Marine Corps League Liaison James R. Laskey named to board of directors of the Young Marines
Monday, October 05, 2015
The members of the board of directors of the Young Marines announce a new board member - James R. Laskey, the Marine Corps League Liaison.
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Young Marines host a free concert featuring patriotic rock band Madison Rising
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
The Young Marines is hosting a free concert with America's most patriotic rock band - Madison Rising at Barnett Field, MCB Quantico, Virginia. The concert is in appreciation of active duty Marines and Wounded Warriors.
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Marine Colonel (Ret.) Richard Yoder named to board of directors of the Young Marines
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Yoder's distinguished military career spanned 31 years, and he served in some of the most important and sensitive assignments including Head, Promotion Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps where he ensured timely promotions for Marines across the entire
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Major General (Ret.) Angela Salinas named to board of directors of the Young Marines
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
At the time of her retirement from the Marine Corps, Salinas earned the distinction as the longest serving woman in the history of the Marine Corps, the senior ranking woman, and the senior ranking Hispanic in the Corps.
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Young Marines featured in National Museum of the Marine Corps
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The Young Marines have pledged to support the historic completion of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The pledge creates a sponsorship of a classroom for the Young Marines and a display of Young Marines historical artifacts and history.
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175 Young Marines travel to Arizona for Navajo Code Talkers Day
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Every year since 2006, Young Marines from across the country gather in Window Rock, AZ, to honor and act as escorts for Navajo Code Talkers from WWII during Navajo Code Talkers Day, Friday, Aug. 14.
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Young Marines announces ‘National Unit of the Year’ - Natchaug River Unit from Danielson, CT
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Natchaug River Young Marines in Danielson, Connecticut, was named the 'National Unit of the Year' at the Adult Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.
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Young Marines participate in GLOCK's pledge drive for firearms safety
Monday, June 01, 2015
The Young Marines is partnering with GLOCK on its "Pledge, Practice, Promote Firearms Safety" pledge campaign which takes place during the month of June.
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The DEA presents Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six Young Marines units
Thursday, May 28, 2015
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Young Marines youth organization announced the Young Marines unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award.
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Young Marines Board Member William J. Walker Named D.C. National Guard Land Component Commander
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Colonel William J. Walker assumed command of the District of Columbia National Guard Land Component Command. COL Walker was nominated by President Barack Obama last Nov.
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Lucas Ward of Farmington, Ill. named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
YM SgtMaj Lucas Ward, 17, of Farmington, Illinois is the 2015 - 2016 National Young Marine of the Year. Ward will travel throughout the country representing the Young Marines.
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William P. Davis - new national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines
Monday, May 11, 2015
William P. Davis, Colonel, United States Marine Corps (Retired), will take the helm as national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. Davis is an accomplished executive whose commitment to young people is of paramount importance during his
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The Young Marines forms partnership with Madison Rising, America’s most patriotic rock band
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Young Marines, a national youth organization, announces a new partnership with Madison Rising, America’s most patriotic rock band. The partnership will kick off as Madison Rising embarks on the Concerned Veterans for America’s 23-city Defend Free
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Young Marines Meet Living History During Navajo Code Talkers Day
Thursday, August 22, 2013

More than 100 members of the Young Marines  traveled to Window Rock, AZ, to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day which was Wednesday, Aug. 14. Twenty four veteran Navajo code talkers attended.

Navajo Code Talked followed by the Young MarinesEvery year since 2006, Young Marines from across the country gather in Window Rock, AZ, to honor and give praise to the Navajo code talkers from WWII. The Young Marines’ theme for 2013 was “Teaching Today’s Youth about Yesterday’s Heroes.”

“It was a privilege to educate the Young Marines about the role of the Navajo code talkers and give them the opportunity to meet these living heroes,” said Michael Smith, coordinator of Navajo Code Talker Day and son of Samuel Smith, Navajo code talker.

The Young Marines not only met code talkers, they participated for three days acting as escorts for the very special veterans. They also cleaned up Veteran’s Memorial Park, attended a class about the Navajo code talkers, set up flags and marched in the Navajo Nation parade as well as provided gifts for the Navajo code talkers and their wives. The Navajo Nation put on a cultural class especially for the Young Marines, and the next day, the Young Marines visited the Navajo Nation Zoo and the Navajo Museum.

The following units attended:

  • Hamilton – Nottingham, MD
  • Quantico – Manassas, VA
  • South East County - Seal Beach, CA
  • Col. Wesley Fox – Sterling, VA
  • Mountain View – Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Douglas County – Aurora, CO
  • Monument – Colorado Springs, CO
  • Temecula Valley – Winchester, CA
  • Chandler Mustang -  Chandler, AZ
  • Southland – Montclair, CA
  • Columbia River – Kennewick, WA
  • Flat Irons – Thornton, CO
  • Poudre River – Greeley, CO
  • Mile High – Aurora, CO
  • Pueblo – Pueblo, CO
  • LCpl Kenneth Worley – Costa Mesa, CA
  • Pikes Peak – Colorado Springs, CO

“It’s rare to meet people who have had such an impact on our lives,” said Brenda McNulty, Unit Commander, Mountain View unit of the Young Marines and organizer of the event. “These men are more than just WWII heroes. They are dear friends to the Young Marines.”

Top secret

Navajo Code TalkersDuring the early months of WWII, Japanese intelligence experts broke every code the U.S. forces devised. They were able to anticipate American actions at an alarming rate. With plenty of fluent English speakers at their disposal, they sabotaged messages and issued false commands in order to ambush Allied troops.

To combat this, increasingly complex codes were initiated. At Guadalcanal, military leaders complained that sending and receiving these codes required hours of encryption and decryption—up to two and a half hours for a single message. They rightly argued the military needed a better way to communicate.

World War I veteran Philip Johnston suggested that the U.S. military develop a code based on the Navajo language which was unwritten. The son of a missionary to the Navajos, Johnston was one of the few non-Navajos who spoke their language fluently.

Johnston had been brought up on a Navajo reservation, and he knew that many Navajo words have different meanings depending on context. Once he demonstrated to the Marine Corps how effective a Navajo-based code would be in thwarting intelligence breaches, the Marines set out to sign up Navajos as radio operators.

In 1942, 29 Navajos ranging in age from 15 to 35, created the first U.S. military code based on their indigenous language. It started with a vocabulary of 200 terms but tripled in quantity by the time World War II ended. The Navajo code talkers could pass messages in as little as 20 seconds.

The code was so complex that not even native Navajo speakers could comprehend it. The code also proved unique, because once they were on frontlines of the war, the Navajo soldiers weren’t allowed to write it down. Everything was memorized.

During the first two days of the Battle of Iwo Jima, the code talkers transmitted 800 messages with no mistakes. Their efforts played a key role in the U.S. winning the Battle of Iwo Jima as well as the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa.

In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members. As of 1945, 540 Navajos served as Marines, 420 as code talkers.

The Navajo soldiers’ unbreakable code saved thousands of lives and helped end WWII.

The Navajo code talkers may have been World War II heroes, but the public didn’t realize it, because the code remained a top military secret for decades following the war.

The Navajo code talkers’ contributions to the U.S. military during World War II became better known with the release of the 2002 movie, “Windtalkers,” starring Nicolas Cage. Although the movie received mixed reviews, it exposed the public to World War II’s Native American heroes.

Reactions from participating Young Marines

Young Marines marching in Navajo Code Talker Day parade“I am so grateful that my son, Young Marines PFC. Matthew Slater, had an opportunity to experience a living part of our national history,” said Joanne Slater, parent of a Douglas County Young Marine. “These are memories that he will be able to share with his family and friends and someday maybe even his own children.”

“I have two grandfathers who served in WWII, so I have always been interested the war’s history,” said PFC Carson Hague, Douglas County Young Marines and a 7th grader at Ave Maria Catholic School in Parker, Colorado . “I also have a second cousin who is a Navajo Indian. The Navajo Code Talker Day was the perfect opportunity for me to explore not only part of my own family history but also a rare opportunity to meet with the few WWII Code Talkers that remain. Also, I got to meet many Young Marines for around the country.”

“I will always remember this trip. It changed my life,” said Young Marine PFC Noah Anderson, Douglas County, Aurora, CO, Young Marines.

“The reason I enjoyed the weekend was seeing the smiles on the Navajo code talkers faces and letting them know how much they are still appreciated,” said YM LCpl Xander Tamblyn, 9, Mountain View, Highlands Ranch, CO, Young Marines. 

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 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit


Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations