Marine Corps Association
The Marine Corps Association (often abbreviated MCA) is an independent association which provides a professional organization for members of the United States Marine Corps. It is known for its publications Leatherneck Magazine and Marine Corps Gazette.
The MCA occupies a similar role with respect to the Marine Corps that the United States Naval Institute does for the United States Navy, the Association of the United States Army does for the United States Army, and the Air Force Association does for the United States Air Force.
The MCA primarily is concerned with the welfare of ALL Marines and the advancement of professionalism within the U.S. Marine Corps. It provides professional education programs, publications (the Gazette and Leatherneck), support services to Marines and Marine activities, and it is the largest provider of awards to Marines in the world with over 7,000 provided in 2007. MCA provides events and services to the Marine Corps for events and other activities for which the Marine Corps cannot use appropriated funds.
MCA produces 6 annual dinners, 5 of which are done in coordination with headquarters USMC including the C4 Awards Dinner co-hosted by C4 (honoring Marine & civilian communicators of the year), Ground Awards Dinner- co-hosted by PP&O (where the 1st - 4th MarDiv Marines of the Year are presented with awards and the Leftwich Trophy is presented), the Ground Report - co-hosted by PP&O, the Ground Logistics Awards Dinner - co-hosted by I&L (where the logisticians of the year are presented with awards), and the newest - the MCCDC Dinner - co-hosted by MCCDC. MCA's own Annual Dinner features a high-level speaker.
According to the MCA, its Vision statement is:
- "To be the preeminent association and foundation for ALL Marines and friends of the Corps dedicated to development and recognition of professional excellence and expanding awareness of the rich traditions, history, and esprit of the United States Marine Corps.."
According to the MCA, it defines its mission as:
- To support the Marine Corps by disseminating knowledge of military art and science among Marines
- To provide professional development opportunities for Marines
- To foster the spirit and preserve the traditions of the Marine Corps
- To offer special benefits to MCA members
The Marine Corps Association was founded on April 25, 1911 at Guantanamo Bay by the officers of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, under command of Colonel Littleton W. T. Waller. The slow development of the Advanced Base Force, during 1908—1909, caused the removal of traditional Marines's ship guard roles of the colonial days, creating controversy between the Marine Corps and the Navy. Angered by the Headquarters Marine Corps handling of the ship guard issue, plus the disappointment of President Taft's appointment of Biddle as Commandant, the officers of the provisional brigade decided to form their own lobby and self-education forum; due to the concern of possible intervention in Cuba or Mexico.
- "...To preserve the existence and status of the Marine Corps...by recording and publishing the history of the Marine Corps.... for intended training and education purposes to all Marines."
Although the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade disbanded shortly after, the MCA remained active. Two years later, again at Guantanamo Bay, officers of the 2d Provisional Marine Brigade, commanded by Colonel Lincoln Karmany, formally organized the Marine Corps Association. Colonel Karmany appointed then-Lt. Colonel John A. Lejeune (later the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps) as its first head of the executive board.
U.S. Marine Corps program
For roughly 60 years, the Marine Corps Association was a semi-independent organization managed by active duty Marine officers. The organization was headed by its president (the current USMC Commandant until 1976, then the Assistant Commandant) and an executive board. The organization started publishing the Gazette in March 1916. In the 1930s, a membership decline was reversed by efforts of Brigadier General George Richards.
In 1972, policy changes in the U.S. Department of Defense required that U.S. Marine Corps active-duty officers no longer staff the Marine Corps Association. An organizational change was made to spin the Association out of the Marine Corps, as a nonprofit organization. Retiring Colonel Bevan G. Cass was hired as the first Executive Director, and led the association until the end of 1978. During this time, the formerly separate Leatherneck Association (U.S. Marine Corps enlisted personnel) and Leatherneck Magazine, which were unprofitable, independently merged into the Marine Corps Association, which continued both publications and professional programs.
In January 1979, Brigadier General George L. Bartlett (retired) took over as the new Executive Director and led the organization until 1989. A key advance during Gen. Bartlett's tenure as executive director was that the Marine Corps Association built (at its own expense) a headquarters building located on the property of Marine Corps Base Quantico, the Marine's overall headquarters base. For legal reasons, the Association donated the building to the Marine Corps, which agreed to allow the MCA to occupy the building for 50 years (with provisions for extension at that point).
In January 1989, Lieutenant General Anthony Lukeman (retired) replaced Gen. Bartlett. Further organizational growth and integration and support of related Marines organizations (including Toys for Tots and the Marine Corps University Foundation among others) followed.
Programs of the Marine Corps Association include:
- Professional military education
- ROTC support
- Luncheons, Dinners, and other Social Events
The Marine Corps Association gives out a number of professional and writing awards annually to serving Marines.
- Colonel Bevan G. Cass Award for professional writings, open to all active duty Marines
- The Ronald D. Lyons Writing Award for the author of the best news or feature story in Leatherneck Magazine (restricted to Sergeant and below)
- The Tom Bartlett Award for the best Leatherneck Magazine cover photograph of the year
- The Lou Lowery Award for the best Leatherneck Magazine internal photograph of the year (restricted to Sergeant and below)
- The Sergeant Major Dan Daly Award for the best historical writing in a base or post publication of the year (restricted to enlisted Marines)
- "About the Marine Corps Association". MCA. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- Allan R. Millett, "Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps", (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1991).
- "History of the Marine Corps Association - The Early Years" (PDF). MCA. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "About the CEO". MCA. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "MCA Programs". MCA. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Marine Corps Association Professional Military Education/Training Awards Program" (PDF). MCA. Retrieved 2007-10-17.