Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hercules Upgraded

The Marines recently received the first upgraded KC-130T Hercules from Lockheed-Martin. The upgraded defensive systems and night vision lighting put the aircraft on par with the newer KC-130J models. Lockheed-Martin completed the upgrades in about five months, but is expecting future upgrades of the other KC-130Ts to only take about three or four months. After a few months of flight testing, the upgraded KC-130T is scheduled to return to Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 234 based in Fort Worth, Texas.

7-Month Deployments to Continue

The Marine Corps is planning to continue rotating Marines between home and deployments in seven-month cycles for the next few years. Typically, this is sustained up to four cycles. Although seven months is a long time away from home, it is five months less than the deployment schedule that the Army is currently using.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Operation Rubicon Yields Multiple Large Weapons Caches

More than 500 mortar rounds, 500 blasting caps (used to detonate IEDs), nearly 100 artillery rounds, over 130 rocket-propelled grenades, an excess of 120 grenades, 22 mines, 10 mortar tubes, 20 rifles and machine guns, 18 sets of body armor and various other items including sniper rifles, binoculars and bayonets were recently found and seized by 2nd Recon Battalion Marines of 3rd Battalion 2 Marine Regiment.

Fellowship of Valor

In 1997, the History Channel released Fellowship of Valor: The Battle History of the United States Marines based on the book by Colonel Joe Alexander. The film is 150 minutes long and is now available for DVD-quality download from the newly announced Amazon.com Unbox Video Downloads for only $1.99.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pied Piper of Saipan Played His Final Note

U.S. Marine Guy Gabaldon earned the nickname, "The Pied Piper of Saipan", and a Navy Cross for single-handedly persuading more than 1,500 Japanese to surrender in 1944. More than 800 of them surrendered on one day - July 8th, 1944. His method was to approach the caves and emplacements the Japanese were in and convince them to surrender rather than commit suicide using some informal Japanese language that he learned from a foster family.

In 1990, he published his memoirs as Saipan: Suicide Island. In the book he says, "I promised that they would be treated with dignity, and that we would make sure that they were taken back to Japan after the war." The 1960 movie, Hell to Eternity, is based on his story.

Gabaldon was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but initially received the Silver Star instead. That award was later upgraded to the Navy Cross.

He succumbed to a heart attack on Thursday, August 31st, 2006. He was 80 years old.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Marines Surpass First-Time Reenlistment Goal

The Marine Corps has been able to retain more Marines than the goal that they set by using incentives such as cash bonuses, lateral moves, choice of duty station, and special assignments. The goal was to keep 5,892 of the eligible first-timers. As of August 23rd, they had 90 Marines above that goal that had reenlisted.

Semper Fi, Marines!