Author Gina Cavallaro

Bad behavior, bad publicity and bad timing on it all has got the commandant on the road to get Marines to clean up their acts. It’s called the “heritage brief” and it doesn’t sound like any speech you’ve ever heard from Gen. Amos; a deep dive into recent horrible news headlines and a frank discussion of the abhorrent behavior that led to them. The brief is also a sort of remember-who-you-are session, something Amos called a “family discussion” rather than an “ass-chewing.”  So far, only staff NCOs and officers have seen this brief, but there will soon be a video…

The tape test is the only DOD-approved method of measuring body fat for members of the military. But some say it is inexact (which the Marine Corps acknowledges) and that it is unfair to large Marines who have an excellent appearance but run the risk of ending up in the body composition program for exceeding height and weight standards for their age groups. This week’s cover discusses this issue through the case of Sgt. Joshua Legier, 28, who at 6-feet 3-inches tall and 246 pounds exceeds his weight limit for his height. He got even bigger when he was on…

In more than 10 years of war, the Navy Cross has been awarded to 31 Marines and seven sailors. Ten Navy Crosses were awarded posthumously. On Friday, two California-based Marines — Cpl. Christopher Farias and Sgt. Cliff Wooldridge — were present and accounted for as they received the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor. Their stories will live on and join those of scores of legendary Marines. At Camp Pendleton, Farias received his award at a morning ceremony for his ferocious will to fight and direct the counterattack of an ambush in Kajaki, Afghanistan, on Oct. 5,…

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter continues to feverishly pursue the Medal of Honor for fallen Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who scooped a grenade under his body to save other Marines in Fallujah, Iraq on Nov. 15, 2004, according to Marines who saw him do it. He was awarded the Navy Cross – even though the Marine Corps recommended him for the Medal of Honor – after the Defense Department convened its own panel which concluded the evidence for the nation’s highest award for combat valor was not sufficient. Peralta’s family rejected the Navy Cross. Hunter has doggedly pursued the higher…

[HTML1]In this week’s Marine Corps Times, you may have read with disgust the story of a man who lied his way into a circle of trust in Canada by posing as a Marine with PTSD. Behind the story about the unscrupulous faker was the story of the REAL infantryman who became his victim. He is Cpl Chris Dupee, a  GRUNT with eight years in the 3rd Royal Canadian Regiment who actually has PTSD. He is a combat vet and is on a mission to help others deal with it, too. His organization is called Military Minds and his Facebook page…

By the end of this week, this picture had circulated widely, and all I could think of was Chuck Schantag, a retired Marine infantryman whose mission was to expose people like this. This  “Marine-SEAL-EOD master gunnery sergeant,” a man of fantasy who has not yet been identified by name, has been called plenty of names by those who’ve sen the picture. Troops, supporters of troops and probably even some hippies are incensed. He’s wearing almost every ribbon in the inventory including World War II, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, plus a Navy Cross, a SEAL trident, the EOD “crab,” an aiguillette,…

[brightcove video=”1492242292001″ /] A swing through Jacksonville, N.C., just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sywanyk’s. It’s a bar in a building that is so filled with Marine Corps memorabilia that it almost defies description. In fact, retired Sgt. Maj. Ihor Sywanyk, owner of the one-of-a-kind bar/museum can only describe it this way: “You just come on right in, I won’t charge you and I might even buy you a drink…  you will be impressed and amazed and if you don’t like it, don’t come back… but they always come back,” he told me on my third visit. Sywanyk…

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga., an Army post about 90 miles south of Atlanta, were treated to a gargantuan BOOM recently by the Leathernecks who train there. An Army TV news correspondent starts her report by saying the U.S. Marine armor school detachment there,  “made history… by detonating some of the largest explosions Fort Benning has ever seen.” A group of combat engineers was having some fun… er, conducting a training exercise with their mine clearing line charge, known as the MCLC and pronounced mik-lik,  from their assault breacher vehicle and set off the kind of awesome explosion that makes…

With an exception to a long-standing Pentagon policy, female Marines in the ranks of captain, gunnery sergeant and staff sergeant will be permitted to serve in combat arms units below the division level. But don’t expect to see women in infantry battalions yet. The Corps is only cracking the door open for women at this point and will place them in units through the normal assignment process in staff positions for select military occupational specialties newly opened up for female officers and enlisted women. Marines assigned to combat arms battalions will begin seeing women occupying these staff positions sometime in…

[HTML1] Making the rounds today is a video posted on You Tube by Matteroni2 that made us laugh our butts off. It shows a guy screaming in sheer terror on a giant slingshot ride in Orlando, Fla., while his friend tells him “it was worth it just to hear you scream like a little girl.” Apparently the screamer is a Marine, but it’s hard to tell for sure. Before the slingshot hurtles him and his friend into the sky he says he’d rather be in Afghanistan than sitting there on the ride with the anticipation of waiting to take off. …

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