___January – A 400-man task force from I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) deployed to carry out a variety of engineering tasks as part of a four-month series of Ahuas Tara exercises in Honduras, a joint U.S./Honduran counterinsurgency exercise. A major maritime prepositioning force exercise was later conducted that involved Maritime Prepositioning Squadron 1. Other phases of the exercise series involved a test of I MEF air contingency forces and a combined exercise with Honduran military units.
___January – The move of the 7th Marines from Camp Pendleton, California, to Twentynine Palms, California, got underway as scheduled. Based on a 1989 force structure study group's recommendations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, made the decision to move the 7th Marines and its direct support artillery battalion, 3d Battalion, 11th Marines. The final phase of the shift would be completed in mid-1991.
1 January – The strength of the U. S. Armed Forces was 2,098,394, of whom 197,102 were Marines.
1-31 January – Approximately 4,200 Marines and sailors participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior 90 held at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin. Elements of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade took part in the exercise which was designed to teach individual and unit Arctic skills in preparation for cold weather contingency operations.
5 January – The Marine Corps implemented its program for testing its civilian workers in compliance with both Executive Order 12564, which established a goal of achieving a drug-free workplace, and the Department of the Navy's policy on a drug-free work environment. The program, consistent with the Corps' policy for Marines, would test about 3,000 designated civilian workers for five types of drugs.
8 January – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a moving target simulator building in the 32 Area at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Corporal Tony Stein. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division during the battle for Iwo Jima in March 1945.
16 January – A recognized military classic written more than 2,500 years ago was named the 1990 "Commandant's Choice" for the Marine Corps' professional military education reading program. Almar 016/90 indicated that The Art of War, written by Chinese author Sun Tzu and translated by the late Brigadier General Samuel B. Griffith, II, topped General Alfred M. Gray's list of required reading for its timeless applications and perceptive insights on military operations.
31 January – Operation Just Cause in Panama concluded. Launched on 20 December 1989, the mission of the operation was to protect American lives, restore the democratic process, and preserve the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty. One Marine, Corporal Garreth C. Isaak, was killed and three others were wounded during the operation.
___February – Blount Island Command at Jacksonville, Florida, completed its first maritime pre-positioning force maintenance cycle (MMC) when the SS Obregon, the fourth ship of Maritime Pre-positioning Force (MPF) 1, returned to its area of operation in the Atlantic Ocean. The command was established in the spring of 1989 along with a shift in responsibility for the maintenance program from FMFLant/FMFPac commanders to Commanding General, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia. Each MPF ship undergoes an MMC about every 30 months.
2-3 February – Nearly 1,000 Marines and sailors of the 37th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in Exercise Valiant Usher 90-4 at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. The exercise provided the opportunity to review and practice contingency plans in support of U.S. forces stationed in the Subic Bay area. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force augmented existing security forces from the Marine Barracks by conducting amphibious landings and heli-borne operations.
3 February – The USS Comstock (LSD 45) was commissioned in New Orleans. As one of the Whidbey Island class of LSDs, the Comstock's main mission would be to transport Marines and to launch and support assault landing craft and helicopters during amphibious operations. The Comstock was designed to carry four of the new LCAC assault hovercraft. Construction began during October 1986 by Avondale Industries, New Orleans, and the ship was christened in January 1988 by Mrs. Alfred M. Gray, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
5-23 February – In an 18-day concert tour, the United States Marine Band became the first U.S. military band to tour the Soviet Union. Led by Colonel John R. Bourgeois, the 69 members of "The President's Own" performed in five major cities in three Soviet republics during the visit. The tour was part of a U.S.-Soviet Armed Forces Band Exchange that saw The First Independent Performing Orchestra of the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Defense perform in the United States during its East Coast tour 12-29 January.
17 February – The 1990 Pacific Division Marksmanship Matches ended with 20 of the 102 Marine competitors walking away with individual or team honors. The matches were held at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, and were part of the competition-in-arms program designed to enhance the combat marksmanship proficiency of the Marine Corps. Shooters from the Navy, Air Force, Hawaii National Guard, and National Rifle Association rounded out the field.
19 February – This date marked the 45th anniversary of the assault on Iwo Jima. The battle for Iwo Jima pitted the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions against a determined force of well-entrenched Japanese defenders. A (second) flag raising by five Marines and one Navy corpsman was photographed by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo became one of the most famous battle photographs of World War II, and was the inspiration for the Marine Corps War Memorial, Washington, D.C.
21 February – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Headquarters at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich. In 1970, he served as commanding officer of the above battalion in Vietnam prior to being killed in a helicopter crash. His decorations include the Navy Cross and Silver Star.
22 February – 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 Marines were training harder and following a chartered course that would enhance their ability to respond to the changing international security environment.
___March – Two Pointer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems were delivered to the 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Twentynine Palms, California, for year-long operational field tests. Pointers are manportable, battery-powered UAVs that are carried in two backpacks. They have a range of about three miles and carry an onboard camera that records and relays video images back to the pilot's and observer's video monitor. In addition to the Corps' testing plans, the Army received several Pointer systems for field testing.
___March – The Marine Corps completed a proof-of-concept demonstration at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, for new upgrades to its HAWK missile system, the Corp's principal air defense missile system against medium-to-low-altitude enemy targets. The demonstration involved the B-1 Battery of the 2d Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion that performed a number of field exercises as part of its annual FIREX-90 live fire exercise.
5 March – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the Senior Officer's Guest House at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller who served as both commanding general of the base and commanding general of the 2d Marine Division located there.
8 March – This date marked the 25th anniversary of the first U.S. ground combat unit landing in the Republic of Vietnam. The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch landed at Da Nang to defend the air base. The brigade included two battalion landing teams: 3d Battalion, 9th Marines and 1st Battalion, 3d Marines.
8 March – An Armed Forces Full Honor Review was conducted at Ceremonial Hall, Fort Myer, Virginia. There, Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell, presented the Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer to each service for Operation Just Cause in Panama during December 1989 - January 1990. Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, received the streamer and placed it on the Marine Corps battle colors.
13-22 March – Marines and sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), as well as other Navy and Marine Corps units of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and the U.S. Seventh Fleet, took part in Exercise Team Spirit 90. The 15th annual exercise took place in the Republic of Korea and was designed to improve defensive readiness of ROK and U.S. forces through combined and joint operations.
15-21 March – For the first time since 1977, the U.S. Marine Wrestling Team took second place at the 1990 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship held at Quantico, Virginia. The Marine team, which took first place for 13 consecutive years, was derailed by the U.S. Army Wrestling Team that captured the overall title of Best Wrestling Team in the U.S. Military. The Marine team was able to take nine individual first place gold medals.
___April – The AV-8B Night Attack Weapons Systems Trainer, the newest advancement in aerial combat capability, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. The new trainer would allow pilots to perform a night attack mission to include engine starts, field and carrier takeoffs and landings, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons deliveries, threat avoidance, and tactical navigation. The new simulator would provide pilots with a complete night attack training environment.
1 April – On this date 45 years ago, the Tenth Army, including XXIV Corps and III Amphibious Corps (1st and 6th Marine Divisions with the 2d Marine Division in reserve) and Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army (primarily 2d Marine Aircraft Wing) landed in assault on Okinawa.
2 April – Colonel Charles R. Geiger, the first Marine to command the Naval Space Command at Dahlgren, Virginia, relieved Rear Admiral David E. Frost. A Naval aviator since 1964, Colonel Geiger joined the Naval Space Command in July 1989 as the third Marine selected to the deputy commander position. Colonel Geiger would be relieved by Rear Admiral L. E. Allen, Jr., the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, after the ship is decommissioned in May.
2 April – A delegation of six Soviet military historians visited the Marine Corps Historical Center as a reciprocal visit by U.S. military historians to the Soviet Union during April 1989. The delegation was headed by Colonel General Dmitri A. Volkogonov, chief of the Soviet Institute of Military History.
20 April – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of a new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Marine Corps Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, in honor of Major General William J. Whaling. Widely known for his competitive marksmanship, Major General Whaling commanded Marine regiments in World War II campaigns and served as the assistant commander of the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War.
20 April - 7 May – Marines of the 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in Exercise Ocean Venture 90 in the Caribbean. The five-service joint task force was designed to demonstrate U.S. power projection and rapid deployment capability in the Caribbean. Unlike Exercise Ocean Venture 1988 that involved dozens of ships and 40,000 military personnel, the 1990 exercise only involved 12 ships and 14,000 troops -- a result of budget cuts curtailing large-scale joint exercises.
23 April - 8 June – Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Brigade participated in Exercise Cobra Gold 90 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 and included combined joint air, land, maritime, amphibious, and special operations. During this exercise, the Army's 25th Infantry Division employed for the first time the new Pointer unmanned aerial vehicle that primarily conducted small unit, over-the-hill reconnaissance.
25 April – On this date in 1970, eight Americans died in an attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. The all-volunteer military mission was aborted, and three Marines and five Air Force servicemen were killed when a helicopter and a transport plane collided during refueling in Iran's Great Salt Desert. No Greater Love sponsored a memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of the servicemen lost. Ted Koppel, ABC News Nightline anchor, served as master of ceremonies. Family members and former hostages were also present.
___May – Marines who served north of the Arctic Circle became eligible to receive the Navy Arctic Service Ribbon. To qualify, a Marine must have served above the Arctic Circle for 28 days, consecutive or non-consecutive, on or after 1 January 1982. For most Marines, this duty would have been in Thule, Greenland, or Narvik, Norway. Marines were not eligible for the Navy Arctic Service Ribbon when it was first awarded in 1987.
1 May – The first two prototypes of the new air defense variant of the light armored vehicle, the LAV(AD), were delivered to the Marine Corps at Twentynine Palms, California. The LAV(AD) is a highly mobile, low altitude antiaircraft weapons platform that could incorporate three different types of weapons -- a 25mm automatic gun, a 2.75-inch Hydra 70 rocket system, and a Stinger launcher. The prototypes were supplied by two firms, General Electric and FMC.
1 May – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of Building 575 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Corporal Garreth C. Isaak who was killed in action while leading his Marine squad against enemy forces in Panama on 20 December 1989.
6 May – Two literary awards sponsored by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation were presented during an awards dinner at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The foundation's Colonel Robert D. Heinl Award in Marine Corps History went to David C. Brooks for his article, "U.S. Marines, Miskitos, and the Hunt for Sandino: the Rio Coco Patrol in 1928," that appeared in the Journal for Latin American Studies, May 1989. The General Roy S. Geiger Award, for the outstanding aviation article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, was awarded to Major John B. Saxman, USAF, for his article, "The Role of Marine Aviation in Maneuver Warfare," published in the August 1989 issue.
13 May – All Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were grounded following an investigation of a CH-46 mishap in Twentynine Palms, California, on 4 May that injured 17 Marines. Investigation results showed that a CH-46 from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 was operating with a defective quill shaft within the rear transmission assembly that caused a loss of drive to the rear rotor system. Inspection of all Navy and Marine Corps helicopters was conducted.
22 May – The two foremost weapons designers of the last half of the 20th century -- Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the Soviet AK47 assault rifle and former Marine Eugene M. Stoner, designer of the U.S. M16 rifle met at Quantico, Virginia. The visit was the culmination of a six-day symposium on their designs and careers arranged by Dr. Edward Ezell of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
24 May – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the base theater at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, in honor of Reserve Major General Melvin J. Maas who served in World War I, World War II, and Korea. He was also a Congressman representing the state of Minnesota for 16 years.
25 May - 31 July – Exercise Freedom Banner 90 demonstrated how the Military Sealift Command's prepositioned naval support forces and U.S. Marine Corps and Navy personnel could provide humanitarian assistance when needed. The MV Sgt William R. Button, under charter to the Military Sealift Command and assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Squadron 3, provided support for a disaster relief scenario on Indian Island, Washington. In contrast, during Exercise Freedom Banner 88, a brigade-sized force of Marines invaded the Puget Sound Island to test rapid deployment of combat troops and forwarding supplies to foreign battlefields.
1 June – Brigadier General Gail M. Reals, Deputy Commander for Support, Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, retired after more than 35 years of service as a Marine. Brigadier General Reals was the only Woman Marine general officer on active duty in the Corps.
1 June – Major General Clyde L. Vermilyea assumed command of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing replacing Major General Jeremiah W. Pearson III.
7-18 June – Four Marines from the Mountain Warfare Training Center at Bridgeport, California, climbed Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The Alaskan climb provided an opportunity to test and evaluate cold weather clothing and equipment as well as provide advanced, high altitude, cold weather training. The Marines were participating in a Tri-Corps Expedition with British Royal Marines and the Netherlands Marines.
12 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the headquarters building of the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines in Chicago, in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. McCarthy, a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.
14 June – John Philip Sousa, 17th director of the President's Own, United States Marine Band, was honored when a "star" was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was a tribute to his contributions to American marching band music.
18 June – Marine Forces, Panama ended its two-year-long presence as part of the Department of Defense's reduction of forces in Panama to pre-1988 levels. The 600 members of Task Force Semper Fi returned to the U.S. after participating in the joint task force combat operation Just Cause and the recent nation-building efforts of Operation Promote Liberty.
20 June – The Army's Tank-Automotive Command in Warren, Michigan, awarded a contract on behalf of the Marine Corps to Cadillac Gage Textron, Inc. for full-scale development of three prototype LAV-105s. The LAV-105 would be the assault gun variant of the Corps' light armored vehicle which was originally built by Diesel Division, General Motors.
22 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of the new instructional building at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, in honor of First Lieutenant Frank N. Mitchell, a posthumous Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War.
22 June – The namings of three buildings at the Marine Corps Reserve Center, Kansas City, Kansas, were approved by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The buildings were named in honor of three deceased Medal of Honor recipients: Lieutenant Colonel Aquilla J. Dyess, First Lieutenant John V. Power, and Corporal Jack A. Davenport.
25 June – On this date, 40 years ago, the "land of the morning calm" was invaded by more than 60,000 North Korean troops marking the beginning of the Korean War. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade arrived in Pusan on 2 August 1950 and was followed by Marines of the 1st Marine Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing who participated in the war from September 1950 to July 1953.
25-29 June – Staff Sergeant Mitchell Reed of the U.S. Marine Corps Pistol Team fired his way to his third consecutive title at the Interservice Pistol Matches. Staff Sergeant Reed competed against 140 shooters, using various weapons and ammunition. Traditionally held in Nashville, Tennessee, the matches were moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time.
28 June – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the naming of Building 62500 at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of Private First Class Jimmy W. Phipps, a posthumous Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War.
30 June – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 2,520,406, of whom 195,559 were Marines.
___July – The Marine Corps decided to buy seven 35-foot multipurpose riverine assault craft from SeaArk Marine, Inc. of Monticell, Arkansas, under a plan aimed at enhancing Marine Riverine capabilities. The assault craft, which cost about $300,000 each, would be fast, armed boats powered by waterjet propulsion systems.
1 July – Lieutenant General Carl E. Mundy, Jr. assumed command of Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic/II Marine Expeditionary Force/Fleet Marine Force, Europe, replacing Lieutenant General Ernest T. Cook, Jr.
1 July – Major General Joseph P. Hoar was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and reassigned Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, replacing Lieutenant General Mundy.
1 July – Lieutenant General William G. Carson, Jr. retired. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Lieutenant General Carson was replaced by newly promoted Lieutenant General Robert J. Winglass.
1 July – Major General Matthew T. Cooper was reassigned as Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division replacing Major General Walter E. Boomer who would be reassigned as Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force/Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California.
1 July – Major General Richard D. Hearney assumed command of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing replacing Major General Richard A. Gustafson.
3 July – The Department of the Navy grounded its fleet of Navy and Marine Corps CH-46 "Sea Knight" helicopters for the third time in two months after an investigation into a 22 June helicopter crash, which killed four Navy crewmembers, revealed problems with the aircraft's rotor system. The initial grounding of the CH-46s came after an investigation into the 4 May accident at Twentynine Palms, California. The CH-46s were again grounded on 30 May after a Marine helicopter landed with an oil leak near the rotor head of the aircraft. The CH-46 is used by the Marine Corps for combat support and search and rescue.
6 July – One of the oldest and most versatile attack aircraft in Marine Corps history, the A-4 Skyhawk, retired from the Corps' active aviation structure after over 30 years of service. The last two OA-4M Skyhawks from Marine Aircraft Group 32 flew their final flight from Cherry Point, North Carolina, to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where they would be used to support ongoing naval testing exercises.
7 July – Major General Thomas G. Ennis, a veteran Marine aviator, died at the age of 85. A graduate of the Naval Academy, Major General Ennis was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1928. He served on Guadalcanal and the Philippines during World War II and commanded Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, before his retirement in 1960.
9 July – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the new headquarters building of Marine Air Control Squadron 1, aboard Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, in honor of Brigadier General Walter L. J. Bayler. He served as the first commanding officer of Marine Air Warning Group 1, to which Marine Air Control Squadron 1 was assigned, and was the last man off Wake Island before it fell to the Japanese in December 1941.
16 July – A multinational task force of U.S., Peruvian, and Venezuelan ships weighed anchor to begin a five-month deployment that would circumnavigate the South American continent. The exercise, UNITAS, joined ships and aircraft of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet with South American units for a series of combined naval warfare exercises. The 31st annual exercise also allowed Marines and sailors to engage in community relations.
18 July – An earthquake registering 7.7 on the Richter Scale rocked the northern provinces of Luzon in the Philippines. Responding to the call for help were approximately 200 Marines assigned to Marine Air Ground Task Force 4-90. The Marines responded along with other Navy and Air Force units to help search for survivors and provide emergency relief for those decimated by the earthquake.
19-23 July – For the third consecutive year, Marines of the USMC "Scarlet" Pistol Team won the National Team Championship title at Camp Perry, Ohio. Three All-Marine shooters also walked away with national titles, keeping the Corps in the shooting spotlight for yet another year. More than 1,280 military and civilian shooters participated.
23 July – The Marine Detachment on board the USS New Jersey deactivated. It was the fourth deactivation ceremony of Marine Detachment, USS New Jersey in the battleship's 47-year history. The Commanding Officer of the detachment, Captain Enrico Degusman as well as Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Pacific, Colonel Henry Reed, were on hand for the ceremony.
24-31 July – Sergeant Nelson Ocasio of the Marine Corps Rifle Team won the Interservice Individual Rifle Championship at the 1990 Interservice Rifle Matches held at Quantico, Virginia. He became the first shooter of the 29-year-old event to claim three consecutive Interservice Individual Rifle Championships.
___August – Captain Ronald F. Baczkowski was selected as the 1990 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for outstanding leadership by a company grade officer serving with the ground forces of the Fleet Marine Force. Captain Baczkowski served with Company K, 3d Battalion, 1st 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.
___August – As part of the Commandant's decision to phase out self-propelled howitzers, 5th Battalion, 10th Marines completed the deactivation of its M109A3 155mm and M110A2 eight-inch self-propelled howitzer batteries and activated M198 155mm towed howitzer batteries. The conversion to a towed system would increase both tactical and strategic mobility.
1 August – General Joseph J. Went, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps since July 1988, retired after 38 years of service. The decorated aviator received three awards of the Air Medal and holds the Legion of Merit with Combat "V". He was replaced by General John R. Dailey.
1 August – Lieutenant General William R. Etnyre retired from the Marine Corps. He last served as Commanding General Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, and was replaced by Lieutenant General Ernest T. Cook, Jr.
1 August – Major General Duane A. Wills was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, replacing Lieutenant General Charles H. Pitman who retired on this day.
1 August – Major General Norman E. Ehlert assumed command of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing/9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade replacing newly promoted Lieutenant General Wills.
5 August – On this date, 237 Marines from the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) flew into the American Embassy compound in Monrovia, Liberia, to bolster security and assist in the evacuation of Embassy employees and American citizens. The Marines, who were stationed off the Liberian coast for 62 days as part of the 22d MEU assigned to Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 2-90 assisted in evacuating 79 people during the first day of operations. By the end of the month, they evacuated over 1,700 foreign nationals, including 139 Americans, from the crisis-torn West African country.
6 August – General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps, died at his home in La Jolla, California, at the age of 94. A graduate of Virginia Military Institute, General Shepherd was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1917. In World War I, the general served with the 5th Regiment. During World War II, he formed the 9th Marines at Camp Elliott, California. He was named assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division, participating in the campaign for Cape Gloucester. He later commanded the 1st Provisional Brigade and led them in the invasion and recapture of Guam, and then led the 6th Marine Division throughout the Okinawa campaign. During the Korean War, he served as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. The distinguished and decorated general served as Commandant from 1952 to 1956. He was the first Marine Commandant to sit with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
6 August – The Secretary of Defense approved the payment of imminent danger pay (IDP) to personnel on duty in Liberia and Kuwait. The authorization extended over the total land area of Liberia, including the airspace there over. The IDP designation for Kuwait included total land area, airspace there over, and coastal waters.
7 August – President Bush ordered U.S. military aircraft and troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force to defend that country against possible Iraqi invasion. The Persian Gulf crisis was triggered on 2 August when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait with overwhelming forces and subsequently positioned assault elements on the Saudi-Kuwait border. On 6 August, the United Nations Security Council approved a total trade ban against Iraq. A major deployment, the largest since the Vietnam War, was underway for Operation Desert Shield that would include major units from all four services.
8 August – Major General Walter E. Boomer was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general and reassigned as Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force.
8 August – Brigadier General James M. Myatt assumed command of the 1st Marine Division replacing Brigadier General Peter J. Rowe.
13 August – The burial of General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. at Arlington National Cemetery brought all living, former Commandants to Washington, D.C. They included General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., 23d Commandant; General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., 24th Commandant; General Louis H. Wilson, 26th Commandant; General Robert H. Barrow, 27th Commandant; and General Paul X. Kelley, 28th Commandant. General Alfred M. Gray, present Commandant of the Marine Corps, used the occasion to meet with them and discuss the Corps and the current world situation.
15 August – Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps announced the commitment of 45,000 troops to the Persian Gulf area. They consisted of elements of the I Marine Expeditionary Force to include units from 1st Marine Division and 1st Force Service Support Group (FSSG), 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), and 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). Also en route were elements of the 4th MEB to include units from 2d Marine Division and 2d FSSG, and 2d MAW. Additionally, Maritime Pre-Positioning Ship Squadron 2 (MPS-2) had been at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The five-ship squadron contained 7th MEB's equipment and enough supplies to sustain the 16,500-person force for 30 days. Ultimately, the Marines would comprise a portion of approximately 200,000 U.S. ground troops.
22 August – President Bush ordered the first mobilization of U.S. military reserves in 20 years and declared the call-up "essential to completing our mission" of thwarting Iraqi aggression in the Persian Gulf. Most of those summoned to active duty in the initial mobilization would be Army reservists.
24 August – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the Main Exchange Complex at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, in honor of a former Marine, Mr. C. B. "Buzz" Moyer (Deceased) who was instrumental in the growth of the exchange at the base.
24 August – The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait was ordered closed. Marine security guards were with approximately 100 U.S. officials and citizens transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by the Iraqi government. They were among an estimated 1,000 Americans being held hostage in Iraq.
25 August – Lance Corporal Sergio Reyes won a gold medal in boxing at the 1990 Goodwill Games held in Seattle. The bantamweight won three bouts during the games, all on 3-2 split decisions. In doing so, he beat the world's top two boxers in the 119-pound weight class. The All-Marine, Interservice, and U.S. Amateur champion is from Forth Worth, Texas, and he is 20 years old.
___September – The Marine Corps took delivery of its first Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer System at 36 different Marine Reserve sites. The new training device would incorporate realistic combat and military police videotaped scenarios to sharpen marksmanship skills.
___September – The Marine Corps accepted several new pieces of equipment to help Marines survive in a nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare environment. The new equipment would include lightweight chemical warfare suits that could be laundered to provide better protection in a desert climate. In addition to other chemical agent detectors, the Marine Corps purchased a new remote sensing chemical agent alarm, the XM21, that would give troops a vastly improved means to detect chemical attacks long before they would reach friendly lines.
4 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the new Camp Lejeune Elementary School in honor of the late Lieutenant Colonel William F. Russell who was actively involved with civic activities in Onslow County, North Carolina, following his retirement from the Marine Corps.
11 September – President Bush spoke at a joint session of Congress and was adamant about U.S. objectives in the Persian Gulf: Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait completely, Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored, the security and stability of the Persian Gulf must be assured, and American citizens must be protected. The remarkable buildup of U.S. and allied military forces in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf area and the blockade of Iraq would continue at full pace amid renewed statements of determination on both sides.
13 September – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of a new Parade Reviewing Stand at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, in honor of General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., recently deceased 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Also approved was the commemorative naming of a new Child Development Center at the Recruit Depot in honor of Mrs. Virginia D. Shepherd, wife of the late General Shepherd.
15 September – The Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum at Quantico, Virginia, opened its Korean War exhibit on the 40th anniversary of the Inchon Landing. The new permanent exhibit, "Jets, Helicopters, and the Korean War – 1946-1956," included helicopters, tanks, aircraft, and artillery displayed in the refurbished Hangar 3 at the former Brown Field.
18 September – The Philippine-American Cooperation Talks began in Washington, D.C. to negotiate U.S. plans to phase-down military forces in the Philippines and negotiate a new bilateral agreement with that country. Negotiators would seek a phase-out period that could last up to 10 years, followed by continued military access to the facilities perhaps on a commercial basis. Subic Bay Naval Station, home of Marine Barracks, Subic Bay, was among the U.S. facilities slated to phase-out.
18 September – A new, 40-acre training facility for Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) was dedicated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The new facility is a full-scale model of a small city complete with a several-story hotel, 30 other buildings and single family dwellings, a full-size sewer system, and a soccer stadium. The MOUT facility would test Marines' combat skills in a variety of urban environments.
26 September – General Alfred M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, addressed a detachment of Marines in Saudi Arabia while touring Marine positions there and meeting with officials from Persian Gulf nations. He talked about a variety of topics ranging from relations with Arab countries to unit rotations, and challenged Marines to continue to do their jobs in the best way they know how. It was the first visit to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield for the Commandant who was accompanied by the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, David W. Sommers.
28 September – The phased stand-down of the 1st Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion was completed when the remaining elements of the unit (located on Okinawa, Japan and at Yuma, Arizona) were deactivated. The battalion was first activated during 1937 and participated in World War II and the Vietnam War. The deactivation was part of the reduction of forces outlined in the Strategic Framework for the Asia-Pacific Rim: Nunn-Warner Report.
30 September – The first director of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter, died at the age of 94. In 1943, Colonel Streeter became the highest-ranking woman in the Corps during World War II when she was appointed to head the Women's Reserve, approximately 23,000 strong. She retired from the Corps after the war and was awarded the Legion of Merit. It was the highest award made to a woman Marine for service in World War II.
___October – The presence of two Marine Corps T-AVBs in the Persian Gulf marked the first time such ships were used in a real conflict. The T-AVBs provided sealift for aviation maintenance units that supported the rapid deployment of Marine Corps fixed-wing and rotary-wing assets. The two T-AVBs in inventory were the USNS Wright and the USNS Curtiss.
2 October – Brigadier General John Groff died at the age of 100 in Oceanside, California. He was awarded the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, and Purple Heart for the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. Brigadier General Groff enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1912 and was commissioned in 1918 after his exploits at Belleau Wood. During World War II, he was commanding officer of Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He was promoted to brigadier general upon retirement in 1946 and lived to be one of the oldest retired generals in the Marine Corps.
8 October – The first fatal accident for Marines in Operation Desert Shield claimed the lives of eight when two UH-1N Huey helicopters crashed into the North Arabian Sea during a night training mission. The Marines were assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 for deployment.
10 October – The first unit-sized activation of reservists came when Marines from Combat Service Support Detachment 40 reported to Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe, Hawaii. The mission of the unit was to maintain and refurbish equipment left behind by I Marine Expeditionary Force as it deployed to Saudi Arabia to marry up with its pre-positioned equipment aboard Maritime Prepositioning Ship 3.
11 October – Major General Walter G. Farrell died in San Diego, California, at the age of 93. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps during World War I and became a naval aviator in 1921. During World War II, he was awarded a Silver Star for heroism on Guadalcanal. At the time of his retirement in 1946, he commanded Marine Air West Coast.
13 October – The Marine Corps Aviation Association presented its annual aviation awards in Norfolk, Virginia. Winners included Lieutenant Colonel John G. Castellaw who received the Alfred A. Cunningham Award as Aviator of the Year. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 was named winner of the Robert A. Hanson Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 was awarded the General Keith B. McCutcheon Award as Helicopter Squadron of the Year.
23 October – The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the School of Infantry, East Instructional Complex at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Sergeant Major John M. Malnar, a highly decorated Marine from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
26 October – Sergeant Major Allan J. Kellogg, Jr., the last active duty enlisted Medal of Honor recipient, retired from the Marine Corps after 30 years of service. Sergeant Major Kellogg was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry while serving with Company G, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines in Vietnam during 1970.
31 October – Mr. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., the Marine Corps' Chief Historian for 18 years, retired. He edited four of the five-volume History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II and co-authored Okinawa: Victory in the Pacific and Blacks in the Marine Corps. Mr. Shaw also wrote extensively in military history publications and for journals of professional military history societies. Serving the Marine Corps historical program for over 39 years, Mr. Shaw was a pillar of the military history community.
4 November – Matthew Waight, a 27-year-old resident of New Britain, Pennsylvania, won the 15th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. with a time of 2:21:32. In the women's category, Olga Markova, 22, earned the title of the first Soviet to win the marathon in its 15-year history with a time of 2:37:06. Also for the first time in the history of the marathon, the race reached its maximum 13,000-runner limit and was on national television in conjunction with the New York race held the same day.
8 November – President Bush announced that he planned to add more than 200,000 U.S. troops to those already deployed in Operation Desert Shield in the Persian Gulf area. The number of Marines in the objective area would be doubled by the addition of II Marine Expeditionary Force units from the Corps' east coast bases and the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade from California.
8 November – Approximately 300 dignitaries, friends, fellow Marines, and family members were present at a memorial service for Colonel William R. Higgins, held at the Quantico National Cemetery. Colonel Higgins disappeared during February 1988 while serving as chief of the United Nations observer group in southern Lebanon and was presumed killed by Middle East terrorists during August 1989. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit and Purple Heart medals to Colonel Higgins and presented them to his widow, Major Robin Higgins, at the ceremony.
10 November – Marines throughout the world celebrated the 215th 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 stated that whether assigned to operational forces or supporting them, the Marines are privileged to remain a visible symbol of reassurance to our Nation's allies and deterrence to her foes.
13 November – A second involuntary call-up of selected Marine Corps Reserve units began. Marines from 20 units of the 4th Marine Division and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing reported to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Pendleton, California, for redeployment training.
14 November – Defense Secretary Richard Cheney authorized the call-up of 72,500 more National Guard and reserve troops in support of Operation Desert Shield. Added to authority already granted, the action raised the number of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps selected reservists to 125,000 who could be on active duty at the same time. The call-up ceiling for the Marine Corps would be 15,000.
15 November – The four directors of the Corps' staff noncommissioned officer (SNCO) academies met at Quantico, Virginia, as part of a plan to consolidate the 17 noncommissioned officer schools into 7, and to bring those schools under the cognizance of the SNCO academies. The consolidation, which would be completed during FY92, was part of a larger effort to ensure a natural progression of professional military education for enlisted personnel.
15-21 November – About 100 miles south of the Kuwait border, American and Saudi Arabian military forces participated in Exercise Imminent Thunder. The exercise included an amphibious landing by more than 1,000 Marines of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and tested the military's ability to command, control, and coordinate air and ground forces. It included air-to-air mock fighter combat and close air support of ground forces. At the same time, only 25 miles south of Kuwait, another 1,000 Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade conducted field exercises ashore.
16 November – Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, Chief of Naval Operations, announced that ships would remain in the Middle East longer than the six-month limit established for Navy deployments. The decision of November 8th to send nearly 200,000 more troops to the Persian Gulf not only scuttled Defense Department plans to start rotating personnel home from the desert, but also bumped the subject of troop rotation off the Pentagon's list of priorities.
22 November – President Bush addressed U.S. Marines, sailors, and British soldiers during his visit to Saudi Arabia. Standing before a crowd of more than 3,000 frontline forces, the president reaffirmed his resolve to see Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein ousted from Kuwait. The President and Mrs. Bush then joined the Marines for a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.
27 November – A ten-year contract was awarded to Domino's Pizza by Government Services Division. The pizza service was competitively solicited among the five largest, nationally recognized, pizza carryout and delivery service companies. Five initial sites would be scheduled to open on Marine Corps installations within six months.
30 November – The evacuation operation from Monrovia, Liberia, ended after 185 continuous days of Navy and Marine Corps presence. During Operation Sharp Edge, 2,438 persons from 30 countries were evacuated out of the capital city. Marines and sailors also provided humanitarian assistance, airlifting more than 14,000 pounds of fuel, food, and medical supplies to Monrovia.
3 December – The Marine Corps was granted a new call-up ceiling of 23,000 reservists when Defense Secretary Richard Cheney gave the military departments authority to call-up 63,000 additional members of the National Guard and Reserves in support of Operation Desert Shield. Added to authority already granted, this action raised the number of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps selected reservists to 188,000 who could be on active duty at the same time.
10 December – More than 24,000 Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force mustered on the parade ground at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for a pre-deployment review by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet in what was the largest formation of Marines in modern history. Commanded by Lieutenant General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., the units included the 2d Marine Division, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, 2d Force Service Support Group, and the 2d Surveillance Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group. The units would deploy to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield through the month of December.
14 December – Mrs. Barbara Bush visited the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Anacostia, Washington, D.C. to help promote the Corps' Toys for Tots program. The First Lady helped Marines bag Christmas toys for needy children during her visit.
18 December – Rollout ceremonies for the Corps' new M1A1 tank were held at the General Dynamics Land Systems Division in Warren, Michigan. The M1A1 "common tank" is outfitted to Marine Corps specifications with such features as ship tiedowns, a deep water fording capability, and position locating and reporting system capability. The tank would replace the aging M60A1. The 2d Tank Battalion based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, would use the new tank in the Persian Gulf while other tank battalions would operate the M60A1s.
22 December – Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney visited the 1st Marine Division combat operations center in Saudi Arabia. He and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell, were on a five-day trip to the Middle East where they met with deployed commanders, sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines aboard ship and in the sands of Saudi Arabia. They expressed their support for the 300,000 men and women serving in the Persian Gulf area.
27 December – Company A from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., the oldest post of the Marine Corps, departed for Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to join elements of the 2d Marine Division deploying for Operation Desert Shield. Marines from the barracks were last deployed in 1906 when a detachment was assigned to the expeditionary battalions sent to Cuba for pacification duty.
31 December – The strength of active duty U. S. Armed Forces was 2,340,354 of whom 197,764 were Marines.
USMC History Division