HomeResearchMarine Corps History DivisionResearch Tools/Facts and FiguresChronologies of the Marine Corps1999

Chronologies - 1999

 

1 Jan - The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,381,034 of whom 171, 265 were Marines. 
 
14 Jan - The MV-22 Osprey began a series of sea trials aboard the USS Saipan as part of its operational flight test program. The two primary objectives of this phase were to validate the general launch and recovery envelope of the aircraft and determine aircraft/shipboard compatibility. The sea trials concluded in mid-February. 
 
21 Jan - Brigadier General Woodrow M. Kessler, a World War II prisoner of war and veteran of the Korean War died at the age of 85. The general retired in 1955. In 1988, he wrote his World War II memoirs, "Reminiscences: To Wake Island and Beyond" and in 1992 presented his six rein/oil paintings depicting his captivity to the Marine Corps Art Collection at the Marine Corps Museum, Washington, D.C. 
 
28 Jan - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak, published an article detailing the threat of Anthrax and the importance of being immunized against its use as a biological weapon. He said that the Anthrax vaccine represents our best defense against an invisible killer, and that our potential enemies are very much aware that we have blunted one of the most lethal weapons in their arsenal. 
 
1 Feb - On this date, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit stood down. The unit was officially activated on 8 July 1987 at Camp Pendleton, California, and participated in operations in Southwest Asia, Philippines, Somalia, Rwanda and Zaire during the 1990s. 
 
6 Feb - Major General Arthur H. Adams died in Norfolk, Virginia, at the age of 83. He served as a combat pilot during World War II and the Korean War. He retired from active duty in 1972. His decorations included two Legions of Merit, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, and 16 Air Medals. 
 
8 Feb - Major General Ralph H. Spanjer died in Delafield, Wisconsin, at the age of 78. A veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, he retired from active service in 1972 after a 37- year career. He became the superintendent of Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, Texas, and later president of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. 
 
9 Feb - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak, and Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, gathered with the Marines of the Marine Security Guard Battalion in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Marine Security Guard Program. Although the program had been in place since December 1948, the 50th anniversary commemorated the graduation of the first formal class of Marines assigned to duty in early 1949. 
 
12 Feb - 4 Mar - More than 5,000 Marines and sailors from II and III MEFs participated in Exercise Battle Griffin 99, a triennial NATO field training exercise in Norway. The exercise tested the Air-Landed Marine Air Ground Task Force concepts of the U.S. and Norway. It also met the requirement for realistic training to fully prepare forces for Allied/Joint operations in an arctic environment. 
 
16 Feb - Dr. Felix DeWeldon, the artist who immortalized the battle for Iwo Jima, visited the Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington, D.C. The 92-year-old lectured on his best known work, the Marine Corps War Memorial. Dr. DeWeldon also created over 33 public sculptures in Washington, D.C. 
 
17 Feb - A National Park Service public hearing was held in Arlington, Virginia, with over 200 persons to comment on the site of the proposed Air Force Memorial. The site was near Arlington National Cemetery on a hillside occupied by the Marine Corps War Memorial, the famous statue of the Iwo Jima flag raising. The proposal by the Air Force Memorial Foundation stirred deep-seated feelings from active duty Marines, veterans, and local residents.
 
17 Feb - Major General Norman W. Gourley, a fighter pilot and veteran of three wars and former test pilot, died in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, at the age of 77. The decorated general retired from the Corps in 1978. 
 
22 Feb - Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, one of the Corps' top snipers credited with 93 kills in Vietnam and a Silver Star recipient, died of multiple sclerosis in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the age of 56. 
 
23 Feb - The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum unveiled the first in a series of posters in conjunction with the museum's new membership campaign. The poster featured the famous photograph and three-cent stamp image of the Marines raising the flag at Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The unveiling commemorated the 54th anniversary of the pivotal World War II battle.
 
27 Feb - A joint task force was sent to Kenya to support ongoing relief operations in Operation Nobel Response. Flooding, resulting from unseasonable rainfall, prevented relief supplies from reaching their destination. Marines provided air support to air-drop food supplies. The task force was commanded by Marine Brigadier General William A. Whitlow. 
 
1 Mar - Marines from 2d Force Service Support Group began redeployment to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from Honduras where they had been since last November. Marines were deployed there for disaster relief operations in Honduras in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. While in Honduras, Marines built bridges, delivered relief supplies, and repaired roadways.
 
2-11 Mar - The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) participated in Exercise Alexander the Great in Greece. The annual, bilateral exercise with the Greek military was designed to improve cooperation and interoperability of sailors and Marines of both Greek and U.S. forces. 
 
4 Mar - A military jury acquitted Captain Richard J. Ashby of all charges brought against him for piloting his Marine Prowler jet through cables holding a ski 
gondola last year in an accident that killed 20 people in the Italian Alps. Captain Ashby had faced involuntary manslaughter and numerous lesser charges as a result of the accident. 
 
4 Mar - The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) landed in Kuwait to begin more than 25 days of combined arms training in Exercise Eager Mace 99-1. The focus of the exercise was to improve bilateral interoperability between Kuwait and U.S. forces and to refine complementary warfighting capabilities for coalition warfare. 
 
13 Mar - The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory began to conduct its second of five Advanced Warfighting Experiments, Urban Warrior. This experiment was held in Northern California and was designed to test the Marines' ability to deal with terrorist threats, provide disaster assistance, and simulate civil-military relations in an international setting. 
 
24 Mar - NATO began an extensive air war against the Serb-led Yugoslav Government as a result of its refusal to accept a U.S. drafted peace settlement for Kosovo - a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic. Operation Allied Force involved the daily use of cruise missiles, bombers, and attack aircraft on Serbian targets to include its military, police, and command and control apparatus in order to rid Kosovo of Yugoslav Government forces. 
 
1 Apr - Major General William B. Fleming, a decorated Marine who served as an artillery officer in Korea and went on to become a leatherneck pilot in Vietnam, died in Mobile, Alabama, at the age of 70. He commanded the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing/Marine Air Reserve Training Command, New Orleans until his retirement in 1979. 
 
4 Apr - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrated its' 50th anniversary in Washington, D.C. NATO was created by treaty in 1949 where members agreed to settle disputes by peaceful means, develop their capacity to resist armed attacks, and take necessary action to repel attacks.
 
5 Apr - Marines and sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) landed by helicopter in theYugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The 24th MEU(SOC) conducted humanitarian assistance support operations as part of the NATO force already there. This insertion culminated a lengthy involvement by the 24th MEU(SOC) in Balkan operations since January when the unit arrived in the central Mediterranean. 
 
13 Apr - The arrival of KC-130 Hercules aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352 completed the final migration of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing units to Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California. The arrival of VMGR-352 ended the unit's 50-year era of service aboard Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California. 
 
15 Apr - Marine AV-8B Harrier jets conducted air strikes against Yugoslavia as part of NATO's Operation Allied Force. The mission was conducted by four AV-8Bs attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on board the USS Nassau. It was the first time Marine Harriers participated in combat operations since Operation Desert Storm in 1991. 
 
16 Apr - Captain Jason Q. Bohm, an infantry officer deployed with 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, was the 1998 recipient of the Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership. The trophy is named for Marine Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich who was killed in action in Vietnam, November 1970.
 
19 Apr - A Marine F/A-18 Hornet dropped its ordnance more than a mile off target on the outlying Puerto Rican island of Vieques, accidentally killing a local civilian security guard. Demonstrations followed, along with a demand from the Puerto Rican Governor for the U.S. Navy to abandon their live fire range on Vieques used for close air support, artillery, and naval gunfire. In response to the Puerto Rican outcry, President Clinton temporarily halted live fire training and ordered the Department of Defense to form a panel to review the Vieques situation. 
 
19 Apr - Four members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, deployed to Okinawa from Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California, died when their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter went down during a night-flying exercise off Okinawa. 
 
19-30 Apr - Marines from I Marine Expeditionary Force and the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing took part in a joint experiment with the Navy's Third Fleet at Camp Pendleton, California. Exercise Kernel Blitz 99 demonstrated advance technology and concept development which concentrated on improving the Navy and Marine Corps' joint operational effectiveness. 
 
21 Apr - Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen, announced that President Clinton nominated Lieutenant General James L. Jones for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps. 
 
24 Apr - The Navy's newest guided missile destroyer, Higgins (DDG76), joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet during a commissioning ceremony in Port Everglades, 
Florida. The ship would honor Marine Colonel William Richard Higgins who was kidnapped by terrorists in February 1988. He was declared dead in July 1990. The ship's sponsor was retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Robin L. Higgins, widow of the ship's namesake. 
 
27 Apr - General Charles C. Krulak, representing the Marine Corps, and Retired General Joseph J. Went, representing the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, participated in ceremonies announcing Quantico as the future site of the Marine Corps Heritage Center. The center was envisioned as a multi-use complex of buildings and outdoor facilities devoted to the presentation of Marine Corps history. 
 
27 Apr - 25 May - U.S. and Thai Marines combined forces during Exercise Cobra Gold 99 in Thailand. The annual joint/combined exercise allowed the two forces to hone their amphibious capabilities and interoperability. 
 
30 Apr - Elements from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) went ashore in Albania to provide security for a 20,000-person refugee camp for displaced Kosovar Albanians. The 26th MEU(SOC) also assisted in delivering food to thousands of displaced refugees as well as supporting the Operation Allied Force bombing campaign. The 26th MEU (SOC) replaced the 24th MEU(SOC) on 28 April, ending their six-month deployment to the Mediterranean. 
 
5 May - Marine Aviation Training Support Group (MATSG) at Pensacola, Florida, dedicated the MATSG headquarters (Building 52) in honor of the late Major General Marion E. Carl. In June 1998, the general was murdered in his home while defending his wife from an armed intruder. 
 
14 May - The Marine Corps took delivery of its first MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Bell Helicopter Textron Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. General 
Terrance Dake, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, accepted the first of four low-rate initial production aircraft to be delivered to the Marine Corps in 1999. From Arlington, Texas, the MV-22 completed a 1,200 mile ferry flight that included a historic refueling stop at Marine Corps Air Facility, Quantico, Virginia. The landing at Quantico marked the first time an Osprey owned by the Corps landed on Marine Corps property.
 
14 May - The 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) was deactivated at Camp Pendleton, California. The unit originally activated in 1951 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, relocated to Camp Pendleton, California, in 1975, and participated in the Persian Gulf War during 1990-1991. 
 
17 May - The Marine Corps decided that blood-red stripes should not adorn the skirts of women Marines. In an experiment last fall, the Marine Corps Uniform Board selected certain women Marines to wear the "bloodstripes" on their skirts and to solicit opinions. The stripes on skirts were not well received.
 
20 May - Two squadrons from Marine Aircraft Group 31 that were deployed to Tazar, Hungary, began flying combat missions in support of Operation Allied Force, NATO's air war that was waged on the Serb-led Yugoslavian government since March. Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons VMFA (AW)-332 and 533 were home-based in Beaufort, South Carolina. In Hungary, VMFA(AW)-332 had two aircraft outfitted with the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) which was capable of providing digitally formatted day/night, all-weather reconnaissance data via mission tapes that were downloaded upon landing for processing and dissemination. 
 
24 May - The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California, dedicated the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group Headquarters, Building 1587, in memory of the late Major General John I. Hopkins, a former MCAGCC commanding general and Silver Star recipient. 
 
4 Jun - Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael was selected as the 14th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. A post and relief ceremony with retiring Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Lewis G. Lee would take place on 28 June at Marine Barracks Washington. McMichael would become the first African American to hold the post since it was established in 1957.
 
10 Jun - The first wave of 2,200 Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) came ashore in the northern Greek town of Litohoro bound for Macedonia as Kosovo peacekeepers. On this date, the NATO air war on the Serb-led Yugoslavian government, that began on 24 March, was suspended as a result of peace agreements signed by both NATO and the Yugoslavian government. NATO would send forces into Kosovo for peacekeeping duties as part of Operation Joint Guardian as the Serbian military moved out of the war-torn province.
 
15 Jun - An order to ground all AV-8B Harrier aircraft was issued by Rear Admiral Craig Steidle, Vice Commander of Naval Air Systems Command, after the loss of Harriers on 4 and 14 June from Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, and Kadena Airbase, Japan. Both mishap aircraft were powered by the Rolls Royce 408A engine, which was the Harrier II Plus' main engine and the same engine installed as part of the ongoing Harrier II Plus Remanufacture Program. 
 
19 Jun - Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 124 was deactivated at Naval Air Station, Fort Worth, Texas. The squadron was originally activated in 1942 and participated in World War II. It became part of the Marine Corps Reserves in 1946. 
 
20 Jun - NATO officially ended its air war against Yugoslavia after Serbian forces completed their withdrawal from Kosovo. U.S. and NATO aircraft flew more than 34,000 sorties during Operation Allied Force, the 79-day air campaign, that began 24 March. 
 
23 Jun - Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, hosted the Marine Corps Amphibious Triad roll-out ceremony at the air facility. The ceremony presented the three elements of the amphibious triad - advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV), MV-22 Osprey, and the landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) - that the Marine Corps planned to use to ensure the success of its Operational Maneuver From the Sea doctrine. The highlight of the ceremony was the official unveiling of the AAAV. 
 
30 Jun - General James Jones became the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps during a ceremony at Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, Washington, D.C. replacing General Charles C. Krulak. 
 
___Jul - The House Armed Services Committee appropriated $4 million of the defense budget for the Marine Corps to purchase a counterartillery system known as the Shortstop Electronic Protection System. The system, first fielded during Operation Desert Storm in Southwest Asia, provides protection from incoming mortar, artillery, and rocket shells by detecting incoming rounds. 
 
___Jul - The first of 680 refurbished assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) returned to the Fleet Marine Force. The 4-year, $300 million project would be completed by Marine Corps Logistics Bases at Albany and Barstow in conjunction with the original manufacturer, United Defense. 
 
2 Jul - The Marine Corps officially closed Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro and MCAS Tustin. Both California air stations were ordered closed by the 1991 and 1993 Base Closure and Realignment Commissions. As a result of the closures, MCAS Miramar, California, would house eight F/A-18 squadrons, one KC-130, four CH-53E squadrons, and four CH-46E squadrons. 
 
6 Jul - The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) began its turnover with the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division in Kosovo for Operation Joint Guardian. 
 
12 Jul - Colonel John Ripley, USMC (Retired), assumed the post of Director of the Marine Corps History and Museums Division succeeding Colonel Michael F. Monigan, USMC. Colonel Ripley is a veteran of 35 years active duty with the Marine Corps, a Navy Cross recipient, and was most recently the president of the Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. 
 
19 July - A military memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was held for two Marines, Captain Robert A. Holt of Reading, Massachusetts, and Captain John A. Lavoo of Pueblo, Colorado, whose F-4B Phantom crashed in combat during the Vietnam War on 19 September 1968. After 31 years, their remains were identified and returned to their families for burial in the United States. 
 
28 Jul - Abuhena M. Saifulislam became the first Muslim chaplain assigned to the Marine Corps. The former enlisted sailor earned his commission through the Chaplain Candidate Program, Newport, Rhode Island. Although there are relatively few practicing Muslims in the Marine Corps, the role of chaplains extends far beyond religious observances as chaplains are an integral part of the Corps' quality of life program. 
 
28 Jul - Exercise Summer Thunder 1999 climaxed with an amphibious assault at Camp Pendleton, California. The two-week exercise involved more than 2,800 active duty and reserve Marines and 750 sailors in one of the largest total force Marine Corps annual exercises. 
 
28 Jul - The Marine Corps proposed legislation to change the five titles of Deputy Chiefs of Staff to Deputy Commandants. Also proposed was the change of the Assistant Chief of Staff position to Assistant Deputy Commandant. 
 
___Aug - The 3d Battalion, 1st Marines received the Corps' first Javelin antiarmor weapons system. Developed by the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, the Javelin is a joint venture combining the technical expertise of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Each infantry battalion would rate eight Javelin gunners, vice the current 12 Dragon gunners. The Javelin is capable of engaging and destroying any armored target in the world today with a range in excess of 2,000 meters, compared to 1,000 meters for the Dragon. 
 
7 Aug - The Department of the Navy launched USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR 313) from the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California. The ship was commissioned in honor of Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II and the U.S. Army during the Korean War where he was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
 
11 Aug - The Naval Air Systems Command again ordered a precautionary flight restriction for all Marine AV-8B Harriers after a recent engineering investigation of a 408A engine revealed improper installation of a cotter key used to secure the variable inlet guide vanes support structure. This suspension of flight operations came just as the majority of the Corps' Harrier fleet was returning to full flight status after being grounded in June following two mishaps. 
 
19 Aug - Three U.S. Sixth Fleet ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) and 2,100 embarked Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) were ordered from Spanish ports to the vicinity of Istanbul, Turkey, in response to the aftermath of an earthquake two days earlier. Participation in Operation Avid Response included the rescue of survivors, providing medical care, and distribution of relief supplies. The ARG departed Turkey on 10 September after nearly three weeks of humanitarian assistance. 
 
___Sep - Brigadier General Timothy Ghormley became the Inspector General of the Marine Corps and would carry out the Commandant's new philosophy for no-notice operational readiness inspections. The no-notice inspections would provide an authentic glimpse of how prepared the Corps is. 
 
___Sep - The Marine Corps awarded the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation a $5.46 million contract to build two prototype VTOL UAVs (vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicles) known as Cypher II and dubbed Dragon Warrior by the Corps. The Cypher II is a high-speed, donut-shaped UAV that incorporates shrouded rotor technology that encloses the rotor system. 
 
8 Sep - The world's first production tiltrotor aircraft landed at the Pentagon's River Entrance before a crowd of officials and guests. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James L. Jones, and several members of Congress arrived aboard the V-22 Osprey as its 38-foot-diameter rotor blades transitioned from horizontal flight mode to helicopter mode in less than 20 seconds. 
 
15-16 Sep - Hurricane Floyd, a category three hurricane that passed through the Carolinas, sent thousands of military personnel as well as aircraft to higher ground. Some 7,000 recruits from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, deployed on 14 September to Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia, to avoid the potential wrath of the hurricane. In the aftermath of the storm, Marine units provided humanitarian assistance to local communities in what was called one of the worst agricultural disasters in the history of that region. Hurricane Floyd caused more than $9 million in damages to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, alone. 
 
17 Sep - Major General Rathvon McClure Tompkins died in Lexington, South Carolina, at the age of 87. General Tompkins served in World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars during his 36 years of active service. He was the recipient of numerous honors including the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Distinguished Service Medals. 
 
20 Sep - 12 Nov - More than 6,500 U.S. service members participated in Exercise Crocodile 99 held in Australia. The U.S./Australian combined joint, air, land, maritime, amphibious, and special operations exercise involved approximately 4,000 Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3d Force Service Support Group, 3d Marine Division, and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. 
 
22 Sep - George C. Scott, the former Marine staff sergeant who won an Oscar for playing Army General George S. Patton, died in Los Angeles at the age of 71. He joined the Marine Corps in 1945 for four years and had public relations duties at Marine Barracks, 8th and I, Washington, D.C. which included performing at parades and ceremonies as well as burial details at Arlington National Cemetery. 
 
30 Sep - Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Okinawa, Japan, deployed to the Timor Sea in order to provide heavy-lift support to the Austrailian-led International Forces in East Timor (INTERFET). Violence erupted across the province of East Timor in early September when its population voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia, and militias opposed to the vote went on a rampage forcing over 250,000 inhabitants to flee the province. The Australian-named operation was called Operation Stabilise. 
 
30 Sep - When the fiscal year ended, the Marine Corps was the only service that made its recruitment goals bringing in 39,500 new Marines without lowering its standards. The Army was still 6,800 recruits short of its requirement to enlist 74,500 new soldiers. The Air Force missed its 33,800 mark by almost 1,800 airmen, and the Navy hit its mark but only after deciding to admit more recruits without high school degrees. 
 
___Oct - The Marine Corps took delivery of the first of 293 Kawasaki 650cc motorcycles that will replace the Kawasaki-manufactured KLR 250 motorcycles that have been in the operating forces since 1986. The M1030B1 dual-purpose military motorcycle, or KLR 650, would be intended for assignment to infantry, reconnaissance companies, artillery, military police, and communications units. 
 
1 Oct - Marine Corps Forces South activated at Miami, Florida. It would be a fully-staffed and operational component headquarters to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Southern Command whose mission is to promote democracy and stability in the Latin-American region. 
 
1 Oct - As of this date, black leather combat boots would not meet Marine Corps standards. Marines would be required to have a pair of the new waterproof boots that were lighter, more comfortable, and had more cushioning. 
 
9 Oct - The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation held it annual awards banquet at The Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. Among the 12 awards bestowed at the ceremony were: General Roy S. Geiger Award for the best Marine Corps aviation article went to Captain Russell Blauw. General Wallace M. Green, Jr. Award for a nonfiction book relating to Marine Corps history went to Colonel Charles T. Williamson, USMC (Ret.). Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. Award for the best article related to Marine Corps history went to Joseph G. Dawson III. 
 
15 Oct - 2 Nov - More than 2,000 Marines of the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit and Marine Aircraft Group 41 participated in Exercise Bright Star 99/00 held in Egypt. It was the largest U.S. Central Command exercise outside of the Persian Gulf and included more than 70,000 troops from 11 coalition nations. The main focus of the exercise was to improve readiness, interoperability, and to build professional relationships through realistic training. 
 
23 Oct - A new Molly Marine monument was dedicated at Memorial Park, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. The statue was the first of two bronze casts made from the original Molly Marine statue that stands at the corner of Elks Place and Canal Street in New Orleans. The original Molly Marine, standing 20 feet tall from the ground to the top of her cover, was the first monument in the United States of a woman in military uniform and was dedicated in New Orleans in 1943. 
 
24 Oct - Senator John H. Chafee died at the age of 77. Chafee was a Marine Corps veteran of World War II and the Korean War. In a testament to Chafee's four decades of public service, his funeral was attended by President Bill Clinton, more than half the U.S. Senate, and other dignitaries. It was announced that the 40th ship of the Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers, among the Navy's most technologically advanced ships, would be named after Chafee. 
 
24 Oct - The 24th Marine Corps Marathon was held in Washington, D.C. Former Marine and 1964 Olympic gold-medalist, Billy Mills, fired the starting pistol. He was the only American to ever win the Olympic 10,000-meter race. Team Marine, composed of eight Leathernecks from around the Corps, placed first in the year's U.S. Armed Forces team competition with a total time of 10:52:12. 
 
25 Oct - President Bill Clinton signed the $268 billion 2000 defense appropriations law that included one of the largest increases in military compensation 
(4.8 percent) in over a generation. The Marine Corps' portion of the bill was some $11.9 billion, $1.5 billion more than originally requested by the President. 
 
5 Nov - The Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial was dedicated at Riverside National Cemetery near Camp Pendleton, California. The ceremony commemorated past and present recipients of the nation's highest military award. Twenty-two of 31 living Marines who earned the Medal of Honor, along with 66 recipients from other military service branches, attended the dedication. It was a memorial service for 3,409 men and one woman whose names are etched into the memorial's walls. 
 
10 Nov - This date marked the Marine Corps' 224th Birthday. In his message, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James L. Jones, stated: "As the United States evolved into the role of superpower during the often-turbulent events of the last 100 years, Marines were ever present; exerting influence far beyond that expected of a Corps so few in number."
 
19 Nov - Marine Medal of Honor recipient, Major Joe Foss, a Marine fighter ace and former governor of South Dakota, kicked off the national Toys for Tots campaign. Ranking representatives from some of America's leading businesses gathered in Arlington, Virginia, where tens of thousands of dollars were collected on the spot for the program. The 1999 Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign would collect 13,800,000 new toys and distribute them to 5,900,000 children. 
 
22 Nov - The titles "Chiefs of Staff" were changed to "Deputy Commandants" for Marine generals in charge of various divisions at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 
 
22 Nov - The last Marine infantry unit departed from Panama, closing another chapter in the 96-year history of U.S. military presence in the Central American country. The departure of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, followed a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces that began more than four years ago.
 
23 Nov - The 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade stood up at Camp Pendleton, California. The unit was originally activated in 1901 and was active during various time periods, most recently deactivating in 1994. It was commanded by Brigadier General James R. Battaglini. 
 
3 Dec - Secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig, announced the cessation of live fire training on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The decision would force training changes for naval battle groups including Marine expeditionary units. The announcement followed several months of talks between the Clinton Administration and the Department of Defense. 
 
7 Dec - The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed East Timor for Southern California after completing its humanitarian mission in support of the Australian-led International Forces in East Timor. The 11th MEU took over the mission on 26 October from the 31st MEU. 
 
9 Dec - A CH-46 "Sea Night" helicopter from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 crashed 14 miles off the coast of Point Loma, California. It was attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and was participating in a routine training mission. The Marines on board the aircraft were part of a force recon unit. Eleven Marines were rescued, but six Marines and one sailor were missing at the time of the accident and declared dead the following day. 
 
17 Dec - The remains of nearly 20 Marines killed in action on Butaritari Island during World War II were repatriated at a ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The Marines were from the 2d Raider Battalion that participated in the Makin Atoll Raid during August 1942. The remains were believed to include those of Sergeant Clyde Thomason, the first enlisted Marine awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II. 
 
31 Dec - The strength of the U.S. Armed Forces was 1,367,838 of whom 171,154 were Marines. 
 
 
Reference Branch
History Division