severe spinal cord injury while training with the team on 29 August 1985. This tragic accident caused Sergeant Roberts’ untimely death on 20 September 1985. Sergeant Roberts was the recipient of several meritorious masts and was considered a fine individual and a superb Marine.
30 December – The Commandant’s final White Letter for 1985 congratulated commanders for their support of the Competition-in-Arms Program (CIAP). Their support contributed to an impressive performance by Marine rifle and pistol shooters last summer at Camp Perry, Ohio, during the National Rifle Association National Championship Matches and other competitive shooting matches. The Commandant encouraged increased participation in the CIAP “to ensure we continue to rebuild our base of skilled, experienced Marines who can serve as coaches and marksmanship instructors.”
31 December – The strength of the armed forces was 2,149,073; 197,171 were Marines.
USMC History Division