In 1996, the Marine Corps University Foundation formally expanded funding beyond the University at Quantico and began supporting the Operating Forces and Supporting Establishment with the Command Support Program. This program provides funding of $85,000 annually to over 84,000 Marines worldwide. The Professional Military Education (PME) Program provides funding for battlefield studies, staff rides, visiting scholars and other professional military events. The following is a recent example of what we have assisted.
February 2012, Marines from Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division returned from Afghanistan. Captain Paul Tremblay, USMC, the Company Commander and a graduate from academic year 2010 – 11 Expeditionary Warfare School and Quatrefoil Club coordinator, wanted his Marines to have a momentous return from the war zone. Through his initiative and leadership he arranged a Professional Military Education opportunity for the Company. They bussed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.
The most important reason for the visit, and the first thing they did was to visit their wounded comrades at Walter Reed Medical Center. The next day the Company was able to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps; tour Washington and its many sites, monuments, and memorials; and finally, present four Purple Heart Medals to Marines wounded in Afghanistan at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. This reunion was memorable and offered some closure for the returning Marines and their wounded brothers-in- arms, whom they had not seen since the wounded were medevaced from the battlefield. The entire trip was a reflection of Captain Tremblay’s leadership and commitment to the Marines of Company B; it epitomized the kinship between all Marines, but especially those who have shared foxholes with one another. The following is Captain Tremblay's perspective on the trip.
"As you know, the 165 Marines of Company B recently completed a trip, via commercial busing, to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to reconnect with our 16 wounded warriors. This trip exceeded our expectations; serving as an excellent venue to reduce the uncertainty of what happens to a Marine when adversity strikes; showing them first-hand the truly remarkable care and support our wounded receive, and catapulted our healing process while reinforcing the efforts of the hospital staff, the Wounded Warrior Regiment, and the many units forward deployed who have comrades undergoing treatment but cannot get to them. It was covered by several national and regional news agencies and absolutely served as a proof of concept for the proper reintegration of our combat veterans.
This trip did in fact also serve as a means to reinvigorate the espirit de corps, professionalism and brotherhood of Company B. Traveling in our service uniforms; touring the National Capital, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the National Marine Corps Museum before returning to Camp Lejeune, we used the opportunity to highlight the history of our Corps and country and solidify the importance of preserving our Corps values in everything we do. We dined with the students and staff of The Basic School in the Hansen Room, courtesy of Colonel Julian Alford, enjoying the camaraderie of several eager second lieutenants and seasoned captains; sharing our combat experiences and lessons learned. We also had the privilege of staying at the prestigious Officer Candidate School barracks; courtesy of Colonel Kris J. Stillings.
With the Marine Corps University Foundations help, we were able to, for the first time, trace the correlation between timely immersive professional military education combined with proper professional recognition and the reduction of post deployment aggression, alcohol abuse, and the myriad of other combat stress related statistics that have plagued our Corps’ combat units over the last decade following a difficult combat deployment. I am pleased to report that as an infantry company; we have not had a single liberty incident since returning from theatre – another highlight in Black Iron’s illustrious history.
Thank you for taking the time to consider and facilitate our request. "
P. D. Tremblay Jr
To see CNN coverage of Company B's visit with their wounded brother Marines, please click here.
To read an article from Stars and Stripes about the Purple Heart Ceremony, please click here.
Once Home: Leading the Way Lance Cpl. Adrian Simone, a rifleman with 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, throws up both hands to represent 1st Bn., 6th Marines at the end of the 2nd Marine Division run aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 20. The Boonton, N.J., native lost both of his legs from the knee down after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Sangin, located in the southwest corner of Afghanistan. Sgt. Bryan Peterson was at the run taking photos and had this to say: "I was out with the 2nd Marine Division run this morning, around 16,000 Marines, and this Marine who lost both his legs and part of his left thumb from an IED blast in Afghanistan, was asked by his superior if he needed to get out of the formation to rest. He said, 'No sir,' and started screaming his unit's name, '1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.' Truly humbling. I was speechless. Where do we find such awesome men?" (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Solano)