___ January – The Marksmanship Training Unit at Quantico, Virginia, tasked by Headquarters, Marine Corps to design, test, and demonstrate a new course of fire for the M-9 Beretta Model 92SB-F 9mm semi-automatic pistol, began testing on a recently approved service pistol qualification course and a close-combat pistol course. The special group of Marine Corps shooters were selected to fire the 9mm pistol course to help set future Marine Corps qualification standards for expert, sharpshooter, and marksman awards.
1 January – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,149,073; of whom 197,171 were Marines.
6-24 January - The 1986 Pacific Division Rifle and Pistol Matches were held. More than 140 Marine and Navy marksmen from commands in Hawaii participated. The matches were part of the Competition-in-Arms Program designed to enhance the combat marksmanship proficiency of the Marine Corps. The M-16A2 rifle and the .45 caliber pistol were the weapons used in the competition. In the team rifle matches, Gunnery Sergeant J.D. Powell led his Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MCAS Kaneohe Bay) sharpshooters to a victory and the Julian C. Smith Trophy. In the team pistol competition, Marines from Marine Barracks Hawaii, led by Captain Michael G. Sessions, captured the Pacific Trophy. Team and individual awards were presented on 28 January by Lieutenant General D’Wayne Gray, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.
10 January - A firm-fixed price procurement contract was awarded to Cadillac Gage Corporation for the Assault Amphibian Vehicle Upgunned Weapons Stations (UGWS). The UGWS, a 40mm grenade launcher and M-2 .50 caliber machine gun turret, replaced the M-85, .50 caliber machine gun turret. This initial procurement was for 240 UGWS with an option for an additional 100 UGSW. Initial deliveries and testings were scheduled for late 1986.
15 January – The Marine Corps Reserve reported the conclusion of the 38th Toys for Tots campaign. Units in the 4th Marine Division, 4th Service Support Group, and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing collected more than 5 million toys for distribution to 1.6 million needy children throughout the United States.
15 January - Headquarters, Marine Corps established a new Security Branch within its Operations Division to provide better coordination for antiterrorism policy and a single point of contact for all matters relating to security. Marine detachments on board ships, Marine barracks, Marine security guards, and law enforcement activities came under the cognizance of the new branch. Prior to this activation, responsibility for security activities was divided among several Headquarters organizations.
17 January - The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing saluted Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 with an aviation safety milestone award. On this day, the squadron attained 30,000 accident-free flight hours.
21 January – An agreement was reached with the airframe prime contractor team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Vertol for a full scale development of the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. This agreement included the following: a not-to-exceed (NTE) agreed upon fixed-price for full scale development, a NTE option for the Pilot Production Lot of 12 aircraft, an agreement on the sharing of costs with the government for production tooling, and an agreement to provide NTE options for three additional production lots following critical design review.
26 January - Super Bowl XX fans watched during a break in the action as one of the Marine Corps’ most popular recruiting advertisements took over the screen. The ad began with “You begin with raw steel…” and captured the makings of a gleaming Mameluke sword which was then put through a display of precision by a Marine in dress blues. The Marine in the commercial was Captain Thomas R. Kean with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, Anchorage, Alaska.
26 January – 9 February - Some 200 Marines and sailors from Okinawa, Japan, joined 450 members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force for a bilateral, cold weather training exercise in northern Japan. In Exercise Forest Light II, principles of communications, small arms firing, plus individual and unit tactics were exchanged between Marines from 1st Battalion, 2d Marines and their Japanese counterparts of the 39th Infantry Regiment.
29 January – Station Operations and Engineering Squadron at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, celebrated an aviation milestone with 100,000 hours of accident-free flight. Best known for its HH-46 helicopter search and rescue team, the squadron also flew the CT-39G and the Marine Corps’ only two C-9s. The safety milestone represents 10 years of accident-free flying.
___ February – One of the first AN/TPS-59 radars was placed in service by Marine Air Control Squadron 23. The AN/TPS-59 was the Marine Corps’ first all solid-state, long-range tactical radar capable of providing a three-dimensional display of targets at distances of up to 300 nautical miles. It replaced the obsolete vacuum tube technology.
1-19 February – More than 800 Marines and 40 aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 26 joined with 1,500 Marines from Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines for Combined Arms Exercise (CAX) 4-86 at Twentynine Palms, California. The combined exercise required extensive training operations for the aviation combat element and resulted in an increase in combat readiness. CAX 4-86 was the second phase of a two-part exercise. The first phase was CAX 3
-86 (13-28 January).
4 February – In Marine Corps Bulletin 1650, the Secretary of the Navy granted authority to the Commandant of the Marine Corps to subdelegate the awarding authority for Navy Achievement Medals to Marine Corps commanding officers. This authorization was issued to provide more timely recognition to enlisted Marines.
5 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, delivered the annual Marine Corps Posture Statement before the House Armed Services Committee. General Kelley stated that when this nation needed a quality force to project amphibious power anywhere in the world, the Marine Corps would be ready. Citing an across-the-board increase in readiness in both air and ground components, General Kelley attributed the good news to Congressional support, quality people, and superb training.
8 February – The dock landing ship Germantown (LSD 42) was commissioned at Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, Washington. General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the principal speaker. Mrs. Barbara Kelley, wife of the Commandant, was the ship’s sponsor. The Germantown was named for Germantown, Pennsylvania, the scene of a Revolutionary War battle between the British and troops of the Continental Army commanded by General George Washington.
15 February – TAVB-3, USNS Wright, the lead aviation logistics support ship, was christened at Todd Shipyard, Galveston, Texas. A converted commercial container ship, the USNS Wright had the capability to transport rapidly a Marine aviation intermediate maintenance activity to contingency areas. As a result of this capability, considerable strategic airlift assets, already in short supply, would be available for other priority missions.
23 February – 12 March - Marines from the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Anchor Express ‘86, a NATO exercise held in northern Norway. Approximately 20,000 troops from eight countries took part in the exercise. Designed to enhance operational readiness among forces that protect NATO’s northern flank, the exercise tested the forces’ capabilities during extreme winter conditions.
27 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps granted approval to name three new buildings at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in honor of three enlisted Marines from the state of California who were killed in action during the Vietnam War, and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The deceased Marines to be so honored were Corporal Richard W. Duncan, Corporal Thomas Soliz, and Private First Class Steven A. Srsen.
___ March – The Marine Corps received its initial delivery of 12 (of 99) Logistic Vehicle Systems (LVS) for Maritime Prepositioning Ships III to satisfy heavy vehicle fleet requirements. The LVS, a family of combat support vehicles designed to replace a diverse collection of overaged, oversized items, consisted of a tractor and four interchangeable read body units (container trailer, cargo trailer, recovery trailer, and fifth wheel). It would provide enhanced cross-country mobility for transport of weapons systems, as well as other logistics support to operating forces.
1 March - Actions were initiated to reduce spending for Marine Corps Reserve programs by a total of $4.1 million in the following areas as a result of the passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Amendment: mobilization training (Reserve Counterpart Training), formal schools, special tours, personal defense equipment (body armor, kevlar helmets, NBC protective devices, and uniforms), depot maintenance, and automated data processing.
2 March - Colonel Katherine A. Towle, the first Director of Women Marines, died at her home in California. She was 87 years old. Colonel Towle entered the Marine Corps in 1943 and served as the second Director of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II. She left the military for a short time to become the assistant dean of women at the University of California at Berkeley. Returning to active duty in 1948, Colonel Towle was assigned as the first Director of Women Marines, a post she held until her retirement in 1953.
3-24 March – Almost 4,000 Marines and sailors participated in Exercise Agile Sword ‘86 at Eglin Air Force Base and Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Highlights of the exercise included an “in-stream off-load” of the 2dLt John P. Bobo, one of four Military Sealift Command chartered ships assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron 1 and designated to support deployments of the 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB). Exercise participants were part of the 6th MAB, headquartered at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
4 March - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of three buildings at Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, in honor of the following Marine aviator Navy Cross recipients who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: Major William J. Goodsell, First Lieutenant Lee M. Halstead, and First Lieutenant William L. Peters, Jr.
4 March - The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a message to the Commanders in Chief of the Unified and Specified Commands on the 1986
omnibus agreement for command and control of U.S. Marine tactical air in sustained operations ashore. The message defined the Joint Force Air Component Commander’s authority and the Maine Air Ground Task Force direct support requirements.
6 March - The Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) 1stLt Jack Lummus was delivered at Quincy, Massachusetts. This was the fourth of five ships designed for use as a MPS from the keel up. The ship was named in honor of First Lieutenant Jack Lummus who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry while serving with the 2d Battalion, 27th Marines on Iwo Jima.
7 March - The 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) was activated in West Palm Beach, Florida. The second ANGLICO unit in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, it was activated to provide training support in the event of mobilization for active and reserve component units.
8-28 March – The III Marine Amphibious Force participated in Exercise Team Spirit ‘86 in South Korea. The 11th annual joint-combined field training focused on rapid deployment for the defense of the Republic of Korea. It was designed to evaluate and improve procedures and techniques used to defend the Korean peninsula and to increase the combat readiness of U.S. and Republic of Korea Marines. Approximately 200,000 United States and Republic of Korea military personnel, including more than 13,000 U.S. Marines, participated in the exercise despite denunciations of Team Spirit ‘86 by North Korea.
12 March – Major Helen Nicholson Crean, who was awarded the French Croix de Guerre in World War I as a civilian and the Bronze Star Medal in World War II as a woman Marine officer, died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 92. During World War I, Major Crean performed volunteer work with the American Fund for French Wounded where her services led her to the 5th Marine Regiment’s area of operations. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre for significant actions during a bombing and machine gun attack on her nursing station at Glorieu, France. Major Crean was later awarded the Bronze Star for her meritorious service as commanding officer of the Aviation Women Reserve Squadron 15 Marine Corps Air Station, Ewa, Hawaii during 1944-1945.
13 March – The Marine Corps decided to proceed with a full-scale engineering development (Milestone II) of an improved Direct Air Support Center (DASC). The new DASC would provide manual air support control capabilities for the interim period before achieving full operational semi-automated capability with the Marine Integrated Fire and Air Support System. DASC would be the principal agency of the Marine Air Support System and the Marine Air Command and Control System, responsible for the conduct of tactical operations directly supporting ground forces.
14 March - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved an initiative to proceed with the reorganization of aviation ground support within Marine aircraft wings. Each wing would reorganize into a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and four Marine Wing Support Squadrons. This reorganization and activation of squadrons would consolidate all aviation ground support assets into combat organizations that will train and operate in peacetime with the same structure needed in combat. The following squadrons would be deactivated. Wing Engineer, Wing Transportation, Marine Air Base, and Headquarters Squadrons.
20 March - The Marine Corps received its initial delivery of 186 lightweight Kawasaki KCR250 motorcycles. These on-and-off road motorcycles each cost $2,873. Although the Marine Corps had not used motorcycles since World War II, Headquarters determined the two-wheeled vehicles could provide inexpensive transportation while serving a variety of combat and noncombat functions such as transporting lengthy messages between units, guiding groups during nighttime location changes, and moving individual passengers and small equipment packages between units.
21 March - Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 was activated at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. Using Israeli “Kfir” aircraft, the squadron would provide adversary training for active and reserve Marine Corps pilots. The squadron was under operational control of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.
21 March - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Marine Corps Air Facility, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of First Lieutenant Robert G. Robinson. First Lieutenant (then Gunnery Sergeant) Robinson was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during aerial action in World War I while serving as an observer with the 1st Marine Aviation Force.
21 March - Captain C. Robert Frauser, USMCR, became the second recipient of the Justice Marion Chambers Memorial Award during a ceremony at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Captain Frauser, a Marine reservist from St. Louis, served with the 3d Battalion, 24th Marines. The leadership award was named after Colonel “Jumping Joe” Chambers, a reserve Marine who earned the Medal of Honor for actions on Iwo Jima during World War II. It is presented annually to a reserve company-grade officer within the 4th Marine Division who best demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities as exemplified by Chambers.
24 March - Marine Corps Air Facility, Camp Pendleton, California, was redesignated as Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton. The air station provides the home base for Marine Aircraft Group 39 and supports I Marine Amphibious Force units and missions.
26 March - Four AV-8B Harrier pilots from Marine Attack Squadron 331 returned home after completing a round trip, non-stop transatlantic flight. This aviation
milestone was a first for the AV-8B. The eastward leg from North Carolina to Rota, Spain, took seven hours and five refuelings for the 3,500-mile flight. The return flight, delayed by headwinds, took nine hours and eight refuelings. The aerial refuelings were made possible by a U.S. Air Force KC-10.
27 March - The Marine Corps wrestling team upheld almost a decade of tradition as the Marine wrestlers claimed their ninth consecutive interservice victory during the 1986 Armed Forces Wrestling Championships held at Quantico, Virginia. Approximately 20 wrestlers from each of the armed services, many of them national and international champions, participated in the four-day tournament that encompassed both Freestyle and Greco-Roman style competition.
27 March - Naval exercises ended in the Mediterranean off Libya, closing the chapter on a brief, violent military clash in the Gulf of Sidra. The American operations provoked a military challenge from the Libyan government along with threats of terrorism against Americans. A U.S. Navy task force destroyed at least two Libyan ships and an antiaircraft radar site while under attack by Libyan forces. The task force included three Marine Corps Squadrons: Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 and 323, and Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2.
27 March - The first production AH-1W “Super Cobra” helicopter was delivered to the Marine Corps in a ceremony at Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas. An improved version of the Marine Corps’ AH-1T “Cobra” attack helicopter, the “Super Cobra” featured advanced technology twin-engines and the capability to carry increased ordnance. It could be armed with the tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided missile (TOW); the Hell-fire precision, laser-guided munition; and the A1M-9L Sidewinder air-to-air, heat-seeking missile.
1 April – The reorganization of three Marine Attack Helicopter Squadrons and three Marine Light Helicopter Squadrons into six Marine Light/Attack (HML/A) Squadrons began. Approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in October 1985, this reorganization would provide support for six Marine amphibious brigade-sized Marine Air Ground Task Forces.
9 April - The Marine Corps and the Army complete coordination of a joint service operational requirement for the Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M). The AAWS-M would be a manportable anti-tank weapon replacing the current Dragon system. At a Defense System Acquisition Review Council meeting, held on 11 April, approval was recommended for AAWS-M to proceed into the technology demonstration phase of development.
14 April - U.S. warplanes bombed suspected Libyan terrorist headquarters after obtaining irrefutable evidence that Libya was responsible for recent terrorist attacks on Americans and planned future multiple attacks against U.S. installations, diplomats, and citizens. A strike force of F-1211s from airbases in England joined warplanes from Navy carriers in the Mediterranean and hit the Libyan port cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in an attack which included the headquarters of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy. Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons 314 and 323 on board the USS Coral Sea were part of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet.
14 April - Lieutenant General John C. Munn, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and veteran Marine aviator, died in Encinitas, California. Upon his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1927 and designated a Naval aviator in 1931. During his illustrious career, which spanned 37 years, General Munn commanded many Marine units and activities. His assignments included Director of Aviation, Headquarters, Marine Corps; Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (1960-1963); and Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. The highly decorated general retired in June 1964.
23 April – The final chapter on the AV-8A Harrier closed when the last two AV-8A’s from Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542 were flown from Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, for retirement. Like other Harrier aviation units, VMA-542’s aircraft would now consist of AV-8B Harriers.
29 April – 20 May – More than 20,000 U.S. military personnel participated in Exercise Ocean Venture ‘86, conducted on U.S. beaches, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean. The exercise was designed to demonstrate the capability of the U.S. to project military power to protect national interests by supporting friendly neighbors in the Caribbean. Marine Corps units that participated in this joint U.S. military exercise were the 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade and the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit.
___ May – The first of five Pioneer remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) systems purchased from the AAI Corporation of Baltimore, Maryland, was delivered for testing to the Pacific Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, California. The RPV, capable of undetected penetration of enemy lines, would provide field commanders with real-time tactical intelligence directly from the battlefield. Described as a sophisticated remote-controlled aircraft, the RPV could operate at a distance of 100 nautical miles and an altitude of 10,000 feet. Operational systems would later be delivered to Fleet Composite Squadron 6, Naval Air Station Patuxent River; the 1st RPV Platoon, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and Marine Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.
1 May – Marine Barracks, Vallejo, located at the Naval Shipyard on Mare Island in northern California, deactivated. Active since 1862, it was the oldest Marine Corps post on the west coast of the U.S. and held streamers for service during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. A Marine detachment would remain stationed on Mare Island.
1 May - Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft signed a Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council memo approving full scale development of the V-22 Osprey aircraft. The following day the Department of the Navy finalized and signed the V-22 development contract with Bell Boeing. The V-22 represented the keystone to the modernization of Marine Corps aviation into the 21st century.
4 – 10 May – Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit (Special Operations Capable) participated in the NATO Exercise Distant Hammer ‘86. During the exercise, Marines and sailors joined with a combined landing force of French, Italian, and Royal Netherlands Marines to seize a beachhead and conduct follow-on missions near Capo Teulada, Sardinia, Italy.
8 May – This date marked the 75th anniversary of Naval aviation. In celebration, the U.S. Navy participated in the reenactment of the world’s first successful transatlantic flight, retracing the route of the original Navy NC-4 mission of 1919. The Marine Corps, in its 74th year of aviation, also commemorated this milestone with the completion of a transatlantic flight by AV-8B Harriers on 26 March.
8 May - Two Marine airmen were inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor. Retired Major General Marion E. Carl, the seventh-ranking Marine Corps ace credited with 18 ½ kills in World War II, and First Lieutenant Robert G. Robinson, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient, were enshrined in the Hall of Honor at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Of the 30 individuals honored thus far, four were Marines. The other two Marines were Lieutenant Colonel Alfred A. Cunningham and General Roy S. Geiger.
10 May - The USS Missouri (BB-63) was recommissioned. Number three of a four Iowa-class battleship reactivation/modernization program, the Missouri followed the USS New Jersey (BB-62) and the USS Iowa (BB-61). The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) was scheduled for modernization later in 1986. Originally commissioned in 1944, the Missouri was the site of the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945 and had, prior to the current restoration, been stored in “mothballs” since 1958. Marine Corps Detachment, USS Missouri was activated during January 1986.
12 May - A reorganization became effective within the Plans, Policies, and Operations Department at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. A new branch, the Tactical Space Planning Branch was formed. The mission of the branch was to provide centralized oversight and coordination for the Corps’ participation in the operation and development of space systems. The branch would also oversee, within the Marine Corps, management of joint space programs, monitor the space systems doctrine that supports the operational needs of the Fleet Marine Force, and coordinate Marine Corps space policy and strategy.
14 May - The first of two Aviation Logistic Support Ships USNS Wright (TAVB-3), was delivered to the Military Sealift Command. Converted from government owned Seabrigde Class merchant ships, each would provide the capability to lift Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) facilities which support deploying Marine amphibious brigade aviation units. Each IMA, housed in deployable vans, would perform aircraft maintenance in unimproved forward areas. Three hundred Marine Corps maintenance personnel would embark to activate, operate, and maintain the IMA vans during transit and in the objective area until phased ashore as conditions permit. The USNS Wright was converted by Todd Shipyard, Galveston, Texas.
19 May - Marine Detachment, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) was activated at Norfolk, Virginia.
21 May - Lieutenant General Clyde D. Dean was reassigned as Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, replacing Lieutenant General Thomas R.
22 May – The thirteenth and last Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS), the Sgt William R. Button, was delivered to the Military Sealift Command. The Button, a newly constructed roll-on/roll-off container ship built by General Dynamics at the Quincy, Massachusetts Shipyard, was assigned to MPS Squadron 3. This ship was named in honor of Sergeant William Robert Button who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Haitian Campaign.
22 May – 6 Jun - In Exercise Freedom Banner ‘86, the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade completed the first in-stream off-load of a maritime prepositioning ship in the Pacific command. More than 3,000 Marines and sailors from southern California participated in the exercise which was designed to train personnel in the planning, coordinating, and conducting of maritime prepositioning force operations on the Cpl Louis J. Hauge, Jr. The exercise took place in the waters of Subic Bay, Philippines.
23 May – The Marine Corps began to phase out mess duty for enlisted personnel in mess halls nationwide. As Marine Corps manpower is needed more in the field, kitchen help would be civilianized and provided by private companies under contract. Recruits in boot camp and Marines assigned on board ships would not be exempt from mess duty. This plan would not change the status of Marines trained as cooks, bakers, and butchers as Marines would still prepare food for Marines. The Corps was the last military service to switch to civilian workers to clean tables, scrub pots, man food service lines, and perform related duties.
__ June - New boots, developed by the U.S. Army Natick (Massachusetts) Research and Development Center, became available for purchase by U.S. Marines. Earlier this year, some 2,400 soldiers and Marines plodded more than 280,000 miles through mud and water and over all kinds of terrain testing six boot designs. The Natick product won. For Marine Corps and Army users, the new boots feature longer-lasting soles and heels, excellent traction, and high water and mildew resistance.
__ June - The Marine Corps’ plan to reorganize the aviation ground support structure went into action with aircraft wings deactivating many of their support detachments and consolidating personnel and equipment into new Marine Wing Support Squadrons. The reorganization provided each aircraft wing with one Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and four Marine Wing Support Squadrons, two configured for fixed-wing airfields and two configured for rotary-wing operations.
1 June - Marines deploying or executing permanent change of station orders were required to have dental X-rays on file with the Defense Medical Systems Support Center. All other active duty Marines had a 1 October 1987 deadline for having a panoral radiograph in their dental record and a duplicate on file with the above center. This requirement was made as dental X-rays are among the most reliable means of casualty identification. They are easily duplicated and their small size makes centralized storage convenient.
1 June - General John K. Davis, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, retired after more than 40 years of military service. He was replaced by General Thomas R. Morgan who was serving as Acting Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, Policies, and Operations.
4 June - President Ronald Reagan visited Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. The first president to visit Parris Island since Franklin
Roosevelt in 1943, President Reagan went to the recruit depot a day after sending a message to Congress warning that lawmakers were close to endangering national security with their proposed cuts in the defense budget. The President observed Marines in recruit training and delivered a speech to graduates of the depot, being the first to address members of Recruit Series 1044 as “Marines”.
4 June - Major General Edwin J.Godfrey was reassigned as Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, 3d Marine Division, replacing Major General Harold G. Glasgow.
4 – 6 June - Approximately 700 Marine reservists from seven 4th Marine Division units participated in a Mobilization Operational Readiness Deployment Test, designed to simulate a mount-out and deployment. Units involved were from Folsom and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; New Haven, Connecticut; Peoria, Illinois; Dayton, Ohio; and Lafayette and Shreveport, Louisiana.
6 June - The Marine Corps provided fielding acceptance notification of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) to AM General Corporation via the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command. This was accomplished as a result of initial production testing deficiencies and quality assurance issues being resolved. The notification would allow deliveries of HMMWVs to active forces beginning during July 1986.
10 June - The first suite of ground mobile forces tactical satellite communications terminals was delivered to the 8th Communications Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Each suite consisted of one AN/TSC-85A SHF terminal and four 93A SHF terminals. Each Marine Corps communications battalion would receive a suite of this equipment, with delivery completions by March 1987. This equipment would use the Defense Satellite Communications System to establish communication links in support of critical command, control, and communications requirements of the Fleet Marine Force.
12 June - Major General Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and assigned as Commanding General, Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, Virginia. He replaced Lieutenant General David M. Twomey who was to retire 1 July. General Petersen was the Marine Corps’ first black officer to be promoted to lieutenant general.
12 June - Major General John R. Dailey was reassigned as Commanding General, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, replacing Major General Richard M. Cooke.
17 June - Two literary awards sponsored by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation were presented by General Wallace M. Greene, 23d Commandant of the Marine Corps, during an awards luncheon at the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club. The Colonel Robert D. Heinl Award in Marine Corps History went to Russell Werts for his article, “The Ghosts of Iwo,” published in the February 1985 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette. The first annual General Roy S. Geiger Award, for the most outstanding aviation article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, was awarded to Major Gerald W. Caldwell for “The Destruction of Soviet Air Defenses” which appeared in the December 1985 issue.
20 June - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a corridor on the second deck of the new Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center, Fleet Combat Training Center, Atlantic, Dam Neck, Virginia, in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Solomon H. Godwin. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Godwin was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for heroism while serving with the 1st Counterintelligence Team, 1st Marine Division in Vietnam.
27 June - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, presented Lance Corporal Dean R. Fenton from 1st Tank Battalion a plaque commemorating his statues as the Marine Corps Institution’s (MCI’s) five millionth enrollee. A native of Bellingham, Washington, Lance Corporal Fenton most recently enrolled in MCI’s “Personal Finance” course and previously completed other courses offered by the Institute, which has been providing courses for Marines since 1920.
30 June - The mid-year strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,143,030, of whom 196,225 were Marines.
1 July - Presentation of annual awards took place at the Navy League’s annual convention in San Francisco. Marines selected for the 1986 awards were:
Lieutenant Colonel Bruce A. Byrum for the General John A. Lejeune Award for inspirational leadership; Staff Sergeant Derek J. Hutzley and Sergeant Rickey Marlowe for the General Gerald C. Thomas Award for inspirational leadership by an enlisted Marine; First Lieutenant Talarah G. Baltz for the Captain Winifred Quick Collins Award for inspirational leadership by a woman officer; First Lieutenant Robert G. Cahill for the Admiral Ben Moreel Award for logistics competence; and Master Gunnery Sergeant Bradley C. Lumbray for the General Holland M. Smith Award for operational competence.
2 – 6 July - Marines were on land, sea, and air for the Fourth of July celebration in New York, honoring the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 provided its fleet of presidential helicopters; ground and air elements prepared static displays of Marine weapons, equipment, and aircraft; Marine detachments on board the USS Iowa and USS John F. Kennedy, in addition to participating in the International Naval Review, were used as security and color guards for ceremonies involving President Reagan; and “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band performed for several events during Liberty Weekend as it did 100 years ago under the direction of John Philip Sousa for the 1886 dedication of the statue.
16 July - An aviation milestone was attained at Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, when Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 235 logged 30,000 hours of accident-free flying. VMFA-235’s record was achieved over an eight-year span.
17 July - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a Community Center and Center Court in the Serra Mesa Housing Area, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Sergeant Paul H. Foster, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, near Con Thien in the Republic of Vietnam during October 1967.
22 July - A detachment from the 2d Marine Division sailed with a task force of U.S. Navy ships from their east coast homeports to mark the beginning of UNITAS XXVII, an annual series of exercises conducted by the United States and South American military forces. The mission of the five month cruise through the Caribbean and South American waters was to promote hemispheric solidarity and foster goodwill and military professionalism among participating countries.
22 July – Four Marines and a Navy corpsman were honored during the Marine Corps League’s sixth annual force in readiness exposition. The awards are presented annually to deserving enlisted Marines and Navy hospital corpsmen/dental technicians who distinguished themselves by contributing to combat readiness in the Fleet Marine Force. The 1986 winners were: Staff Sergeant Rene L. Cote received the Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hatchcock II Award for markmanship training; Sergeant Gilbert G. Kerr received the Sergeant Major Wilbur Bestwick Award to a Marine in the ground combat element on an FMF unit; Gunnery Sergeant Alfredo V. Saldate received the Sergeant Harry D. Meyers Award to a Marine in the combat service support element of an FMF unit; and Master Sergeant Richard L. Pharo received the Sergeant Major Frederick B. Douglas Award to a Marine in an aviation element of an FMF unit.
22 July – More than 800 guests were on hand to see Donald T. Regan, White House Chief of Staff, receive the Marine Corps League’s highest civilian award, the Military Order of Iron Mike. The award was presented by Marine Corps League National Commandant, Edward MacIntrye, at a formal grand banquet which was the highlight of the sixth annual Modern Day Marine – Force In Readiness Military Exposition. A retired Marine Reserve officer, Regan participated in five major campaigns during World War II and retired in the grade of lieutenant colonel.
22 – 30 July - More than 290 shooters, representing the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and their respective reserve components competed in the 25th Annual Inter-service Rifle Championship Match at Quantico, Virginia. The Marine Corps team claimed top honors, the Army team took second place, and the National Guard team placed third. Marine Corps shooters also claimed title to several individual and team awards.
25 July – 3 August – Approximately 35,000 Marines, sailors, soldiers, and airmen from several southern California bases participated in Exercise Gallant Eagle ‘86. The exercise was designed to provide a simulated combat environment for training, planning and execution of joint military operations. Gallant Eagle ’86, sponsored by the U.S. Central Command, evaluated the command’s headquarters and portions of its multi-service forces in tactical operations in a desert environment.
28 July - The commemorative naming of the Wire Mountain access road at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, in honor of Gunnery Sergeant Donald L. Carnes, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Gunnery Sergeant Carnes was attached to Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, when he was killed in action on 1 May 1968 in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam.
28 July - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of 14 streets in the Serra Mesa Housing Area, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, in honor of 14 enlisted Marines from California who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
1 August – Marine Barracks, Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia was activated. Based in the Indian Ocean, the facility supported the Maritime Prepositioning Ships Program.
1 August – In signing ALMAR 177/86, General Paul X. Kelley, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, ordered inspector general visits to Fleet Marine Force commands cut back to one every three years instead of every other year, along with efforts to reduce the scope of the inspections. The Commandant also ordered that the number of collateral duties be reduced and the cutting of the number of required reports. The order was an effort to reduce unnecessary administrative workloads.
4 August - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the airfield at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, in honor of the late Lieutenant General John C. Munn, USMC. A veteran Marine aviator, General Munn served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1960-1963, and later as Commanding General of Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, from May 1963 until his retirement from active service on 1 July 1964. He died 14 April 1986 in Encinitas, California, after a long illness.
4 – 13 August – Approximately 10,000 U.S. and Thai troops, including Marines of the 13th Marine Amphibious Unit, participated in Exercise Cobra Gold ‘86, an annual training exercise in and around the Gulf of Thailand. The fifth in a series, Cobra Gold ‘86 was designed to strengthen the ability of Royal Thai armed forces to defend Thailand. The exercise provided training in planning, command and control, and execution of air, land, and sea operations. It concluded with an amphibious assault by U.S. and Thai Marines.
11 August – In the reorganization of selected Marine Corps units, the 2d Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion (2d LAAD) was activated and the 2d Forward Area Air Defense Battery (2d FAAD) was deactivated. The activation of the new battalion resulted from an on-going Marine Corps study to enhance air defense capabilities of the Fleet Marine Force. The 2d LAAD Battalion, located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was tasked to provide close-in air defense protection of Marine Air Ground Task Force assets in forward combat areas and to provide defense of units engaged in independent operations. The 1st LAAD Battalion at Futenma, Okinawa, and the 3d LAAD Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California, were scheduled for future activations.
13 August - Major General James J. McMonagle was reassigned as Commanding General, I Marine Amphibious Force, 1st Marine Division, replacing Major General John I. Hudson.
20 August – 19 September - Marines of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade joined forces with servicemen from nine other nations to participate in Exercise Northern Wedding ‘86 in Norway. The NATO exercise involved a total of 35,000 troops, 150 ships, and hundreds of aircraft. The exercise tested the capacity of allied forces to bring in reinforcements and resist aggression in the Atlantic, Baltic, and Norwegian Sea areas.
20 – 29 August – Kernel Blitz 86-2, an annual amphibious exercise involving Marines from the 5th Marine Amphibious Brigade, took place at Camp Pendleton, California. The exercise tested the capability to coordinate land, sea, and air action. It included securing an operating base during an assault, evacuating non-combatants, and attacking and seizing enemy positions through helicopter assault.
23 August - Retired Brigadier General Herman H. Kanneken, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Haitian Campaign, died in LaJolla, California, at the age of 83. The general enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1914 and was later appointed to a second lieutenant in 1919. His 34-year career took him to Nicaragua in 1928 and through the Pacific campaigns with the 1st Marine Division in World War II. He retired in 1948. In addition to the
Medal of Honor, his personal decorations included two Navy Crosses, and the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star Medals.
29 August – Eight Marines were killed when a CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Norway during Exercise Northern Wedding ‘86. Thirteen other Marines on the helicopter were injured. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff from the USS Saipan.
30 August - The Marine Integrated Fire and Air Support System (MIFASS) was shipped to Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, to begin final field-testing. The tests conducted at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, by the I Marine Amphibious Force, would involve more than 1,300 Marines. The MIFASS was a semi-automated data processing system which could aid the Marine Amphibious Force commander to coordinate all available fire support assets including air, artillery, mortars, and naval gunfire support.
30 August - A new world record for the longest slo-pitch softball game was established by 20 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan. Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 and the station’s Crash, Fire, and Rescue Unit each put 10 of their most durable slo-pitch players on the field. After 102 hours and 34 minutes of play, and 144 innings, the Crash, Fire, and Rescue team won 876 to 853. To set this world record, the Marines used the official guidelines supplied by the “Guinness Book of World Records” in London, England.
___ September - A milestone was reached in the long-term effort to improve the organization of the Corps’ force service support groups (FSSGs), with phase
I of the reorganization underway. Earlier this year, the decision was made to pursue the general reorganization concept contained in the Center for Naval Analysis, Combat Service Support Structure Study of 1985 to restructure the FSSG’s functional battalions in a way that would facilitate deployment of Marine amphibious brigades and simplify task organizing for other Marine air-ground task force commitments. A trial for the revised structures was scheduled to begin during early 1987.
___ September - The Marine Corps began to take a delivery of 50 new light armored vehicles. Designated the LAV-M, the newest addition to the Corps’ growing family of LAVs would provide an additional indirect fire support capability on the battlefield. Its main punch would be delivered by an M-252 81mm mortar mounted internally on a 360-degree traverse along with an M-60 machine gun and smoke grenade launcher. The LAV was made by General Motors of Canada whose contract called for delivery of 758 LAVs to the Marine Corps. More than 400 of the basic variant LAV-25s were already in Marine Corps service.
__ September - Armed with a GAU-2B Gatling Gun, a .50 caliber machine gun, and 2.75-inch rockets, a UH-1N “Huey” from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HML/A) 269 became the first tactical helicopter to employ the Marine Corps’ Defensive Armament Subsystem Improvement Program, or DASIP. The HML/A-269 firing, which took place in the Pamlico Sound near Marine Corps Air Station, New River, North Carolina, marked the first time a “Huey” was “rearmed” since Vietnam.
__ September - The first three Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)vehicles arrived at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. The delivery of the high-speed hovercraft-type vehicles marked the beginning of operations at the $55 million LCAC complex. The LCAC port at Camp Pendleton, the only one of its kind in the world would be joined by a similar facility at Little Creek, Virginia, under construction. Each facility would eventually hold 45 landing craft. LCAC capabilities were displayed when they were deployed from the USS Germantown for a small crowd which included the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James A. Lyons, and Major General Robert E. Haebel, Commanding General, Camp Pendleton. A fleet of 90 LCACs, scheduled to be procured within the next decade, were designed to replace the pre-World War II LCM-family of conventional craft.
1 September - A new Marine Corps command, the Biennial Maintenance Command (BMC), was activated at Jacksonville, Florida. About 50 Marines and sailors are permanently assigned to the BMC. Members of the new command would plan and conduct a biennial maintenance cycle involving equipment and supplies embarked on board maritime prepositioning ships to ensure operational readiness.
1 September - To ensure the continued survivability of the M60A1 tank, until replacement by the M1A1 tank, the Marine Corps procured appliqué armor kits which consisted of explosive tiles mounted to the outside of the tank that increase protection against chemical energy shaped charged munitions. This procurement decision was based on highly successful Israeli battlefield experiences and favorable U.S. Army and Marine Corps testing of reactive appliqué armor. Initial operational capability was planned for July 1987.
3 September - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of four bachelor enlisted quarters at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, in honor of the following Marines from hometowns close to Cherry Point who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: Master Gunnery Sergeant John V. Berg, Corporal Donald R. Yarboro, Lance Corporal Franklin D. Ray, and Private First Class Joseph M. Grantham III.
10 September - Staff Sergeant Robby B. Franker of Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, represented the Marine Corps at the 1986 International Rifle Competition in Suhl, East Germany. Staff Sergeant Franker shot a perfect 600 for 600 against competitors from 61 countries. Using a .22-caliber rifle, Franker hit the 10 millimeter bull’s eye 60 out of 60 times to claim a new world record. All shooting was from the prone position.
11 September - The 3d Light Armored Vehicle Battalion (LAVB) was activated at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. The
battalion’s eight-wheeled vehicle, weighing about 13 tons and configured in eight different variants, provides ground commanders new flexibility in maneuver warfare. This new land-sea-air mobile tank unit joins the 1st and 2d LAVBs in providing the Marine Corps with versatile capability.
12 September – The Secretary of the Navy approved the reorganization of naval security forces in a move designed to improve physical security of naval installations against terrorist acts. The new security program capitalized on the leadership and combat skills of Marines and called for a total reorganization of Marine Corps Security Forces. Implementation would begin 1 October 1986.
16 September – 13 October - More than 2,000 U.S. Marines and 800 Turkish and Italian troops participated in Exercise Display Determination ‘86. The Mediterranean exercise demonstrated the ability of a Marine air ground task force to conduct combined amphibious operations in a NATO environment. Marine units included the 10th Marine Amphibious Brigade, the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, and the 10th Marine Aircraft Group.
17 September - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of six new high-rise apartment complexes at Camp Courtney, Marine Corps Base, Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan, in honor of the following Marine Corps Navy Cross recipients who were killed in action during the Vietnam War: First Sergeant David M. Kaufman, Gunnery Sergeant Joseph F. Covella, Staff Sergeant Willie D. Tyrone, Sergeant Joseph G. Rodriques, Jr., Private First Class Roy E. Pitts, and Private First Class Darrell T. Ray.
22 September - The Commandant of the Marine Corps directed that the responsibility for the education and conduct of the three Staff Noncommissioned Officer (SNCO) Academies be changed from officers to senior staff noncommissioned officers. A time-phased plan was developed to carry out the turnover. By June 1988, the progressive relief would be completed and all commissioned officers on duty at the SNCO Academies (Quantico, Camp Lejeune, and El Toro) would be replaced by senior SNCOs.
22 September – 7 October – U.S. Marines of the 4th and 6th Marine Amphibious Brigades participated in Exercise Bold Guard ‘86 in Germany and Denmark. The exercise tested the capabilities of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force and included the first employment of the Maritime Prepositioning Ships Program in a NATO environment. The objective was to demonstrate NATO solidarity and a commitment by the Free World to defend key corridors of central Europe. Bold Guard ‘86 brought together approximately 65,000 servicemen from the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
30 September – An era in Marine aviation came to a close when the Marine Corps’ only A-6 Intruder training squadron stood down. Since 1968, Marine All Weather Attack Training Squadron 202 served as a temporary home and school to officers learning to pilot the A-6 or serve as bombardier-navigators. The squadron’s training mission was transferred to the Navy at Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington, a move that expanded training opportunities for A-6 crews.
___ October – The Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1987, commonly known as the Goldwater-Nichols Reorganization Bill, became effective. The new legislation was viewed by its advocates as a landmark law that will overcome the decision-making difficulties that were believed to impede actions in the joint arena. Opponents of the legislation, however, found portions to be ill considered. Among the revisions of the new law is the consolidation of staff functions (to include acquisition, auditing, comptroller, information management, inspector general, and public affairs) which would be integrated and combined under the cognizance of the service secretaries.
1 October - Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Training Squadron (VMGRT) 253 activated at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The squadron holds six KC-130 aircraft and provides Fleet Replacement Squadron and Fleet Replacement Aviation Maintenance Program training for Marine Corps aircrew and maintenance personnel. The activation of VMGRT-253 resulted from the Commandant’s decision, earlier this year, to reorganize KC-130 squadrons located at Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point, El Toro, and Futenma.
1 October – The naming of a future gymnasium at Henderson Hall, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps was approved by the Commandant. The gymnasium would be named in honor of Corporal Terry L. Smith who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for heroism while serving with Company M, 3d Battalion, 26th Marines, 3d Marine Division, near Khe Sanh in the Republic of Vietnam during February 1968.
2 October - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, addressed his concern about the recent popularity of a form of cocaine called “crack” in ALMAR 226/86. In his address, the Commandant said “the far reaching effects of illegal drug use make it the concern of every Marine and family member. The Marine Corps must be drug free if we are to accomplish our mission.”
9 – 12 October - The 1986 Marine Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association’s convention in Dallas. Major Ivan M. Behel of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 was named the Aviator of the Year and the recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham award. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 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 242. The helicopter squadron of the year award went to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269.
10 October - Maritime Prepositioning Force 3, having achieved initial operational capability 10 days earlier, completed the loadout of the last ship, Sgt William R. Button. The entire four-ship squadron then steamed to the Guam-Tinian area in the western Pacific for stationing with the equipment of Hawaii-based 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade. The departure of the Button from Panama City, Florida, marked the end of a two-year loadout process that began with the delivery of Cpl Louis J. Hauge, Jr., in 1984.
10 October - Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39 received the AH-1W “Super Cobra” helicopter. It was the first of 78 that would be added to the MAG-39 inventory between October 1986 and FY-90. The AH-1Ws, the fourth and latest generation of Marine attack helicopters, would be used to provide close-in fire support and fire support coordination in aerial and ground escort operations.
15 October - The Marine Corps approved the procurement of the automatic fire sensing and suppression system (AFSSS) for the assault amphibious vehicle, AAV7A1. The AFSSS kit would protect the lives of the embarked troops and crew against a catastrophic fire resulting from the destruction of the fuel cell. A total of 1,413 kits would be procured from fiscal year 1988 through 1990. Installation of the AFSSS components would be performed by the Marine Corps logistics depots.
17 October - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the new recruit processing center at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, in honor of Private First Class Gary W. Martini, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, near Da Nang in the Republic of Vietnam during April 1967.
18 October - The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing saluted Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 242 for achieving a significant aviation milestone. The squadron attained three years of Class A and B mishap-free flying.
20 October - The Roi-Namur battlefield was officially dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. During his keynote address, Lieutenant General D’Wayne Gray, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, paid tribute to the gallant efforts of the Marines who captured the former Japanese outpost in World War II. A bronze plaque presented by the Department of Interior was unveiled by Connor Dyess Smith, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Marine Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla J. Dyess, who was killed on Namur during the 1944 assault.
23 October - On the third anniversary of the Beirut bombing, a granite-engraved memorial was dedicated on a four and one-half acre site at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The monument honors the 241 Marines and other servicemen who were killed in the terrorist bombing. It features a white-granite wall engraved with the names of the servicemen, a brick-paved gathering area with granite benches, and a footpath winding through woods and greenery. Honored guests were Governor Jim Martin of North Carolina, General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and retired Colonel Timothy J. Geraghty, Commanding Officer, 24th Marine Amphibious Unit at the time of the terrorist attack.
27 October – 6 November - The Marine Corps participated in the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, worldwide regional crisis command post exercise, Power Sweep ‘87. The scenario called for a Northwest Pacific superpower confrontation which led to the implementation of several operational landings. The exercise tested Marine Corps crisis management plans, policies, and procedures in a multiple operational landings environment. Major Marine Corps commands included Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic and Pacific, the 4th Marine Division, and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.
___ November - The Marine Corps joined with the Army in awarding a $17.1 million contract to Loral Corporation for upgraded eye-safe infrared laser transmitters to be used on small arms as part of the multiple integrated laser engagement system (MILES). The improved transmitters were significantly smaller and lighter than the earlier versions and could be used interchangeably with the M16A1, M16A2, and M249 squad automatic weapon.
2 November - Brad T. Ingram, a 31-year-old former Marine artillery officer from Mansfield, Ohio, won the 11th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Ingram, who won the 1984 Marine Corps Marathon with a personal-best time of 2:19:40, crossed the finish line with a time of 2:23:13. The first fatality in the history of the event occurred when Staff Sergeant Martin A. Wurst, Jr., a 32-year-old veteran of previous marathons, collapsed on the course near the 15-mile mark. More than 10,000 marathoners competed, including runners from all 50 states and 24 countries.
4 November - A new Marine Corps aviation display commemorating the 75th anniversary of Naval Aviation opened at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. The permanent exhibit, located in the Sea-Air Operations gallery of the museum, traces the history of the Marine Corps’ Short Airfields for Tactical Support (SATS) or expeditionary airfields from 1942 to the 1980s.
10 November - This date marked the completion and dedication of the re-guilding of the engraved lettering on the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, (Iwo Jima Memorial), in Arlington, Virginia. Dedicated in 1954, the memorial’s original gold leaf on the engraved lettering had faded. The Marine Corps Historical Foundation received funds for restoring the lettering from Mr. Peter Haas of Denville, New Jersey, a Marine from 1945-1960. Haas donated the guilding as a memorial to his son, also a Marine, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 1982. The estimated cost of the re-guilding was $18,500.
10 November - Marines throughout the world celebrated the 211th 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, “all Marines to embrace those inspirational words from our own hymn… first to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean, we are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.”
10 November - The Assistant Commandant of at the Marine Corps, General Thomas R. Morgan, dedicated the new headquarters of the Marine Corps Association (MCA) located at the Quantico, Virginia, base. Speaking to an audience of over 250 guests, General Morgan officially opened the $3.1 million structure. The building, housing all MCA functions other than health care administration, would enable the association’s staff to provide improved services to the membership. The MCA was founded in 1913.
12 November - The Marine Corps signed a production contract with General Electric to procure 44 decoys to protect the new AN/TPS-59 long-range, air defense radar from anti-radiation missiles. The contract was negotiated and signed for $10,719,721. This was the first and only decoy system approved for service use in the U.S. military. It would enter service in May 1988.
20 November - The Commandant of the Marine Corps selected Major David W. Mauldin as the 1986 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for outstanding leadership while serving with Company E, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Commemorating the service and leadership of Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, who was killed in action in Vietnam, the annual award goes to a Marine captain serving with the ground forces of Fleet Marine Force at the time of nomination.
23 November - “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band was featured during the halftime show of the Washington Redskins – Dallas Cowboys football game at the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, D.C. This special appearance, in celebration of the 50th year of the Redskins’ franchise, was the first time the Marine Band ever played for the Redskins. Prior to the game, Marine Band baritone vocalist, Michael Ryan, sang the national anthem. During the halftime program, “The President’s Own” played musical highlights of the past 25 years along with “Hail to the Redskins” and “Happy Birthday.”
1 December - A $22.5 million reprogramming request for an additional five AN/TSQ-130 (V) Technical Control and Analysis Centers (TCAC) was approved by Congress. The TCAC was an automated signal intelligence analysis and sensor management system. It would significantly improve response time for the Marine Air Ground Task Force commander’s intelligence information needs. The TCAC was fielded by the U.S. Army and, since TCAC had inherent networking capability, the Marine Corps’ fielding of the system would enhance potential signal intelligence inter-operability between the two services.
1 December - Major General James L. Day, the last U.S. Marine combat veteran to have seen continuous service since World War II, retired from service. During his 43-year career, General Day earned three Silver Star Medals for valor and six Purple Hearts. His combat included the Marshall Islands, Guam, Okinawa, Korea, and Vietnam. The “mustang” general enlisted in the Marine Corps during 1943 and attained the rank of technical sergeant prior to being commissioned a second lieutenant in 1952. His last assigned duty was Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Smedley D. Butler/Deputy
Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Pacific/Okinawa Area Coordinator, Okinawa, Japan.
2 December - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365, Marine Aircraft Group 28, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing went over 80,000 Class A mishap-free flying hours. This represented 14 years of mishap-free flying that included joint and combined training in support of worldwide commitments. The squadron flies the CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopter.
13 December - The SS Kocak, of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron 1, began its biennial maintenance cycle at Blount Island, Florida. The second of 13 ships scheduled for biennial maintenance over the next three years, SS Kocak unloaded all of its embarked equipment and supplies for required repairs/modifications, modernization, and preservation as required. The SS Kocak was scheduled to re-embark its cargo during February 1987.
15 December - Secretary of State George P. Shultz and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State Department and the Marine Corps Security Guard (MSG) Program. The MOU came one week after the Commandant authorized an additional 100 Marines for the embassy protection program abroad. The revision addressed current employment, fiscal and logistical support, and safety of MSG members while serving in foreign countries.
18 December - Three Marines and seven children from the Washington, D.C. area made a house call to the White House to receive a Toys for Tots donation from President Reagan. The President said he hoped his donation would help publicize the Toys for Tots Program. Marines, in return, presented the President with a Toys for Tots Certificate of Appreciation.
The Toys for Tots program, sponsored by the Marine Corps Reserve, dates back to 1947.
18 December- The Joint Resources Management Board approved the V-22 Baseline Program (Marine and Army MV-22, Air Force CV-22, and Navy HV-22) for full-scale development (Milestone II). Marine Corps procurement would eventually number 552 MV-22As to replace existing CH-46E aircraft. The MV-22A would be a medium assault aircraft carrying 24 troops at speeds up to 300 knots out to a radius of over 400 nautical miles.
21 December - Major General Harry C. Olson died in Charleston, South Carolina. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1941, the general was a combat veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In 1972 he became the 32d Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps and served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Supply Center, Barstow, California, prior to his retirement in 1974.
31 December - The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,177,862; of whom 198,245 were Marines.
USMC History Division