August 13, 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!

Last week, the Senate confirmed the General (sel.) Robert Neller as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps. 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.

General Robert Neller (USMC photo)
Neller Confirmed as Next Commandant

Last week, General (sel.) Robert Neller was confirmed by the Senate as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps. He will take over the position later this year from current-Commandant General Joseph Dunford, who is leaving the post to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September.

Neller, a native of East Lasing, Michigan, and attended the University of Virginia, where he received his commission through Officer Candidates School via the Platoon Leaders Class program in May 1975. He will be the 37th Commandant in the history of the Corps.

Neller currently serves as Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and will be the Corps' third Commandant in the space of a year, as General Dunford was selected for his new role as JCOS chair just months into his tenure. 

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. Originally, we made it our goal to cross the 100,000 card and letter threshold by September 1 of this year, but have decided to extend the deadline to October 1 to allow students to have one last chance to send us letters after the new school year begins later this month.

So far, we've sent more than 98,000 cards. That means we have less than two months 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. 

Aerial view of Henderson Field - Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands - 11 April 1943 (U.S. Navy photo)
This Week in Marine Corps History

Henderson Field Secured

Seventy-three 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.

Learning More About the Corps: Permanent Duty Stations

Marines are assigned to a PDS, or Permanent Duty Station, when formal training (Bootcamp, SOI, and MOS) is complete. Your Marine may be stationed at any number of permanent duty stations around the world, depending on his/her MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty (the job that your Marine will do in the Marine Corps).

The Unit Information Pages™ (UIP), is a searchable database exclusively from, Inc. By searching the database for your Marine's PDS, you'll find a page full of helpful information, links, message boards, FRO names, and phone numbers. To search for your Marine's unit in the UIP, please click here...
An instructor with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group's Corporal's Course assists a noncommissioned officer with sword drill movements aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 20, 2014. (USMC photo Cpl. Shawn Valosin)
Learning More About the Corps: NCO Sword

Adopted in 1859, the United States Marine Corps NCO sword is carried by Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs).

Currently used solely for ceremonial purposes, the M1859 NCO sword was introduced by the sixth Commandant of the Marine Corps, Colonel John Harris in recognition of the leadership of NCOs/SNCOs in combat.

The Marine Corps NCO sword is the oldest weapon in continuous use in the United States military (the USMC Officer's sword, the "Mameluke," was introduced prior to the NCO sword, but was out of use during the early years of the Civil War).

Scheperle during his time in the Corps.
Iwo Jima Marine Dies

On Sunday, August 9, John Scheperle, Jr., one of the last living Marines to serve on Iwo Jima, passed away in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was 90 years old.

Scheperle, who followed in his older brother's footsteps and joined the Marines in 1943 after graduating from Jefferson City High School, was a member of the 3rd Platoon, E-Company, 28th Marines. The platoon is famous for capturing Mt. Suribachi and planting an American  flag on its summit, as was captured in Joe Rosenthal's iconic image that was used as the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial, and is believed to be the most decorated platoon in Marine Corps history for a single engagement.

Joe Rosenthal's photo of the flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi (released).
Scheperle earned two Purple Hearts on Iwo Jima, the first after he received a shrapnel wound to his arm from an exploding mortar, the second after he was shot days later, the bullet entering under his right arm and exiting through his left shoulder. Scheperle's shrapnel wound prevented him from having the opportunity to take part in the mission to capture the summit of Mt. Suribachi, as he was recovering on a hospital ship, the
USS Samaritan, at the time. The initial treatment of his gunshot wound was provided by Navy Corpsman John Bradley, one of the six men who helped raise the flag.

After the war, Scheperle returned home to Jefferson City and married Carolyn. The two had three children and John worked in the construction industry until his retirement in 1990. 
Dale with his medals from the various races he's participated in.
Meet the Team!
TMP Featured Participant: Dale Larson

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 father-- Dale Larson. 

Dale became a Marine father in 2009 and two years later, in 2011, Dale and his wife, Lori, visited a Marine who had been seriously wounded in Afghanistan at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego (also known as Balboa) and contacted Marine Parents to see if there were any services available in San Diego to help support this young Marine, his wife, and his daughter. We put them in touch with what was then our Purple Heart Hero Support™ program, now the Warrior Support Team™ (WST), and the rest is history! 

Since attending his first Thursday meal at Balboa, Dale has been a constant fixture at the weekly dinners and in July of 2014, he took over as the leader of the WST-West and is now in charge of providing resources, support, and fellowship to recovering warriors at Balboa, as well as coordinating the dinners themselves. Dale's dedication is all the more impressive considering the fact that he took charge of the WST-West shortly after completing chemotherapy.
This year, as a member of Team Marine Parents, Dale has run in several half marathons, with more to come, in support of the Warrior Support Team. As part of his recovery from cancer last year, Dale set a personal goal of completing at least one half marathon per month this year, and so far he is on track.

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

Thanks for being a part of the team, Dale, your unwavering support is greatly appreciated!

To learn more about Dale, or to donate to his campaign, please click here...
Are You From Missouri?


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 Missouri by clicking here...

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

Red Friday

Beginning in 2005, military supporters across America started wearing red on Fridays to show support for the service members who protect our freedoms and way of life around the world. In the decade since, thousands of individuals, organizations, and businesses have taken up this cause and joined in observing "Red Fridays," as they've come to be known, to show their support for our men and women in uniform. This act of solidarity is intended to let American service members know that their sacrifices are recognized and appreciated, and that a grateful nation hasn't forgotten what those service members do for us on a daily basis.

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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