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34,000 set to leave Afghanistan
Women in Combat
Team Marine Parents 2013 Events
Black History Month
Iwo Jima Anniversary
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February 13, 2013

If this is the first edition of the Marine Parents newsletter you have received, WELCOME! If you are a returning reader we are glad you have joined us and are thankful for your support.

In this issue

For those who weren't aware, yesterday was Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. We ourselves had forgotten, until we came across this week's banner photo, depicting Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, and Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker, sergeant major of MARFORRES and MARFORNORTH, escorting the king and queen of the Krewe of Zulu aboard  Coast Guard Cutter Barbara Mabrity in New Orleans last Monday. A belated happy Mardi Gras to all!   


In this issue, we discuss the ongoing drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and the recent rescinding of a rule governing the participation of women in active ground combat.


This issue contains news about Black History Month, taking place throughout February, and the anniversary of the flag raising on Iwo Jima on February 23rd, 1945.  


Team Marine Parents has also completed the steps required to be a charity partner with the Marine Corps Marathon this October, so if you know any marathoners, let them know that there is a place for them on our team!  

Finally, we highlight some programs that enable troops with symptoms of PTSD to effectively deal with their experiences. 


I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter and will forward it to folks you know that will benefit from the articles but may not be registered to receive it.



God bless and Semper Fi!


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Tracy Della Vecchia

Founder and Executive Director, Inc.
34,000 set to leave Afghanistan
Many to return home this year

In his State of the Union Address last night, the President announced plans to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan by about half in the next year.


Negotiations with the Afghan government are continuing in an attempt to establish what if any role the U.S. military will play in the country beyond 2014. Administration plans call for U.S. forces to assume advisory, training, and support roles beginning this spring. Following the end of American participation in the conflict in 2014, the U.S. is seeking to both continue training and equipping Afghan forces to prevent future establishment of terrorist strongholds, and also to retain the ability to conduct counter-terrorist operations as required.

Women in Combat
DoD rescinds direct combat exclusion rule

On January 24, 2013, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women. When in effect, the rule excluded women from assignment to units with the primary mission of engaging in direct ground combat. The rescinding of this rule opens more than 200,000 new positions to women, over 50,000 of which are in the Marines.

"Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military's mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles," Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. "The Department's goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender."

Watch a video of Sgt. Maj. Barrett addressing this topic...
Team Marine Parents 2013 Events
22 spots available in the 2013 MCM...

If you've ever considered running a marathon, this should be the year. Marine Parents is a charity partner with the Marine Corps Marathon this year,  so we are excited to have reserved entries for Team  Marine Parents participants.

But the team is not just for marathon runners. In addition to the MCM, Team Marine Parents members can participate in a variety of less strenuous local events. It's a great way to get/stay fit, have fun outdoors (Spring is in the air!), and support our troops at the same time.

Please email or call (573) 449-2003 with any additional events you would like to take part in, or


Click here to join the team...
February is Black History Month
Read about little known U.S. History  

Many people who watched the recent movie "Lincoln" were reintroduced to the passage of the 13th amendment for the first time since grade school. On February 1, 1865, the House of Representatives approved the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States. Today, February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month, which celebrates the achievements of black people throughout American History.


                Many significant events in the experiences of black people in this country remain unknown to all but a relative handful of Americans. One book on the Commandant's reading list, a list of required reading for Marines at all stages in their careers, is The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines, by Melton A. McLaurin. After FDR signed an executive order in 1941 permitting African Americans to join the Marine Corps, a segregated training ground adjacent to Camp Lejeune was set up, and remained in operation throughout the 1940's. Over 20,000 Marines were trained at Camp Montford Point, most of whom served in the Pacific theater in WWII. This book tells the stories of these Marines.


 Click here to
Iwo Jima Anniversary February 23rd
Flag raised 68 years ago
Iwo Jima (literally, Sulphur Island) is a small volcanic island about 700 miles due south of Tokyo. After the fall of the Marianas to U.S. forces in 1944, Japan needed to prevent establishment of a U.S. presence on the island, as it would provide a base for direct air attacks on the Japanese homeland. As a result, the Japanese worked for months prior to the invasion to establish a network of tunnels and reinforced bunkers on the island which were resistant to U.S. bombing raids.

Saturday, February 23rd will mark the 68th Anniversary of the successful invasion of Iwo Jima  by U.S. Marines. On February 23rd, 1945, five Marines and one Navy corpsman were photographed raising the American flag atop 545 ft. Mount Suribachi. The Battle would continue to rage for another month after the flag was raised. More than one fourth of the Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in WWII were awarded for conduct in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Click here for more history of the USMC...

Click to read about the original monument...
Warrior Voices
Veterans use writing as a way to heal
Several organizations have arisen in recent years that help veterans come to terms with their wartime experiences through writing. Writing is known to be therapeutic, and is used clinically to help people deal with traumatic experiences. Weekly writing workshops are held at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md for troops recovering from PTSD and TBI, and many veterans of conflicts in Iraq nad Afghanistan are publishing their work by traditional means or in online blogs.

Click here to read some of their stories... 


We hope this week's edition of our email newsletter has been useful for you and your family. If there are topics you would like us to address, or if you have other suggestions for the newsletter, please contact us.  


The banner photo is a Marine Corps photo taken 02/11/2013 in New Orleans by Cpl. Marcin PlatekLt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, and Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker, sergeant major of MARFORRES and MARFORNORTH, escort Cedric and Monica Givens, the king and queen of Krewe of Zulu, aboard a Coast Guard Cutter Barbara Mabrity, Feb. 11, 2013. Hummer and Booker, along with Coast Guard Rear Adm. Roy A. Nash, commander of Eight Coast Guard District, and Army Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard, transported King Zulu to Woldenberg Park here and Rex to Spanish Plaza here. The effort to bring the kings to their respective parade festivals was part of the ongoing Mardi Gras celebrations happening in New Orleans, which concludes February 12, 2013.


The Homecoming photos were taken Jan. 20 and Feb. 1, 2013 aboard Camp Lejeune, NC by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols and Pfc. Sullivan Laramie, respectively. 01/20/2013: A Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group pinches the cheek of his child after returning from a nearly six-month deployment to Afghanistan to Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 20, 2012. The unit set out for Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in July 2012 to perform logistical operations, assist NATO efforts to train Afghan National Security Forces, and demilitarize old military installations in the country. 02/01/2013: A Marine and his spouse reunite during a homecoming celebration aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 1, 2013. Hundreds of families and friends attended the event, which was the second of three waves of returning servicemembers to return to Camp Lejeune.    

The photo accompanying the "Women in Combat" story was taken on 01/25/2013 by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry. Lance Cpl. Hai Vang fireman carries a simulated casualty during the combat lifesaving portion of 3rd Supply Battalion's supply management unit exercise Jan. 25 at Kin Blue Training Area near Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. During the exercise, Marines received a refresher course on combat lifesaving skills. Vang is a warehouse clerk with 3rd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force., Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity., Inc., was founded in January 2003 in response to parents' needs to find information and to have "a place to connect and share" with one another during their Marine's career. Our free online services and connections have expanded to support and educate Marine moms and dads, spouses, families and friends. We've helped 400,000 Marine and recruit families during boot camp, training, active duty and deployments. We've shipped more than 35,000 care packages overseas to our Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent 80,000 prayers and letters to injured Marines and served thousands of meals to wounded heroes and their families on the East and West coasts. You've found "a place to connect and share."