1 January – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,456,266 of whom 174,873 were Marines.
1 January – The change in name from the Marine Corps Historical Foundation to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation took effect. Lieutenant General Philip D. Shutler, USMC (Retired) was chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. At the same time, the Corps examined the possibility of a Marine Corps Heritage Center to be constructed at Quantico, Virginia.
5 January – This date marked the 50th anniversary of Marine units reinforcing the Sixth Fleet. The first unit to do so was the 2d Marines which left North Carolina for the Mediterranean in 1948.
18-23 January – The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, launched the first “Urban Warrior” training experiment designed to examine numerous facets of military operations in urban environments. Limited Object Experiments (LOE 1) took place at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Additional experiments would be held over the next 18 month period on the east and west coasts.
20 January – Major General James L. Day, USMC, 72, who retired from the Marine Corps in 1986, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Okinawa, 14-17 May 1945. At the time, General Day was a 19-year old corporal. The nation’s highest award was presented by President Bill Clinton.
20 January – Only a month after one advisory committee urged the defense department to separate men and women during much of their training, another Pentagon panel found that most members of the armed services actually wanted more integration of the sexes during their early months in uniform. The new report by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, a panel formed in the 1950s to advise the department on women’s issues, said that an inspection of 12 military training schools last year showed that “most service members from every service believed that more gender integration of training was needed than currently existed.”
25 January – Among the festivities at Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, California, was a detachment of 300 Marines from Camp Pendleton who were tasked with stretching a massive American flag across the entire football field, goal line to goal line, for the playing of the national anthem.
29 January – Carl Gorman, the oldest of the 400 Navajo code talkers who served in the Marine Corps during World War II, died at the age of 90 in Gallup, New Mexico. Mr. Gorman was a prominent artist in his civilian life and active member of the Navajo Code Talker Association.
31 January – As of this date, all non-deployed Marine Corps ships’ detachments stood down while the remaining deployed detachments would stand down following deployments (totaling 11 officers and 275 enlisted personnel). Structure from the disestablished detachments would be used to create a second fleet antiterrorism security team (FAST) company.
__ February – Early this month, Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota announced his opposition to plans for the construction of a floating seabase (FSB) facility in Oura Bay, near the community of Nago. Plans called for the proposed facility to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma which was scheduled for closure in 2003. The governor’s authority over Okinawa’s airspace would give him a key role in determining the future of the FSB.
3 February – A U.S. Marine EA-6B Prowler jet over Italy’s Dolomite mountains struck and severed the cable of a ski resort gondola, causing the cable car to fall 300 feet to the ground and killing 20 people inside. The aviation mishap occurred during a low level training mission where the jet was flying far below its prescribed altitude. The Prowler from Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 was flying out of Aviano, Italy, from where Marine and Air Force units provided support to the on-going effort in Bosnia.
10 February – 137 Marines and Navy Corpsmen from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, passed through the Aerial Port of Embarkation at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, on their way to Haiti in support of Operation New Horizon. The company provided security for the U.S. support group in Haiti that provided humanitarian and civil assistance missions. It would be replaced by an Army unit in May.
15 February – On this date 100 years ago, the battleship USS Maine (BB 2) mysteriously exploded and sank in the Spanish-held harbor of Havana, Cuba.
On board the Maine, 28 Marines died along with 238 sailors. A few months later, the United States declared war on Spain on 21 April 1898. The USS Maine was remembered today during a number of ceremonies at various locations around the United States.
24 February – Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan reached an agreement whereby Iraq agreed to provide immediate, unrestricted and unconditional access for U.N. weapons inspectors to all suspected sites in Iraq. Since January, nearly 27,000 American and British troops (including 2,200 Marines) had assembled in the Persian Gulf area ready for an imminent military strike against Iraq if Saddam Hussein continued to deny U.N. weapons inspectors unfettered access. Iraq precipitated the crisis on 12 January by refusing access to a U.N. team headed by an American, Scott Ritter, a former Marine captain.
27 February – A joint task force (JTF), commanded by Brigadier General William A. Whitlow, USMC, was sent to Kenya to support ongoing relief operations. Operation Noble Response, headquartered in Mombasa, included a headquarters element from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California, and two KC-130s from Marine Aerial Reflueler Squadron 352, El Toro, California. More than 2 million pounds of food was delivered to Kenyans devastated by flooding in the northeastern part of the African nation.
__March – Gore-Tex-all-weather coats and trousers were approved for wear by recruits undergoing the Crucible during adverse weather conditions at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. Until a permanent supply could be purchased, the depot would use 1,500 sets on temporary loan from the Contingency Training Allowance Pool at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
3 March – The Secretary of Defense authorized the U.S. Central Command to start vaccinating its personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf for protection against anthrax. The decision accelerated the mandatory anthrax vaccination plan, first announced on 15 December 1997, for all active and reserve military personnel deployed to Southwest Asia.
7 March – Retired General Raymond G. Davis, a Medal of Honor recipient for actions during the Korean War, dedicated the Marine Corps Korean War Memorial in Felicity, California. The memorial honors the 4,617 Marines and 107 Navy hospital corpsmen who died for their country in the Korean War. Felicity is located along Interstate 8, about 10 miles west of the Arizona-California border.
9-12 March – Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in Exercise Valiant Usher 98-1 in Australia. The exercise included combined arms and sustainment operations at Shoalwater Bay Training area and adjacent Townshend Island. It gave the Marines the opportunity to simultaneously use a variety of weaponry while being supported by naval gun fire.
22-31 March – Exercise Desert Thunder took place at Kuwait’s Udairi Range. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in the live-fire exercise.
25 March - 6 April – The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit was part of NATO’s Strategic Reserve Force (SRF) in Exercise Dynamic Response 98, the largest Marine participation in Bosnia thus far. The exercise was part of NATO’s efforts to prepare the SRF for support to the Stabilization Force already in Bosnia in case of renewed hostilities there. The SRF was a mobile, flexible unit designed to augment in-theater forces and was comprised of light and airborne infantry, armor, artillery, and attack aircraft.
28 March – World War II veterans from the 2d and 5th Marine Divisions and the V Amphibious Corps Artillery were honored at the Camp Tarawa Monument Dedication on Parker Ranch near Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii. Camp Tarawa was once the largest Marine training camp in the Pacific. The dedication ceremony also honored the late Richard Smart, owner of Parker Ranch during the war, and the residents of Kamuela, who played host to more than 50,000 Marines from 1942 – 1945. The monument consists of three massive black granite slabs set in a small park behind the existing, but smaller monument.
29 March – Medal of Honor recipient, Chief Warrant Officer Harold W. Wilson, USMCR (Retired) died in Lexington, South Carolina. He served in World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded the Medal of Honor as a platoon sergeant in Korean for his actions during 23-24 April 1951. Retired from the Marine Corps in 1972, his personal awards also included the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and Purple Heart with four Gold Stars.
9 April – The National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, Georgia, opened the anniversary of the fall of Bataan and POW Recognition Day. The museum displays letters and artifacts collected from POW camps and former prisoners, and features a granite courtyard with a bronze statue.
15 April – Lieutenant General Williams K. Jones, 81, died in Alexandria, Virginia. A veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, General Jones retired from active duty in 1972. His service assignments included Commanding General, 3d Marine Division and Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. His military decorations included the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Service Medals, Bronze Star with Combat “V”, and a Purple Heart.
19 April – Major General John I. Hopkins, 65, died in San Diego, California. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1955, he served in the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and four Bronze Stars with Combat “V”.
26-30 April – The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and Special Purpose MAGTF(X) participated in Urban Warrior’s second limited objective experiment at Camp Lejeune’s Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facility. Urban Warrior was the Marine Corps’ two-year exploration of new concepts, tactics, and technologies for addressing combat on urbanized terrain.
1 May – A new athletic field known as the N302 Complex was renamed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, in honor of Lance Corporal Eliseo C. Felix who was killed in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War, Lance Corporal Felix served with 5th Battalion, 11th Marines and was 19 years old at the time of his death on 2 February 1991 near the Kuwait border.
7-8 May – Five former Commandants of the Marine Corps joined the current Commandant, General Charles C. Krulak, to meet and exchange ideas with the Corps’ newest brigadier generals and senior civil servants. The historic gathering marked the first time that all living former Commandants were invited to meet with the current Commandant. Generals Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. (1968-1971), Louis H. Wilson (1975-1979), Robert H. Barrows (1979-1983), Paul X. Kelley (1983-1987), and Carl E. Mundy, Jr. (1991-1995) shared their experiences and visions at the Brigadier General Select Orientation Conference in Washington, D.C. Two former Commandants, Generals Wallace M. Greene (1964-1967) and Alfred M. Gray, Jr.(1987-1991) were unable to attend.
13 May – Retired Marine Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak was inducted into the Department of the Navy Acquisition Hall of Fame as a 1998 Acquisition Pioneer. General Krulak was honored for breaking through a deadlocked process to develop the amphibious assault craft which eventually spelled victory for American forces in the Pacific during World War II.
19 May - 5 June – Approximately 10,600 U.S. and 6,250 Thailand service members participated in Exercise Cobra Gold 98, the largest exercise in the Asian-Pacific region so far in 1998. The exercise was conducted against a real-world backdrop of regional uncertainty. Neighboring India and Pakistan conducted
11 nuclear weapons test blasts and Indonesia’s President Mohammed Suharto was forced to resign from his 33-year reign as president. As Thai and U.S. troops trained together, 2,000 combat-ready Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were diverted from the exercise toward Indonesia and positioned offshore as a possible evacuation force in case foreign nationals were unable to safely leave the troubled country by commerical transportation.
21 May - 15 June – More than 1,200 Marines and sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force participated in Exercise Native Fury 98 in Kuwait. The Maritime Prepositioning exercise demonstrated the ability to rapidly project a combat force abroad by linking Marines with the equipment they would need to fight.
24 May – The “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, America’s oldest professional musical organization, was the first musical institution inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to the Marine Band, the 1998 Inaugural Group included Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Arturo Toscanini, and the Marine Band’s 17th Director, John Philip Sousa.
27 May – The Clinton administration, which sent dozens of extra bombers and thousands of soldiers and sailors to intimidate Iraq during a showdown in the Persian Gulf in February, began withdrawing the additional forces and returning to pre-crisis levels of military strength in the region. The reduction in U.S. military power in the gulf reflected an assessment that the crisis with President Saddam Hussein’s government subsided since Baghdad renewed promises to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
31 May – General Charles C. Krulak, 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, delivered the Memorial Day address at the American Cemetery at Belleau Wood, France. It had become a tradition for the Commandant to visit the historic battlefield on Memorial Day to join Marines from Europe, veterans groups, and the people of France to pay tribute to the Marines who sacrificed their lives in the epic World War I battle. This year marked the 80th anniversary of
the Battle for Belleau Wood.
___ June – The new Belleville Model 700 TLS Infantry Combat Boot was issued to all Marines assigned to infantry regiments and battalions in the active and reserve Marine Corps. The new Marine Corps infantry boot contract was awarded to the Belleville Shoe Manfacturing Company about a year ago. The Model 700 TLS (Tri-Layer System) sole has three layers and the outer boot consists of waterproof leather and Cordura nylon.
6 June – A group of 30 Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit evacuated 172 people from Asmara, Eritrea. Two Marine C-130 Hercules aircraft flew the evacuees from the airport in Asmara to safety in Amman, Jordan. The evacuation was a precautionary measure, as recent border conflicts intensified between the East Africian countries of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Of the 172 citizens evacuated, 105 were from the United States.
9 June – Internationally-acclaimed sculptor Felix de Weldon was the honored guest at the evening’s Sunset Parade where the Drum and Bugle Corps from Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, Washington, D.C. performed. De Weldon, now 91 years old, was inspired to create the statue after seeing Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the American flag raising on Iwo Jima 23 February 1945. The flag raising sculpture became de Weldon’s most famous work.
10 June – Defense Secretary William Cohen announced that military services should continue training as usual whether gender integrated or segregated. Cohen was convinced on this issue by a report submitted by the services in March. He had directed them months before to review and to respond to the December report of the Kassebaum Baker panel on gender-integrated training related issues. The Marine Corps would continue to keep its recruit training gender segregated while the other services would continue training male and female recruits together.
18 June – Retired Sergeant Major Herbert J. Sweet, who had served as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, died at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was 78 years old. Sergeant Major Sweet held the Corps’ top enlisted post from 1965 - 1969 during the Marine Corps’ heaviest fighting in Vietnam.
22 June – The historic symbol of the end of World War II, the USS Missouri, floated into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The battleship USS Missouri joined other historic Navy war ships memorialized there: the battleship USS Arizona, wherein hundreds of servicemen are entombed, represents the beginning of the war, and the submarine USS Bowlin which represents the middle of World War II.
28 June – Retired Major General Marion E. Carl, one of the Corps most highly decorated aviators and a World War II ace, was shot and killed during an apparent robbery in his Roseberg, Oregon home. He was 82 years old. It was a tragic ending for a man whose lifetime achievements made him famous as a combat Marine, aviator, and test pilot. General Carl became the Corps’ first ace in 1942. By the end of the war he was credited with 18.5 kills and earned five Distinguished Flying Crosses, a total of 14 Air Medals, as well as two Navy Crosses. He was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
__ July – The Marine Corps approved the design of the advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV). With completion of a critical design review, procurement of the AAAV moved into the prototype production phase with the first prototype to be delivered by General Dynamics Land Systems in August of next year. It was deemed the Corps’ number one ground system priority. Entry into the fleet was anticipated by 2006.
2 July – CNN retracted its story that the military used deadly nerve gas during the 1970 Operation Tailwind in Laos to kill American defectors, apologizing for “serious faults” in its reporting. CNN said its internal investigation concluded that its “NewsStand” report with Time magazine, disputed by “hundreds” of veterans and military officials, could not be supported.
10 July – Lieutenant General Peter Pace, Commander Marine Forces Atlantic, ordered the pilot and navigator of the EA-6B Prowler that severed an Italian ski gondola cable in February, killing 20 people, to court-martial on manslaughter charges. The pilot, Captain Richard J. Asby, and navigator, Captain Joseph P. Schweitzer, would go to trial later this year.
10 July – Former U.S. Navy hospital corpsman, Robert Ingram, was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Clinton at the White House 32 years after his heroic actions. While serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in Vietnam, Mr. Ingram was wounded four times on 28 March 1966 during Operation India.
11 July – The United States Marine Band marked its 200th birthday in the nation’s capital with a gala performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall. The historical event highlighted the year as “The President’s Own” celebrated its bicentennial and inaugurated its third century.
16 July - 1 August – Exercise RimPac 98 brought together more than 25,000 sailors, Marines, airmen, and coastguardsmen from Australia, Chile, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, and the United States. The exercise was designed to test the abilities of the U.S. and its allies to react to crisis and defend against threats to the Central Pacific. The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in the exercise which was held in Hawaii.
26 July – Fifty years ago on this date President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 and set in motion the racial integration of America’s armed forces.
27 July – President Clinton proclaimed this day as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. He called upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to Korean War veterans.
30 July – Medal of Honor recipient, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth A. Walsh, USMC (Retired), died at the age of 82. Lieutenant Colonel Walsh served in World War II where he rose from a flying private to the fourth-ranking Marine Corps ace. He received the Medal of Honor for heroic service with Marine Fighting Squadron 124 during August 1943.
4 August – The U.S. Air Force announced plans to reorganize more than 2,000 warplanes and support aircraft into 10 “air expeditionary forces” (AEFs) that would rotate responsibility for deployments to the skies over Iraq, Bosnia, and other potential trouble zones. The reorganization, patterned similarly like Marine Corps expeditionary units, would be an attempt to ease the strain of a surge of post-cold war missions.
6 August – The James Wesley Marsh Center, a new facility at Quantico, Virginia, was dedicated on this date. It was named in honor of Colonel James W. Marsh, USMC (Deceased) who was instrumental in developing the automated information management capabilities supporting virtually all Marine Corps manpower operations today. The building would house the Marine Corps Recruiting Command and Manpower and Reserve Affairs of Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. The move would be part of the gradual departure from Headquarters’ location at the Navy Annex, Arlington, Virginia.
7 August – Two bombs exploded minutes apart adjacent to two U.S. embassies in east Africa. One bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 247 people, including 12 U.S. citizens – one of which was Sergeant Jesse N. Aliganga, USMC, a Marine security guard at the embassy. The other bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing at least 9 people, but no U.S. citizens.
17 August – A new exhibit honoring African Americans was unveiled at the Pentagon. Displayed in the “African Americans in Defense of Our Nation” corridor, it was the third in a series of five Department of Defense exhibits commemorating President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 which established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. Among those on hand for the unveiling was Mrs. Beulah Huff, widow the late Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff. He was the first African American to attain the rank of sergeant major in the Marine Corps and retired with over 30 years of active service.
18 August – Phase I of a military-wide Anthrax vaccination program began for the Marine Corps. Marines and members of the other armed services deployed or preparing to deploy to high threat areas would be the first to be vaccinated. The mandatory vaccinations were ordered by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in December 1997. Phase II of the vaccination program was scheduled for December 1999 for personnel considered “early deployers.” Phase III would begin in January 2003 for recruits, officer accessions, and the majority of the reserve forces.
20 August – U.S. military forces struck targets in Afganistan and Sudan going after terrorists believed responsible for the 7 August bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The attacks were directed at a major terrorist training center in Afganistan and a chemical weapons facility in Sudan after obtaining substantial evidence of their involvement in past and planned future terrorist activities.
26 August – The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Richard I. Neal, made his farewell remarks on this date during a ceremony at Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, Washington, D.C. He would retire from the Marine Corps after 36 years of active service. Succeeding General Neal as Assistant Commandant is General Terrence R. Dake who assumed his position on 5 September.
__ September – A $3 billion program designed to remanufacture the Marine Corps’ fleet of AH-1W Cobra attack and UH-1N Huey utility helicopters completed its critical design review (CDR) phase. The CDR specified what new systems would clear the way for the programs to move forward into its manufacturing phase. Remanufacturing the Corps’ aging Cobras and Hueys was critical in order to extend the service life of the airframes for another 20 years.
__ September – The Marine Corps continued to move forward with its AV-8B Harrier II Plus Remanufacture Program in which day-attack Harrier IIs already in
the fleet would be converted into radar/night-attack Harrier II Plus aircraft. The manufacture program would provide new service life to the Harrier at a cost significally lower than purchasing completely new aircraft.
1 September – On this date, the Marine Corps Material Command was established at Albany, Georgia. The new command consisted of a headquarters element and two major subordinate commands – Marine Corps Logistics Bases and Marine Corps Systems Command. It would be the principal advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps for material life cycle management of all Marine Corps ground equipment, information systems, and ground weapons systems.
11 September – Major General Marion L. Dawson, USMC (Retired) died at his home in Coronado, California. Retired since 1962, the naval aviator last served as Commander, Marine Corps Air Bases, Western Area, and Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California. He was a veteran of Nicaragua and World War II.
12-19 September – The Warfighting Lab conducted its “Culminating Phase Experiment” at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina. The experiment was the final phase in a series of Urban Warrior East Coast experiments that focused on urban tactics, techniques, and procedures as well as long-range, over-the-horizon command and control capabilities.
15 September – The MV-22 Osprey arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, North Carolina, for several months of various operational tests. It would be joined by another Osprey in October. Two other Ospreys would remain at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, where the small but growing force of four operational aircraft were based. The tilt-rotor Osprey would eventually replace the Corps’ fleet of aging CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.
16 September – Colonel Truman W. Crawford, Commanding Officer/Director of “The President’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, retired from active duty. At the age of 64, Colonel Crawford was the oldest Marine on active duty when he ended a 41-year military career. He was part of “The Commandant’s Own” since 1967.
21 September – Major General Walter A. Churchill, Sr., USMCR (Retired) died on this date. His last assignment was Acting Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, and was the first reserve general to command the Marine Corps Schools. He retired in 1963.
30 September – By this date, the Marine Corps fielded 14 non-lethal weapon capability sets to each of its three Marine Expeditionary Forces. Each capability set provided weapons, munitions, and equipment to outfit a 200-man reinforced company that included riot gear (shields and batons), pepper spray, restraining devices, and road spikes.
30 September – At the end of FY 1998, the Marine Corps met its enlistment target, enlisting about 34,000 Marines. The Air Force exceeded its goal by about five percent. The Army fell just short of its goal while the Navy missed its enlistment goal by about 6,900 recruits. During FY 1998, the U.S. military services recruited 186,131 for a total of about three percent less than the overall goal of 192,332.
___ October – Beginning in fiscal year 1999, the Marine Corps would get two new small arms weapons: the Close Quarters Battle Weapon (CQBW) and the Designated Marksman Rifle. The CQBW was the Colt-manufactured M4A1 5.56mm rifle with a rail system that supports a reflex sight, an M203 40mm grenade launcher, and could be outfitted with a sound suppressor. It would replace the 9mm MP5N submachinegun in the Corps’ inventory. The Designated
Marksman Rifle was essentially a modified M14.
3-15 October – Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force participated in Dynamic Mix 98, a joint-combined exercise near the southern coast of the Turkish Republic. The exercise included a rare in-stream off-loan of Maritime Prepositioning Force equipment and follow-on training with 10 NATO nations near the Syrian border some 325 miles from northern Iraq. Dynamic Mix highlighted the Corps’ capabilities in the area of rapid deployment, force sustainment and interoperability with allied nations.
7 October – Joint Task Force (JTF) Full Provider, a Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based JTF, arrived at Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide humanitarian and disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Georges. The JTF was in support of Operation Fundamental Relief and involved approximately 800 Marines and sailors.
17 October – President Clinton signed the National Defense Authorization Act which provided the following major provisions: reduction of Marine Corps Active and Reserve end strength from 174,000 to 172,200 and 42,000 to 40,000 respectively, and an increase of basic pay by 3.6 percent for military personnel. The $270.5 billion defense authorization bill affirmed U.S. policy goals for fiscal year 1999.
23 October – On this date 15 years ago, Marines and other service members were hit by a terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, leaving 241 Americans dead and more than 100 wounded.
23 October – The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, founded in 1979 as the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, hosted its annual awards ceremony. Among the 1998 award winners were: Dr. Gregory J. W. Urwin (General Wallace M. Green Award for outstanding nonfiction book), Dr. William H. Bartsch (Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. Award for best article on Marine Corps history), and Major Patrick M. McGinn (General Roy S. Geiger Award for best article on Marine Corps aviation.)
25 October – More than 16,000 runners participated in the 23rd Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. The winner of the 1998 “Peoples Marathon” was Weldon Johnson of Washington, D.C. who crossed the finish line at 2:25:30. The winner in the female category was Air Force Major Kimberly Markland of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, who finished with a time of 2:49:07. It was the second year that the marathon used electronic chip technology to keep track of runners’ times.
27 October - 9 November – Exercise Foal Eagle 98, one of the largest defensive exercises in the world, provided more than one million active and reserve members of the Republic of Korea and U.S. Armed Forces an opportunity to train in a challenging and realistic environment. The annual exercise tested the combined force’s capabilities to defend and protect the Republic of Korea.
28 October – Major General James L. Day, who was presented the Medal of Honor in January 1998 for action in World War II on Okinawa, died of a heart attack in Cathedral City, California, at the age of 73. General Day was also a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. His last assigned duty was Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Butler/Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Pacific/Okinawa Area Coordinator, Okinawa, Japan. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1986.
29 October – Senator John Glenn joined a crew of seven astronauts as payload specialist during a seven-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Senator Glenn achieved everlasting fame as the first American to orbit the Earth on 20 February 1962 as one of this Nation’s original astronauts. With his return to space 36 years later, the 77-year old former Marine aviator became the oldest person to go into space.
30 October – Two ceremonies were held in Augusta, Georgia, in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Aquila J. “Jimme” Dyess, USMCR, the only person to have earned this Nation’s two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. One ceremony dedicated a parkway in his honor, while the other dedicated a reserve center in his name.
___ November – The Marine Corps decided to discontinue a four-year old plan to increase diversity in the officer corps in favor of a new plan to meet specific quotas for minority officer candidates. There would no longer be the 12-12-5 plan, which sought to elevate the percentage of minorities among new officers to 12 percent Hispanic, and five percent Asian and Pacific Islander by 2003. A new selection board system would be similar to those used to select officers for promotion.
___ November – Over 700 Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force deployed to Central America to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. Exercise Strong Support involved two joint task forces deployed to Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The official death toll from Hurricane Mitch was about 10,000 with more than 13,000 people homeless.
6 November – Lieutenant General Carol A. Mutter retired after 32 years of Marine Corps service. The former Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department, was the first woman in the Department of Defense nominated for three-star flag rank. Also, while working for the U.S. Space Command in 1988, then-Colonel Mutter became the first woman to ever be qualified as the director of space operations.
10 November – The Marine Corps celebrated its 223rd birthday with a gathering of thousands of veterans and present-day Marines at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The annual wreath laying ceremony was conducted in honor of all Marines who have given their lives in the service of our country since 1775. The War Memorial’s sculptor, Dr. Felix De Weldon, attended the ceremony as did Marine combat veteran Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA) who was this year’s guest of honor.
13-15 November – The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, in conjunction with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (Experimental), both headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, held their third limited objective experiment at the Tappanhannock Virginia Airport. Capable Warrior, the third and final phase of its five-year program, tested and evaluated Operational Maneuver from the Sea, the Corps’ conceptual warfighting doctrine of the future. The purpose of this objective was to research, evaluate, and test a new technique called dynamic targeting which may help reduce the amount of time it takes for a ground unit to receive air support in combat.
16 November – Richard Danzig was sworn in as the 71st Secretary of the Navy. During the last year, he was on adjunct professor at Syracuse University. Prior to last year, Mr. Danzig served as the 26th Under Secretary of the Navy, 1993-1997.
___ December – The 1998 Toys for Tots campaign was the most successful year in the history of the program and surpassed the old record last year. Marine reservists collected more than 12 million toys which were distributed to about 4.8 million children in the United States. In 1997, the 50th anniversary of the Toys for Tots, 4.7 million children benefited from nearly 10 million toys.
4 December – Two Marines, Colonel Robert D. Cabana and Major Frederick W. Sturokow, and four fellow crew members launched into space aboard the Shuttle Endeavour on the first of 45 missions to assemble the largest cooperative space construction project in history – building the International Space Station. During the 11-day flight, the Endeavour rendezvoused with a Russian component of the space station that was launched in November. When completed in 2004, the space station will enable scientific experimentation not possible of Earth.
9 December – The “Watch Dogs” of Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 6 deactivated and reorganized with Marine Air Control Squadron 2, MACS-6 orginially activated in August 1944 and had been located at Cherry Point, North Carolina.
16 December – The United States and Great Britain conducted air attacks on Iraqi command and control, air defense, and weapons facility targets. The attacks were in the wake of Iraq’s most recent obstruction of U.N. personnel conducting weapons of mass destruction inspections in the country. Kuwait-based aircraft from Great Britain, the USS Enterprise (CVN 65), and more than 200 ship-borne cruise missile attacked selected targets which began Operation Desert Fox. Marine Forces in the Persian Gulf included Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) as well as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 on board the USS Enterprise.
18 December – Following the commencement of U.S. and British air strikes against Iraq, the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) conducted a noncombatant evacuation operation of some 90 diplomats and American citizens from the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.
23 December – The 1st Landing Support Battalion (LSB) and the 7th Motor Transport Battalion (MTBn) merged to form the 1st Transportation Support Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. Before the merging, the 1st LSB performed embarkation, landing support, port and terminal operations, air delivery, and material handling, while the 7th MTBn was responsible for motor transport and freight and passenger transportation. With the merger, integrated responsibilities would increase efficiency.
27 December – Colonel William A. Lee, USMC (Retired) died at the age of 98 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He entered the Marine Corps in 1918 and saw service in France during World War I, and later in Nicaragua (1920 - 1930) where his exploits earned him three Navy Crosses, the nickname “Ironman”, and a lasting place in Marine Corps legend. He served in China when World War II broke out, was captured by the Japanese, and spent 44 months as a prisoner of war. He retired from the Corps in 1950.
31 December – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 131 deactivated. The squadron originally activated in 1920 and deactivated after participation in World War II in 1945. It was reactivated as a reserve squadron in 1958 and was stationed at Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, since 1970.
31 December – The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,381.034 of whom 171,265 were Marines.
USMC History Division