May 5, 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.

May is designated as "Military Appreciation Month" and, as such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who serve or have served our great nation for the sacrifices and hardships they have borne on behalf of a grateful nation. Without the patriotic individuals who have served our country over the years, the freedoms, liberties, and way of life we as Americans hold so dear would be impossible to maintain.

The Marine Corps Marathon lottery has announced the lucky recipients of bibs for their 2016 Marathon being held the end of October. If you did NOT get your bib in the lottery, we have additional bibs as a Marine Corps official charity partner. Read the article below to sign up or learn more.

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!
May is Military Appreciation Month

In 1999, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating May as National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM). NMAM began as a simple idea - to honor, remember, recognize, and appreciate those who serve and have served our great nation.

The first legislation for National Military Appreciation Month (S.Res 33) began in 1999 with the support and sponsorship of Senator John McCain, (R-AZ) and Representative Duncan Hunter, (R-CA) of San Diego, along with over 50 veteran service organizations. In 2004, more comprehensive legislation was passed by unanimous consent in both Houses of Congress, as H. Con. Res. 328 solidified May as National Military Appreciation Month. It also calls for the President of the United States to issue an annual proclamation calling on Americans to recognize this month through a number of ceremonies and events.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Leah Ross

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 and Facebook volunteer from Pennsylvania--Leah Ross. 

Leah has been a Marine Parents Facebook volunteer since her daughter completed recruit training at Parris Island in April, 2015. She initially served as a Platoon Parent in 4th Battalion, November Company, and was a natural to be promoted to Company Leader when the role was available.

According to Marine Parents Facebook Groups Manager, Teresita Reynolds, Leah is one of the most committed leaders in any of the official Marine Parents Facebook groups and her support and encouragement has assisted hundreds of group members through boot camp.

This sentiment is shared by 4th Battalion Leader Karen Vlang, who had the following to say: "Members are naturally drawn to Leah's generous spirit and accepting attitude. She is a fierce supporter and advocate of the USMC, but she understands the challenges of those left at home. Her incredible sense of humor and positive outlook make her a valued Marine Parents Volunteer."

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*Image info: Leah Ross and her Marine daughter.
May 1 WST--East Dinner

This past Sunday, May 1, our Warrior Support Team—East served meals to approximately 90 recovering warriors, active duty service members, and their family members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Our volunteers counted 87 tickets, but by the time dinner was finished, all of the burritos were gone as some warriors had eaten more than one while family members had taken additional ones to recovering warriors who were unable to attend the dinner themselves.

At the dinner, our volunteers saw one of their "regulars," a mother with two toddlers in a stroller. Sometimes, her husband comes with her but this time he had stayed in his room. "He has good days and bad days...this is a bad day". Our volunteers suggested she take a burrito back for him. She looked surprised and asked if that would be okay, to which we replied, "Of course." This highlights one of the benefits of our WST dinners--it's a place where a young mother can come to feed her children and give her husband some space when he is having a bad day. Our volunteers were also pleased to meet a "first-timer" who was finally attending one of our dinners after being at the hospital for seven months with her son while he recovers from his injuries.

We look forward to our next dinner in two weeks!

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*Image info:  Two recovering warriors at our May 1, 2016 WST—East dinner.
(Photo by Peggy Densford.)

2016 TMP Registration is Now Open

2016 Registration for Team Marine Parents is now open! Raising awareness and funds for a grassroots organization starts on a grassroots level; it starts with YOU. If you enjoy running or competing in athletic events, encouraging communities to engage in troop support activities, and raising money for a good cause, then TMP is a great fit for you.

Also, if you are planning on running the 41st Marine Corps Marathon, consider running with TMP. We only have 26 charity partner bibs remaining, so if you didn't make it in through the lottery, join the team and get your bib today!

Click here to learn more about Team Marine Parents...
TMP Spotlight: Steven Darrall

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 military supporter from Virginia--Steven Darrall. 

While Steven's girlfriend, Siobhan, was a runner, Steven never cared for, or had much interest in, running himself.

In mid-2015, Siobhan began training for a half marathon and, after a couple months of prodding, convinced Steven to begin running with her. Slowly but surely, Steven began to enjoy running more and more, and a couple of months later, he completed his first half-marathon.

Steven prefers to participate in running events that are for good causes (especially cancer research, as he is a five-year survivor) so when he decided to run his first marathon, joining TMP to run in the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon seemed like the perfect fit. " My father served with the Army in Korea during the war, as did Siobhan's father.," Steven said. "Some of the best men I have known have served in the military. I can't imagine a more worthy cause than helping the people who serve the country, and their families."

So far, Steven has raised more than $375 of his $500 goal and we know that with your generosity and support, he can reach that goal in no time! Thank you, Steven, for being a part of the team and for all that you do on our behalf! Good luck in October!

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*Image info: Steven Darrall.
Marine Corps News: 4,000 Marines and Sailors Return from Middle East

More than 4,000 Marines and sailors with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group returned to Norfolk, VA this week after spending seven months in the Middle East helping in the fight against ISIS.

"I think our sailors and Marines know they had a great role in contributing to coalition forces doing what needs to be done in Iraq," said Capt. Larry Getz, who assumed command of Kearsarge in November . "We hope and pray for those that are in the fight right now, that we can get this job done as quickly as possible and bring everybody back home."

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*Image info:  Marines with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit hold live-fire training on the Kearsarge's flight deck.  (photo by MCSN Ryre Arciaga/Navy)
Marine Corps News: "Dark Horse" Marines Honor Fallen Comrades

This past Saturday, April 30, Marines and family members from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines came together at Camp Pendleton for a five-year reunion.

The "Dark Horse" battalion completed the deadliest deployment of any battalion in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2011, in which 25 Marines were killed and a further 184 injured. Of those 184 injured, almost 20 percent were single, double, or triple amputees. 

To honor their fallen brothers in arms, surviving 3/5 Marines and family members climbed Camp Pendleton's "First Sergeant's Hill" to pay a visit to the approximately two dozen wood crosses at the top that are engraved with the names of fallen Marines, including those from the 3/5.

One of the Marines to complete the hike up First Sergeant's Hill was Corporal Josue Barron, a 3/5 Marine who lost his left leg and eye during that 2011 deployment. Barron began the hike with his prosthetic leg, but soon the hill became too steep for the prosthesis to properly function, so he took it off and finished the hike on his hands and right leg.  “After a while my body went numb, but I wanted to get up there,”Barron said. “I have friends up there, and there was no way I was coming back down without reaching them.”

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*Image info: Corporal  Josue Barron (right), shown here playing wheelchair basketball for the Marine Corps team during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, was one of the many 3/5 Marines to complete the hike up First Sergeant's Hill.
(USMC photo by Sergeant Tyler Main)

Marine Corps News: Congressman Pushes for Department of Navy Name Change

For the 15th time, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina is attempting to convince Congress to  redesignate the Department of the Navy as the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The resolution is included  in a draft of the annual defense authorization bill that was approved by the House Armed Services Committee last week. The resolution has made it this far every year since 2001, but it has yet to make it through the House and Senate.

Jones says he is "cautiously optimistic" his resolution will make it through this year, but he's prepared to try again next year if it doesn't.

“I have long been an advocate of giving the Marine Corps the recognition it deserves as one of the official branches of the military,” said Jones. “I plan to keep fighting like a bulldog.”

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*Image info:  Representative Walter Jones (R-NC).  
(U.S. Government photo )
Friday is Military Spouses Day

In 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 23, 1984 as "Military Spouse Day." Each year since, the Friday before Mother's Day has been recognized as Military Spouse Day, a day to honor the commitment and sacrifices made on a daily basis by those who have a spouse in the military.

This year, Military Spouses day is this Friday, May 6. We encourage you to thank a military spouse or spouses for the support they provide to our service members. While military life is never easy, having a strong, caring supporter at home can help ease the uncertainty that often goes with it.

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Lance Corporal Leon B. Deraps Memorial Scholarship Walk/Run

On May 6, 2006, Lance Corporal Leon B. Deraps of Jamestown, Missouri made the ultimate sacrifice for his country while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.

To honor Leon, his family (longtime Marine Parents pack day volunteers), along with the Moniteau County C-1, Jamestown-area high school FFA, set up a scholarship fund in his name in late 2006. Since its foundation, the fund has awarded $1,000 scholarships to more than 30 Jamestown high school graduates.

Money for the scholarship fund is raised through an annual 5 mile walk/run/ride held in early May. First held in 2009, 2016 marks the event's seventh anniversary. This year, the event will be held this Saturday, May 7 at 9:00 am in Jamestown, Missouri.

If you would like to donate to this wonderful cause, please send a check made out to the Leon B. Deraps Scholarship Fund to the following address:

Kim Barbour 
21239 Highway 179

Jamestown, MO 65046

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*Image info:  Lance Corporal Leon B. Deraps.
This Week in Marine Corps History: Marines Help Put Down Prison Riot

Seventy years ago this week, on May 2, 1946, Marines from the Treasure Island Marine Barracks aided in suppressing a three-day prison riot at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay. The Marines were under the command of Warrant Officer Charles L. Buckner, a veteran of the Bougainville and Guam campaigns in World War II, and did not suffer a single casualty.

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*Image info: Alcatraz Island, 2005 (released).
This Week in Marine Corps History: Marine Helicopter Comes Under Fire in Beirut, Lebanon

Thirty-three years ago this week, on May 5, 1983,  a UH-1N helicopter carrying Colonel James Mead, the commander of the American peace-keeping force in Lebanon, was hit by machine gun fire in Beirut. Colonel Mead and his crew had just taken off in the helicopter to investigate artillery and rocket exchanges between Syrian-backed Druze militiamen and Christian Phalangists that was endangering French members of the multinational peace-keeping force when they came under fire.

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*Image info:   A U.S. Marine Corps Bell UH-1N helicopter (U.S. government photo).
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