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Marines' Memorial Association reconnects with modern generation of Marines

By Lance Cpl. Bradley Morrow, 1st Marine Division

Retired Marine Col. Christopher Starling, now the vice president and chief development officer of the Marines’ Memorial Association, sights in with an M4A1 carbine during a range safety brief aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. During their visit, members interacted with Marines to gain an understanding of the advancements in training and equipment the Marine Corps has  recently made.
Marines' Memorial Association reconnects with modern generation of Marines
Retired Marine Col. Christopher Starling, now the vice president and chief development officer of the Marines’ Memorial Association, sights in with an M4A1 carbine during a range safety brief aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. During their visit, members interacted with Marines to gain an understanding of the advancements in training and equipment the Marine Corps has recently made.
Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Ramona Cook, now a board member of the Marines’ Memorial Association, conducted firing drills with an M4A1 carbine aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Several events were held to reconnect members of MMA to the Marine Corps and expose them to modern day training.
Marines' Memorial Association reconnects with modern generation of Marines
Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Ramona Cook, now a board member of the Marines’ Memorial Association, conducted firing drills with an M4A1 carbine aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Several events were held to reconnect members of MMA to the Marine Corps and expose them to modern day training.
Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, now a board member of the Marines’ Memorial Association, looks through modern observation equipment during a visit aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Many members of the MMA are retired senior and general officers, their visit to Camp Pendleton was an opportunity for them to see the advancements the military has made in technology.
Marines' Memorial Association reconnects with modern generation of Marines
Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, now a board member of the Marines’ Memorial Association, looks through modern observation equipment during a visit aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Many members of the MMA are retired senior and general officers, their visit to Camp Pendleton was an opportunity for them to see the advancements the military has made in technology.
Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, now a board member with the Marines’ Memorial Association, laughs with a range safety officer after shooting an M4A1 carbine aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Members of the MMA interacted with active duty Marines to reconnect and familiarize themselves with the 1st Marine Division and Camp Pendleton.
Marines' Memorial Association reconnects with modern generation of Marines
Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, now a board member with the Marines’ Memorial Association, laughs with a range safety officer after shooting an M4A1 carbine aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016. Members of the MMA interacted with active duty Marines to reconnect and familiarize themselves with the 1st Marine Division and Camp Pendleton.
Members of the Marines’ Memorial Association visited Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, to reconnect with the current generation of Marines and see the advances in training and equipment aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 19, 2016.

During their visit, members of the MMA participated with Marines in training exercises, received hands-on experience testing rifles and interacted with Marines as they conducted several training events.

Marines’ Memorial Association is an organization that is dedicated to honoring the legacy of military service through a historic hotel that is also a Marine Corps museum. They offer programs that commemorate, educate, and serve veterans of all eras. 

Visits like these allow organizations like MMA to better understand what happens on a day-to-day basis in the Marine Corps, which ultimately leads to more public understanding of the rigors of serving one’s country. 

This understanding and gained support leads to more opportunities for veterans, said Christopher Starling, vice president and chief development officer of the MMA.

“The Marine Memorial Association serves to educate the public and honor the sacrifices of members of the armed forces,” said GySgt. John Rivera, the G-3 training chief with 1st Marine Division. “The MMA board members were able to reconnect and familiarize with active duty Marines.”

The support MMA offers include programs designed for those who are currently serving in the military, their family members and veterans. Some of these programs consist of scholarships, care packages for deployed troops, gatherings for parents of service members, and commemorative events.

“The importance for us was to reconnect with the young Marines,” said Starling, a retired Marine colonel. “For veterans who have been out of uniform for a few years, or in some cases decades, it is important to re-establish that contact.”

In addition to the hands-on time with Marine weapons, the MMA members had the opportunity to view static displays of modern equipment and witnessed an immediate action demonstration performed by the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines.

“We left inspired by everyone with whom we interacted,” said Starling. “Marines are still tough and they are always learning and finding better ways to accomplish a wide range of missions.”

Many of the members from the MMA are retired senior and flag officers who bring a significant amount of leadership and experience along with them. Giving Marines the opportunity to meet them establishes personal perspectives that could positively affect the Marine Corps.

“It was truly an honor,” said Rivera. “The interaction the board members had with the Marines was insightful and greatly suitable to demonstrate where we are as a Corps, and our future.”