___ January – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, convened a study group to develop a proposed balanced Fleet Marine Force total force structure for the Marine Corps. Cast in the mold of earlier study boards -- Shepherd (1946), Hunt (1950), Hogaboom (1957), and Hayes (1976) -- the force structure study group began its deliberations with the guidance that the Marine Corps must remain capable of fighting across the full spectrum of conflict.
___ January – By direction of the Secretary of the Navy, James H. Webb, Jr., midshipmen from the Naval Academy who desire to be commissioned as Marine officers upon graduation would successfully complete the "Bulldog" program at Officer Candidates School (OCS) at Quantico, Virginia. In the past, midshipmen commissioned as second lieutenants were sent directly to The Basic School. The OCS training would begin with the class of 1989.
1 January – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,166,611, of whom 198,437 were Marines.
1 January – Lieutenant General Ernest C. Cheatham, Jr., retired from the Marine Corps. Lieutenant General John I. Hudson replaced him as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Headquarters, U.S.
10-21 January – The PFC William Baugh, the third ship of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron 3, completed its initial Biennial Maintenance Cycle at Blount Island, Florida. Essential preventive maintenance for all ground and aviation prepositioned equipment was performed.
11 January – Retired Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, Marine Corps Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipient and leader of the "Black Sheep" squadron,
died of cancer in Fresno, California, at the age of 75. Colonel Boyington was best known for commanding Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in the Central Solomons during World War II. The combat fighter pilot is credited with the destruction of 28 Japanese aircraft. During the 1950s, Colonel Boyington published a best selling autobiography, Baa Baa Black Sheep, which inspired a network television series that ran in 1976-1978. Colonel Boyington was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
13 January – Marine Security Guards (MSGs) providing internal security for U. S. foreign missions around the world were among those honored at the first Department of State Security Awareness Day held in Washington, D.C. Secretary George Shultz applauded the fine job done by MSGs during the past year. The State Department saluted the 140 detachments.
16 January – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, was the principal speaker at the christening ceremony of the USS Comstock (LSD - 45) at the Avondale Shipyard, New Orleans. His wife, Jan, was the ship's sponsor. The ship was the second to be named for the Comstock Lode, an early American mining site near Virginia City, Nevada. The original was commissioned in 1945 and earned 10 battle stars for service in the Korean War, the most awarded to a ship of its type.
20 January – The President of the United States submitted to the Senate for confirmation the nomination of Major General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., to the grade of lieutenant general to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps.
22 January – The Marine Corps honored its top two athletes of the year, Staff Sergeant Ausbey Alexander, a world record holder for powerlifting, and Corporal Val Bode, an Armed Forces and all-Marine volleyball and softball player, at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps. Lieutenant General John I. Hudson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, presented Staff Sergeant Alexander, Military Police Company, Headquarters Battalion, Camp Pendleton, with a plaque for Male Athlete of the Year. Corporal Bode, a journalist with the Joint Public Affairs Office at Camp Lejeune, was honored as the Corps' Female Athlete of the Year.
26 January – In ALMAR 14-99, General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, emphasized the importance of the Competition-in-Arms Program and encouraged as many Marines as possible to participate in it. The program had traditionally provided the Marine Corps with skilled and experienced marksmen and instructors necessary to enhance combat marksmanship proficiency. It includes yearly division rifle and pistol matches.
27 January – About 400 Marines and sailors from the 2d Marine Division, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, and 2d Force Service Support Group deployed for the war-torn Persian Gulf. The Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) CM 2-88, commanded by Colonel William M. Rakow, Jr., would relieve a similar though larger (700-man) Contingency MAGTF, CM 1-88, commanded by Colonel Frank Libutti. Use of the contingency MAGTFs would provide a small but effective landing force capability to Joint Task Force Middle East without drawing down on the Marine amphibious units routinely deployed to the Mediterranean and Middle East.
29 January – This date marked the 20th anniversary of the 1968 Tet Offensive. In that year, a nationwide truce in celebration of the Tet Lunar New Year throughout Vietnam was shattered by the impact of North Vietnamese rocket attacks against Da Nang, Marble Mountain, and Chu Lai. The rocket attacks were followed on January 30th and 31st by enemy ground assaults against all five northern provincial capitals, but especially the cities of Da Nang and Hue.
1 February – Lieutenant General John Phillips retired. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps.
1 - 15 February – Exercise Kernel Blitz 88-1, a free-play exercise involving the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Amphibious Group 3, took place at Camp Pendleton, California. The Navy-Marine Corps exercise was the first major attempt to develop and execute a tactical scheme compatible with the new concepts and weapons pertinent to amphibious warfare developed in recent years.
2 February – Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci requested that the Department of the Navy assign women Marines to the Marine Security Guard Program. In response, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, recommended to the Secretary of the Navy, James H. Webb, Jr., that women Marines be assigned as watchstanders at appropriate overseas locations. The Marine Corps would be developing, in conjunction with the Department of State, an implementation plan.
3 February – The fourth ship of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 2, the Private Harry Fisher, started its Biennial Maintenance Cycle at Blount Island, Florida. Preventive maintenance was performed on all aviation and ground prepositioned equipment.
4 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the Camp Margarita Medical Clinic, Building 33305, at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Hospitalman Francis C. Hammond, USN, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Korea during 1953.
5 February – The Marine Corps changed the designations of Marine Air-Ground Task Forces that constitute its fighting formations. The word "amphibious" was replaced by "expeditionary." Marine Amphibious Units, Marine Amphibious Brigades, and Marine Amphibious Forces – the trademarks of the Corps for over 20 years – were redesignated as Marine Expeditionary Units, Marine Expeditionary Brigades, and Marine Expeditionary Forces. The new term signified that the Marine Corps would not be limited to amphibious operations but rather be capable of a wide spectrum of deployment and employment options.
8 February – The Marine Corps reorganized the communications assets of the aircraft wing to enhance the use of personnel and equipment. A Marine wing communications squadron would be equipped and organized to support simultaneously two Marine expeditionary brigades. The reorganization would increase the effectiveness of the wing's communications through optimum use of constrained resources.
8 - 14 February – The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in Exercise Valiant Usher in the Philippines. The exercise scenario was based on a projected situation where units conducted raid, hostage rescue, and special operation missions.
15 February – The first recruits to undergo the most extensive change in basic training in many years began Basic Warrior Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. Basic Warrior Training, a program to improve individual skills and survivability in combat, incorporated additional weapons training. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, visited Parris Island on 18 February to observe the first series of recruits to go through the training.
15 February – Major General Joseph O. Butcher died in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the age of 75. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1936, the general served as the editor and publisher of Leatherneck magazine, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Institute Detachment in Washington, D. C. and Assistant Quartermaster General. Before retiring in 1968, he was Commanding General of Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
15 - 23 February – Marines of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior-88 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The cold weather training exercise was designed to enhance operational readiness and test the unit's capabilities during extreme winter conditions.
17 February – Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins, assigned to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was abducted by pro-Iranian
terrorists while traveling on the Lebanese coastal highway near the southern port city of Tyre. He headed one of three UNTSO detachments in the region responsible for monitoring the border between Israel and Lebanon. UNTSO is a multi-national peacekeeping organization comprised of unarmed military observers which, since its formation in 1948, has been responsible for supervising armistice agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab countries.
19 February – A jury of seven Marine Corps officers at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, found Corporal Lindsey Scott not guilty after a second court-martial on charges of attempted murder, rape, sodomy, and abduction stemming from an April 1983 incident at Quantico. Scott was convicted in a 1983 court-martial and sentenced to 30 years hard labor, but the verdict was overturned in 1987. The second trial began 25 January.
22 February – In his final message to the fleet, Secretary of the Navy, James H. Webb, Jr., said he sent his letter of resignation to President Reagan because he could not support Navy Department budget reductions mandated by the Department of Defense. Webb, who previously served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, said that it had been a great privilege to serve in government the last four years alongside the men and women of the American military. A decorated Vietnam Marine officer, Webb was sworn in as the 66th Secretary of the Navy on 10 April 1987. The noted author planned to return to writing.
24 February – The Marine Corps awarded a $20 million contract to RCA for five Technical Control and Analysis Centers (TCAC) designated the AN/TSQ-130. The TCAC would provide radio battalions with a semi-automated capability to process and report signal intelligence information and to enhance collection management efforts.
26 February - 11 March – Marines of the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) participated in FEX 1-88 at Twentynine Palms, California, the largest field exercise ever conducted by the 7th MEB and among the biggest force-on-force exercises in recent memory. The exercise pitted the 7th MEB against the 3d Brigade, Army 7th Infantry Division (Light) and involved more than 7,700 Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel. It was designed to test the combat power of the MEB in a desert environment.
29 February – Marine Corps Order 6100.3 redefined the Corps' attitude toward physical fitness, placing a greater emphasis on the physical conditioning needed to prepare Marines for combat. The order outlined the conditioning programs that commanders must implement, which included; physical readiness training, occupational conditioning, and competitive conditioning activities. The order also stated that commanders must require that every Marine participate in an effective physical conditioning program on a continuous and progressive basis.
___ March – Three Marines were named as crewmembers for NASA shuttle missions to fly in 1989. Colonel James F. Buchli and Colonel Robert C. Springer were assigned as mission specialists on shuttle mission STS-29, scheduled for launch 19 January 1989. The primary mission objective would be to deploy a third tracking and data relay satellite. Colonel Charles F. Bolden was designated the pilot for STS-31, which would feature deployment of the Hubble space telescope, targeted for launch 1 June 1989.
1 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, delivered the annual Marine Corps posture statement to the Defense Sub-Committee of the House Appropriations Committee. General Gray stated that the Marine Corps would be prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect national interests around the world.
5 March – Lieutenant General Lewis J. Fields, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam during the mid 1960s, died at Fairfax, Virginia. He was 78 years old. Commissioned in 1935, the much-decorated general served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and commanded the Marine Development and Education Command at Quantico before retiring in 1970.
7 March – The long-running legal battle between Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson and former Republican Paul N. McCloskey, Jr. (R-California), over Robertson's Korean War record ended on the eve of the trial. A U. S. District Court Judge formally dismissed Robertson's libel suit, after he agreed to pay McCloskey's court costs. The suit was filed in 1986 over McCloskey's charge that Robertson used his father's influence as a U. S. senator to avoid combat duty as a Marine in Korea in 1951. Robertson announced that he dropped the suit because the "Super Tuesday" trial date conflicted with his political plans.
8 March – As outlined in ALMAR 53-88, the second stage of testing for the human immunodeficiency virus, the virus which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), got underway. Marines serving in units subject to deployment on short notice to areas that are considered to have high risk of endemic disease or to areas with minimal medical capabilities would be the first to be retested. Next would be those pending such assignment and all health care providers. All remaining active duty personnel would be retested before the end of FY 1988.
16 March - 15 April – Marines from the III Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in Exercise Team Spirit 88 in the Republic of Korea. The 13th annual joint-combined training focused on rapid deployment for the defense of South Korea. It was designed to evaluate and improve procedures and techniques to defend the Korean peninsula against external aggression. American forces included 15,800 Marines, 12,000 sailors, 15,300 airmen, and 26,800 soldiers. The Republic of Korea forces numbered 139,500.
17 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a newly constructed barracks at the Officer Candidates School, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of Captain James A. Graham who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Vietnam during June 1967.
24 March – William L. Ball III was sworn in as the 67th Secretary of the Navy during a ceremony at the U. S. Naval Academy. A former naval officer, Ball previously served on the White House staff as the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. He succeeded James H. Webb, Jr., who resigned on 22 February.
24 March – Appearing in court for their arraignment, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North, Rear Admiral John M. Poindexter, and two arms dealers pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, theft, and fraud in the Iran-contra affair. On 16 March, the four defendants were accused in a 23-count indictment of defrauding the United States by supplying rebels in Nicaragua with profits from the sale of American weapons to Iran. They are accused in the most sweeping indictment of former White House officials since the Watergate scandal.
26 March – General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps directed that records of the late Private Harry Fisher, Medal of Honor recipient, be changed to show his true name, Franklin J.
Phillips. Entering the Marine Corps under an alias, Harry Fisher was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic actions against the Chinese in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The name change for Maersk Class maritime prepositioning ship, the MV Private Harry Fisher, commissioned in 1984, was later authorized by the Secretary of the Navy, William L. Ball III.
27 March – An estimated 30 million viewers tuned to CBS news magazine "60 Minutes" when General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was featured in a segment titled "Papa Bear." The general took the cameras to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, where they filmed him observing the first increment of recruits undergoing Basic Warrior Training. He was also filmed at Quantico, Virginia, and the U. S. Naval Academy.
28 March – President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order changing the wording of the Code of Conduct to remove references to the gender-specific "American Fighting Man." The change deleted the word "man" from Articles I, II, and VI of the six-paragraph code which provides guidelines for service members who may become prisoners of war. The original code, written in 1955 and amended in 1977, applied to men and women in the military, but its gender-specific references to males was a source of ambiguity for female service personnel.
29 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of an athletic complex at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, in honor of First Lieutenant Lee M. Halstead, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism while serving as a pilot with Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 167 in Vietnam during August 1968.
29 March – The naming of an access road in honor of Sergeant Major Frederick B. Douglass at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Sergeant Major Douglass, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, was tragically killed on 23 October 1983 in the terrorist explosion at the headquarters building of Battalion Landing Team 1/8 in Beirut, Lebanon.
____ April – Prompted by the growing concern over the security of American installations in Panama, Marines from the 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigade reinforced the Fleet Antiterrorist Security Team (FAST) attached to the Marine Corps Security Force Company at Rodman (near Panama City). An additional 800 Marines from 2d Battalion, 9th Marines and 1st Battalion, 5th Marines were sent to Panama during mid-April for a three-week battalion-level training program at the Army Jungle Operations Center. Unfortunately, while providing security for a petroleum storage facility, one Marine was mistakenly shot and killed by another.
____ April – ALMARs 80, 81, 83, and 85-88 announced that women Marines could now apply for training and assignment as Marine security guards (MSGs). Female applicants would be considered for Marine Security Guard School, Quantico, Virginia, starting with Class 4-88 beginning in May. MSGs are assigned to 140 detachments in 127 countries around the world and protect classified material and American lives and property vital to the security of the nation.
____ April – The "Lucky Red Lions" of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 attained four years of Class A mishap-free flying and achieved 20,000 hours of Class A mishap-free flight.
____ April – A Prisoner of War Medal was authorized by Congress. U.S. service personnel held as prisoners of war after 5 April 1917 would be eligible for the new military medal. Nearly 142,000 military personnel who participated in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam would qualify to receive the POW medal depicting an eagle surrounded by barbed wire and bayonet points with the inscription "For honorable service while a prisoner of war."
____ April – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 became the first Marine squadron to receive four consecutive CNO Aviation Safety Awards (1984-1987). Concurrently, the "Death Rattlers" marked seven years and 30,000 hours of Class A and B mishap-free flying.
1 April – Brigadier General Michael K. Sheridan retired. He served as Director, Plans Division for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
1 - 22 April – More than 40,000 U. S. military personnel participated in Exercise Ocean Venture 88 conducted on U. S. beaches, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The exercise was designed to demonstrate U. S. capability to protect national interest by supporting friendly neighbors in the Caribbean. Approximately 5,400 Marines from the 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in the exercise. On 12 April, one Marine was injured during the offloading of a maritime prepositioning ship and died later that day.
14 April – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, assessed the Corps' priorities to members of the U. S. Senate Committee on the Armed Services. He stated that the Marine Corps, over the past seven years, has devoted its efforts to making improvements in readiness, sustainability, modernization, and force structure. The Commandant assured the committee that the Marine Corps would be prepared to do whatever has to be done to protect and ensure national interests globally.
17 April – This date marked the first time an aviation logistics support ship was used to support the aviation combat element of a Marine air ground task force. Called a T-AVB (T - military sealift command operated; A - auxiliary; V - aviation; B - tender) ship, the SS Wright, dropped anchor off the coast of Puerto Rico, was one of two ships that provided dedicated sealift to move an aviation intermediate maintenance activity in support of rapid deployment of Marine fixed and rotary wing aircraft units.
18 April – Acting on evidence that Iran had laid the mine that damaged the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf, the U. S. retaliated with attacks on two Iranian oil platforms that had been used to help direct attacks on civilian shipping. Iranian counterattacks against civilian and military targets led to wide-ranging engagements in the gulf that resulted in heavy losses for the Iranian Navy. One Marine Corps helicopter from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 disappeared while on a reconnaissance flight from the guided missile frigate USS Wainwright.
19 April – Two women Marines were discharged from the Marine Corps as a result of a continuing investigation of lesbianism at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. Although not charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the two were administratively discharged by reason of homosexuality as provided for in accordance with Department of Defense policy. The women Marines were the first released as a result of an investigation, which began in December, involving the 4th Recruit Training Battalion, where all female recruits are trained. Five other women have also been charged and are involved in criminal proceedings.
24 April - The Commandant of the Marine Corps addressed the semi-annual Conference of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. General Alfred M. Gray discussed the recent Report of the Task Force on Women in the Marine Corps which examined the current policy on utilization of women and the implementation of this policy. The report indicated that women Marines would have more opportunity for challenging assignments and for deployment during training exercises in the near future. The Commandant approved the majority of the task force's recommendations to improve career opportunities for women and to eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination.
24 April & 1 May – The CBS Network Radio Newsmagazine, "Newsmark," featured the Marine Corps in two half hour programs. Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, and former CMCs Robert H. Barrow and Louis H. Wilson were interviewed. The programs focused on Marine Corps recruit training and the Marine Corps role in global defense strategy.
25 April – This date marked the 75th anniversary of the Marine Corps Association (MCA). Founded by the Marines of the 2d Provisional Brigade stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1913, the association chose as its first director, then Lieutenant Colonel John A. Lejeune. Not long after its founding, MCA began publishing the Marine Corps Gazette, which it has done since. In August 1976, the Leatherneck Association joined ranks with MCA and brought with it Leatherneck Magazine. Since then, MCA had published that magazine.
29 April – Major General Richard A. Gustafson assumed command of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, replacing Major General Michael P. Sullivan.
____ May – The Laser Maverick, a short-range, laser guided, air-to-surface missile for close air support began Operational Test III. Laser Maverick was the only weapon under development that satisfied the Marine requirement for a standoff guided missile for use by aircraft in close air support. It would be fired in the Systems Weapons Integration Program for the night attack AV-8B, and the FA-18. Test completion was scheduled for July 1988.
___ May – The first F/A-18D "Hornet" prototype equipped with an advanced night attack navigation system made its maiden flight and began testing at McDonnell Douglas facilities in St. Louis, Missouri, under a $3.8 million full-scale development contract. The system was expected to greatly improve the Navy and Marine Corps' ability to operate at night and in adverse weather conditions by using a new forward-looking infrared sensor.
1 May – As of this date, traditional Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC) inspections were no longer conducted. The responsibility for the new inspection process shifted from Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps to major subordinate commanders. Each commander would be responsible for designing and conducting a biannual Command Inspection Program (CIP). The IGMC would provide guidelines to maintain Corps-wide inspection standardization and it would evaluate the effectiveness of the individual CIP every three years through visits and the analysis of the command inspection reports.
1 - 14 May – Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Special Operations Capable) participated in Exercise Dragon Hammer 88. The joint NATO amphibious exercise was held at Capo Teulada, Italy. The exercise demonstrated the U.S. capability to defend NATO's Southern Region from external aggression.
2 May – Two literary awards sponsored by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation were presented by General Alfred M. Gray during an awards dinner at the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club. The foundation's Colonel Robert D. Heinl Award in Marine Corps History went to Brigadier General William Weise for his article, "Memories of Dai Do," published in the September 1987 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette. The General Roy S. Geiger Award, for the outstanding aviation article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, was awarded to Marine Captain Timothy C. Hanifen for a pair of articles on the V-22 Osprey, published in the March and May 1987 issues.
5 May – The late General Keith B. McCutcheon was enshrined in the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, along with four other former naval officers and a civilian engineer. General McCutcheon flew combat missions in World War II and Korea and commanded the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam. He recognized the potential of rotary wing aircraft and became a strong advocate for helicopters and oversaw their introduction and proliferation throughout the Marine Corps.
10 May – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the 5th Marines Dental Clinic, Building 33306, at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Vice Admiral Alexander G. Lyle, USN (Deceased). During World War I, (then) Lieutenant Commander Lyle was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with the 5th Marines in France, as a member of the Navy's Dental Corps.
10 May – The Secretary of Defense, Frank C. Carlucci, announced that President Reagan had nominated Major Generals Charles H. Pitman and William R. Etnyre for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general. General Pitman would assume the assignment of Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, upon the May retirement of Lieutenant General Keith A. Smith. General Etnyre would assume the assignment as Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, upon the retirement of Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen later this year.
10 May – The commemorative naming of a new dining facility at Camp Horno, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Private First Class Gary W. Martini, was approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. PFC Martini was attached to Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division when he was killed in action 21 April 1967 in Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
15 May – The bodies of the two Marine Corps helicopter pilots killed during the U. S. retaliatory strike against Iran last month were recovered in the Persian Gulf. The remains of Captains Stephen C. Leslie, of New Bern, North Carolina, and Kenneth W. Hill, of Thomasville, North Carolina, were recovered along with their helicopter 15 miles southeast of Abu Musa Island in the central Persian Gulf. Both officers were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal for their actions in the 18 April strike. The pilots are credited with destroying an antiaircraft gun emplacement which had opened fire on helicopters carrying Marine assault forces to an Iranian-operated oil platform.
16 May – Retired Colonel Peter Julien Ortiz, 75, a colorful and highly decorated veteran of World War II, died of cancer in Prescott, Arizona. His exploits with the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, and the Marine Corps were the subject of two motion pictures, "13 Rue Madeleine," starring James Cagney, and "Operation Top Secret," starring Cornel Wilde. Best known for his work in organizing French resistance units and coordinating the delivery of arms, ammunition, and equipment to the underground, he was awarded the Navy Cross twice and the Croix de Guerre five times.
23 May – The V-22 Osprey, the world's first production tilt-rotor aircraft, made its debut during rollout ceremonies at Bell Helicopter Textron's Arlington, Texas, facility. More than 1,000 representatives from the industry, military, and media gathered at Bell's Flight Research Center to hear guest of honor Mr. Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, praise the versatile rotorcraft designed from the ground up to meet the needs of all four services on 21st century battlefields. The Osprey is scheduled for delivery to the Corps beginning in late 1991.
24 May – Lieutenant Kathleen Mazure, a Navy dentist threatened with court-martial for fraternizing with an enlisted Marine, who later became her husband, was cleared of all charges at Twentynine Palms, California. Major General Gene A. Deegan, Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, arrived at his decision after a four-hour non-judicial punishment hearing. The case was one of the first in which a member of the armed forces faced a court-martial for fraternizing with a member of another branch of the military and in which no professional working relationship was at stake.
27 May – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. General Gray attended Lafayette College before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1950. The general was one of five recipients of honorary degrees during the college's commencement exercises.
28 May – The "Blacksheep" of Marine Attack Squadron 214 achieved an aviation safety milestone by passing the five-year mark for Class A accident-free flying.
___ June – The replacement for the Fleet Marine Force standard IBM computer, the "Green Machine," became ready for delivery to FMF commands. The rugged TEMPEST (test for electromagnetic propagation and evaluation for secure transmission) microcomputer adapted for Marine Corps use by C3 Corporation was significantly faster, had 16 times the main memory, and cost only half as much as the aging "Green Machine." The equipment would be used to support the FMF commander in the areas of personnel, pay, supply, logistics, and intelligence.
___ June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved recommendations for several changes in force structure and manning within Marine air-ground task forces. The changes were designed to enhance the combat-readiness of the Corps while complying with the end-strength reduction of 3000 Marines that was directed by the Department of Defense. The Corps' goal was to produce a balanced warfighting machine. Included among the changes were the reduction of the number of active infantry battalions from 27 to 24 and the addition of a fourth rifle company to eight of the Corps' active infantry battalions.
1 - 30 June – In Exercise Freedom Banner 88, the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade demonstrated procedures for a single ship offload by conducting around-the-clock, in-stream unloading of a maritime prepositioning ship. The exercise took place in the waters near Indian Island, Washington.
3 June – Major General Jerome G. Cooper, USMCR, was frocked to his present rank by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and was assigned as Director, Personnel Procurement Division, Manpower, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Major General Cooper and Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen were the two black general officers in the Marine Corps at this time.
13 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a recreational area on the grounds of the Naval Hospital, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert D. Road, USN (Deceased). Throughout his 18-year military service, HMCS Road unselfishly devoted his off-duty time to youth activities.
25 June – Seven Marines died when a CH-53D helicopter crashed into a ridgeline on Shikoku Island, Japan. The helicopter was on route from Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, to Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma, when it encountered severe weather. The CH-53D was assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 462. The squadron was nearing the end of a six-month deployment in Japan from the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing in California.
30 June – The mid-year strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,112,834, of whom 196,668 were Marines.
____ July – More than 200 years of Marine Corps history received wide play in a three-part video series entitled "Marines in Combat -- The Gallant Breed." Part I of the series premiered on the Arts and Entertainment Cable Network and was followed by Parts II and III in the following months. Narrated by E. G. Marshall and produced by Lou Reda Productions in cooperation with the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, "Marines in Combat" chronicles the Corps' history from the days of the Revolution to Grenada.
____ July – Marshal Sergei Fedororich Akhromeyev, Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Union, and senior military leaders on his staff toured Marine Corps installations as part of a Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored visit to promote better understanding between the armed forces of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviet officials visited Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where they watched a demonstration of a Marine air-ground task force operation. They also observed training and professional education at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico.
____ July – Three women Marines, the first to graduate from Marine Security Guard (MSG) School, Quantico, Virginia, since the field was re-opened to women in April, moved to their respective assignments at MSG detachments at U. S. Embassies in Ottawa, Canada; Paris, France; and Geneva, Switzerland. The only initial change made to accommodate the women at MSG School was the addition of the women's physical fitness test. Women attended the same classes and received the same training as the male Marines.
1 July – Lieutenant General Joseph J. Went was promoted to the grade of general and was appointed as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps replacing General Thomas R. Morgan who retired on the same day.
1 July – Major General William G. Carson, Jr., was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps.
4 - 8 July – Two Marine Corps wrestlers dominated the worldwide military wrestling tournament in Palermo, Italy, by winning gold medals in both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions. Only
three Americans in the 39-year history of the military championship have ever gone double gold. All three were Marines. Sergeants Craig Pittman, a heavyweight, and Eric Wetzel, a 105.5-pounder, joined fellow Marine Greg Gibson, a double winner for the 1983-1984 season, in placing first in both styles of wrestling in a championship which fielded competitors from 86 countries.
4 July - 3 August – Approximately 8,000 U. S. and Thai troops, including Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in Exercise Cobra Gold 88, an annual training exercise in and around the Gulf of Thailand. The exercise was designed to strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai armed forces to defend their country. It also demonstrated the U. S. ability to rapidly deploy its forces in the defense of an ally.
8 July – Marine Corps Combat Development Command located at Quantico, Virginia, officially assumed its new reorganization, the first in almost two decades. Previously designated as Marine Corps Development and Education Command, the Quantico base was commanded by Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen. On this date, Lieutenant General Petersen relinquished his command and was succeeded at Combat Development Command by Major General William R. Etnyre. Brigadier General Gail M. Reals assumed command of Marine Corps Base, Quantico.
19 July – Major General John P. Monahan assumed command of the I Marine Expeditionary Force/1st Marine Division located at Camp Pendleton, California.
19 - 27 July – Marine Corps marksmen took top honors during the 27th Annual Interservice Rifle Championships. The matches were held at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia. More than 400 military shooters from throughout the U. S. competed individually and with teams during the weeklong match. Marine Sergeant Nelson Ocasio, from New York City, became the top individual rifle marksman in the U.S. Armed Forces. Out of 14 primary matches and a number of subordinate competitions, the Marines won or placed highly in 13.
23 July – A detachment from the 2d Marine Division sailed with a task force of U. S. Navy ships from their East Coast home ports to mark the beginning of UNITAS XXVIX, an annual series of exercises conducted by the U. S. and South American military forces. The five-month cruise through Caribbean and South American waters was designed to promote hemispheric solidarity, military professionalism, and understanding among participating countries.
26 July – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of Building H-1 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith. In command of the 2d Marine Division during the Tarawa campaign, General Smith later was appointed Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops, Third Fleet, which captured the Southern Palaus Islands and Ulithi Atoll. General Smith retired from the Marine Corps in 1946 and died 5 November 1975. Building H-1 would house the headquarters of the 2d Marine Division and the II Marine Expeditionary Force.
___ August – Two T-45As, an aircraft designed to train Navy and Marine Corps attack and fighter pilots, underwent the first phase of a 19-month testing program by McDonnell Douglas at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. The T-45A Goshawk training system, the first completely integrated pilot training package to be delivered to the Navy, is slated to replace the aging T-2C Buckeye and TA-4J Skyhawk aircraft. The T-45A system would eventually comprise a total of 300 aircraft, 32 flight simulators, and 49 computer-aided instructional devices to train 600 pilots.
____ August – A revised version of the Marine Battle Skills Training program was approved by General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps. The program, called Marine Battle Skills Training (MBST), expanded the basic warrior training implemented in February 1988. The mission orientation would require enhanced combat skills for all Marines regardless of their military occupational specialties or unit assignments. Specifically, all Marines would be trained to effectively serve in a rifle squad in defensive or offensive combat operations, should the need arise.
1 August – Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen retired on this date after completion of more than 38 years active duty service. Since June 1986, he served as Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia. Lieutenant General Petersen was the first black general officer in the Marine Corps. He also held the distinction of being the "Gray Eagle," the longest serving active duty naval aviator.
1 - 10 August – Approximately 28,000 Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen participated in Exercise Gallant Eagle 88 at several locations in the western United States. The exercise was designed to provide a simulated combat environment for training, planning, and execution of joint military operations. Gallant Eagle 88, 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.
5 August – Retired Brigadier General James P. S. Devereux, hero of Wake Island and recipient of the Navy Cross, died of pneumonia in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 85 years old. Commissioned in 1925, he commanded the 400-man Marine unit that tried to repel the Japanese invasion of Wake just three days after the Pearl Harbor attack. Faced with overwhelming odds, the garrison was forced to surrender and its survivors spent the remainder of the war in Japanese prisoner of war camps. After retiring in 1948, he served four terms as a member of Congress representing Maryland.
5 August – Lieutenant General James M. Masters, Sr., 77, who had commanded the 1st and 3d Marine Divisions and the Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, Virginia, died of cancer. Lieutenant General Masters served 35 years in the Marine Corps before retiring in 1968. He was awarded a Navy Cross for heroism on Okinawa during World War II.
15 - 26 August – Reserve Marines participated in the annual logistical exercise, LOGEX 88. Held at Camp Pickett, Virginia, this year's exercise used a European scenario. LOGEX demonstrated an appreciation for theater-wide logistics and the application of combat service support on the modern battlefield in a joint-combined environment.
31 August - 21 September – Marines of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade joined forces with servicemen from nine other nations to participate in Teamwork 88. Involving more than 45,000 troops, the NATO exercise tested the ability of allied forces to bring in reinforcements and resist aggression in the North Atlantic, North Norwegian Sea, and Northern Norway areas.
____ September – A new Marine Corps Reserve squadron, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-452) activated at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York. The unit would support the 2d, 3d, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings as well as the 4th Marine Division. The muscle within the squadron was the KC-130 "Hercules," a refueling and assault transport aircraft. The mission of VMGR-452 would be to refuel Marine Corps tactical aircraft and provide assault transport and emergency medical transportation.
____ September – The Marine Corps' bid to develop a new generation of Dragon anti-armor weapons, Dragon Generation III, was approved by Congress and signed by the President as part of the FY89 Defense Appropriations Bill. The Marine Corps would be the lead service developing Dragon Generation III which was awarded more than $10 million for FY89 split equally between the Army and Marine Corps. Also participating in the program would be the government of Egypt which would fund part of the development effort.
1 September – The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Acquisition (DC/S RD&A) was disestablished. The move complied with the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and codified the Commandant's desire to make the Marine Corps Research, Development, and Acquisition Command (MCRDAC) the focal point of all acquisition matters. The disestablishment of the DC/S RD&A billet was but one of several expected moves that would bring the Marine Corps fully into compliance with the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, which also expressly limited Headquarters Marine Corps to five deputy chiefs of staff and three assistant chiefs of staff.
10 September – On this date, an order came from President Reagan that Marine units from Camp Pendleton were to deploy to Yellowstone National Park to help bolster tired firefighters who had been battling the massive blaze all summer. In all, some 1,200 Marines from 1st and 3d Battalions of the 5th Marines, the command element of the 5th Marines, along with Combat Service Support Detachment 12 of the 1st Force Service Support Group made up Marine Air Ground Task Force 5. The task force joined approximately 6,500 other Army and civilian firefighters already at Yellowstone.
13 September – A selection board convened at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps to select 16 Marines for appointment to the grade of warrant officer for military occupational specialty (MOS) 0306, infantry weapons officer. Those appointed would be designated "Marine Gunner" and authorized to wear the "Bursting Bomb" insignia. The Marine gunner program was instituted in 1916 and had been abolished and reestablished many times since then, the last gunners being appointed in 1974.
18 September - 11 October – Marines of the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade joined Italian and Turkish troops for Exercise Display Determination 88 in the Mediterranean. The exercise resolved to reinforce NATO's Southern Region in time of crisis or war and meet NATO commitments to defend the region from external aggression. The exercise marked the first time the Corps included its newest combat vehicle, the LAV, in a six-month forward deployment.
27 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of Building 933 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, in honor of Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter, USMCR (Retired). The first Director of the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve, Colonel Streeter oversaw the recruitment and training of over 19,000 women during World War II. The building named in her honor serves as the headquarters for the women's 4th Recruit Training Battalion.
29 September – The space shuttle Discovery raced into orbit carrying five experienced astronauts, among them Lieutenant Colonel David C. Hilmers, USMC. The first shuttle mission since the Challenger's explosion on 28 January 1986, the Discovery carried the nation's hopes for renewing its space program. The successful four-day mission included the release of a $100 million satellite that will be a critical link in a communications network for orbiting shuttles and other spacecraft.
30 September – The Terry L. Smith Gymnasium at Henderson Hall, Arlington, Virginia, was dedicated. The new $3 million facility was named in honor of Corporal Smith, a Nashville, Tennessee, native. Corporal Smith was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for gallantry while serving with Company M, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines in Vietnam. General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, the keynote speaker, invited Mr. and Mrs. Henry Smith, the corporal's parents, to help unveil the plaque honoring their son.
1 October – Light armored vehicle (LAV) units were redesignated light armored infantry (LAI) units as part of a continuing reorganization effort designed to tailor the Corps' active structure to the most likely threat it would encounter in the future—low-to-mid-intensity conflict. A four-man scout team would be assigned to each LAV-25 in the LAI battalion's letter companies adding 168 scout/infantrymen to each of the three LAI battalions.
1 October – The headquarters and maintenance squadron (H&MS) within each active duty marine aircraft group (MAG) was reorganized to form a MAG headquarters and marine aviation logistics squadron (MALS). The new MAG headquarters provided administrative and supply support for the MAG and also assumed aircraft controlling custodian functions. The MALS consolidated the responsibility for MAG aviation logistics support in one squadron.
5 October – Lieutenant General Louis H. Buehl III, Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps since October 1987, died in Bethesda Naval Hospital after suffering a stroke. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1954, General Buehl's service included two combat tours in Vietnam and command of the 3d Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, and Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. Prior to his assignment as Chief of Staff, General Buehl was the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
6 - 9 October – The 1988 Marine Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association's convention in Boston, Massachusetts. Lieutenant Colonel Larry D. Outlaw of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 was named aviator of the year and the recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Award. Colonel Outlaw's squadron was also named helicopter squadron of the year. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 received the Robert M. Hanson Award for the fighter squadron of the year for the second straight year. The Lawson H. M. Sanderson Award for the attack squadron of the year went to Marine Attack Squadron 214.
19 October – Lieutenant General Henry W. Buse, Jr., a retired veteran of World War II and the Korean War, died of cancer at his home in Severna Park, Maryland. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1934, the general commanded the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines on Cape Gloucester. During the Korean War, he served as Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Division. During the early 1960s, General Buse commanded the 3d Marine Division. He later served as Chief of Staff at Headquarters, Marine Corps and Commanding General of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific before retiring in 1970. The general was awarded the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars for heroism in World War II.
22 October – USS Wisconsin (BB 64), the fourth and last of the Iowa class battleships to undergo a modernization/reactivation program to add more firepower to the surface Navy, rejoined the fleet during ceremonies at Pascagoula, Mississippi. Modernization of the 58,000©ton battleship included the installation of eight Tomahawk long-range cruise missile launchers, 16 Harpoon surface-to-surface missile launch canisters, and new types of ammunition, including extended-range rounds, were added for the 16-inch guns. A Marine detachment was activated earlier this year to serve on board the ship.
22 October – A six-foot bronze statue of a Marine with a lowered rifle was added to the Beirut Memorial at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The memorial contains the names of 271 service members killed five years ago in Lebanon and Grenada. General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the guest speaker during a joint memorial observance and the unveiling of the statue.
22 October – Major John R. Allen was named winner of the 1988 Leftwich Trophy that recognizes outstanding leadership by a company grade officer serving with the ground forces of the Fleet Marine Force. At the time of the competition, Major Allen served with the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. The trophy is named for Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, commanding officer of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.
23 October – Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 3 became the first Navy/Marine Corps Phantom squadron to achieve 50,000 flight hours without having a Class A mishap. The milestone represents seven and one half years of mishap-free flying. McDonnel Douglas, manufacturer of the RF-4 Phantom, presented a plaque to the squadron for its accomplishment.
25 October – The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps policy memorandum 16-88 stated that the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 limited Headquarters, Marine Corps to five Deputy Chiefs of Staff and three Assistant Chiefs of Staff. Accordingly the following Deputy Chief of Staff designations were effected: Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics, Aviation; Plans, Policy, and Operations; and Requirements and Programs. The following Assistant Chief of Staff designation was effected: Command, Control, Communications and Computer, Intelligence, and Interoperability.
29 October - 11 November – Marines of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) joined Korean allies in practicing amphibious assault techniques during Exercise Valiant Blitz 89-1. Among the firsts for Valiant Blitz, a Korean Marine battalion conducted several helicopter assaults on Korean territory from a U.S. Navy ship. Korean forces also employed air cushion landing craft to move artillery ashore during a simulated amphibious assault.
31 October – Four Marines were killed in a helicopter crash in the Northern Training Area of Okinawa, Japan. Two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, collided while conducting routine training operations. One of the helicopters crashed in the remote, mountainous terrain near the Marine Corps base while the second helicopter returned safely to Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma.
6 November – Jim Hage, a 30-year-old Lanham, Maryland, resident, won the 13th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., with a time of 2:21:59. In the women's division, Lori Lawson, 22, of Philadelphia took first place honors with a time of 2:51:26. More than 12,000 runners representing 49 states and 18 countries competed.
10 November – Marines throughout the world celebrated the 213th 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 each Marine to reflect on those Marines who preceded them and to rededicate themselves toward achieving and maintaining the higher standard of excellence that the nation expects of Marines.
10 November – Amongst many other Marine Corps Birthday celebrations and ceremonies, the new Commandants of the Marine Corps Corridor in the Pentagon was dedicated. The Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray, and the Secretary of the Navy, William L. Ball, presided at the ribbon cutting. The art in the corridor traced the history of the Corps with portraits of 27 of the 29 Commandants interspersed with art portraying historical events of the period of each Commandant.
10 November – The 1st Tracked Vehicle Battalion on Okinawa was redesignated as the 1st Armored Assault Battalion. The redesignation was made in order to emphasize the unit's inherent warfighting capabilities while underscoring its unique makeup of tanks and assault amphibious vehicles.
10 November – Two Marine FA-18 Hornets collided in mid-air during a simulated bombing run in the Arizona desert. One Marine was killed when his Hornet crashed. The second aircraft, although severely damaged, was able to return to Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma. The aircraft and personnel, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 based at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, were on a training exercise when the collision occurred.
21 November – The 4th Recruit Training Battalion Headquarters Building at Parris Island, South Carolina, was dedicated in honor of Colonel Ruth C. Streeter, USMCR (Retired), the first Director of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve (1943-1945). Major General Jarvis D. Lynch, Commanding General of the Recruit Depot, was the keynote speaker.
1 December – General George B. Christ, one of the Corps' three four-star generals, retired. He served as Commander in Chief, U. S. Central Command.
2 December – A bronze plaque and an 80-foot lighted flagpole replaced a 65-foot cross that stood at the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific headquarters at Camp H. M. Smith in Hawaii for 22 years. Earlier this year, a federal judge ordered that the wooden cross, which was lit each night, be removed because it was construed as a government endorsement of a religion. The cross-served as a memorial to Marines killed in the Vietnam War or missing in action. The new flagpole was dedicated to Vietnam POWs and MIAs, and the flagpole flies the American and POW/MIA flags.
4 December – The San Bernardino County search and rescue organizations located the remains of Lance Corporal Jason J. Rother of 3d Battalion, 2d Marines. Rother had been missing since 31 August when he was posted as a road guide to help direct vehicles during a night tactical movement that was held in the desert training areas at Twentynine Palms, California. He was not picked up with the rest of the guides the next morning, and his absence was not immediately noted. A series of large-scale air and ground searches conducted by the Marine Corps, park rangers, and volunteer searchers a short time later, failed to locate him. The location of the remains was 17 miles from where Rother was posted. Formal charges were brought against Rother's squad leader, his platoon sergeant, and the officer responsible for the road guide detail.
6 - 8 December – More than 30 general and flag officers met at Quantico, Virginia, for the Commandant's Policy, Strategy, and Tactics Wargame III that dealt with the strategic and operational issues associated with U. S. Southern Command's area of operations, Central America. A related military history dinner was also held. Focus of the dinner was a discussion of Dr. Walter LaFeber's book Inevitable Revolutions, a highly critical history of U. S. relations with the five Central American republics.
17 December – Six Soviet military museum curators visited the Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington, D.C. The curators also visited the Naval Historical Center also in Washington, the Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola, the U. S. Army Armor Museum at Ft. Knox, and the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during the week of 15-22 December. The exchange of military museum officials was part of a two-year program of U.S. Soviet military contact activities agreed to in July 1988 by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., and Marshal of the USSR Sergei F. Akhromeyev. A reciprocal visit was scheduled for early 1989.
31 December – Marine Aircraft Group 15 deactivated at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan, after 46 years of continuous service.
31 December – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,121,142, of whom 195,027 were Marines.
USMC History Division