____ January – The 1st Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalion, based at Camp Pendleton, California, began operations with the new single channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS). The new system boasted both single channel and frequency hopping capabilities; however, its greatest advantage was expected to come with its exceptional reliability. SINCGARS was projected to average 1,250 hours mean time between failures and early operational experience had shown that this may grow to as many as 5,000 hours. The use of the SINCGARS came several years before the Marine Corps intended to field them and was the result of an agreement between the Marine Corps Research, Development, and Acquisition Command and the Army that brought 334 SINCGARS to the 1st LAI.
___ January – The AN/UYK-83 portable computer suite that would provide the Marine Corps enhanced automated data processing capabilities in a field and/or combat environment, replaced the Automated Data Processing Equipment "Green Machine" that had been used for a number of years. During FY-89, more than 1,000 of the suites would be fielded to units throughout the Marine Corps. The introduction of the "Yuk-83" would bring standardization of microcomputers to field commanders, primarily at the battalion level.
___ January – Marine Corps installations worldwide began testing for radon gas. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that enters buildings through openings at ground or basement levels, had become a concern after federal and state studies determined that high indoor radon levels could be detrimental to health. The Navy Radon Assessment and Mitigation Program, a four-part program designed to locate and correct radon problems found in Navy and Marine Corps structures, based its guidelines on those used by the Environmental Protection Agency.
1 January – The strength of the U. S. Armed Forces was 2,121,142, of whom 195,027 were Marines.
1 January – Lieutenant General Anthony Lukeman retired from the Marine Corps. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Manpower and Personnel Policy).
4 January – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, reviewed the investigation on the circumstances surrounding the death of Lance Corporal Jason Rother, 19, of the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines. Lance Corporal Rother had been missing since 31 August 1988 when he was posted as a road guide to help direct vehicles during a night tactical movement 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 he was not reported missing for almost 40 hours. Despite a series of extensive searches, Rother's remains were not found until 4 December. Formal charges were brought against Rother's squad leader, his platoon sergeant, and the officer responsible for the road guide detail. In the Commandant's message, he repeatedly emphasized the requirement for continuous communications up and down the chain of command.
5 January - 24 February – Marines of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior 89. The annual training exercise took place at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. It was designed to teach individual and unit arctic skills in preparation for cold weather contingency operations.
7 January – The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing saluted the "Raiders" of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 for completing 15 years and 120,000 flight hours of Class A mishap-free flying. The squadron was based at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California.
15 - 28 January – Marines from the III Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan, participated in Exercise Yama Sakura XV, a large-scale command post exercise combining American and Japanese military forces in a bilateral defense of northern Japan. Consisting of more than 3,000 participants, the exercise was a computer-assisted "war game" that provided close parallels to potentially realistic situations in North East Asia and Japan.
20 January – President George Bush was inaugurated as the nation's 41st president of the United States. Among the many Americans who helped herald in the new chief were hundreds of Marines stationed in and around the Washington, D. C., area who were assigned to the many ceremonial and behind-the-scenes duties during inauguration week. Marine Corps participation was highlighted by the inaugural parade contingent performances of the "The President's Own" United States Marine Corps Band, which had performed at every inauguration since 1801 when it played for President Thomas Jefferson, and the Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks, 8th and I.
26 January - 9 February – Camp Pendleton, California’s 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade joined forces with the Navy's Amphibious Group Three for a Third Fleet exercise off the coast of Southern California. The Navy and Marine Corps task force for Exercise Kernel Blitz 89 consisted of 13 ships and more than 15,000 sailors and Marines. The exercise included an amphibious assault and low intensity conflict operations ashore.
30 January – The American flag was lowered at the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. After the ceremony, the remaining Marines from the embassy detachment and U. S. diplomats left the country. Most western embassies closed in Kabul as the withdrawal of Soviet forces, which occupied Afghanistan for almost a decade, began and the security situations in the capital became more uncertain.
___ February – The TRW Corporation for the National Security Agency developed an encryption device for use by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Designated as the KL43D, the keyboard device would link headquarters to units in the field, permitting users to transmit and receive coded messages over regular telephone lines. Weighing less than two pounds, the KL43D looked like a computer keyboard. The new model was meant to supplement other existing systems like the KY65. The III Marine Expeditionary Force distributed 350 KL43Ds among subordinate commands.
1 February – The headquarters building for the 2d Marine Division and the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North
Carolina, was officially dedicated as Julian C. Smith Hall, in honor of the late lieutenant general who led the 2d Marine Division's assault on Tarawa during World War II. The general's widow, Harriette "Happy" Byrd Smith, joined the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, to dedicate the building and unveil a plaque with a bust of General Smith. Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, Director of Marine Corps History and Museums, was a keynote speaker.
5 - 10 February – Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) participated in Exercise Valiant Usher 89, an amphibious readiness exercise which took place at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. The exercise involved various amphibious missions including a beach assault by a battalion landing team. Valiant Usher 89 was designed to test the concept of over-the-horizon deployment of assault amphibian vehicles on high-speed air-cushioned landing craft for rapid insertion during amphibious operations.
10 February – Elements of the 3d Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalion disembarked at White Beach, Okinawa. Its assignment to the III Marine Expeditionary Force marked the first full-scale deployment of an LAI battalion overseas. The deployment dramatically increased LAI assets in WestPac. Primarily a swift mobile reconnaissance unit charged with seeking out and locating the enemy, the LAI battalion had sufficient firepower to engage almost any threat it might encounter.
26 February – The first group of Marine gunners matriculated at The Basic School. In line with the Commandant's efforts to improve warfighting skills, 15 new warrant officers claiming the title "Marine gunner" took to the field. Forty more infantry billets would be filled by Marine gunners over the next four years. Like their title, the new Marine gunners would concentrate on weapons and weapons employment, working out of the S-3 section of infantry battalions.
27 February - 22 March – The 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in Exercise Cold Winter 89, a NATO exercise held in northern Norway. The exercise marked a first for the Marine Corps when six heavy lift helicopters and more than 120 Marines were flown from Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, to Norway on board three USAF-5B "Galaxy" transports. Cold Winter 89 was designed to enhance operational readiness among forces that protect NATO's northern flank. The exercise tested the forces' capabilities during extreme winter conditions.
___ March – The Small Emplacement Excavator (SEE) Tractor was brought into the Marine Corps' arsenal as a far-advanced replacement of the CASE MC580B backhoe. The versatile new tractor would be capable of towing 105mm and 155mm artillery pieces, travel on the highway in a convoy at 55 mph, and maneuver in tight spaces. The SEE Tractor would also take up half the space and have twice the capabilities as previous excavators.
___ March – Plans were drafted and a fundraising effort brought underway to build a major new museum celebrating Marine Corps aviation at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The museum will be named for the Corps' first aviator, Alfred A. Cunningham, and will honor all Marines and their distinct aviation heritage. Construction was expected to begin in the summer of 1990 with an anticipated opening in 1992. The museum project is sponsored by the A.A. Cunningham Air Museum Foundation headed by retired Brigadier General James M. Mead.
1 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, delivered the annual Marine Corps posture statement to the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. General Gray stated that the Marine Corps was more combat ready today than it was last year and that it will continue to improve.
3 March – The 2d Battalion, 6th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was put into cadre status as was the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, on 31 March. The above actions were part of a major reorganization of Marine infantry units ordered by Marine Corps Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray, last year. In general terms, these plans called for placing three infantry battalions in cadre, while beefing up the remaining 24 active battalions. The personnel and equipment savings achieved by these cuts would be reallocated to provide needed personnel enhancements throughout the infantry structure.
9 March – Anticipated cost overruns and early development successes with a rival program led to the cancellation of the Dragon III anti-armor missile program. The Marine Corps would focus its energies on completing development of the Advanced Antitank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M), a joint Army/Marine Corps program. The AAWS-M represented a significant departure from earlier man portable, wire-guided missiles. The missile would come equipped with an infrared seeker that internally controls the flight from point of launch to the target.
13 - 18 March – Marine Corps Colonels James F. Buchli and Robert C. Springer were on board NASA's space shuttle Discovery. They served as mission specialists who launched the primary payload, a tracking and data relay satellite. This was Colonel Buchli's third shuttle flight and Colonel Springer's first.
15 - 23 March – Marines from the III Marine Expeditionary Force participated in Exercise Team Spirit 89 in the Republic of Korea. The 14th annual joint-combined training exercise 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.
17, 20 March – Two helicopter crashes within three days left 23 servicemen dead and many more injured during Exercise Team Spirit 89 in South Korea. Four Marines on board a CH-46E from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161 died on 17 March when their helicopter crashed near the town of Tok Sok Ri. Three days later on 20 March, a CH-53D from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 crashed near the port of Pohang. Of the 34 men on board, 18 Marines and one corpsman were killed.
19 March – A prototype of the world's first production tilt-rotor aircraft, the V-22 Osprey, flew for the first time at Bell Helicopter Textron's Flight Research Center at Arlington, Texas. The aircraft remained in the helicopter mode during the 15-minute flight and performed a series of slow taxis, lift-offs, hover turns, and run-on landings. The V-22 combines the operational capabilities of a helicopter with those of a fixed-wing turboprop.
26 March – General Lewis W. Walt, 76, former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and a highly decorated combat veteran of three wars, died at Gulfport, Mississippi. The first assistant commandant to attain a four-star grade, General Walt retired in 1971 after 35 years of Marine Corps service. His decorations include two Navy Crosses, two Distinguished Service Medals, and the Silver Star. He also wrote three books including Strange War, Strange Strategy, dealing with American policies in Vietnam.
27 March – Requirements for individual combat skills training changed when Almar 52-89 cancelled the use of the Essential Subjects handbook and test, and authorized the use of the New
Battle Skills Training/Essential Subjects handbook and accompanying test. The new handbook (MCIO P1500.448) would serve as the guidebook for basic knowledge and skills training for individual Marines.
___April – The Marine Corps' History and Museums Division published a 403-page history, U. S. Marines in Vietnam: High Mobility and Standdown, 1969. The volume is the sixth book in the planned nine-volume operational series on Vietnam. Written by Charles R. Smith, it details the mobile operations in the north and the withdrawal of the 3d Marine Division from Vietnam. Like its predecessors, the volume is largely based on official unit command chronologies, combat after-action reports, daily message and journal files, and participants' accounts.
1 April – The Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum at Quantico, Virginia, reopened for the 1989 season with a record first day attendance of 296 visitors. Among the updated exhibits was a new display on Marine parachutists of World War II.
1 April – The Marine Corps initiated a new and comprehensive professional military education (PME) program for officers, SNCOs, and NCOs outlined in Almar 255-88. The new program was based on recommendations from a three-month study of the Marine Corps education system by a MCCDC PME Task Group. The PME program would consist of resident instruction to the maximum extent possible, structured self-study, and professional reading. The ALMAR expressed the Commandant's philosophy that the fundamental purpose of PME is to assist Marines in fulfilling their personal responsibilities for achieving operational competence.
18 April – A detachment of Marines left San Diego on board the USS Juneau bound for Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound to assist with cleanup operations stemming from the 24 March wreck of an Exxon oil tanker that spilled more than 10 million gallons of crude oil in the sound. The Alaska Marine Air Ground Task Force 89-1 was made up of 85 Marines from the 1st Marine Division, 1st Force Service Support Group, and the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing. The Navy/Marine Corps team would provide logistical support with two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, combat rubber raiding craft, and support personnel and equipment.
20 April – The President of the United States submitted to the Senate for confirmation the nomination of Major General Norman H. Smith to the grade of lieutenant general. General Smith was serving as Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
22 April – Retired Major General Henry R. Paige died in Carlsbad, California. A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, General Paige was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1927. During his 34-year Marine Corps career, General Paige participated in operations against rebel bandits in Nicaragua, commanded the 7th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion in the Pacific during World War II, and commanded the 1st Marine Division, 1959-1961, prior to his retirement.
25 April – Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney proposed cutting $10 billion from the fiscal 1990 budget and $9.9 billion in fiscal 1991 in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. One of the largest programs to be cancelled would be the Navy/Marine Corps V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey. Cheney described the V-22 as "interesting technology" but said its limited use was offset by its costs. The termination of the Osprey program would save $1.3 billion in fiscal 1990.
25 April - 9 May – Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in Exercise Kernel Usher 89 off the coast of southern California. The Third Fleet exercise involved 10 ships and approximately 15,000 sailors and Marines. A variety of sea and shore operations were conducted including amphibious landings, close air support, naval gunfire, and artillery coordination exercises at Camp Pendleton and San Clemente Island.
28 April – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the Rifle Range Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (RR-9) at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Retired Colonel Walter R. Walsh. Instrumental in the development of the Marine Corps marksmanship program, Colonel Walsh was a renowned champion, coach, and team champion in national, world, and Olympic pistol and rifle competitions.
30 April – At its annual awards dinner at the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club, the Marine Corps Historical Foundation presented its Distinguished Service Award to General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., 23d Commandant of the Marine Corps, for his lifetime accomplishments in Marine Corps history and his services as founder, director, honorary chairman, and advisor of the foundation. Additionally, two literary awards were presented. The Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Award for the best Marine Corps historical article published in any journal, was presented to Major Edward F. Palm for his two-part article "Tiger Papa Three: A Memoir of the Combined Action Program," published in the January and February 1988 issues of the Marine Corps Gazette. The General Roy S. Geiger Award for the best aviation article to appear in the Gazette was awarded to Major Michael D. Becker for "Command and Control of Marine TacAir in Joint Land Operations," published in the October 1988 issue.
30 April - 26 May – More than 40,000 U.S. Military personnel, including Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 4th and 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigades, participated in Exercise Solid Shield 89. Held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and other east coast locations, the exercise was designed to emphasize the command and control of military forces in a simulated combat environment. During the exercise, a Marine Corps first lieutenant was killed on 3 May when his AV-8A Harrier crashed near Beaufort, South Carolina. He had been assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 542 based at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.
___May – Representatives of the Research, Development, and Acquisition Command and Saco Defense completed plans to introduce improvements to the M60E3 machine gun. Once final testing was completed, the following changes would be incorporated into new weapons and retrofitted onto existing weapons as hardware kits become available: barrel assembly, bipod assembly, forward grip/forearm assembly, sling swivel, and buttstock assembly.
3 May – Five Marines were killed when their UH-1N Huey helicopter crashed during routine night flight training at Camp de Canjuers near Toulon, France. The Huey, which was the lead aircraft in a flight of two, crashed when it struck power lines. The trailing aircraft was not involved. The aircraft were from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 based at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, North Carolina. At the time of the crash, they were participating in Exercise Tranch II with French forces.
4 May – Former White House aide, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North, USMC (Retired), who was involved in the Iran-contra scandal, was convicted by a federal court jury on three felony counts of obstructing Congress, unlawfully mutilating government documents, and taking an illegal gratuity from one of his confederates. North, who swore that he was only doing the bidding of President
Ronald Reagan and other top officials, was acquitted of nine other charges brought against him after the scandal broke in November 1986. Seven of these involved allegations that he lied to Congress or obstructed other inquiries into his undercover work in aiding the anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan rebels and arranging arms-for-hostages deals with Iran.
10 May – Two marksmen serving with the permanent Marine Corps Shooting Teams based at Quantico, Virginia, were named the best rifle and pistol shooters in the Corps at the 1989 Marine Corps Matches held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Master Gunnery Sergeant Richardo Rodriquez won the coveted Walter R. Walsh Trophy for the third straight year after downing all opponents in the .45 caliber pistol portion of the weeklong matches. Sergeant D. K. Jones shot his way to his first all-Marine title and the David S. McDougal Trophy in the M14 rifle competition. Winning the Charles H. Lauchheimer Award for the best combined score in both rifle and pistol was Master Sergeant Richard C. Waller from the Marksmanship Training Unit at Camp Lejeune.
11 May – The Marine Corps sent 147 Marines and 16 light armored vehicles (LAVs) from Company A, 2d Light Armored Infantry Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to U. S. bases in Panama. They were among about 1900 new troops dispatched by President George Bush to protect American citizens and the strategic Panama Canal in the troubled Central American country. It would be the first time the armored, eight-wheeled personnel carrier LAV was used operationally since its introduction in 1984. The deployment was part of an all-fronts strategy to force the hand of Panama's General Manuel Antonio Noriega who refused to recognize what was widely regarded as an opposition victory in the 7 May presidential election.
11 May – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it would reexamine the disability claims of more than 34,000 Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. The VA would begin work on a standard of evidence that requires veterans to prove only a significant correlation between their exposure to Agent Orange and their disability, rather than a direct cause-and-effect relationship. The VA expected to have the evidence standard in place by late 1989.
15 May – H. Lawrence Garrett III was sworn in as the 68th Secretary of the Navy replacing William L. Ball III. Garrett served 20 years in the Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, retiring as a commander in 1981. He worked as an associate White House counsel for former President Reagan from 1983 to 1986, then served as chief counsel for the Defense Department until 1987 when he assumed his post as Undersecretary, the Navy's number two civilian position.
27 May – Two women Marines, Sergeant Brenda L. Schroeder and Corporal Lisa Tutt, were killed when a CH-46E helicopter collided with another CH-46E during a routine training flight near Fallon Naval Station in Nevada. None of the crewmembers from either aircraft were injured. The women were receiving indoctrination flights from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764, based at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, when the accident occurred.
30 May – Another CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed into the sea off the southern coast of Okinawa, Japan. The accident came seconds after the CH-46 took off for night flight operations from the deck of the USS Denver (LPD-9) as part of Exercise Valiant Mark 89-4. Of the 22 servicemen on the aircraft, 13 Marines and one Navy corpsman were killed in the crash.
31 May – The USS Cleveland, with Alaska Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) 89-2 on board, relieved the USS Juneau and continued to provide a base for extensive cleanup operations for several hundred civilian workers. MAGTF 89-2 was made up of 11 officers and 46 enlisted Marines that assumed the duties of their predecessors. The primary role of the Marines was to support the civilian workers by transporting them and a variety of heavy cleanup machinery to remote work sites.
2 June – A classroom to honor Marine artillery regiments was dedicated at the Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. A display of colors, battle streamers, combat art, and photographs of the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 14th Marines were featured.
5 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the 2d Marine Division Photographic Laboratory at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Corporal William T. Perkins. Attached to Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam during October 1967, Corporal Perkins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving as a combat photographer.
6 June – Due to the recent string of aircraft mishaps, General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, ordered all aviation units to conduct a two-day safety stand-down within the following two weeks. The string of accidents, a total of seven so far in 1989, had resulted in the deaths of 45 Marines. General Gray pointed out that of "the information available on the circumstances surrounding the tragedies, aircrew error predominates and most likely will be a primary cause in all these mishaps." The stand-downs, involving 1,200 aircraft, would focus on aircrew, wingman, and supervisory functions from the initial stages of flight preparations through post-flight debriefing procedures.
12 June – Fifteen Marine gunners that graduated from The Basic School last month began the Infantry Officer Course. They were selected as a result of the Commandant's recent policy of moving qualified senior staff noncommissioned officers into infantry officer billets with the rank of chief warrant officer (CWO-2). Following the Infantry Officer Course, these first Marine gunners since the rank was abolished in 1959, would undertake specialized training at Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, Virginia. Those appointed would be authorized to wear the "bursting bomb" insignia of the past and would be known as infantry weapons officers.
12 - 22 June – General Joseph J. Went, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited the Soviet Union accompanying Admiral William J. Crowe, USN, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and vice chiefs of the three other services. The trip was the reciprocal of the visit to the United States in the summer of 1988 by Soviet Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev and his party. The itinerary included visits to major Soviet facilities and bases in Moscow, Murmansk, Minsk, and Leningrad.
14 June – A 10-member panel of Korean War veterans, which included Medal of Honor recipient General Raymond G. Davis, USMC (Retired), approved a design for a memorial to stand in Ash Woods, near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. The competition-winning design for the Korean War Veterans Memorial, a combat patrol, was unveiled in the White House Rose Garden. When erected the granite files of 38 combat-equipped fighting men, each seven to eight feet tall, will stretch nearly 350 feet. Their march will end in a semicircle paved plaza with the flagpole as its centerpiece.
15 June – The A-4M Skyhawk ended its last overseas deployment when Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211's aircraft returned from a six-month Western Pacific tour. VMA-211, the last active duty squadron to fly the A-4M, would transition to the AV-8B Harrier II during 1990. The squadron flew the aircraft for over 30 years.
20 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Las Flores Area Chapel at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Major Aloysius P. McGonigal, USA (Deceased). Assigned to the Military Assistance Command Compound in Hue, Republic of Vietnam, Major McGonigal voluntarily left the safety of his post on 17 February 1968 to administer to Marines fighting in the vicinity. He was subsequently killed in action.
21 June – An $80 million contract for full-scale development of the Advanced Antitank Weapon System - Medium (AAWS-M) by the U. S. Army Missile Command at Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded to Texas Instruments of Lewisville, Texas, and Martin Marietta of Orlando, Florida. The AAWS-M system was a joint Army/Marine Corps program that was looked upon as a dramatic departure from existing anti-tank technology since it included an internally located infrared imager that allowed the missile to guide itself to the target.
23 June – For the first time in the 74-year history of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, male and female recruits earned the title "Marine" together during the same ceremony. Officially established as a recruit depot in 1915, Parris Island began training women recruits in 1949, making it the only command in the Corps with this mission. In recent years, training for female recruits has mirrored that of male recruits. The history-making Marines who participated in this first combined graduation were 210 male Marines from Company H, 2d Battalion and 98 female Marines making up the 4016 series of Company N, 4th Battalion.
26 June – A special Evening Parade was held at Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, S.E., Washington, D. C. to honor President George Bush. Senators, congressmen, well-known political figures, as well as Marines from Headquarters Marine Corps attended. The parade included a concert from the "Presidents Own" United States Marine Band, a performance by the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and drill by the Silent Drill Platoon. The parade was identical to the one performed for the public each Friday during the summer at 8th and I.
29 June - 1 July – Marines from Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, Virginia, and around the Corps swept the 1989 Interservice Pistol Matches held in Nashville, Tennessee. Competing against 21 teams and more than 125 shooters, the USMC "Scarlet" Team defended the Corps' National Team Championship title. Staff Sergeant Mitch Reed won the Individual Interservice Champion award. Both wins were decided on a grand aggregate of several matches which included the .22 Caliber, Center Fire, .45 Caliber, and Service Pistol competitions.
30 June – Standing in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial with Old Glory streaming in the background and a flag by his side, President George Bush reaffirmed his opposition to the recent
Supreme Court ruling which allows burning the American flag as a peaceful political protest. The President and several prominent congressmen who also oppose the decision, gathered at the monument. Bush called upon the vivid symbol of the flag, to urge swift passage of a Constitutional amendment that would give Congress and the states power to prevent defacing of the flag.
30 June – The 4th Battalion, 10th Marines deactivated at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The artillery battalion's general support mission would be transferred to the 3d Battalion, 14th Marines in the reserve force. Originally activated in 1923, the battalion participated in a number of World War II campaigns as well as the occupation of Japan. The deactivation would leave the 10th Regiment with four battalions -- the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 5th.
30 June – The strength of the U. S. Armed Forces was 2,115,330 of whom 195,107 were Marines.
1 July – Major General Arthur B. Hanson, USMCR, died of cancer at his home in Potomac, Maryland, at the age of 72. Commissioned in 1941, Major General Hanson participated in the battles for Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima and was awarded a Bronze Star in each of these operations. Released from active duty in 1946, Major General Hanson remained active in the Marine Corps Reserve until his retirement in 1974. At the time of his death, he was president of the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation, which had been instrumental in having the Iwo Jima flag-raising statue by Felix de Weldon erected in Washington.
1 July – Marine Aircraft Group 46, Detachment A, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing achieved a safety milestone of 35,711.4 mishap-free flight hours over a 20-year period, the longest so far in the Marine Corps Reserve. The unit is based at Norfolk, Virginia.
4 July – The U. S. Marine Band, the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Silent Drill Team, all from Marine Barracks, 8th and I, Washington, D. C., were featured during NBC's special live holiday broadcast on "Good Morning America."
7 July – Five CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters left Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, for Okinawa aboard several U. S. Air Force C-5B Galaxy aircraft. This move marked the entry of CH-53Es into the unit deployment program. The Corps' newest heavy-lift helicopters would also become available on a permanent basis in Western Pacific forces. A significant improvement over the CH-53D, the CH-53E could lift many items such as the M198 howitzer.
11 July – Almar 127-89 announced the establishment of the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program. The new program was designated to support the professional military education program for NCOs, SNCOs, and Officers. Marines would be required to read books from a carefully selected list of military biographies, battle accounts, and other warfare-related topics. The objectives of the program include: to impart a sense of Marine values and traits, to improve analytical and reasoning skills, to increase knowledge of our nation's institutions and the principles upon which our government and our way of life are founded, and to increase knowledge of the world's governments, culture, and geography.
13 July – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, Building 1139, at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Colonel John E. Knight, Jr. During his distinguished 24 year career in the Corps, Colonel Knight made outstanding contributions to the Marine Corps intelligence community.
29 July – The USS Wasp (LDH 1), the first of the new class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships designed to conduct over-the-horizon operations, was commissioned at Pier 11, Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia. The traditional "coming alive" of this ship represented a further and significant advance in amphibious capabilities. Nearly 10,000 were in attendance for the ceremony with Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, as the principal speaker. The new Wasp has a flight deck for operating helicopters and vertical/short takeoff and landing aircraft, and a well deck for launching air cushion and conventional landing craft. It has a crew of 1,081 and room for 2,000 deployed Marines.
31 July – A ruling by the General Accounting Office, a Congressional investigative body, supported the Navy's decision to suspend Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North's $23,000-a-year military pension. North was convicted on three charges for his role in the Iran-contra affair while serving as a National Security Council aide in the Reagan administration. The sentence handed down on 5 July netted North a $150,000 fine, two years probation, and 1,200 hours of community service.
___August – General Electric's Aircraft Engine Business Group of Lynn, Massachusetts, was selected to provide the U. S. Navy with $13.8 million in fighter engines for the F/A-18 Hornet program. The contract called for GE to be the sole-source producer of all F404-GE-400 turbo fan engines for the Navy throughout FY90 and marked the end of Pratt & Whitney's participation in the F/A-18 program.
1 August – The Marine Corps University (MCU), an integral part of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, Virginia, was activated. The mission of MCU was to develop, recommend, implement, and monitor the resident and non-resident professional military education policies and programs for all Marines, active and reserve, corporal through general. The MCU will provide an integrated military education network, with ties to amphibious warfare research facilities and historical assets, under one commander. Brigadier General Paul K. Van Riper was designated to perform the duties of President.
1 August – Lieutenant General Stephen G. Olmstead re-retired from the Corps. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Policy and Enforcement as well as the Director of the Department of Defense Task Force on Drug Enforcement.
7 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps advised Major Robin Higgins, wife of Colonel William Higgins, of the virtual certainty that her husband was killed by Middle East terrorists. Colonel Higgins was seized on 17 February 1988 while serving as chief of the United Nations observer group in southern Lebanon. Major Higgins was also contacted by President George Bush who offered his support and sympathy.
8 August – Captain James B. Laster was selected as the 1989 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for outstanding leadership by a company grade officer serving with the ground forces of the Fleet Marine Force. This marked the first time the trophy was awarded to an inspector-instructor staff officer on duty with the Marine Corps Reserve. Captain Laster served with the 1st Battalion, 25th Marines at the time of his nomination. The trophy is named for Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, commanding officer of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.
14-18 August – More than 30 of the Corps' senior artillery and infantry officers met at Quantico to develop recommendations for the Commandant pertaining to the future of Marine Corps artillery in the areas of structure, equipment, doctrine, and training. The Commandant participated in the final day of the conference and issued guidance to implement most of the conference recommendations.
15 August - 18 September – The 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade joined U. S. Navy, U. S. Air Force, and Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps units for Exercise Thalay Thai 89 in Thailand. Under the umbrella of this exercise were Exercise Freedom Banner 89, which involved the deployment and employment of the maritime prepositioning force, and Exercise Valiant Usher 89 that featured amphibious operations by the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and the Royal Thai Marines.
18 August – Major General Royal N. Moore, Jr. was reassigned as Commanding General, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing/Deputy Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force located at El Toro, California, replacing Major General Donald E. P. Miller.
21 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of Building 41303 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson. One of five Black Medal of Honor recipients, Johnson was posthumously awarded the medal for heroism while serving with Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam during March 1968.
23 August – The Marine Corps adopted the maternity camouflage uniform used by Army and Air Force women. The purpose of this action was to provide uniformity at commands where utilities are worn as the uniform of the day and to provide a comfortable and easily maintained uniform for duties for which the utilities would normally be appropriate. The uniform consisted of a coat and slacks made of rip-stop cotton fabric in the woodland camouflage pattern.
24 August – Two Marines on board an OV-10A aircraft were killed when their plane crashed in Banning Pass, California. The Marines and aircraft from Marine Observation Squadron 2 were on a three-hour photo and visual aerial reconnaissance training mission over the Southern California desert when the crash occurred.
26 August – Mr. Ralph W. Donnelly, former head of the History and Museums Division's Reference Section from 1967 to 1975, died at Charlotte, North Carolina, following a heart attack. He was 75 years old. Mr. Donnelly became the leading expert on the history of the Confederate States Marine Corps and published several books on the subject. He also co-authored an official history with Mr. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Blacks in the Marine Corps.
29 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of twelve Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, in honor of twelve deceased, enlisted Marines from the state of North Carolina who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
___September – The first M1A1 track-width mine plow delivered to the Marine Corps was used in a familiarization exercise by the 1st Tank Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. Built by Israeli Aircraft Industries, the Corps' new mine plow would be used on M60 tanks, fitted by means of an adaptor kit, until the M1A1s begin to come on line in early 1991. Delivery of 72 mine plows is scheduled to be completed by May 1990.
___September – Congressional debate over funding Bell Boeing's V-22 Osprey did not slow down testing of the first prototype. The aircraft flew at 6,000 feet while transitioning to the airplane mode and reached speeds up to 155 knots. The focus of the 65-minute flight, which marked the end of the second phase of flight testing, monitored the aircraft's maneuverability at varying speeds and nacelle angles.
1 September – The keys to the new official quarters for the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps were presented to Sergeant Major and Mrs. Sommers in a ceremony hosted by the Commandant, General Alfred M. Gray. The four bedroom, two-story brick house is located near Headquarters Marine Corps in the Defense Communications Agency compound across from Ft Myer, Virginia. The home, long sought by the Corps, was one of three built during 1989 for the senior enlisted of the sea services.
5 September – Major General Robert F. Milligan was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and assigned as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific/Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Pacific, replacing Lieutenant General Edwin J. Godfrey who was retiring.
6 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of eight streets at Marine Corps Air Station, Tustin, California, in honor of eight officer and enlisted Marines who were killed in action during the Vietnam War while serving with Marine Aircraft Group 36.
13 September - 4 October – Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit joined Italian and Turkish troops for Exercise Display Determination 89 in the Mediterranean. The exercise involved reinforcing NATO's Southern Region in time of crisis or war and defending the region from external aggression. Approximately 13,000 land and amphibious troops participated in the exercise.
15 September – The first of 99 approved and budgeted night attack AV-8B Harrier IIs was delivered by McDonnell Douglas to the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, California. Following testing the night attack Harrier would be sent to Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma. These specially equipped Harriers would allow Marine Corps pilots to provide enhanced close air support to ground troops through a forward looking infrared sensor located in the nose of the aircraft.
17 September – Major General Frank D. Weir died in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 87. A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1923. During his distinguished 30-year career, General Weir participated in operations against bandits in Nicaragua and served on the staff of the Commander, Amphibious Force, South Pacific during World War II.
18 September – The first show of the television comedy series, "Major Dad" aired on CBS. Starring Gerald McRaney, the series portrayed a Marine major at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton. (In the series, Pendleton was referred to as Singleton). The storyline of "Major Dad" featured his life as a Marine officer who had recently been married for the first time.
20 September – The Joint Unmanned Ground Vehicle Program Office concluded a major milestone --a demonstration of several unmanned ground vehicles for a combined audience of Marine Corps, Army, and industry representatives at Camp Pendleton, California. The demonstration was designed to acquaint those attending with the program's progress in developing robotic vehicles for Army/Marine Corps use and particularly to show off the reconnaissance and target acquisition capabilities of the Marine Corps' Teleoperated Vehicle and the Army's Teleoperated Mobile All-Purpose Platform.
20 September – Retired Master Sergeant John DeGrasse, noted Marine artist and illustrator, died at the age of 70. During the 1940s and 1950s, he served as art director for Leatherneck and the Marine Corps Gazette and painted over 100 covers for the magazines. A combat artist during the Korean War, he later worked as an exhibit specialist for the Marine Corps Museum and as the Navy Museum's exhibit chief, both in Washington, D. C.
24 September - 10 October – More than 640 Marines and Navy medical corpsmen arrived in the Charleston and Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina to provide disaster relief support after Hurricane Hugo slammed into that area on 21 September. In the aftermath of the storm, Marines joined state police, National Guardsmen, Red Cross workers, and thousands of volunteers from across the country. Marines from the 2d Force Service Support Group, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 provided assistance with road clearing, power supply and transmission line hookup, and water purification.
26 September – Major General Henry C. Stackpole III assumed command of the III Marine Expeditionary Force/3d Marine Division on Okinawa replacing Major General Norman H. Smith.
27 September – Major General William M. Keys was assigned as Commanding General, 2d Marine Division located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, replacing Major General Orlo K. Stelle.
30 September – Five battalions assigned to Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)) missions – 2/4 at Camp Lejeune and 1/1, 1/4. 1/9, and 3/1 at Camp Pendleton – were reorganized under the new Table of Organization 1038G. Over the past year, the Marine Corps had implemented infantry battalion enhancement and cadre actions planned to balance Fleet Marine Force total force structure. Generally, these plans called for placing three infantry battalions in cadre, while beefing up the 24 remaining active battalions. Personnel and equipment savings achieved by these cuts were reallocated to provide needed personnel enhancements throughout the infantry structure and to add a fourth rifle company to battalions assigned to MEU (SOC) commitments.
2 October – Two Hungarian military historians, Major General Ervin Liptai, Director General of the War Historical Institute and Museum, and Colonel Imre Fuzi, Chief of Faculty of the Zrinyi
Miklos Military Academy, visited the Marine Corps Historical Center as part of an ongoing program of official visits between Warsaw Pact and American military historical and museum activities.
5 - 8 October – The 1989 Marine Corps Aviation Association awards were presented at the association's convention in Pensacola, Florida. Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Garner of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 was named aviator of the year and recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Award. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 451 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 All Weather Attack Squadron 224 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 received the Keith B. McCutcheon Award for the helicopter squadron of the year.
13 October – The Immigration and Naturalization Service released a statement on its agreement with the Marine Corps to conduct joint training and surveillance operations along the southwest border of the United States in support of the Bush administration's war on drugs. About 50 Marines would be involved, primarily for training and instruction on situation maps, patrol briefing and debriefing procedures, and information analysis. This agreement marks the first use of full-time military personnel in support of the anti-drug effort.
14 October – Mrs. Raymond G. Davis was the sponsor of the guided missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and christened the ship at ceremonies held in Pascagoula, Mississippi. General Davis, who received the Medal of Honor for actions at the Chosin Reservoir, accompanied her at the Ingalls Shipyard ceremony.
17 October – A deadly earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area. Marines from Battalion Landing Team 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, the15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Aircraft Group 42, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 and others provided disaster relief support. The wide-range of support included crowd control at the port of San Francisco, rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed overpass, flying damage inspection tours of the bay area, and general clean up.
20 October – Major General John R. Dailey was appointed to the grade of lieutenant general while serving as Commanding General, Marine Corps Research, Development, and Acquisition Command, Headquarters Marine Corps.
26 October – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the 8th Marines mess hall (Dining Facility #122) at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, in honor of Colonel Henry P. (Jim) Crowe. A recipient of the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart, Colonel Crowe served in World War II as well as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, China, and Korea during his 40-year Marine Corps career.
1 November – The Marine Detachment, USS Coral Sea deactivated as part of the aircraft carrier's scheduled decommissioning in April 1990. The detachment had been on board since 1947 and saw 42 years of active service.
1 November – Lieutenant General John I. Hudson retired. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps.
5 November – Jim Hage, a 31-year old resident of Lanham, Maryland, won the 14th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D. C. with a time of 2:20:23. He became the first man to post back-to-back victories in the history of the 14-year race. In the women's division, Laura DeWald, 32, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, took first place honors with a time of 2:45:16. More than 12,700 military and civilian runners competed.
6 November – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a road and three buildings at Camp San Mateo, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of the following four deceased Marines of the 7th Regiment who were awarded the Medal of Honor: Colonel Archie Van Winkle, Staff Sergeant Lewis G. Watkins, Corporal Lee H. Phillips, and Private First Class Charles H. Roan.
8 November – The first three AH-1W Super Cobras made their debut in the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station, New River. The "Whiskey" Cobras were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167. Manufactured by Bell Helicopter Textron, the AH-1W is an upgraded version of the AH-1T Sea Cobra.
8 November – Eight whooping cranes were airlifted on a KC-130 by Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 from Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D. C., to Baraboo, Wisconsin, home of the International Crane Foundation (ICF). The eight cranes were the first of three shipments of approximately half the captive whooping crane flock in the world. As endangered species, the birds were sent to ICF to protect them from possible outbreaks of disease and natural predators and to establish a breeding flock at ICF.
10 November – Amongst the many Marine Corps Birthday celebrations and ceremonies worldwide, the 35th anniversary of the dedication of the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) War Memorial was observed in Washington, D. C. General Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the guest speaker at ceremonies held at the memorial site.
13 November – A milestone in Marine Corps aviation was achieved with the completion of the transition of the F-4 Phantom to the F/A-18 Hornet in the active force. The transition began when Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 received its first F/A-18A on 12 December 1982. The transition was completed by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 233 receiving its twelfth aircraft when an F/A-18C touched down on this date.
15 November – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a new Dental Clinic Wing at Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, South Carolina, in honor of Captain Lucian C. Williams, DC, USN. Reporting for duty at Marine Barracks, Parris Island, on 4 August 1913, he was the first dental officer to serve with the U. S. Marine Corps.
19 November – Major General William J. Whaling died at the age of 95 in Lyons, New Jersey. Commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1917, he served with the 6th Regiment in France during World War I. He commanded the 1st Marines in the Cape Gloucester operation of World War II and the 29th Marines on Okinawa, where he was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. In the Korean War, he was assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division. He retired in 1954 after 37 years of active service.
___ December – The Marine Corps completed outfitting all tank companies with a new class-60 armored vehicle launched bridge (AVLB). The folding bridge, which would be transported on modified M60A2 chassis, provided the combined arms team a rapid, assault gap-crossing capability of spanning lengths up to 60 feet and greatly enhanced combat mobility. All current and future vehicles in the Marine Corps' combined arms team, to include the new M1A1, could use the bridge.
14 December – A detachment from the 2d Marine Division returned with a task force of U. S. Navy ships from UNITAS XXX, 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.
14 December – The headquarters of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center, Quantico, Virginia, was dedicated in honor of Major General Smedley D. Butler. Major General Matthew Caulfield, Director of the Training and Education Center, was the keynote speaker during the dedication ceremony.
15 December – First Lieutenant Robert Paz, an operations officer with U. S. Southern Command in Panama, was shot and killed by Panamanian Defense Forces while enroute to a restaurant in Panama City. He was one of 700 Marines dispatched to Panama to protect American citizens.
20 December – Operation Just Cause was launched in Panama to protect American lives, restore the democratic process, preserve the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty, and apprehend dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega. Although it was predominately an Army show, all Marines on the scene were fully committed to a wide variety of operational tasks that included a preemptive attack against the Panamanian Defense Forces on the southeast side of the canal. One Marine, Corporal Garreth C. Isaak, was killed and three others were wounded during the operation.
22 December – Over 20 years of continuous operation of A-6 aircraft by the "Green Knights" of Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 121 was brought to a close as the last A-6E aircraft was transferred to Whidbey Island, Washington. The first phase of the Marine Corps transition from A-6 aircraft to F/A-18D aircraft was completed. The squadron was scheduled to receive its first F/A-18D aircraft in early 1990.
31 December – The strength of the U. S. Armed Forces was 2,098,394, of whom 197,102 were Marines.
USMC History Division