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01-24-06, 08:35 AM
January 30, 2006

Marine News Briefs

Drinking age debate

Two New Hampshire state representatives faced off over a plan to lower the drinking age for military members.

Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, is sponsoring the plan. He said Jan. 17 that it is unconscionable that 18-, 19- and 20-year-old service members are put in harm’s way, then treated with disrespect when it comes to drinking.

In 1983, Splaine sponsored the legislation that increased the drinking age to 21 but now says he has concluded it was an experiment that doesn’t work.

However, Rep. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, told the House Judiciary Committee that 29 states lowered the drinking age for the military in the early 1970s, and many soon saw an increase in drunken-driving accidents.

That’s no way to thank young people in the military, she said.

Academy sentries no more

A Naval Academy tradition that lasted 155 years has come to an end.

The Marines of the United States Naval Academy Company, Marine Barracks Washington, were released from their security duties in a Jan. 13 ceremony. They are being replaced by enlisted sailors.

The leathernecks have provided security at the gates and for dignitaries’ visits and special events on the Annapolis, Md., campus since before the Civil War.

Dozens of military installations across the nation have turned to civilian security officers in recent years, and the Navy is leaving that option open for the academy.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., brought on a private security firm in 2004.

The sentries will bolster U.S. forces stretched thin by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to a Corps news release, the company was disestablished as part of the Fleet Assistance Program, a Marine Corps headquarters directive that supplies the operating forces with more Marines from the infantry and military police military occupational specialties.

“Obviously, we can use those Marines in more significant roles,” said Gary Solis, a West Point professor and former official historian for the Corps who frequently lectures at the Naval Academy. “But it’s too bad a tradition like that has to end.”

Some get incorrect W-2s

About 1,000 Marines will receive corrected W-2 forms, a Jan. 17 Corps-wide message said.

MarAdmin 17/06 said wage information was not reported on the tax forms of Marines who received combat-zone tax exclusions, lump-sum leave, selective re-enlistment bonuses, separation pay and disability severance pay from Dec. 22-31, 2005.

“Affected Marines must use the corrected W-2 to file their 2005 tax returns,” the message said. “If affected Marines have already used the erroneous W-2 to file their 2005 tax returns, they may be required to file an amended return for 2005 and should consult with a qualified tax preparer for advice.”

‘Superman’ rescue

A leatherneck stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, met the Japanese man whose life he had saved more than a month earlier, a Marine Corps news release said.

Sgt. Bryan Stinger, with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, met Masayoshi Tanabe at the air station Jan. 10. Stinger saved Tanabe from a fire Nov. 5, the release said.

According to the report, Tanabe was filling a generator that had been leaking fuel without his knowledge when his pants caught fire.

Stinger was nearby when he heard screams.

“When I looked over to see what was going on, I saw flames rising about three to four feet high around a black car,” said Stinger, who was a volunteer firefighter before joining the Corps.

Stinger grabbed a fire extinguisher and asked the bartender to call the fire department. He battled the fire until emergency personnel arrived.

Unable to communicate with the Japanese firefighters, Stinger left the scene in their control and returned to his meal.

The 21-year-old Marine said he did what anyone else would have done, but Tanabe credits Stinger with saving his life.

“I thought he was superman,” Tanabe said.

Scammers pose as Marines

The old “Nigerian prince” scam is making the e-mail rounds again, but this time the prince has been replaced by a Marine in a swindle to get recipients to reveal their bank account information, a Jan. 18 Consumer Affairs report said.

Officials at the Internet security firm Sophos say they have intercepted a sudden burst of spam e-mails, purportedly from a Sgt. Richard Murphy of the “Military Engineering Unit” in Iraq.

In a variation of what’s known as the standard 419 scam, the e-mail promises the recipients mountains of cash if they turn over bank account information and pay some “processing” fees.

“We have about $15 million that we want to move out of the country. My colleagues and I need a good partner, someone we can trust. This is a risk-free and legal business (oil money),” the message reads.

Security experts say scammers simply change their approach from time to time.

CNO promotes 3/1 doc

Sacramento, Calif., native Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Morgan Bradley was meritoriously promoted at Haditha Dam, Iraq, by the chief of naval operations Jan. 3.

Adm. Michael Mullen and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry Scott stepped off a helicopter and made their way to an awaiting formation of corpsmen from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines.

“You should be proud of [Bradley]; he is a reflection of the kind of people we have representing the Navy,” Mullen said. “Your reputation is what makes the Navy what it is today.”

He then read aloud the warrant making Bradley a petty officer second class.

Bradley also earned the Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V” device for his action risking his own life to help wounded Marines during the battle for Fallujah in November 2004.

01-24-06, 08:36 AM
January 30, 2006 <br />
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01-24-06, 08:37 AM
January 30, 2006

Around the Corps

Compiled from military and other public sources.


3/1 Marines and Iraqi troops find weapons

Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Marines and Iraqi soldiers discovered a weapons dump near Ramadi that included rockets, armor-piercing rounds and explosives.

According to a Jan. 15 Marine Corps news release, the discovery was made Jan. 14 during a patrol by leathernecks with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines.

The dump consisted of 11 buried caches of weapons, the military said, and excavation concluded Jan. 15. Included in the weapons dump were 137 artillery rounds, 56 mortar rounds, 47 rockets, armor-piercing rounds and 1,900 pounds of explosives.

About 4,000 pounds of explosives, including the other items, were blown up by explosive ordnance disposal Marines.

Iraqis sign up to join police

About 200 Iraqi men recently applied to become Iraqi police recruits in the Qaim region, a Jan. 12 Marine Corps news release said.

According to Capt. Cameron Grams, the assessment team leader for Police Program Partnership, it is the first time a police force has been established within the region since the old regime was toppled.

Before Marines from Regimental Combat Team 2 and Iraqi troops swept the region of enemy fighters, the police force would have been driven out of town.

The new police applicants went through a screening process that included an application and security clearance, as well as physical-fitness and reading tests.

Photographs and fingerprint and iris scans were taken for every applicant. “We do that to determine if some of these guys have been detained,” said Sgt. Michael Schmidt, an artilleryman attached to the Police Partnership Program.

Selected applicants will be sent to the Baghdad Police Academy, where they will spend 10 weeks learning basic law enforcement and civil rights.

After graduation, they will return to the Qaim region, receive additional training and go to work as policemen, the release said.


3/5 heads to Iraq for third tour

Leathernecks with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, recently headed back to the desert.

According to a Marine Corps news release, the devil dogs of 3/5 bid their families farewell at Camp Pendleton’s Camp San Mateo on Jan. 7 before a seven-month deployment to Iraq.

“I’ve [deployed] twice, and this is the third time,” said Cpl. Jason Plank. “So I feel confident were going to succeed.”

It is the battalion’s third deployment to Iraq, a Pendleton spokesman said.

“I have to leave my family, which is not always easy,” Staff Sgt. Geoffrey McCurdy said. “So as long as the Marine Corps needs me, I’ll be there.”

South Carolina

Thunderbolts train at NAS Fallon

Marines and sailors from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 and Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 86 departed Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., on Jan. 7 for a monthlong exercise at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., a Marine Corps news release said.

According to Capt. Jay Zarra, the ground safety officer and a pilot for VMFA 251, the exercise will prepare the squadron for a deployment to the aircraft carrier Enterprise later this year.

The squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. John Jansen, said the exercise will bring the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 1 together to fight as a team.

According to the release, Marines from the squadron will work alongside their Navy counterparts and participate in air-to-air and air-to-ground exercises.

The recently qualified “boat squadron” will also be evaluated on its ability to function on an aircraft carrier.