Browsing: History and heritage

The Smithsonian launched a year-long celebration of the Marine Corps’ aviation centennial Jan. 11 with an exhibit entitled “Fly Marines!” The exhibit, created in conjunction with the National Museum of the Marine Corps, will draw on the Corps’ coffers of more than 5,500 works by 350 artists. The works were generated by the Marine Corps Arts Program, founded in 1942 to document the lives of Marines in combat and at home. The exhibit will run through Jan. 6, 2013.

Above, you see the destroyer Jason Dunham. It’s named after Cpl. Jason Dunham, who covered a grenade with his helmet on April 14, 2004, in an attempt to shield the blast from fellow Marines. He died eight days later, and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism on Jan. 11, 2007. No human being in their right mind would question the naming of the ship. It’s a logical, sensible case in which a class of ship frequently used to honor war heroes memorialized one of the greatest heroes of the Iraq war. It’s no secret that the Navy…

The Home of the Commandants at Marine Barracks Washington is a living museum where all who enter or are fortunate enough to live there are surrounded by artists’ renditions of some of the most famous faces, places and battles in the Marine Corps’ history. Completed in 1806, the historic landmark is the oldest continuously occupied home in Washington and the names of many of the artists whose works adorn the walls have long since faded into the past. So, when Staff Sgt. Kristopher Battles was chosen to create the home’s newest painting, he knew it would be one for the…

On Saturday night, I attended my first commandant’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball in National Harbor, Md. It was an impressive event with excellent food and music and a guest list that included more than a dozen general officers, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the Corps’ recent Medal of Honor recipient. As is customary, the Marine Corps gave each of the estimated 3,000 guests a gift. This year’s was a 10-inch miniature Marine officer’s sword letter opener, complete with sheath and intricate detailing. The swords were made by Weyersberg, Kirschbaum and Cie, of Soligen, Germany. It bills itself…

So I was watching The Daily Show last night, and on came a clip spoofing the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. That’s no surprise. The twist came when host Jon Stewart noted that the movement had vowed to take over the park, “if only to erect a monument to what was perhaps the occupiers’ biggest challenge.” That fictional monument looked like this: The bit got a good laugh, playing on the perceived messiness of the “facilities” at the park, where protesters have demonstrated against the state of the economy, corporate greed, unemployment and other social ills. “They…

By now, you’ve probably heard that Justin Timberlake did indeed attend a Marine Corps birthday ball last night in Richmond, Va., with Cpl. Kelsey De Santis. The Corps has released the photograph above, and there are others floating around online. Timberlake just weighed in on the experience on his website. To say he appreciated the evening would appear to be an understatement. A passage from his note: To all of you that serve every day for us… Ensuring our freedom, I say: My deepest gratitude to you. I’ve met so many of my heroes… From Michael Jordan to Michael Jackson.…

Marines heading out to sea in any of the Navy’s fleet of amphibious ships get quickly and acutely familiar with a few spaces inside those large gray warfighting hulls: their berthing space, the ship’s gym and the enlisted mess decks. There’s usually nothing spectacular about those spaces, which are often crowded and offer little in the way of physical privacy or familiar comforts of home. But aboard Makin Island, the Navy’s newest big-deck amphibious assault ship and homeported in San Diego, what would have been some storage area off the main mess decks has been remade into a cozier space…

Sometimes, the little things mean a lot. The Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs showed that this morning, dedicating its conference room to Maj. Megan McClung, the first female Marine officer killed during the Iraq war. McClung, 34, was killed when her up-armored Humvee hit an improvised explosive device on Dec. 6, 2006, in Ramadi, the site of some of the most violent fighting in the war. She had been serving as a public affairs officer for Multi-National Force West, which was led at the time by Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer. About 20 Marines and a small handful of media…

This Sunday, Marines will gather at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, N.C., near Camp Lejeune to mark the day 28 years ago when 220 of their brothers were killed in a terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon. Also killed in the Oct. 23, 1983, attack were 18 sailors and three soldiers. It was a bright Sunday morning at 6:22 when a man drove a five-ton truck laden with more than 12,000 pounds of TNT straight into the base of the building and…

The Marine Corps Birthday is still a few weeks away, but the service extended one tradition tonight by posting its annual birthday video message. Featuring narration by Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, the Corps’ top enlisted Marine, it honors Marines everywhere, with special appreciation set aside for those who served in World War II and since the attacks on 9/11. Watch it here: [HTML1] The commandant and sergeant major filmed pieces of the message in New York City and in the Washington, D.C., area at both the World War II Memorial and the Pentagon. They also…

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