August 12, 2016
Semper Fi Marine Corps Families!

Thank you for opening and reading this edition of our weekly newsletter. We've got great articles to share with you this week.

We are proud to announce that the first annual Miles City Poker Run raised $500 for the outreach programs of! Learn more in our first piece.

To see what else is new with the organization or to learn more about the Marine Corps, check out the rest of our articles. We hope you enjoy! 

Thank you for your continued support of our brave men and women in uniform.

God Bless and Semper Fi!
First Annual Miles City Poker Run

We are proud to announce that the first annual Miles City Poker Run raised $500 for the outreach programs of! 

The poker run, which took place on Saturday, July 9 in Miles City, Montana, was organized by Marine Parents volunteer Brandy Leischner and her husband, Aaron, whose oldest child is their Marine.

To drum up interest in the run, Brandy and Aaron hung flyers advertising the event at local businesses and restaurants in Miles City and the event was advertised in our official Marine Family Montana Facebook Group. 

Registration, which cost $10, began at 10:00 a.m. the morning of the event and the run began at 11:00 a.m. Participants had to have their cards turned in by 4:00 p.m. so awards could be handed out at 5:00 p.m. 100% of the registration proceeds went to the outreach programs of

To learn how you can hold a fundraising event for, please click here...

Gold Star Legacy: My Son Was Deployed to a War Zone—Reflections

The following was written by Susan Kristol, a Marine mother and longtime Marine Parents volunteer.

There has recently been a lot of talk in the news about Gold Star families, Purple Hearts, and military service. I knew very little about all of these things until my son decided to join the Marines in 2005 and was commissioned as an infantry officer in 2009. And now, several years later, as I read the news and recall his deployment to one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, I continue to be thankful for his safe return, and I have been flooded with painful memories of what it's like to be a parent of someone deployed in a very dangerous place. This is my story—it may resonate with others, but it's just one mom's account.

When your son or daughter is in a combat zone, you do not sleep except with a telephone next to the pillow. You can't decide if you should obsessively follow the news or avoid watching the news. You break into sobs while driving down the highway. You can't listen to country music songs about Arlington Cemetery, you have unaccountable fits of anger when a well-intentioned person asks if the troops get to come home for the holidays, and you hear your child's voice on via a static-filled satellite phone line only once in eight months. You don't want to look at the scary folder with the documents he had to sign, with his power of attorney and his life insurance policy designating his sisters as his beneficiaries. You know that someone in the battalion has been killed when all outgoing emails are shut down so that the bereaved family can be notified, and you swing between sadness for them and terrible relief that it's not your child.

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*Image info: Marines render a salute to a fallen service member during a funeral service at Andersonville National Cemetery, Andersonville, Ga., June 10, 2016.
(USMC image by Captain Justin Jacobs)
November 10 is the Marine Corps' Birthday

With the dog days of summer upon us, it's time to start looking forward to autumn.

The Marine Corps' birthday is a day of pride and respect, and its celebration is one of the most revered traditions in the Corps. Each year, on November 10th, Marines around the world celebrate what they see as their "second" birthday, the day the United States Marine Corps was born.

The tradition runs deep. For years, Marines have been telling each other "Happy Birthday" on November 10th and attending Marine Corps Birthday Balls in cities across the globe. Each year, the Commandant of the Corps reads his "Birthday Message" to all Marines, and they "...reflect upon the legacy of [the] Corps and upon the awesome responsibilities lying ahead." ( Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines  by Marion F. Sturkey)
TMP Spotlight: Zeke Robles

Team Marine Parents™ (TMP) is a group of individuals, generally parents, family, and friends of Marines, who participate in athletic events nationwide to support our troops.  The mission is to raise funds and awareness of the organization's outreach programs. 

This week's TMP featured participant is a Marine from Illinois--Zeke Robles.

Zeke first stood  on "the yellow foot prints that forever changed [his] life" 23 years ago.  Zeke challenged himself to be more physically active last year, and this year made it his goal to complete the 41st Marine Corps Marathon this fall at 41 years of age.

Zeke decided to join TMP, "[B] ecause they offer knowledge, wonderful support, and so many programs to our Marines (active duty, reservists, and veterans), their families, and friends as they complete their career." 

We are pleased to announce that Zeke has surpassed his $500 fundraising goal, having currently raised $835. Thank you, Zeke, for being a part of the team and good luck in October!

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*Image info: Zeke Robles during . (Image used with permission).
Volunteer Spotlight: Elissa Oberstar

Here at Marine Parents, nothing we do would be possible without our amazing volunteers across the country. Our volunteers truly are the backbone of our organization, and we'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of one individual in particular. 

This week's featured volunteer is a proud Marine mother from Ohio--Elissa Oberstar.

Elissa has been a volunteer with Marine Parents since February of 2016, initially serving as a Group Guide before assuming her current role as a Company Leader for Kilo Company, Parris Island. As a Company Leader, Elissa explains the recruit training Matrix, answers questions, and gives support to other recruit families on a daily basis.

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*Image info: Elissa Oberstar. (Image used with permission).
Marine Corps News: Additional Marine Remains Found on Tarawa

A World War II Marine who was killed on the first day of the Battle of Tarawa on November 20, 1943, has been identified and will be buried with full military honors on Monday, August 22, in his hometown of Grand Island, Nebraska.

The remains of Marine Corps Private Dale Robert Geddes were among those of dozens of Marines discovered last year in a mass grave on Betio Island by History Flight, a Florida-based non-profit. DNA testing recently confirmed his identity.

Geddes was one of approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors killed during the battle, while another 2,000 were wounded. 

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*Image info:  Private Dale Robert Gedde died on the first day of battle of Tarawa, November 20, 1943. (Department of Defense image/released).
Marine Corps News: Corps May Add Assistant Squad Leaders to Infantry Units

The Marine Corps has announced that it's looking to add assistant squad leaders to infantry units.

In a statement from Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller, the Corps is currently reviewing the makeup of infantry units as part of its force structure review.

“One of the things we’re looking at right now is providing every infantry squad an assistant squad leader,” Neller told reporters. “He would be the Marine that would fly the squad’s UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and help the squad leader manage the information. We’re going to find out: Can the squad leader handle all of that.”

“We’re going to stay at 24 infantry battalions,” Neller continued. “What’s inside those individual infantry battalions is going to be a little bit different--not fundamentally different. I’m not ready to say what exactly, what that’s going to look like.”

Neller also stated that he does not expect the Corps to grow beyond its authorized end strength of 182,000 Marines, so the Corps will use the Marines it has for different missions, such as electronic warfare and cyber operations.

*Image info: Corporal Joshua Gray, a squad leader with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, coordinates with a Portuguese radio operator during Exercise Orion 16 in Santa Margarida, Portugal, June 23, 2016. (USMC photo by Staff Sergeant Tia Nagle).
Marine Corps News: Marine War Horse Awarded Dickin Medal

Sergeant Reckless, a Korean War Marine Corps war horse, was recently posthumously honored in London, England with an award for animals who serve in military conflicts.

On July 27, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British veterinary charity, awarded Sergeant Reckless with the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross (the British equivalent of the Medal of Honor), for bravery during the Korean War.

Sergeant Reckless, a Mongolian mare, was purchased by the Corps from a Korean family in 1952. She then served as a munitions carrier with the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and was also used to evacuate wounded troops during battle. During the Battle for Outpost Vegas in March of 1953, Sergeant Reckless made 51 solo trips in a single day to resupply front line units. She was wounded in battle twice (for which she received two Purple Hearts), was  given the battlefield rank of corporal in 1953, and received a battlefield promotion  to sergeant in 1954, after the war ended. She also became the first documented Marine horse to participate in an amphibious landing and, in addition to her two Purple Hearts, she was awarded  a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal , was included in her unit's Presidential Unit Citations  from two countries (the United States and South Korea) , among other military honors.

Following the conclusion of the war, Sergeant Reckless was retired to Camp Pendleton, California, where she lived until her death in 1968 at the age of 20. She is the 68th animal to be awarded the Dickin Medal.

*Image info: Sergeant Reckless.  (Public domain image/released).
This Week in Marine Corps History:  U.S. Troops and Aircraft Sent to Saudi Arabia

Twenty-six years ago this week, on August 7, 1990, President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. military troops and aircraft to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force to defend that nation against possible Iraqi invasion. The following week, the Marine Corps announced that it had committed 45,000 Marines to the Persian Gulf area as a part of Operation Desert Shield, which would become the largest deployment of U.S. forces since the Vietnam War. 

Click here to learn more....

*Image info: Four Marine Corps CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, foreground, and six AH-1 Sea Cobra helicopters sit on the flight line at Landing Zone 32 Site Alpha during Operation Desert Shield, January 1991. (U.S. government photo/released).
This Week in Marine Corps History: Henderson Field Secured

Seventy-four years ago this week, on August 9, 1942, the 1st Engineer Battalion began work on an airstrip taken from Japanese forces on the island of Guadalcanal.

The work was done with captured Japanese equipment and three days later, on August 12, the first American airplane, a Navy PBY, landed on what by then was known as "Henderson Field" to evacuate two wounded Marines.

Over the next few months, as U.S. Marines fought to take control of the island, Henderson Field would be the staging area for the evacuation of almost 3,000 wounded Marines.

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*Image info:  Aerial view of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, April 11, 1943. 
(U.S. Navy photo/released).

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