PUBLIC NEWS RELEASES
Young Marines scale Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima
Friday, March 20, 2015
 
Today, 11 youth members of the Young Marines are accompanying 49 veterans on a plane trip from Guam to Iwo Jima as part of the annual “Reunion of Honor.”
Learn More...

Eleven Young Marines join American and Japanese veterans for the annual ‘Reunion of Honor’ on Guam and Iwo Jima
Monday, March 16, 2015
 
Eleven youth members of the Young Marines are travelling to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual “Reunion of Honor” which takes place March 16 – 23, 2015.
Learn More...

World War II vets headed back to Iwo Jima, Young Marines make it possible
Friday, January 30, 2015
 
Medal of Honor recipient Herschel “Woody” Williams will be among the 15 World War II veterans headed back to Iwo Jima next month, and he has the Young Marines to thank for it.
Learn More...

Young Marines Names Division Young Marines of the Year
Thursday, January 29, 2015
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named six division winners of one of its most prestigious awards - the “Division Young Marine of the Year.”
Learn More...

Two Young Marines awarded Jimmie Trimble Scholarship
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
 
Young Marines SgtMaj Alex Loria of Chantilly, VA, and Young Marines GySgt Brittany Hannah of Miami, FL, are the recipients of the Young Marines’ Jimmie Trimble Scholarship Award.
Learn More...

Young Marines units from across the nation traveled to Hawaii for 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
 
One hundred forty one youth members of the Young Marines from nine states traveled to Hawaii to participate in the 73rd anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration.
Learn More...

Red Carpet Event for the Young Marines Documentary Premiere Followed by PBS Airing in KY
Friday, October 31, 2014
 
The national premiere of a 30-minute documentary film, “Generations of Honor: A Year with the Young Marines”, will take place at the historic Kentucky Theatre. The film will air on PBS in KY on Veteran’s Day.
Learn More...

Young Marines Alumni Association is Launched
Monday, October 27, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization now has an Alumni Association for its more than 60,000 former members. Former YM SgtMajor Edgar Huff, who was the 2004 National Young Marine of the Year, has been named executive director of the new association.
Learn More...

Young Marines Wins its 6th Dept. of Defense Award for Anti-Drug Education
Monday, October 20, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization’s Drug Demand Reduction Program is the winner of the 2014 Annual Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Education.
Learn More...

GLOCK donates $50,000 to the Young Marines at the 2014 AUSA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
 
The Young Marines received a $50,000 donation from GLOCK on Monday, Oct. 13, at the Association of United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Expo.
Learn More...

American Legion Child Welfare Foundation Recipients Share Success of Grant
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
 
Joe Lusignan, Deputy Director, West Coast Operations of the Young Marines, discusses "Closing the gate on Drugs" Drug Demand Reduction kits with American Legion family members during the eighth annual Children & Youth Conference in Indianapolis.
Learn More...

223 Young Marines meet World War II Navajo Code Talkers
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
 
Two hundred twenty three members of the Young Marines including registered adult leaders traveled to Window Rock, AZ, to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day which was Thursday, Aug. 14. Seventeen veteran Navajo Code Talkers attended.
Learn More...

Scott Riley of the Columbus Young Marines named ‘National Adult Volunteer of the Year’
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named Scott Riley the “National Adult Volunteer of the Year” at the annual Adult Leaders Conference held in Washington D.C. Riley is the Unit Commander of Columbus Young Marines from Division 5 located in Colu
Learn More...

Young Marines announces ‘National Unit of the Year’ - Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit from Knoxville, TN
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the “National Unit of the Year” – Division Three’s Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit in Knoxville, TN, under the command of Virgil L. Young, Jr.
Learn More...

National Executive Director and CEO Mike Kessler announces future retirement from the Young Marines
Thursday, August 07, 2014
 
Mike Kessler, National Executive Director and CEO of the Young Marines, announces his retirement which will take place in late 2015.
Learn More...

The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization took its drug demand reduction efforts to the next level by launching a new program titled, “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often - the ga
Learn More...

The DEA and Young Marines present Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six units
Monday, June 16, 2014
 
The DEA and Young Marines announce Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award winners. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
Learn More...

Blake DeWeese named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Friday, June 13, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the 2014 - 2015 “National Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Blake W. DeWeese, 18, of Beaverton, OR. As National Young Marine of the Year, DeWeese will travel throughout the country representing the Y
Learn More...

Young Marines grateful for a grant from American Legion Child Welfare Foundation
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
 
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided a $90,000 grant to the Young Marines youth organization for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in its campaigns to reduce the demand for drugs through education.
Learn More...

The Young Marines News Network wins second Telly Award
Monday, April 28, 2014
 
The 35th annual Telly Awards have been announced, and a Nov., 2013, broadcast of the Young Marines News Network won a 2014 bronze Telly in the online video category.
Learn More...
SELECTED ARTICLE
Young Marines scale Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima
Friday, March 20, 2015
 

Young Marines on GuamToday, 11 youth members of the Young Marines are accompanying 49 veterans on a plane trip from Guam to Iwo Jima as part of the annual “Reunion of Honor.” It is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Each year, American and Japanese veterans come together for remembrances of their fallen brothers and to recall the fierce battles that took place on the two islands during World War II.

The group will travel to the top of Mt. Suribachi. Ground transportation is reserved for the veterans and their immediate families, but the Young Marines will climb on foot.

“After we get to the top, everyone will get a sense of what it might have been like from both sides of the battle,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “They will understand that the defenders had a very distinct advantage in terms of observation of the landing beaches and the ability to direct their fire on thousands of exposed Marines.”

While at the top of the mountain, Kessler will conduct a ceremony where he’ll award the eagle, globe and anchor device for the Young Marines’ personal achievement ribbon.

They will descend the mountain to attend the memorial service near the landing beaches at the Anniversary Monument. Conducted by veterans from both the United States and Japan, the service remembers the young men on both sides who gave their lives during the brutal campaign for the Island.

“The ceremony pays homage to those who were lost and to the families of those who, still today, grieve their loss,” Kessler said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and every Young Marine treasures the experience.”

Each Young Marine was selected for the trip based on his or her dedication, loyalty, achievement and leadership. The Young Marines spend time engaging the veterans and helping any way they can.

Participating are:

  • YM SgtMaj Blake W. DeWeese, 18, of Beaverton, Oregon - the 2014 National Young Marine of the Year
  • YM SgtMaj Alex Loria, 17, of Chantilly, Virginia – winner of the Jimmie Trimble Scholarship
  • YM GySgt Brittany Hannah, 18, of Miami, Florida - winner of the Jimmie Trimble Scholarship
  • YM SgtMaj Samuel Montejano, 17, of Valley Center, Calif. – Directors Choice
  • YM SgtMaj Zoe Jackson, 18 of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Division Young Marines of the Year:

  • YM SgtMaj Charles Brian Fagan, 16, of Millis, Massachusetts – Division 1
  • YM SgtMaj Joseph Ambs, 17, of Westminster, Maryland – Division 2
  • YM SgtMaj Tyler Ward, 16, of Knoxville, Tennessee – Division 3
  • YM SgtMaj Kariel Mayer, 17, of Harvey, Louisiana – Division 4
  • YM GySgt Lucas Ward, 17, of Farmington, Illinois – Division 5
  • YM SgtMaj Tyler Wermann-Jones, 16, of Oceanside, Calif – Division 6

“The Young Marines are learning history from those who made history,” Kessler said. “As the veterans and Young Marines get to know one another, there’s a lot of respect and affection. Some maintain contact years after the trip.”

“To visit sites where brave Marines fought to preserve the nation and see these amazing places with my fellow division YMOYs by my side is one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said YM GySgt Lucas Ward of Farmington, Illinois.

Kessler said past trips have been very successful, because World War II veterans who made up the “greatest generation” eagerly welcome the young people.

Iwo Jima, 750 miles south of Tokyo, is the middle island of the three tiny specks of the Volcano Islands. Five miles long, the island is honeycombed with volcanic vents. In addition, there are hundreds of natural caves, deep sulphur-exuding tunnels and steep gulleys across the surface. Ragged sea cliffs surround the island. Only to the south is there level sand, but it is shifting black pumice dust making the beaches like quicksand and making it impossible to dig a fox-hole.

The island was riddled with pillboxes, gun-pits, trenches and mortar sites. A three-day naval bombardment on Feb. 16, 1945, was intended to rid the island of much of its defense. Unfortunately, the bombardment had minimal effect.

A 36-day assault resulted in an American victory but at great cost. There were more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead. Of the 20,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,083 survived. The Marines' efforts, however, provided a vital link in the U.S. chain of bomber bases. 

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 11,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries. 

For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.

###

Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899 or arichardson@gr-pr.com