August 21, 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. 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. 

Marine Raiders in Operation at Makin Island, 1943. (U.S. government photo)
This Week in Marine Corps History

Marine Raiders Strike Makin Island

Seventy-three years ago this week, on August 17, 1942, the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under LtCol Evans F. Carlson landed on Makin Island.

The Raiders, who were launched from the submarines Nautilus and Argonaut, destroyed a seaplane base, two radio stations, and a supply warehouse, in addition to killing approximately 100 Japanese soldiers before leaving the island the following day.

PFC James Anderson Jr. (USMC photo)
PFC James Anderson Jr.

Forty-seven years ago this week, on August 21, 1968, Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to PFC James Anderson Jr. for heroism in Vietnam, the first time an African-American Marine received this medal (and one of only five African-American Marines to ever be awarded this medal). The award was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson, Sr., at Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington D.C. This event was also notable in that it indicated the Marine Corps was evolving and that some of the long-standing prejudices within the Corps (namely those against minority Marines) were being eroded.

Care Package Project Comes to a Close

We'd like to thank everyone who has helped make our pack days so special over the last 10 years. With your steadfast dedication to our troops, we've sent more than 40,000 care packages over the last decade. This level of support is truly amazing.

For those of you who have donated funds to the Care Package Project (CPP) over the years and would like to continue assisting our men and women in uniform, we encourage you to learn about the Warrior Support Team (WST). Like the CPP, the WST directly benefits service members by addressing some of the most difficult, yet unacknowledged, challenges that our veterans face in Post-traumatic stress and reintegration into civilian society. We hope that our donors will continue their contributions once the men and women they've supported overseas finally come home.

If you have any further questions, please click here, call our office at 573-449-2003, or email us at
Farley-Kluger Initiative Update

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 3,000 American children between the ages of one and 14 die suddenly each year from accidents. As such, on May 12, 2015, Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation, the Parental Bereavement Act, to protect grieving parents from losing their jobs in the event of their child's death. The same day, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), introduced a companion bill to the Education and the Workforce, Oversight and Government Reform, and House Administration committees in the House of Representatives.

The legislation has yet to be passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but support for it has grown in the more than three months since its introduction, with more than 95,000 supporters signing an online petition and numerous additional Representatives and Senators lending their support as well. 

Marine Corps News

Marine veterans Jim Tracy, F.W. "Mike" East, and Larry C. Morris served as Marine Security Guards at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba from 1960-1961. (U.S.government photo)
Marine Veterans Return to Havana to Raise Flag

On Jan. 4, 1961, U.S. Marines Jim Tracy, F.W. "Mike" East and Larry C. Morris lowered the American flag outside the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, for what they thought would be the last time. Last Friday, August 14, the three Marine veterans, now in their 70s, returned to Havana to witness the reopening of the American Embassy in Cuba more than five decades after they last left the island.

To mark the reopening of the embassy, Tracy, East, and Morris took part in a flag-raising ceremony with Secretary of State John Kerry. The reopening of the embassy is a significant step in the process of normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States.

Maj. Gen. Nelson. (USMC photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Sherba)
Marine Corps Merges African, European Commands

On Tuesday, August 18, in a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, Major General Neil Nelson took charge of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, as part of a merger of commands as officials work to streamline the Corps' post-war crisis response mission.

Prior to Tuesday's change of command, Marine forces in Europe were under the command of Lieutenant General Robert Neller, while Marines in Africa were under the command of Major General William Beydler.

 MCMAP training. (USMC photo by  Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos)
UFC Fighters Take on MCMAP Experts

A video showing five Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters experiencing the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) has been making rounds on YouTube and social media recently. In the video, the five fighters, one of whom is Marine Corps veteran Brian Stann, traveled to Quantico, Virginia's Marine Corps Martial Arts Center of Excellence, better known as MACE. After spending the morning watching demonstration of tactics and techniques, the fighters took turns trying to take down their Marine instructors. All of the fighters were badly outmatched.

A F-35B Lightning II with Marine Operational and Test Evaluation Squadron 22 sits under a canopy while Marines conduct post flight checks aboard Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 9, 2014. (USMC photo by Cpl. Owen Kimbrel)
F-35B Declared Operational

On July 31, the Marine Corps announced that its newest fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning II, reached initial operational capability, with a squadron of 10 F-35Bs ready for worldwide deployment.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), based in Yuma, Arizona, is the first squadron in military history to become operational with an F-35 variant.

The Corps has trained and qualified more than 50 F-35B pilots and certified approximately 500 maintenance personnel to provide maintenance support for the planes. Eventually, the F-35 will replace the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler.

VA Launches No-Cost Training Programs

Just over two weeks ago, on August 5, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced the launching of two new training programs. The programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, are intended to help service members and veterans from all eras learn skills, earn credentials, and advance in civilian careers after their military servie comes to an end.

The programs are part of the VA's Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI), which promotes education and employment opportunities for veterans through integrated networks of support in 50 cities around the country.

Fritz Payne. (USMC photo)
Marine Fighter "Ace" Dies at 104

Just over two weeks ago, on August 6, retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Frederick R. "Fritz" Payne, believed to be the oldest surviving American fighter Ace, died at the age of 104 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. 

Payne, who was born in Palmyra, New York, attended the U.S. Naval Academy for two years before graduating from the University of Arizona in 1935. Following his graduation, joined the Marine Corps and became a Marine Aviator.

In September and October of 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Payne earned the title of "Ace" for shooting down four Japanese bombers and two fighter planes.

During his time in the Corps, Payne, who retired in 1958, earned the Navy Cross, a Silver Star, and a Distinguished Flying Cross, among numerous other medals. 

Three Montford Point Marines on liberty. (USMC photo)
Montford Point Marines Honored in Louisville

Earlier this week, four Montford Point Marines from Louisville, Kentucky were posthumously honored with Congressional Gold Medals, the highest civilian award in the country. 

The ceremony, which took place on Tuesday, August 18, saw Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY) present the awards to the families of John Covington, Alonzo Crumes, Edward Polin and Herbert Thompson Jr. Additionally, the families of two Montford Point Marines who had previously received the award received certificates of recognition.

The official party at the dedication ceremony of the John W. Warner Center for Advanced Military Studies and the Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Simmons Center for Marine Corps History unveil a portrait of Simmons at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Aug. 7, 2015. (USMC photo by Sgt Terry Brady)
Marine Corps University Building Dedications

Two weeks ago, on August 7, more than 600 students and faculty of the Marine Corps University attended a dedication ceremony at the John W. Warner Center for Advanced Military Studies in Quantico, Virginia.  

The ceremony honored the accomplishments of John W. Warner, a Marine Veteran who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1972-1974 and is a former Senator of Virginia and Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, a Marine who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The Albany Running Mamas.
Meet the Team!
TMP Featured Participants: The Albany Running Mamas 

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 participants are three women from Albany, New York who will be participating in the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon this October--Kristen Diesel, Melissa Mansfield, and Kelly Mateja.

Kristen, Melissa, and Kelly are part of a larger running group in Albany, the Albany Running Mamas. The Albany Running Mamas is a self-described group of, "dozens of women who leave behind hundreds of kids to run thousands of miles every year. [They] hit the roads and trails before the sun rises and after everyone is tucked into bed." 

Kristen is a mother of two and a commercial real estate analyst and leasing manager who began running in 2005 but really fell in love with the sport three years ago after meeting the Albany Running Mamas. The Marine Corps Marathon will be the second marathon she's competed in.

Melissa is a mother of twins who works as a healthcare public relations communicator and is the proud daughter of a Vietnam Marine. She began running in 2011 and this will be her first marathon.

Kelly is a mother of three who works as an aging services professional and is the daughter of a Navy Seabee who began running after the birth of her first child 11 years ago. This will be her third marathon, and second Marine Corps Marathon.

The Albany Running Mamas are nearly at their goal of raising $500, and with your support and generosity we know they can get there in no time!

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

To learn more about The Albany Running Mamas, or to donate to their campaign, please click here...
Are You From Kentucky?


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 Kentucky by clicking here...

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

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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