"The Honorary Marine" title reinforces the special bond between the American people and the Corps by recognizing individuals in the civilian community who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps.
The title Marine is a revered designation that affords a special distinction to those who earn it. Therefore, only the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) can officially designate an individual as an "Honorary Marine."
For information on how to nominate an individual for the title of "Honorary Marine," please read MCO 5060.19B.
2016: Wyatt Gillette
Wyatt was born on Aug. 15, 2008, and diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome Type 1 (Trex 1 Mutation) when he was four years old. The disorder mainly affects the brain, the immune system and the skin and causes secondary medical problems such as leukodystrophy, seizures, type 1 diabetes, cerebral palsy, hypertension and adrenal insufficiency.
Wyatt's father, SSgt. Jeremiah Gillette, is currently a drill instructor with 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, aboard the Depot.
2015: Dickey Chapelle
Ms. Chapelle was killed November 4, 1965 by fragments of a booby-trapped mortar shell while covering Marine action during Operation Black Ferret with the 7th Marine Regiment near ChuLai, Republic of Vietnam. Following her death, Lt. Gen. Lewis Walt and other officials from the III MAF honored her by placing a plaque near the spot where she was killed. As a matter of information, this plaque no longer exists in that area. She was returned to the United States accompanied by an honor guard of six Marines, proof of the regard in which she was held by all.
By bestowing the title “Honorary Marine” on Ms. Chapelle, we, belatedly will be recognizing her for the zeal with which she approached her craft, especially when working with “her Marines.”
2015: Roy Hughes
Mr. Hughes created the Yemassee Train Depot Marine Reunion (YTDMR) in 2003. The YTDMR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reunions for Marines who graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island between 1915-1965. Mr. Hughes led the effort for YTDMR which has succesfully hosted 12 annual reunions.
2015: Rob Wittman
Congressman Wittman was nominated for the title of Honorary Marine for his work with wounded warriors, his support for the Marine Corps amphibious shipping requirements and for being a loyal, dedicated, and faithful supporter of the United States Marine Corps.
2015: Rusty Hicks
Hicks is the Executive Director of Combat Marine Outdoors, a non-profit organization that has taken over 2,000 combat wounded on fishing and hunting excursions to help with their rehabilitation.
"You get them back into an environment that they used to enjoy before their injury," said Hicks. "And we have seen visible results time and time again. All these warriors want is an opportunity to be treated normal. We don't talk down to them. It is what it is. Let's go have some fun."
Combat Marine Outdoors has taken 55 hunts so far this year and that number is still increasing. Hicks said the number of combat wounded, ill and injured in the U.S. is staggering.
Seven years ago Hicks retired from his 26-year collegiate referee career to work for Combat Marine Outdoors full-time. He has walked the halls of various ICU's talking to wounded warriors and working on helping them recover.
"There are a lot of great Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen. They make my life a joy," said Hicks. "And to see these men and women get back into the game again is mind boggling for me, but very rewarding."
2014: John Wentling
Wentling served honorably in the Army from 1965-1967. He is the Chaplain for the Marine Corps League Detachment and has earned the title of Associate Marine of the Year on two occasions.
2014: Karen Guenther
Karen Guenther received the honor at a surprise presentation September 20, 2014, in the Marine Family Garden at the Home of the Commandants in Washington, D.C.
“I’m speechless,” said a teary-eyed Karen, who was expecting to make a presentation to General Amos and his wife during the event celebrating 10 years of the Semper Fi Fund. Instead, it was General Amos who made a presentation—and a new reason to celebrate!
2014: Mark Noah
TRIANGLE, Virginia -- Never leave a Marine behind. A mantra shared between the brothers and sisters in arms of the Corps.
One civilian earned the title by retrieving Marines,who were thought to be lost forever.
Mark Noah, the executive director of History Flight, received the title of Honorary Marine during a ceremony held at the National Marine Corps Museum, at Triangle, Virginia, July 24.
"It is an awesome honor that I except very humbly,” Noah said. “I am just a guy following in the foot steps of these incredible characters.”
"If there is anybody deserving of this title it is Mr. Mark Noah,” said Major Gen. James Lukeman, the commanding general of Training and Education Command and who presented the honor on behalf of the commandant of the Marine Corps.
Noah, a commercial airline pilot, started his Florida-based, non-profit, non-governmental organization, to keep the history of flight alive.
"We started about 13 years ago to preserve American aviation history,” Noah said. “In subsequent years, we were invited to instruct as aircraft history experts for missing persons recovery operations.
That changed our focus from strictly historic preservation to recovering the people who made the history possible.”
Using radar, cadaver dogs and cross referencing old military maps with high resolution aerial maps of the island today, Noah’s organization finds heroes who were thought to be lost forever. Click here to read more.
2014: Jacob Sprinkle
JONESVILLE, Va. - Jacob Sprinkle had been tied to the Marine Corps since birth, born little more than a short 13 years ago on November 10 — the Marine Corps' birthday. Sadly, Jacob would never live to serve in the Corps, but now, in death, he bears the title of "Marine."
More than 100 guests filled the Jonesville, Virginia, Lee County High School auditorium tonight to participate in a ceremony posthumously honoring Jacob with the title “Honorary Marine,” an award less than 100 people have ever been recognized with. Nine months prior, friends and family gathered to grieve after his death, tonight they gathered to celebrate his entry into the Corps. Click here to read more.
2014: Andrew Starr II
SPRINGFIELD, Virginia -- Seven-year-old Andrew Starr II always dreamed of becoming a Marine, just like his father, a retired Marine colonel. Sadly, this dream seemed out of reach, as when he was just nine months old, Andrew was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along nerves in the skin and brain.
But on Monday, the unlikely dream became a reality at Starr's home in Springfield, Va., Andrew received the title of "Honorary Marine" from Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, who endorsed Andrew's honorary package because of the boy's attitude and selfless focus. In doing so, Andrew becomes one of less than 100 people to receive the title since its inception in 1992.
“I’m just so happy,” Andrew said. “I’m a Marine like my dad.” Read more here.
2013: Rep. C.W. Bill Young
TAMPA BAY, Florida - During the funeral for U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, the commandant of the Marine Corps announced that Young is now an honorary Marine, which he called "the absolute very highest honor we could have bestowed on this valiant warrior."
That announcement led to a dramatic moment during the graveside memorial for Young, who spent nine years in the Army National Guard and another six as an Army reservist long before becoming chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
"Earlier today, just an hour ago, I was privileged to make Chairman Young an honorary United States Marine," Gen. James Amos told the throng of mourners at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. Read more here.
2013: Ethan Arbelo
TAMPA, Florida - Ethan Arbelo will make it onto the "Wall of Fame" after all.
The 12-year-old boy’s mom, Maria Maldonado, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has one kitchen wall covered with photos of friends and relatives who have served in the Marines — brothers Joe, Randy and Edward, cousin Ray, uncle James, Parris Island boot camp buddy Shannon, and Maldonado herself.
“In my family, we pass on our love for the Marine Corps to the next generation,” Maldonado said. “He’s been groomed for it since birth. That’s been one of the big disappointments when he got sick — he said, ‘Does this mean I’m not going to Parris Island?’ ” Read more here.
2012: Ambassador Ryan Crocker
KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker received the Honorary Marine title in recognition of his service with and alongside Marines throughout a highly distinguished 41-year diplomatic career as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of the 50-nation International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition, presided over the ceremony July 22.
"I am deeply, deeply touched," said Crocker following the surprise announcement, which came during a farewell dinner in his honor as he prepares to conclude his tour in Afghanistan and retire from the U.S. Foreign Service. "Those of you who know me, know how deeply attached I am to the Marine Corps. There has always been -- my whole career -- a special bond between me and the United States Marine Corps."
Nominated by his Marine Security Detachment, Crocker is the 75th recipient of the prestigious title.
2011: Machiko Hamamoto
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 recognized Machiko Hamamoto, affectionately known as “Mama-san," as an honorary Marine for her many years of dutiful service in a ceremony at the Strike Fighter Squadron 94 hangar here Tuesday. The title of Honorary Marine is an award bestowed on civilians who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps. The award is approved solely by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. “She’s a big proponent for advocating all the good things the U.S. military does,” said Lt. Col. Charles A. Redden, MALS-12 commanding officer. Read more here.
2011: Kenneth Fisher
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Fisher House Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth Fisher, was recently made an Honorary Marine the same week he joined Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and Rear Adm. Karen Flaherty in the dedication of the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Fisher House and Wounded Warrior Battalion Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ), commemorating the opening of the facilities. "The Fisher House Foundation would never leave a military family behind while their loved ones healed," Fisher said during the dedication ceremony. This is Fisher House number 49, and to date the Foundation has built 53 Fisher Houses, accomodated 142,000 families and helped military families save 165 million dollars. Read more here.
2010: Ike Skelton
ARLINGTON, Va. — The most recent Honorary Marine, Ike Skelton, former United States Representative for Missouri's 4th congressional district and former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was awarded the title Dec. 1, 2010. Skelton is the first U.S. congressman to be awarded the Honorary Marine title. “It was a thrill of a lifetime receiving this award,” said Skelton. “Knowing Marines and the type of people they are, it’s as special as it comes.” Skelton’s appreciation for the military was made apparent throughout his time in congress. “He has made a life-time commitment to the armed services, the people who serve and their families,” according to a recommendation letter from the commandant of the Marine Corps. “Skelton is, in many ways, the father of the modern Professional Military Education system.” Read more here.
2010: Derrick Owen
RICHMOND, Va. —Former Marine poolee Derrick Owen was awarded the title Honorary Marine during a ceremony in front of a gathering of friends and family at the Marine Corps Reserve Center, Newport News, Va., July 23, 2010. It is a distinct honor rarely awarded, but Derrick’s story is uncommon, and his dedication to service demanded recognition.
2010: Col. Ivan J. Cahill
AUSTRALIA — Retired Royal Australian Marine, Col. Ivan J. Cahill, was awarded the title of Honorary U.S. Marine Nov. 19 for his conduct as the company commander of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, from Dec. 1, 1967 to Dec. 31, 1968 during the Vietnam War. Read more here.
2010: Briana Menendez
FORT WORTH, Texas - Briana Menendez gives a high five to the Mayor of Fort Worth, Mayor Michael J. Moncrief, moments after she is made an Honorary Marine during a ceremony at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base here Jan. 25, 2010. Read more here or click here for local news coverage.
2009: Frank DeAngelis
LINCROFT, New Jersey - Using rulers and measuring blocks for added precision, Frank DeAngelis, a former sailor and World War II veteran who has dedicated his free time over the past 40 years to making shadow boxes for service members, creates a shadow box for a Marine who was killed in action while serving in Iraq. DeAngelis has a shadow box workstation in the basement of his Lincroft, N.J., home and has made well over 1,000 shadow boxes for fellow service members and fallen service members over the past 40 years. He was named Honorary Marine July 30, 2009 for the hundreds of shadow boxes he has made for Marines. (photo Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes) Click here to view video.
2008: Rev. Peter F. Vasko
WASHINGTON - Gen. James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, designated the Rev. Peter F. Vasko an "Honorary Marine" Dec. 12, 2008, during a ceremony at the Pentagon. Click here to view video.
2008: Eleazar Rodriguez
PHOENIX, Arizona - Marines from Recruiting Station Phoenix pose with 16-year-old Eleazar Rodriguez, one of the Corps’ newest “Honorary Marines,” during a presentation ceremony Sept. 27, 2008, in phoenix. Rodriguez was presented a bon-a-fide certificate by Col. Mark Toal, commanding officer, 8th Marine Corps District. Rodriguez is one of the few individuals to receive the coveted Honorary Marine title, a title which only the Commandant of the Marine Corps has the authority to approve. (photo by Sgt. Ashley L. Unfried-Snipes)
2007: Gilles Lagin
BELLEAU, France - Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway presents Gilles Lagin, Belleau Wood historian, with a certificate recognizing him as an Honorary Marine at the Bulldog Fountain in Belleau, France, May 25. Lagin is one of a few non-U.S. citizens to earn the title honorary Marine for his life-long dedication to preserving the history of the Marines who fought in Belleau Wood during World War I.