August 6, 2015
In This Issue:


Thank you for joining us for this issue of Marine Parents News. If this is your first time receiving the newsletter, welcome aboard, we're excited for you to be here!

One of our longest-running outreach programs, Operation Prayers & Letters™ is aiming to cross the 100,000 cards and letters received threshold by September 1 of this year, and time is running out. Learn more in our first article.

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 joining us and especially for your continued support of our brave men and women in uniform.

Semper Fi Marine Families!

Tracy Della Vecchia
Founder and Executive Director, Inc.

Help Operation PAL™ Reach 100,000 Letters!

Operation Prayers & Letters™ (Operation PAL), one of the outreach programs of, provides support to wounded, ill, and injured troops through prayers and letters written by individuals in communities throughout the United States.

Since 2006, Operation PAL supporters have sent cards and letters to more than 150 recovering warriors. We've made it our goal to cross the 100,000 card and letter threshold by September 1 of this year, and time is running out.

So far, we've sent 98,167. That means we have less than a month to reach our goal, so we need your help!

These cards and letters may not seem like much to those of us on the outside looking in, but the recovering warriors who receive them, as well as those who are involved in their respective recovery processes, such as family members, volunteers, and medical professionals, will attest to the impact these cards and letters can have. 

"Thank you for all the support and letters. Whenever I started to have a bad day I would open up a few I hadn't read yet. I am able to walk short distances without a cane, my endurance and balance are the problems now... but things continue to improve at a very fast rate. Thank you to anyone who helped with this, it has brought my spirits up and continues to help me heal."

-- A Marine in 2007

"I want to thank you all for the cards, letters and prayers. They made a difference in my recovery time. They helped me to work twice as hard. I am walking with a prosthetic leg and doing great...Please let everyone know how grateful I am. Everyone has lifted my spirits up so high. Thank you." 


-- A Marine in 2011

"It is with all the support of the Operation PAL™ contributors that Dylan has done so well and we are forever grateful. God Bless you all. You'll never know just how significantly you all have impacted our lives. We can never adequately thank you all."

-- A proud Marine Mother

Those are just three examples of the many, many letters we've received over the years reaffirming why we began this program in the first place. The men and women who receive the cards and letters have given so much on our behalf. Letting them know that we appreciate their sacrifice and that we support them during their recovery processes, many of which can be long, difficult, and painful, is the least we can do in return. 

Thank You for Supporting Recovering Warriors

As many of you are probably aware, for the last few months we were running a fundraising campaign to raise $12,000 by August 1 to to assist our Warrior Support Team (WST) in continuing serving dinners to recovering warriors at military medical centers on both coasts.

While we didn't quite reach the $12,000 goal, your generous donations brought in more than $10,400 for the program, which is hugely beneficial and will have a very significant impact on the WST's ability to continue serving these dinners.

If anyone is still interested in assisting this program, you can become a monthly sponsor for the dinners for $22 a month. You can commit to sponsor dinners for three months, six months, nine months, or one year at a time, or you can sign up for an ongoing donation that will continue for as long as you'd like. 

Each month you donate, your name will be placed on a donor list presented at each dinner that month at both locations (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center or Naval Medical Center San Diego).

Marines wading ashore on Tinian. (U.S. government photo)
This Week in Marine Corps History

Tinian Declared "Secure"

Seventy-one years ago this week, on August 1, 1944, Major General Harry Schmidt, commander of V Amphibious Corps, declared the island of Tinian secure. This declaration came after nine days of fighting Japanese forces that were occupying the island. 

The combination of surprise, heavy preassault bombardment, and effective logistical support resulted in significantly fewer casualties (344 killed and 1550 wounded) than were experienced in previous landings during the Corps' Pacific Campaign. As a result, the assault on Tinian was coined "the perfect amphibious operation of World War II."

Four U.S. Marine Corps Vought F4U-1 fighters armed with bombs in late 1943 or early 1944. (U.S. government photo)

"Black Sheep" Squadron Begins Marine Aviation Involvement in Korean War

Sixty-five years ago this week, on August 3, 1950, eight Corsair fighter planes launched from the USS Sicily and carried out the first Marine aviation mission in the Korean War. The raid targeted enemy installations with incendiary bombs, rockets, and strafing runs near Inchon, Korea. The Corsairs were with VMF-214, more famously known as the "Black Sheep" squadron of World War II.

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)
U.S. Troops and Aircraft Sent to Saudi Arabia

Twenty-five 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. 

Learning More About the Corps: Military Code of Conduct 

All service members receive training in the U.S. military's Code of Conduct at various times in their careers. 


The Code of Conduct, which was introduced by President Eisenhower in 1955, is based on time-honored concepts and traditions dating back to the American Revolution. 


The six articles outline the obligations and responsibilities of U.S. service members in harm's way.


Marine machine gunners conduct a live-fire and maneuver exercise as part of sustainment training at D'Arta Plage, Djibouti. ( Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Rome M. Lazarus)
Learning More About the Corps: Marine Corps Weapon Systems

While attending School of Infantry (SOI), your Marine will become acquainted with a variety of different weapons and weapon systems. This is a crucial component of Marine Corps training. Every Marine is a rifleman and any Marine may find him or herself faced with combat operations, whether he or she is an infantry Marine or not. Building combat-ready Marines (see video below) is absolutely paramount to the continued success of the Marine Corps. The first step in doing so is becoming familiar with Marine Corps weapons and tactics.

Marine Corps News

General Joseph Dunford (USMC photo)
Dunford Confirmed as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman

Last Wednesday, July 29, 2015, the United States Senate confirmed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford's nomination as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCOS).

Dunford, currently Commandant of the Marine Corps, was nominated for this position in May. Dunford has served as Commandant since October of last year. Prior to serving as Commandant, Dunford served as the Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan from February of 2013 until August of 2014, and previously commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dunford has been in the Corps for almost four decades, having received his commission in 1977 following his graduation from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. He will take over his role as chariman of the JCOS in September following the retirement of the current chairman, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo speaks to the guests after taking command of the 1st Marine Division from Maj. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 30, 2015. (Photo by Cpl. William Perkins)
1st Marine Division Command Change

Last Thursday, July 30, 2015, saw Brigadier General Daniel Yoo take command of the 1st Marine Division during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, California. 

Yoo, 55, is the first Korean-American general in Marine Corps history and took command from Major General Lawrence Nicholson and is now tasked with leading the more than 23,000 Marines now under his command. 

Yoo was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1985 following his graduation from Arizona State University. During his three decades in the Corps, Yoo has commanded infantry and reconnaissance units, as well as serving with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and at the Pentagon. Prior to taking command of the 1st Division, Yoo served as the Division's assistant commander. 

The CH-46 "Sea Knight" begins its landing during the CH-46 Retirement Ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum's Steven Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia Aug. 1, 2015.
Sea Knight Retired

This past Saturday, August 1, 2015, saw the Marine Corps bid farewell to the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter in a retirement ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum's Steven Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Sea Knights, or "Phrogs" as they were affectionately called by Marines, had been in use by the Corps for more than half a century, having first been introduced in 1964.

The Sea Knight was used to transport troops, equipment, and supplies and was in service in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In addition to transport, the helicopter also provided combat support, search and rescue support, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP).


The Sea Knight will be replaced by the MV-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft first fielded by the Corps in 2007. The Osprey is capable of traveling twice as fast as the Sea Knight and can transport nearly three times the payload.



Toran Gaal rides by USS Constitution in Charlestown, Massachusetts on July 22, 2015.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew R. Fairchild)
Double Amputee Marine Handcycles Across America 

This past Sunday, August 4, 2015, saw Marine veteran Toran Gaal complete his cross-country handcycling journey when he reached the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. 

Gaal, who lost both of his legs and 30% of his brain when he stepped on an IED in June of 2011, set out from San Diego on June 1 and completed his 63-day, 3,800 mile journey two days ahead of his original goal of 65 days. 

Gaal was alone on the road aside from a fellow injured Marine veteran following in a support van and undertook this journey to raise $40,000 for the organization that helped him through his recovery process, the Semper Fi Fund. 

Gaal surpassed his goal, raising more than $42,000. Gaal was greeted at the Marine Corps War Memorial by nearly 100 family members, friends, and supporters, including a number of Marines who served with Gaal in Afghanistan. Following a ceremony at the War Memorial, Gaal traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath in honor of those who never made it home.
De and her bulldog, Bella.
Meet the Team!
TMP Featured Participant: De Fringer

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.  Currently, there are over 50 members of Team Marine Parents™ around the country.

This week's TMP featured participant is the proud Marine mother of a Recon Marine and Marine veteran herself-- De Fringer. 

De is running for Team Marine Parents in this year's Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for the Warrior Support Team as a way to give back to those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. 

In addition to running in support of Warrior Support Team, De is running for several reasons that are personal to her. De's parents were laid to rest in Arlington, and she says that, " will be an honor to have the opportunity to participate in this event, running by these sacred grounds."


De is still working hard toward her goal of raising $500, but with your support and generosity we know she can get there in no time!

Thanks for being a part of the team, De, and good luck in October!

To learn more about De, or to donate to her campaign, please click here...
Are You From Alabama?


For more than 12 years we've been supporting poolee, recruit, and Marine parents and family members. Now we've added Official Groups on Facebook for parents and family members of Marines, recruits, and poolees. We invite you to come on in and join us in a Place to Connect and Share with other Marine Parents and family members.
Join this Official Facebook group to connect with other Marine Families in Alabama by clicking here...

To see a full list of our Facebook state groups, please click here..

Bibs Are Still Available!

Do you want to run in this year's Marine Corps Marathon (MCM)  but missed your chance to get a bib during this year's MCM registration lottery? Don't worry, Team Marine Parents (TMP) has your back! 

As an official MCM Charity Partner, TMP has bibs available for those who want to run in the marathon, all you have to do is join the team! 

TMP currently has 15 bibs remaining for this year's race. Each bib costs $130 (a $125 registration fee and a $5 processing fee) and runners must pledge to raise at least $500 for a outreach program of their choice in return for receiving their bib. 

Joining TMP is a great way to get in shape while raising money for a good cause and these bibs won't last long! Don't miss out on your chance to run in the 2015 MCM, join TMP today! 

Do You Know a Federal Employee?
Help Spread the Word!


In the spirit of giving back to others, we invite you to support us this year as we join in the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), and help us give back to the Marines who sacrifice so much on our behalf. 


The CFC is comprised of almost 200 charity campaigns throughout the country and overseas. All Federal civilian, postal, and military employees have an opportunity to choose from the CFC charities and pledge donations to the cause/s that matter most to them. In 2013 Federal employees contributed over $200 million dollars to CFC charities. While not all of you are Federal employees, each and every one of you can
help this campaign succeed!


 Click here to learn how you can help today!, Inc. is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) public charity founded on January 21, 2003 to provide support, information, and services to Marines and their family members, and to create opportunities for individuals to support our troops. In over 12 years of service, Marine Parents has made a huge impact in support of Marines, military personnel, and their family members.

Marine family members are encouraged to support one another through activities and networking provided by the organization and guided by trained volunteers. Outreach to injured troops is volunteer-centered with in-person contact. Additional troop-support centered programs are designed to actively engage individuals and communities across the United States while maintaining the privacy of military personnel. All services are offered free to family members, Marines and military personnel.

In 12 years of service, has:
  • Invested over $6 million delivering direct support to Marines, their families and other military personnel.
  • Provided information and a Place to Connect & Share® to more than 311,000 family members through a network of communities and educational websites.
  • Collected materials and shipped over 39,000 care packages to Marines and military personnel in combat zones.
  • Involved thousands of Americans in sending over 93,000 cards and letters to injured troops.
  • Served over 40,000 meals to injured troops and their families at military medical facilities on the east and west coasts.
  • Planned and carried out recreational events for hundreds of injured troops and their families.
  • Delivered materials and resources to aid in the recovery process to hundreds of family members of injured troops.
  • Provided support and networking to hundreds of Gold Star families.
Tracy Della Vecchia, Founder and Executive Director, leads the operations from the corporate office in Columbia, Missouri with staff, volunteers, and a volunteer Board of Directors. In addition to the moderated, OPSEC-compliant Marine Family Network (MFN), chat rooms and informative websites, several outreach programs to support Marines and families before, during and after the Marine Corps are provided by the organization. Funding for the programs is through donations, grants, fundraising and store sales. In 2009, the 15-item online store began expansion, eventually becoming the EGA Shop. In 2010, the production facility was established on-site to design and develop custom product, dramatically boosting sales and providing additional funding for the outreach programs. The organization is an official Marine Corps Trademark licensee.

Statistics updated January, 2015. 

Outreach Programs of, Inc.:

Warrior Support Team

Operation Prayers
and Letters

The Care Package

Gold Star
Family Support

Luminary Initiative
Gold Star Family Day

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