Author James Sanborn

Manpower and Reserve Affairs has a surprising message for Marines after months of drawdown doom and gloom. Yes, the Marine Corps is cutting 20,000 Marines by 2017 and competition is rising to new levels. But, there is still plenty of opportunity, Manpower officials insist. Eight months into the fiscal year, they are still struggling to fill hundreds of open billets in an array of MOSs that include a few of the usual suspects like intel, but also a few unexpected jobs, some of which carry thousands of dollars in re-up bonuses. The reason for the shortage is that many Marines…

Photos are emerging of new, slick green MV-22 Ospreys, now assigned to Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron One for presidential support. We first reported on the Osprey makeover in August 2011, after a solicitation for an Osprey VIP kit emerged. The aircraft is now finally part of the unit’s inventory and was welcomed at a May 4 introduction ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., where the unit is based. HMX-1, the unit that mans the president’s Marine One helicopter, will use the aircraft for so-called “greenside” missions. They will support White House travels by shuttling essential equipment, personnel and even…

The Cheers bar at Faneuil Hall in Boston is getting a military makeover that will see its walls decked with patches, command coins and other mementos. Bar management recently began tacking up unit patches and added command coin cases they are now working to fill as part of an initiative to transform the bar into a veteran-friendly watering hole. The original Cheers location, formerly known as the Bull & Finch Pub, which inspired the hit 1980s TV sitcom, is similarly regaled with law enforcement paraphernalia. The Faneuil Hall project is the brain child of medically retired David Perinchief, a combat…

This week’s Marine Corps Times takes readers behind the scenes at one of the service’s most secretive organizations — Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command. We gained rare access to sit down with its chief of staff, Col. Mark Butler, who told us the future has much in store for the young but burgeoning command. That includes ample career opportunity, generous financial incentives to join and stay, and an increasingly central role on the modern battlefield. Despite austerity measures across the Defense Department, leaders recognize the growing threat to the nation and its military machine from cyber attacks abroad. Those attacks…

Tabasco company chief executive officer and former Marine reservist Paul C.P. McIlhenny died Saturday in New Orleans of a heart attack at 68. See the company’s death announcement here. His family, and its proud Marine tradition, has served the Corps in battle and later during chow time for generations. In 1993, miniature Tabasco bottles were added to the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, where they remained a staple for years until DOD — in a cost-savings move — replaced them with small Tabasco pouches.  Nevertheless, the famous hot sauce continues to be a welcome bit of spice, saving deployed Marines…

[HTML1] Britain’s Prince Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot serving out of Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, recently spoke to CNN about his service during a 19-week deployment. During the interview, he made it clear he has no qualms about killing bad guys in support of coalition forces, which include U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan. “Our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground. Now, if that means shooting someone who is shooting at them, then we will do it,” he told CNN. He also spoke about the changing mission since he first flew down range in…

Year two of the drawdown is underway. While competition will remain stiff, there is good news for Marines who plan on fighting for a career in the Corps. Marine Corps Times recently sat down with the service’s top enlisted manpower planners and learned that voluntary force shaping measures like Temporary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Pay are taking hold. With thousands of Marines leaving the service each year on their own terms — sometimes with tens of thousands of dollars of cash — promotion backlogs that have made moving up a frustrating, sometimes-impossible prospect for many Marines are beginning…

This week’s Marine Corps Times takes a look at the Marine Corps’ intense efforts to bring all Marines in line with the service’s body fat standards. After the growth to 202,000 Marines ended, leadership cracked down on fat Marines, and thousands were assigned to the Body Composition Program in 2010. But with the drawdown now underway and competition at its peak, those numbers have fallen steadily each year since. Other services, which have also re-emphasized fitness standards, have seen even more dramatic results than the Marine Corps, with significant increases in the number of soldiers, sailors and airmen getting the…

A former Marine who unwittingly became an icon of the Iraq invasion is now planning to launch his own line of cigars in an effort to raise money for wounded service members. Retired Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popadich, immortalized in an April 2003 photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Laurent Rebours, will launch his new label called Cigar Marine this Saturday at an event in El Dorado Hills, Calif. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund with the goal of raising $1 million. For details on the event to be held at Art of…

Smoke the donkey, beloved Marine mascot and wounded warrior therapy animal passed away last night of natural causes, according to his Facebook page. After a harrowing, years-long journey that took him from the desert of Iraq to Nebraska via Kurdistan, Turkey, Germany and the glitz and glamor of New York, Smoke the Donkey has moved on to greener pastures. He was first adopted by the Marines of 1st Combat Logistics Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 2008 as a moral booster after they found him wandering injured at Camp Taqaddum near Fallujah, Iraq. A sergeant caught him roaming the…

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