1 January - The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,177,862, of whom 198,245 were Marines.
1 January - Marine Detachment, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) was activated at Norfolk, Virginia.
3 January - 27 March - Approximately 6,300 Marines and sailors from elements of the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior '87. The annual training exercise took place at Fort McCoy, Minnesota, and Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin. It was designed to teach individual and unit arctic skills in preparation for cold weather contingency operations.
8 January - Medal of Honor recipient, General Christian F. Schilt, died in Norfolk, Virginia. Enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1917, he served with one of the first organized American air units that went overseas during World War I. In 1919, after being designated a naval aviator, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. While serving with Observation Squadron 7-M in Managua, Nicaragua, in 1928, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his daring rescue and resupply flights to the beleaguered Marine force at Quilali. During World War II, he participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the consolidation of the Southern Solomon Islands. Upon his return to the states, General Schilt commanded the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing, and later the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea during the Korean War. He later served as Commanding General, Aircraft Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Prior to his retirement in 1957, the decorated aviator served as Director of Aviation at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
8 January - A CH-53E "Super Stallion" from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 crashed at the Salton Sea Test Range in Imperial County, California, killing all five Marines on board. Based at Marine Corps Air Station, Tustin, California, the helicopter was participating in routine training at the time of the crash.
12 January - The air station at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, was named Munn Airfield in honor of the late Lieutenant General John C. Munn during dedication ceremonies. A decorated aviator, General Munn served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps between 1960 and 1963 and was then named Commanding General of Camp Pendleton where he served until his retirement in 1964.
14 January - An A-6E "Intruder" assigned to the Navy's Attack Squadron 128, Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington, crashed during a routine training mission near Naval Air Facility, El Centro, California. One Marine officer was killed and another was injured.
15 January - 6 February - More than 150 Marine and Navy marksmen from commands in Hawaii participated in the 1987 Pacific Division Rifle and Pistol Matches at the Camp Smith Training Facility. For the second consecutive year, Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MCAS Kaneohe Bay), made a clean sweep of the team awards. In addition to competing with the M-16A2 service rifle, the competitors were introduced to the 9mm Beretta pistol, which is scheduled to replace the Colt .45 caliber automatic. The matches were part of the Competition-in-Arms Program designed to enhance the combat marksmanship proficiency of the Marine Corps.
17 January - Two Marine officers were killed in the crash of an A-6E "Intruder" into the western Mediterranean Sea. The jet was attached to Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 533 at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. It was operating off the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy at the time of the accident. As an outgrowth of the recent crashes, the Marine Corps' five all-weather attack squadrons temporarily grounded all older aircraft for a series of inspections.
23 January - Four Marines who were killed while serving on Marine Security Guard duty in El Salvador were honored in a dedication ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Four streets were dedicated, one each in honor of Staff Sergeants Bobby Joe Dickson and Thomas T. Handwork, and Sergeants Patrick R. Kwiatkowski and Gregory H. Weber who were killed in a terrorist attack at a sidewalk cafe 19 June 1985 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Major General Robert E. Haebel, Commanding General of Camp Pendleton, praised the fallen Marines in his remarks.
27 January - Charges were preferred against Sergeant Clayton J. Lonetree, formerly a member of the Marine Security Guard detachment at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Arrested in December 1986, Lonetree was charged with sexual involvement with a Soviet woman and with allowing, at her request, unauthorized personnel access of restricted embassy areas.
28 January - 4 February - Marines of the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade participated in Exercise Kernel Blitz 1-87 in Southern California. Designed to test the combat readiness of the brigade, the exercise included the first operational use of the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC).
5 February - General Paul X. Kelley delivered his fourth and final report as the Commandant of the Marine Corps to the Senate Armed Services Committee stating that the Corps' readiness for war was the highest ever in peacetime. Citing an across-the-board increase in readiness in both air and ground components, General Kelley assured Congress that the Marine Corps was ready to meet the challenge as a versatile, cost-effective force that can be rapidly projected to resolve conflict on foreign soil.
6 February - Major General Dennis J. Murphy, Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, presented Major David W. Mauldin with the 1986 Leftwich Trophy at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Named for Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam while serving as commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, it has been awarded annually to deserving Marines since 1979. The Trophy recognizes outstanding leadership by a Marine captain serving with ground forces in the Fleet Marine Force. Major Mauldin earned the award while serving as commander of Company E, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines.
12 February - A CH-46E "Sea Knight" helicopter crashed in Trabuco Canyon near Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, on a night training flight, killing all three Marine crew members. The helicopter was attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764.
19 February - 9 May - The III Marine Amphibious Force participated in Exercise Team Spirit '87 in South Korea. The 12th annual joint-combined 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 increase the combat readiness of U.S. and Republic of Korea Marines. Approximately 200,000 United States and Republic of Korea military personnel participated in the exercise.
21 February - Major General William T. Fairbourn died in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 73. During General Fairbourn's illustrious 32-year career, he served as commanding officer of the 2d Battalion, 12th Marines on Iwo Jima and in 1955 commanded the 11th Marines. During the 1960s, the decorated general commanded the 1st Marine Division and the 5th Marine Expeditionary Force. He retired in 1967.
1 March - The 1st Light Antiaircraft Missile (LAAM) Battalion was reactivated on Okinawa. In response to Fleet Marine Force concerns about the organizational deficiencies of the Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) Batteries, the 1st LAAM Battalion was activated for optimized use of the programmed air defense structure to enhance all aspects of the Marine Air Ground Task Force air defense.
3 - 29 March - The 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) participated in Exercise Cold Winter '87, a NATO exercise held in northern Norway. Cold Winter '87 marked the first time a Marine general commanded an Allied defensive force in Norway. Brigadier General Matthew B. Caulfield led the 4th MAB, along with British and Norwegian units. Under the direction of the Military Airlift Command, the Marines of the 4th MAB, as well as rotary-wing aircraft, were transported to the exercise by military and chartered civilian aircraft. Designed to enhance operational readiness among forces that protect NATO's northern flank, the exercise tested the forces' capabilities during extreme winter conditions.
6 March - The Majestic Metal Fabrication Company of Roseville, Michigan, was awarded a contract to provide 189 applique armor kits (AAK) for the Marine Corps' Assault Amphibious Vehicle 7A1 (AAV7A1) personnel and command and control vehicles. The procurement was for the P900 AAK version consisting of perforated plates attached to the vehicle hull. The AAK would significantly improve AAV7A1 survivability against small arms kinetic energy munitions.
18 March - The Navy's Assault Craft Unit 4 (ACU-4) celebrated the delivery of LCAC-7 (air cushioned landing craft) manufactured by Textron Marine Systems. The occasion marked the first LCAC delivered to ACU-4, which was temporarily located at Panama City, Florida, while a permanent facility was constructed at Little Creek, Virginia. ACU-4 would continue training its crews and conducting tests on LCACs to include cold weather operations.
25 March - 3 April - Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Amphibious Unit (Special Operations Capable) participated in Exercise Sardinia '87 on the southern tip of Sardinia, Italy, as part of the joint U.S. training exercise with Italian and Spanish forces. Sardinia '87 featured a night waterborne and helicopter assault and provided an opportunity for the three nations to work together and improve their abilities in tactics and marksmanship.
30 March - The State Department announced that the entire 28-man Marine Corps guard detachment at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had been recalled to the United States as part of the investigation into alleged espionage by former guard Sergeant Clayton Lonetree. The measure was precautionary in nature and was intended to facilitate an investigation of the security program at the U.S. Embassy.
31 March - Lieutenant General Anthony Lukeman was promoted to three-star rank and continued with his assignment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Manpower and Personnel Policy), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
1 April - A reorganization became effective within the Plans, Policies, and Operations Department at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. A new branch, the Amphibious Warfare, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Operations, and Prepositioning Matters Branch was formed. The consolidation of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Concepts and Capabilities Branch and the Amphibious Requirements Branch was designed to improve effectiveness and efficiency within the Operations Division.
1 April - Major General Harold G. Glasgow retired from active duty. Major General Joseph P. Hoar replaced him as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Commanding General, Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, South Carolina.
10 April - Captain James H. Webb, Jr., USMC (Retired), a decorated Vietnam Marine veteran and noted author, replaced John H. Lehman Jr., becoming the 66th Secretary of the Navy. A 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy, Webb served with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Vietnam. His military decorations include the Navy Cross, Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. A graduate of Georgetown Law School in 1975, Webb authored the novels, Fields of Fire (1977), A Sense of Honor (1981), and A Country Such As This (1983).
15 April - Louis R. Lowery, a noted World War II Marine Corps combat photographer, died in Fairfax, Virginia, at the age of 70 after a prolonged illness. Best known for photographing the first flag raising at Iwo Jima on 23 February 1945, Lowery covered the fighting on Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Wounded twice, he is believed to have been the only photographer to film six major Pacific battles, one with each of the six Marine divisions. He was a retired photographic director of Leatherneck magazine and an active member of the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association.
16 April - The first of two Marine Corps Security Force (MCSF) Battalions, the foundation of the newly organized Marine Corps Security Forces, was officially established in a ceremony at Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia. The colors of Marine Barracks, Norfolk were retired and replaced with those of the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Atlantic. Each security force battalion would consist of a headquarters, Marine Security Force School, cadres assigned to the security departments of Navy installations, security force companies ashore (formerly Marine Barracks), Marine detachments afloat, along with Marine instructors to provide training to assist naval security forces at naval bases where no Marines are stationed. MCSF Battalion, Pacific would activate in July 1987 at Mare Island, California.
17 April - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Paul X. Kelley, held a press conference at the Pentagon on the embassy security scandal. The Commandant spoke about the Corps’ impeccable record of providing worldwide embassy security for 38 years, and pledged that an exhaustive investigation would leave no stone unturned. He asked for patience and cooperation from the public at large and demanded due process for those charged.
17 April - Graduation ceremonies were held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for the first class to pass through a Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned Officer (SNCO) Academy run by senior enlisted men. Brigadier General Edmund P. Looney, Jr., Commanding General of the 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade, presented diplomas to the 36 graduates. Under the Commandant's direction of September 1986, the responsibility of education and conduct of the three SNCO Academies was changed from officers to senior staff noncommissioned officers. The SNCO Academies, also at El Toro and Quantico, were under the guidance of Quantico's Marine Corps Development and Education Command.
22 - 30 April - Nearly 1,000 Marines and sailors and almost 2,000 tons of equipment from the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) were flown from Southern California to McCord Air Force Base, Washington, for Strategic Mobility Exercise (STRATMOBEX) 2-87. With support from Air Force and Army units, critical aspects of forming, loading, transporting, and unloading the fly-in-echelon of the Maritime Prepositioning Force were refined by the 7th MAB. The Military Airlift Command was tested as part of its annual operational readiness inspection and had only nine days to get the brigade to McCord, then back to Southern California.
23 April - 4 May - The 13th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) from Camp Pendleton, California, and the Navy's Amphibious Squadron 5 from San Diego, California, took part in Exercise Kernel Usher 87-3 off the coast of California. The U.S. Third Fleet exercise involved more than 8,000 Marines and sailors, 13 ships, and various types of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. It displayed a first time tactical use of the new amphibious Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and, in support of the exercise, the LCAC was launched by a ship for the first time.
25 April - 15 May - More than 40,000 U.S. military personnel, including Marines of the II Marine Amphibious Force, participated in Exercise Solid Shield '87. The exercise was the 24th in a series of annual joint exercises designed to emphasize command and control of military forces with a friendly nation in a simulated combat environment. Solid Shield, which takes place every other year, was divided into two phases -- one conducted at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the other, a joint U.S. - Honduran air and amphibious exercise in Honduras.
____ May - Teams of government and industry personnel, who had been actively replacing defects in the main transmission assemblies of the recently grounded fleet of CH-53E Sikorsky helicopters, have put the heavy lift helicopters back in the air. The Marine Corps maintained three operational squadrons, each with 16 CH-53Es "Super Stallions" (Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadrons 464, 465, and 466). Additionally, it had 10 CH-53Es in Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 301, and one assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron 1.
____ May - The consolidation of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) functions within the Marine Corps was approved. This consolidation involved the merger of the Morale Support Division of the Manpower Department and the Marine Corps Exchange Service Branch of the Installations and Logistics Department, at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. The consolidation resulted from Congressional guidance to organize and manage all MWR activities in a more business-like manner. Congressional budget actions reduced appropriated fund support and concurrently focused on the need to generate and manage additional non-appropriated funds to support MWR requirements.
4 May - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of Building 3090 at the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of Sergeant Darrell S. Cole who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroism during the Iwo Jima campaign of World War II while attached to Company B, 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, 4th Marine Division. Building 3090 would be the new home of the Quantico Marine Band.
7 May - A United Nations delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) observed the operations at a Prisoner of War compound during Exercise Solid Shield '87. This marked the first visit by an ICRC representative to a U.S. military exercise. The visit served as a means to introduce military officials to an organization that plays an important role in world conflicts.
9 May - The USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), an Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate, was commissioned at U.S. Naval Station, Long Beach, California. The ship was named in honor of Sergeant Rodney M. Davis, a posthumous Medal of Honor recipient who died in 1967 while serving as platoon sergeant with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. It was the fifth frigate to be named after a Marine. The other four were the USS Lewis B. Puller (FFG 23), USS Nicholas (FFG 47), USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), and USS Elrod (FFG 55).
21 May - The Marine Corps decided to procure 12 Mobile Electronic Warfare Support Systems (MEWSS) that would provide the capability of detecting, locating, and degrading enemy tactical AM and FM radio communications in the VHF and UHF spectrums. MEWSS was an integration of existing electronic warfare (EW) systems in a light armored vehicle derivative which would provide for rapid displacement of EW assets over all types of terrain.
22 May - This date marked the 75th anniversary of Marine Corps aviation. On 22 May 1912, First Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham reported to the Navy's aviation camp at Annapolis for flight instruction. Cunningham was the first Marine Corps aviator and led the 1st Marine Aviation Force in France during World War I. A major traveling exhibition of aviation art, "75 Years of Marine Corps Aviation © A Tribute," assembled by the Marine Corps Museum, Washington, D.C., illustrated events and aircraft from 1912 to the 1980s.
29 May - A production contract was signed with Litton Industries for delivery of Tactical Air Operations Modules (TAOM) to the Marine Corps and the Air Force. This semi-automated system replaced the major components of the Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC) fielded in the early sixties. The modular design of the TAOM would dramatically reduce time to emplace and displace, enhancing survivability on the modern day battlefield. The TAOM would also provide the essential combat capability to command and control assigned airspace and air defense weapons, both interceptors and surface-to-air defense missiles, to meet the postulated threat of the 1990s. The Marine Corps planned to procure 48 TAOMs.
____ June - The "Silver Eagles" of Marine Fighter Attack (VMFA) Squadron 115 made aviation history when their F/A-18 "Hornets" arrived in Iwakuni, Japan, under the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program. The arrival of VMFA-115, home based at Beaufort, South Carolina, marked the introduction of the F/A-18s into the six month rotation cycle, replacing the last F-4 "Phantom" squadron, VMFA-212, to participate in the program.
___ June - A joint Navy-Marine document providing general guidance to commanders and staffs involved in the planning and execution of Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) Operations was published. Operational Handbook 7-6, Maritime Prepositioning Force Operations (Tactical Memorandum PZ.0022-1-87) addressed the characteristics, scope, planning, and execution of MPF operations to include the responsibilities of commanders, MPF organization, and terminology.
___ June - The Marine Corps began accepting delivery of the TOW IIA antiarmor missiles from Hughes Aircraft Company. Designed to defeat enemy reactive armor by adding a precursor warhead to the probe of a standard TOW II missile, the warhead would strip reactive armor upon detonation, allowing the main warhead's shaped charge to penetrate the remaining armor. The Marine Corps would continue receiving TOW IIAs through FY91 at which time the upgraded missile would comprise about 25 percent of the Corps' TOW missile inventory.
3 June - Marines and sailors were authorized to wear the new Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon. Approved by the Secretary of the Navy, the ribbon was for Marines who served 12 months, either consecutive or accumulated, in a non-deployable billet outside the United States. It was retroactive from August 1974.
8 June - The 5th Marines celebrated its 70th anniversary during ceremonies at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Originally activated as the 5th Regiment of Marines on 8 June 1917, during World War I, the regiment was among the first American forces to fight in Europe. During World War II, the 5th Marines fought throughout the Pacific theater, including Guadalcanal and Okinawa. The Korean War saw the 5th Marines at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir. In Vietnam, elements of the highly decorated regiment participated in the battle for Hue.
10 June - 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 XXVIII, an annual series of exercises. The mission of the five month cruise through Caribbean, South American, and West African waters was to promote hemispheric solidarity and foster goodwill and military professionalism among participating countries.
13 - 27 June - More than 2,800 Marine Corps and Navy Reservists participated in CAX 7-87, a Reserve Combined Arms Exercise that tested Reservists' skills learned throughout the year at their home drill sites. Reservists from across the country were under the Command of Colonel Merlyn A. Sexton, commanding officer of the 25th Marines, Worcester, Massachusetts, for the live-fire exercise held in the Southern Mojave Desert.
14 June - The first Biennial Maintenance Cycle (BMC) for equipment and supplies of the 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade loaded on board the four ships of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 1 was completed. The BMC period began during October 1986 with the PFC Eugene A. Obregon and completed with the backloading and sailing of the Maj Stephen W. Pless.
14 June - Marine Corps and Japanese veterans of the Battle of Okinawa returned to the island to jointly dedicate a memorial honoring those who died during the final battle of World War II. The 25-foot tall, triangular granite monument was designed to honor American servicemen, Japanese soldiers, and the civilians who perished in the battle. A time capsule containing memorabilia from the Okinawa battle is located at the base of the monument.
15 June - The Marine Corps Intermediate Weight Jacket for men, better known as the "tanker" jacket, was approved after a month-long wear test. The Permanent Marine Corps Uniform Board had Marines in 11 locations test 70 jackets for four to six weeks. The coat was designed to be worn with Service "B" and "C" uniforms or with the service sweater.
17 June - Two literary awards and a distinguished service award, sponsored by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, were presented during an awards luncheon at the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club, Washington, D.C. The Colonel Robert D. Heinl Award in Marine Corps History went to Lieutenant Colonel Merrill L. Bartlett for his essay "Old Gimlet Eye," published in the November 1986 Proceedings. The General Roy S. Geiger Award, for the best aviation article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, was awarded to Colonel John L. Adkinson for his article "Who Were Those Guys? The Playboys," which appeared in the May 1986 issue. The Foundation's first Distinguished Service Award was presented to noted photographer David Douglas Duncan.
19 June - Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), homeported at Camp Pendleton, California, embarked on board the USS Germantown (LSD 42), a specially designed dock landing ship. The LCACs were from Assault Craft Unit 5 and they joined the 13th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) for a six-month cruise. It marked the first time that LCACs were deployed to the Western Pacific. The craft and their crews demonstrated their increased amphibious capabilities.
24 June - The 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade took part in the Biennial Maintenance Cycle (BMC) of Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) Squadron 2 with the arrival of 1stLt Alex Bonneyman at Blount Island, Florida. It was the first of five ships in MPS-2 to have its BMC performed. The BMC period was scheduled to last until May 1988.
24 June - Major General Hollis E. Davison assumed command of the 4th Marine Division, replacing Major David B. Barker, who was retiring.
26 June - Sergeant Major David W. Sommers assumed the post of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, replacing Sergeant Major Robert E. Cleary. The 11th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps was selected for the Corps' highest enlisted post after he became director of the Staff Noncommissioned Officers (SNCO) Academy at Quantico, Virginia. His assumption of the SNCO Academy post marked the first time an enlisted Marine was designated for the director's position. Sergeant Major Sommers previously served as sergeant major of the 2d Marine Division and The Basic School.
26 June - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of Building 33615, 33 Area, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Private First Class Eugene A. Obregon, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with Company G, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division during September 1950 in the Korean War.
26 June - The naming of the new recruit training facility at Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Western Recruiting Region, San Diego, California, in honor of Private First Class Robert C. Burke, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Private First Class Burke was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism, while serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 26th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during May 1968 in the Vietnam War.
26 June - The first Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II aircraft with night attack capability made its maiden flight from St. Louis. The new capability would allow the Marine Corps to provide around-the-clock air support for ground troops. All production AV-8Bs would be equipped with the night attack features beginning in September 1989. A vertical/short takeoff and landing jet, the AV-8B was built by McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis. Four tactical squadrons and one training squadron used the aircraft.
28 June - Before an estimated audience of 4,000 Marines and guests, including special guest and keynote speaker, Vice President George Bush, General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., received the official battle color of the Marine Corps and became the Corps' 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps. He relieved General Paul X. Kelley. The ceremonies were conducted at the historic Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. The evening's ceremony honored General Kelley who retired after a career spanning 37 years. General Gray assumed command on 1 July.
29 June - Sergeant Major Domenick A. Irrera, one of the last active duty Marines to have served in World War II, retired after a 41-year military career. A Philadelphia native, Sergeant Major Irrera enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 and saw combat in the Pacific. After the war, he left the service to become a professional lightweight boxer. He returned to active duty during the Korean War. Although he did not reach the Korean battlefields, he served a duty tour in Vietnam. His retirement ceremony was marked by the presence of newly appointed Marine Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray, and the presentation of a Legion of Merit from President Ronald Reagan.
30 June - Headquarters, 27th Marines, located at Twentynine Palms, California, retired its colors. The deactivation of the regimental headquarters enabled the Marine Corps to return to its traditional nine active duty infantry regiments. The 27th Marines was first activated in January 1944 and distinguished itself in the battle of Iwo Jima. At the end of World War II, the regiment was deactivated. The colors were again unfurled in June 1966 in preparation for combat in Vietnam. Returning to Camp Pendleton, California, in September 1968, the unit was deactivated during October 1969. During December 1981, the regimental headquarters reactivated as the headquarters for the ground combat element of the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade. During this period, the 27th Marines was the only permanently organized mechanized combined arms task force regiment in the Marine Corps.
30 June - The mid-year strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,150,816, of whom 198,555 were Marines.
___July - Upon recommendation from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Secretary of the Navy decided to terminate the development of the Marine Integrated Fire and Air Support System (MIFASS), a Marine Corps program designed to automate the coordination and control of supporting arms. MIFASS was to provide for coordination and integration of mortars, artillery, naval gunfire, and direct air support in order to achieve more effective and responsive fire support for ground maneuver forces. The Marine Corps would continue to study other solutions to meet its supporting arms requirements.
____ July - The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded contracts to Textron Marine Systems and Lockhead Corporation for 17 air cushion landing craft (LCACs). As part of the duel procurement strategy, Textron Marine would build 10 craft and Lockhead would build seven. A total of 90 LCACs were scheduled to be built by the early 1990s.
7 - 25 July - Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North testified before a Congressional committee investigating the Iran contra affair involving the use of profits from the Iran arms sales to help the rebels in Nicaragua. Lieutenant Colonel North served on the White House National Security Council Staff. A nationally televised investigation into his activities and the Reagan Administration's policies on Iran and Nicaragua was conducted on Capital Hill.
8 July - The 15th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU), a new permanent Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF), was activated at Camp Pendleton, California, with Colonel Marvin T. Hopgood, Jr., as its first commander. The unit joined the 11th and 13th MAUs that made up the Marine Corps combat forces afloat in the Western Pacific. The new unit raised the number of permanent MAGTF command groups to a total of 15.
16 July - On this date, 30 years ago, Major John H. Glenn, Jr., completed the first non-stop supersonic coast-to-coast flight in an F8U-1 "Crusader." The flight, from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, took 3 hours, 23 minutes, and 8.1 seconds. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for this feat, his fifth such award.
17 - 21 July - The Marine Corps Pistol Team, based at Quantico, Virginia, competed in the National Pistol Competition at Camp Perry, Ohio. In the Team Match Competition, the Marine Corps team placed third. Master Sergeant Ricardo Rodriquez won the President's 100 Match and received the McMillan Trophy. Sergeant Roxane Conrad scored more points than any other active duty Marine in the National Trophy Individual Match. The matches were sponsored by the National Rifle Association.
18 July - The Marine Corps approved the production of the first phase of Generation II, a product improvement of the M47 "Dragon" antitank system. It would provide an 85 percent increase in penetration over the previous system and a redesigned fuze to enhance safety. The product improvement would require no retraining of Marines.
18 July - 2 August - For the first time, active duty and reserve forces were integrated at the Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB) level to test the Marine Corps' "total force" concept in Exercise Solar Flare. Nearly 8,000 active duty Marines from the 4th MAB and 7,000 reserve Marines from the 2d MAB engaged in a force-on-force field training exercise in free-play maneuver warfare at
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
18 – 21 July - Gunnery Sergeant Dana Dennis set a new interservice record in the 600-Yard Match during the 26th Annual Interservice Rifle Championship Matches at Quantico, Virginia. More than 290 military shooters throughout the U.S. competed individually and with teams during the week-long match. Teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, as well as their respective Reserve components, and the National Guard, competed.
20 July - 15 September - Exercise Bright Star '87 brought the I Marine Amphibious Force, the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 together with the Egyptian 10th Mechanized Infantry Brigade for an international demonstration of combined air, sea, and land power. The U.S. Central Command exercise, held in Egypt, included an amphibious landing and cross-training between armed forces of two countries.
27 July - The first international tribute to the United Nations forces in Korea and a dedication of a memorial meditation bench in honor of Americans who gave their lives during the Korean War was held at Arlington National Cemetery. Sponsored by No Greater Love and the Korean War Veterans Association, Marine Medal of Honor recipient of the Korean War, Colonel Carl L. Sitter, was the master of ceremonies.
27 July - Brigadier General Michael P. Sullivan became Commanding General of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, located at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. General Sullivan replaced Major General John R. Dailey, who became Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia.
28 July - In a small ceremony, the last Marine Corps F-4 squadron in the continental United States bid farewell to its "Phantoms." Marines of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, witnessed the departure of their last four "Phantoms" as they flew to Davis Air Force Base for retirement. The last trip added the final flight hours to more than 700,000 accumulated by Beaufort F-4s.
30 July - ALMAR 162/87 stated that insignia of grade would no longer be worn on the utility cap by Marines and Navy personnel serving with Marine Corps units.
___ August - By direction of the Commandant, planners at Headquarters Marine Corps put into motion a program to introduce an assault gun to the Fleet by FY90. In developing new program alternatives, planners expected the Marine Corps to follow Army requirements that would call for a 105mm gun that fires existing NATO ammunition. A Marine Corps requirement was that the vehicle be capable of swimming on the surface for river-crossing operations.
4 August - Six months after the bow and stern sections of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) were joined, the Navy/Marine Corps' newest amphibious assault ship was launched in Pascagoula, Mississippi, home of the ship's builder, Ingalls Division of Litton. To get the ship to water for its launching, Ingalls' shipbuilders rolled the 27,600-ton Wasp over land 276 feet, breaking the world's tonnage record for moving manmade objects. The ship would be christened in September 1987.
4 - 11 August - A milestone was achieved in the Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) Program when two of the MPS ships were off-loaded in-stream simultaneously for the first time in Exercise Freedom Banner '87 that was held in the Philippines. The flagship of MPS Squadron 2, the Pvt Harry Fisher and the Pvt William B. Baugh sailed from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to link up with l,300 Marines and sailors of the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade that were airlifted from California for the exercise.
12 August - Two pilots were killed when a TAV-8A "Harrier" training jet they were flying crashed in a field near Bayboro, North Carolina. The TAV-8A from Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, was on a routine training flight when the accident occurred.
13 August - The Secretary of Defense announced that President Reagan nominated Major General William G. Carson, Jr., for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics and Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps; and Major General John I. Hudson for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Headquarters, Marine Corps.
13 August - The Marine Corps established a required operational capability for a lightweight early warning detection device (LEWDD). The LEWDD would provide low altitude air defense (LAAD) section leaders with a capability to alert and cue LAAD gunners to maximize the utility and effectiveness of their surface-to-air weapons. It would be able to detect fixed and rotary wing aircraft out to 20 kilometers and would enable LAAD gunners to receive timely alerting information on hostile aircraft during day and night operations under all weather conditions.
13 August - The Marine Corps' first adversary squadron had its official stand up ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. Equipped with the Israeli-built F-21A "Kfir" aircraft, Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 would provide instruction to active and reserve Marines through the simulation of adversary aerial tactics. General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was on hand to inaugurate the Corps' first aggressor squadron in Yuma and also celebrated the air stations' 25th anniversary.
18 August - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the athletic field within the Courthouse Bay area of Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Major Henry C. Drewes, USMCR. The major served as the Commanding Officer of the 2d Amphibian Tractor Battalion from March 1942 to November 1943, when he was killed in action during the assault on Tarawa Atoll. Major Drewes was
posthumously awarded the Silver Star for heroism in leading the battalion during the assault.
18 August - The commemorative naming of the new headquarters of the 7th Motor Transport Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Marine Sergeant Major Frank W. Jones, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Sergeant Major Jones served as the battalion Sergeant Major of the 7th Motor Transport Battalion during a period in which he was diagnosed as having terminal cancer. His unyielding spirit and devotion to duty during a time of great personal hardship served as an inspiration to all Marines who had the privilege to work with him.
19 August - The Marine Corps awarded the Fleet Marine Force-End User Computing Equipment (FMF-EUCE) contract to C3, Incorporated of Herndon, Virginia. The contract would provide up to 13,335 field-deployable microcomputers, associated peripherals, software, and maintenance. The FMF-EUCE devices would be used to support the developing Marine Corps Information Systems in the areas of personnel, pay, supply, budgeting, logistics, and accounting.
21 August - A Marine once again became the "Gray Eagle," the Navy Department's senior aviator by date of aviation designation. Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, assumed the title when Navy Vice Admiral James E. Service retired. As the general's October 1952 designation superseded all other Armed Forces aviators, he also became the senior aviator in the Department of Defense. The Gray Eagle Trophy award, sponsored by the Vought Corporation, was started in 1960 and is passed on to honor the senior Naval Aviator still on active duty.
24 August - Court martial proceedings against Sergeant Clayton J. Lonetree concluded when an eight member panel of Marine Corps officers found Lonetree guilty of 13 charges of espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, failure to report contacts, and disclosing identities of covert government agents while serving as an embassy guard in Moscow and Vienna. Lonetree was sentenced to 30 years confinement, forfeited all pay and allowances, reduced to the rank of private, and fined $5,000. He became the first Marine to be convicted of espionage in the Corps' 212-year history.
26 August - Navy Secretary James H. Webb announced that a new Aegis guided-missile cruiser would become the first Navy combat ship to carry the name of a Vietnam War battle. The USS Hue City will be named for the battle to retake the old Imperial capital from the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive in 1968. U.S. Marines and Army troops together with South Vietnamese soldiers and Marines fought for more than a month to retake the city.
28 August - Major General Gene A. Deegan assumed command as Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center/Commanding General, 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade, replacing Major General Ernest T. Cook, Jr.
28 August - The Secretary of Defense announced that President Reagan nominated Major General Ernest T. Cook, Jr. for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic/II Marine Amphibious Force/Fleet Marine Force Europe (Designate). General Cook replaced Major General Clayton L. Comfort, who was retiring.
___ September - The Marine Corps published a history of its operations on Grenada, U.S. Marines in Grenada, 1983, a 43-page brief account of the Marines' part in the intervention in October 1983. Based in part upon real-time interviews with members of the 22d Marine Amphibious Unit, which landed on the island, and illustrated with combat art, the history was distributed to Marine Corps units, institutional libraries, and sold to the general public by the Government Printing Office.
___ September - The Marine Corps accepted delivery of the first antitank variant of the light armored vehicle, with 95 more LAV(AT)s to follow. Armed with TOW II missiles for primary missions and an M60 7.62mm machine gun for self defense, the LAV(AT) had two missiles ready for firing when operating and 14 missiles stowed. The vehicle also had two M257 smoke grenade launchers that were controlled from the commander's station.
1 September - The Marine Corps approved a limited initial production of 15 rigid raiding craft (RRC) with twin 70 horsepower motors. The RRCs would be used to transport up to Marine company-sized raids outside cruise missile range to the shore with minimal signature. The boat would allow amphibious raids under conditions that precluded helicopter insertion or employment of amphibious vehicles.
3 September - A CH-46E "Sea Knight" helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 crashed at Camp Pendleton, California, killing all four crewmembers. The helicopter was flying a routine night training operation. This marked the second fatal accident involving a CH-46E during 1987.
3 September - The Marine Corps expendable jamming drone (EXDRONE) completed operational and developmental testing phase II at White Sands, New Mexico. EXDRONE was an air vehicle that was intended to disrupt enemy VHF communications. The lightweight, low-cost craft with an eight-foot wingspan and a ten-pound payload capacity, performed successfully. The Marine Corps planned to go to pilot production in FY 88 to refine the capabilities of the system and fully develop the concept of operations.
10 September - Major General Norman H. Smith assumed command as Commanding General, 3d Marine Division/III Marine Amphibious Force, replacing Major General Edwin J. Godfrey.
11 - 16 September - More than 4,000 Marines and sailors attached to the 13th Marine Amphibious Unit and Amphibious Squadron Five participated in Exercise Valiant Usher '87, held off the coast of Western Australia. The Marine Corps and Navy joined elements of the Royal Australian forces in the execution of joint amphibious training operations. The air cushion landing craft made its debut on foreign soil in a major exercise and embarked on the USS Germantown. Also for the first time, Marine F/A-18 jets from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing flew over Australian airspace.
15 September - The Marine Corps signed a production contract with Westinghouse Electric Corporation for an extended range processor for the AN/TPS-63 radar. The processor would double the acquisition range of the radar from 80 to 160 miles. The Marine Corps would procure 22 extended range processors to be fielded processors to be fielded in 1991.
16 September - The Marine Corps completed its second FY 87 delivery to Norway in its prepositioning program effort with the government of Norway. The 1982 bilateral agreement allowed the Marine Corps to preposition equipment and supplies to support a 13,000 Marine air-landed brigade for contingency purposes. This brought the major items of equipment to 43 percent. Initial operating capability is scheduled for the end of 1989.
17 September - "The President's Own" U. S. Marine Corps Band participated in the bicentennial of the Constitution celebration in historic Philadelphia. Reviewed by President Reagan, the Band paraded with the Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. One hundred years earlier, John Philip Sousa's Marine Corps Band paraded through the city in honor of the Constitution's centennial celebration.
21 September - The first F/A-18C, the new single seat version of McDonnell Douglas' strike fighter, arrived at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, for extensive testing. The newest "Hornet" protected itself with the latest airborne self-protection jammer and was capable of firing both the advanced medium range air-to-air missile and the infrared imaging Maverick air-to-ground missile.
23 September - The 4th Light Armored Vehicle Battalion activated. The new reserve unit consisted of Headquarters and Service Company and Company
A, both at Camp Pendleton, California, and Company B at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
25 September - The Commandant of the Marine Corps selected Captain Paul E. Lefebvre as the 1987 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for outstanding leadership by a Marine captain serving with ground forces in the Fleet Marine Force. Captain Lefebvre served with 2d Battalion, 9th Marines.
28 September - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a housing area at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, in honor of First Lieutenant John N. Boyett who was attached to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, when he was killed in action in the 23 October 1983 terrorist explosion of the battalion landing team headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.
28 September - The commemorative naming of the Camp Barrett Medical/Dental Clinic at Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray, USN, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ray was attached to Battery D, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, when he was killed in action on 19 March 1969 near An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in sacrificing his own life to save the life of a Marine comrade.
29 September - ALMAR 137/87 stated that the Secretary of Defense approved the payment of imminent danger pay (IDP) to personnel on duty in the Arabian Gulf area and the countries of Bahrain and Kuwait, including the airspace over each area. The Arabian Gulf area included the Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf), the Strait of Hormuz, and the part of the Gulf of Oman which lies north of 25 degrees north latitude and west of 057-30 degrees east longitude. The $110 per month IDP went into effect on 25 August.
___ October - The Marine Corps published a history of its deployments to Lebanon, U.S. Marines in Lebanon, 1982-1984, a 196-page account of the participation of the 22d and 24th Marine Amphibious Units in the multinational peacekeeping force to assist the Government of Lebanon in achieving stability. The illustrated history was based in part on numerous interviews with Marines and commanding officers of the Marine units deployed to Lebanon. It was distributed to Marine Corps institutional libraries, and sold to the general public by the Government Printing Office.
___ October - Renovation of The Commandant's House at 801 G Street, Washington, D.C. began. Since its construction in 1806, the house has been the official residence of all but two Commandants of the Marine Corps, Major Samuel Nicholas and Lieutenant Colonel William W. Burrows. An in-depth inspection of structural, architectural, mechanical, and landscaping deficiencies was conducted in 1985. As a result of this inspection, a five-year refurbishment plan was developed. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the oldest public building still in continuous use in the Nation's capital.
1 October - The Installations and Logistics Department at Headquarters Marine Corps was reorganized to strengthen and consolidate planning, policy, requirements, and acquisitions functions and better facilitate accomplishment of other combat service support missions. The reorganization plan was rooted in the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and reflects initiatives begun during the summer by the Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray.
1 October - The last active duty A-4 replacement aircrew training squadron, Marine Attack Training Squadron 102, deactivated. In 18 years of operation, the "Fighting Skyhawks" attained more than 136,000 flight hours. The squadron would be replaced by Marine Aircraft Group 49, Detachment B and the AV-8B aircraft.
1 October - Major General Louis H. Buehl III was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general. Replacing Lieutenant General Clyde D. Dean, who retired on this day, General Buehl was assigned as Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
1 October - Major General Edwin J. Godfrey was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and was assigned as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, replacing Lieutenant General D'Wayne Gray who retired on the same day.
2 October - The last active duty Marine to have served in World War II retired after a 35-year military career. Chief Warrant Officer Charles B. Russell, 62, joined the Marine Corps in 1943. He participated in battles for Peleliu and Okinawa and was discharged after the war. In 1954, he returned to the Corps and later served in Vietnam.
4 October - A UH-1N helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 crashed in the Persian Gulf. Based on the USS Guadalcanal, the helicopter was on a routine night patrol when the crash occurred. Three Marine crewmembers were rescued, but the pilot was unaccounted for and presumed dead. The Guadalcanal, a helicopter and troop transport ship used in amphibious assaults, was one of five ships sent to the Persian Gulf to operate with the task force protecting oil tankers there.
6 October - Major General Donald E. P. Miller assumed command as Commanding General, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing/Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force.
9 October - Marine Barracks, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, deactivated after 174 years of continuous service. The Marine Corps' second oldest barracks, activated 24 October 1813, was disestablished due to security force reorganization. Future security of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would be handled by the Navy.
15 October - ALMAR 238/87 stated that the Plans and Program Section, Security Branch within the Operations Division of the Plans, Policies and Operations Department at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps was reorganized. Effective 1 August, it was changed to the Marine Security Guard Section and assumed staff cognizance for Marine security guard matters. The Marine Corps Security Forces Section would continue to handle matters on security forces, Marine barracks, and Marine detachments afloat.
15 October - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of Building 460 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Lieutenant Weedon C. Osborne, USN. A U.S. Navy dentist in World War I, Lieutenant Weedon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Belleau Wood campaign in June 1918, while attached to the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines.
15 October - The Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs, Major General Jacob W. Moore, joined a panel of Military Reserve Chiefs to testify before the Subcommittee on Education, Training, and Employment during a legislative hearing on the Montgomery GI Bill. The hearing was initiated in an effort to gather data on the effectiveness of the new bill. Representatives from the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, as well as a panel of Military personnel chiefs were also present to testify before the subcommittee.
15 October - Major General William C. Groeniger III, USMCR, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs (Mobilization Designee) and ranking Marine Corps Reserve general officer, retired from the Marine Corps Reserve.
15 - 18 October - The 1987 Marine Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association's convention in Anaheim, California. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen D. Haley of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 was named Aviator of the Year and the recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Award. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 received the Robert M. Hanson Award for the fighter squadron of the year. The Lawson H. M. Sanderson Award for the attack squadron of the year went to Marine Attack Squadron 214. The helicopter squadron of the year was won by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261.
20 October - Marine Corps officials confirmed that convicted spy Clayton J. Lonetree's 30-year sentence was reduced by five years in exchange for cooperation with U.S. counterintelligence agents. He was also granted immunity from further prosecution by the commander of the Quantico Marine base, where he had been incarcerated for more than nine months.
26 October - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of 12 streets at Marine Corps Air Station, Tustin, California, in honor of 12 officer and enlisted Marines who died during the Vietnam War while attached to aviation units.
26 October - Marines replaced civilian guards at the three gates to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Although civilians manned the gates since 1898, Marines were previously at the gates until they were called to duty in the Spanish-American War.
28 October - ALMAR 245/87 stated that as of this date "Anchors Aweigh" would be played immediately prior to the "Marine Corps Hymn" at all parades and ceremonies. The directive was issued by General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps. As Marines and sailors have served, fought, and died side by side for 212 years, the action reflects this brotherhood in arms.
30 October - Major General Orlo K. Steele assumed duty as Commanding General, 2d Marine Division/Deputy Commander, II Marine Amphibious Force.
____ November - The Marine Corps published a 181-page regimental history, A Brief History of the 6th Marines. The author, retired Lieutenant General William K. Jones, served with the regiment from 1940-45, rising from the rank of second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. General Jones based his history on official records, published sources, personal recollections, and input from a number of other veterans. This volume, in addition to being distributed to Marine Corps units and institutional libraries, was sold to the public by the Government Printing Office.
___ November - A History of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 was published by the Marine Corps. It consisted of a 61-page account of the squadron's activities from its commissioning in 1943 through the Okinawa campaign of World War II, three years of combat in Korea, three tours of duty in Vietnam, and a number of significant accomplishments during the 1970s and 1980s. Based on the squadron's command diaries, personal papers, and recollections of Marines involved, the history was distributed to Marine Corps units and institutional libraries, and sold to the public by the Government Printing Office.
____ November - Survivors of the Chosin Reservoir campaign in the Korean War (November-December 1950), "The Chosin Few," began a project to erect the first international Korean War memorial in the U.S. Dr. Felix DeWeldon, sculptor of the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising scene, designed the 40-feet-high, 1,800-ton monument. Featuring Asians for the first time on a U.S. battle monument, the scene depicts 15 Allied soldiers in a Chosin Reservoir battle. The monument would stand overlooking the Pacific Ocean near the Korean Friendship Bell in Angels Gate Park, California, the last U.S. territory seen by American soldiers before going to war.
____ November - The Marine Corps was in the process of acquiring 17 Marine Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (MATCALS) to provide fully automated, all-weather, air traffic control at expeditionary airfields. The MATCALS would be operated by the Marine air traffic control squadrons in each air wing. The systems consisted of three major subsystems: an ANTPN-22 approach radar built by ITT, an AN/TSQ-131 control and communications subsystem, and an AN/TPS-73 airport surveillance radar. The new technology, superior to that in the previous 1950-vintage equipment, would permit increased sorties rates and improved reliability and safety of flight under all weather conditions.
8 November - Jeff Scuffins, a 25-year-old Hagerstown, Maryland, resident, won the 12th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. He set a new Marine Corps Marathon record of 2:14:01. In the women's division, Mary Robertson of Richmond, Virginia, took first place honors with a time of 2:44:36. More than 12,000 runners participated in what was considered the largest amateur race in the U.S. The event was featured on a three-hour live television broadcast for the first time in its 12-year history by Fox's WTTG, Channel 5, Washington, D.C.
10 November - Marines throughout the world celebrated the 212th 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 said, "it is more than just the anniversary of our beloved Corps. It is a celebration to commemorate the many achievements of our proud forefathers and to rededicate ourselves to the honor and privilege of bearing the title, "United States Marine."
10 November - The Marine Corps established the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) at Quantico, Virginia, to increase the Corps' efficiency in training, education, planning, material requirements identification and concept, and doctrinal development. MCCDC combined the former Marine Corps Development and Education Command with several Headquarters Marine Corps elements to ensure standardized doctrine and training throughout the Marine Corps. It would include five centers responsible for air, ground, and logistics warfare; training and education; intelligence; wargaming and assessment; and information technology.
10 November - A new $800,000 Marine Corps Museum opened at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. The museum holds artifacts, uniforms, and memorabilia from 141 years of Marine Corps history in San Diego. The museum is a regional, rather than national, reflection of Marine Corps history, dating back to 1846 when Marines were first at San Diego.
10 November - Marine Helicopter Training (HMT) Squadron 302 reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station, Tustin, California, and was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16. HMT-204 and HMT-301 were reorganized by splitting off assigned CH-53A and CH-53E aircraft with associated personnel and support. The split-off CH-53 assets formed HMT-302.
15 November - The National Security Task Force formed in April 1987 and consisting of approximately 24 persons (Judge Advocate and legal support personnel) concluded its operations at Marine Corps Combat Development Center, Quantico, Virginia, and was disbanded. The Task Force was a Marine Corps organization formed to handle the Sergeant Lonetree court martial and other national security cases resulting from the Marine Security Guards at the American Embassy, Moscow.
16 November - An F/A-18 "Hornet" fighter bomber attached to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 531 at El Toro, California, crashed in the Pacific Ocean after its pilot bailed out to safety. The single-seat fighter was on a training mission near San Clemente Island when the crash occurred.
18 November - The Marine Corps restructured the process and organization for combat systems acquisition to form the Marine Corps Research, Development, and Acquisition Command (MCRDAC). It was organized to streamline the acquisition process, make it more responsive to the operational forces, and to comply with Department of Defense and Department of the Navy initiatives. The time it would take to translate a requirement into a development effort would be shortened to ensure that technology advances are not encumbered by a lengthy staffing and review process. MCRDAC integrated the major portion of the Development Center at Quantico, Virginia, with the majority of the current Headquarters Marine Corps staff of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Studies and the Acquisition Division of the Deputy Chief of Staff of Installations and Logistics.
20 November - The Tarawa Memorial was dedicated at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On the 44th anniversary of the landing by the 2d Marine Division on the Pacific island of Betio in the Tarawa atoll, the memorial honors the men who died there. General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and retired Major General Michael P. Ryan, who landed on Betio as a company commander, were the keynote speakers. The nine-foot monument is made of Georgia blue granite and has two bronze plaques attached.
22 November - A CH-46E "Sea Knight" helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 crashed into the USS Peleliu 20 miles off the coast of California. Based at Tustin, California, the squadron was participating in joint Navy-Marine Corps wargames when the helicopter crashed on the deck of the amphibious assault ship. One Marine was killed and 25 other servicemen were injured.
30 November - ALMAR 280/87 stated that basic warrior training for all Marines would be implemented early next year at Marine Corps recruit depots. In addition to the basic field indoctrination provided by the Parris Island and San Diego depots, all recruits would receive training in the individual skills required to function in a combat situation. This action would mark an initial phase in an overall effort to increase the combat effectiveness of the Corps.
___ December - Forty years ago, the first Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program was conceived. Founded by Colonel William Hendricks along with Colonel Charles E. Shepherd, Jr., and Major John Hamilton, the program began as an annual event in Los Angeles to aid orphaned children in World War II. The community project has been spearheaded by Marines in 180 cities who collect new toys for children who might otherwise do without at Christmas time. The program has developed into a nationwide campaign complete with benefit concerts, sporting events, corporate involvement, and massive celebrity support. Veteran entertainer, Bob Hope, chaired the 1987 Toys for Tots Program.
1 December - This date marked the 40th anniversary of Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1. Best known for providing transportation support for the president and other dignitaries, HMX-1 has also played a key role in the development, testing, and evaluation of Marine Corps helicopters and related principles and tactics. Based at Quantico, Virginia, HMX-1 is the oldest helicopter squadron.
1 December - Marine Detachment, USS Independence (CV 62) was activated and Marine Detachment, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) deactivated.
8 December - Sea School, one of the oldest schools in the Marine Corps and a landmark at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot since 1923, closed its doors after graduating its last class. The only one of its kind in the Marine Corps, the school trained Marines for service with Marine detachments on board Navy ships. The primary duty of those detachments is to provide internal security for U.S. ships. The closing of the Sea School was part of a general Marine Corps reorganization. Candidates for fleet service would now be trained for shipboard security at Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Vallejo, California.
8 December - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a new operations/maintenance facility, which would serve Marine Air Traffic Control Squadron 18, in honor of First Lieutenant James E. Magel, who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 in the Republic of Vietnam during March 1965.
8 December - The commemorative naming of the Remotely Piloted Air Facility at the Marine Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, in honor of Captain Jeb F. Seagle, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Captain Seagle was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism while serving as an AH-1T(TOW) "Cobra" attack helicopter pilot during October 1983 with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261, 22d Marine Amphibious Unit, on the island of Grenada.
8 December - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative renaming of the Margarita Chapel at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno, USNR. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving as a chaplain with the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam during September 1967.
17 December - The commemorative naming of Building 33402 (Camp Margarita Gymnasium) in honor of Corporal Jack A. Davenport, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Corporal Davenport was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor while serving with the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in Korea during September 1951.
17 December - The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, Galveston, Texas, in honor of Colonel Clarke W. Thompson, USMCR (Deceased). A Marine Corps veteran of both World War I and World War II, Colonel Thompson also served in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on a number of committees. He was instrumental in bringing the Marine Corps Reserve to the city of Galveston.
31 December - The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,174,724, of whom 198,437 were Marines.
USMC History Division