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 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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‘Semper Fidelis’ among tween and teen sisters
Thursday, October 03, 2013

Base sisters at Navajo Code Talkers Day in Window Rock, AZSome sisters share Barbie doll collections. Some share a passion for ballet. The four Base sisters from Seal Beach, CA, can holler, "Oorah," and mean it. The sisters, ranging in age from 9 to 15 have found a steel-strong bond within the Young Marines youth organization which is dedicated to education and service.

They are Keira Base, 9; Kendra Base, 11; Klarisse Base, 14; and Kalista Base, 15. They are the daughters of Katja and Ken Base  of Seal Beach, CA., and members of the Southeast County Young Marines.

The story begins in 2009 when the family went to a display of Marine assault amphibian vehicles in Oceanside, CA. The four sisters met members of the Camp Pendleton Eagle Young Marines who were manning a booth advocating drug demand reduction and providing information about the Young Marines.

After talking to the Young Marines, Kendra Base, then 9, was adamant about her desire to join the organization. Her parents were somewhat reluctant only because they feared the program would interfere with Kendra’s musical education. Their daughter pledged to continue her good grades and promised she wouldn’t lose any practice time. In April, 2011, her parents consented.

The next step was a week’s worth of recruit training. Kendra and older sister Klarisse attended Camp Talega at Camp Pendleton. As her dad drove off, Klarisse stuck her head out of the window of the bus and yelled, "Bye, Daddy, I love you!"

The girls’ father heard a deep voice on the bus say, gently but firmly, “Get your head back in the window and eyes forward, Base."

“We had just sent our 9 and 12 year olds off to nearly a week of recruit training!” Katja said. “Recruit graduation a week later was our first first-hand observation of the positives of the Young Marines program. It was neat, too, to be at Talega, where my husband's father had been a young recruit in training for the Marines more than 40 years earlier.”

Camp Talega was the first recruit graduation ceremony Katja and Ken witnessed, but it certainly wasn’t the last. In 2012, their youngest – Keira - and second oldest – Klarisse – joined the Young Marines.

“The Young Marines program inspires our girls to do their best,” Katja said. “They are encouraged to be independent and to focus on academics. In addition, they attend leadership schools, give speeches and apply for scholarships. YM has instilled the importance of exercise and living a drug free lifestyle. As an added benefit, they are meeting people from all over the United States and making lifelong friends.”

The Bases are especially glad their daughters are provided experiences that bring history to life such as when they participated in commemorations of Pearl Harbor, Veteran’s Day and other ceremonies.

The Young Marines program has made the younger two Base sisters more independent and self sufficient. One of the biggest challenges for an 8 or 9 year old is to pack his or her duffel bag for encampments. Katja and Ken were surprised when their 9-year-old followed the list and packed her own clothes and equipment, carefully checking off items.

Pvt. Keira Base, 9, really enjoyed meeting veterans at Navajo Code Talkers Day on Aug. 14, in Arizona, especially Gene Bell who was a witness to the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima. 

“At one of the encampments, I repelled off of a cliff,” Keira said. “I crawled up the side of the mountain to get to where the Marines were. It was really high, and I got scared. A Marine clipped me onto a rope next to him. I was still scared, so he gave me a bracelet and said, ‘This is a bracelet I made, and it brings you good luck. It will help you get down.’ I wasn't scared anymore. When we got down I said, ‘That was fun.’ He told me I could keep the bracelet. I took it to school and showed my friends. I can't wait to go back to regimental encampment and repel down the cliff again.”

PFC Klarisse Base, 11, enjoyed touring USS Sampson and being able to sit in the captain's chair.

“I noticed that there was a woman in charge of the destroyer ship,” Klarisse said, “so I learned that even though I’m a girl, I can accomplish anything. I am having fun taking the trips like Navajo Code Talkers Day and Pearl Harbor. Going to all these places helps me to learn history.”

Sgt. Kendra Base, 15, says that one of the best experiences she ever had was called SPACES MACH III. She was able to earn a Top Gun patch by participating in a fighter plane simulator.

“The academics at leadership schools and programs like MACH III are challenging, but rewarding,” Kendra said. “The best part about taking these trips is meeting great people from all over the U.S. who are now my friends. We keep in touch and plan for the next big national events such as leadership school, Pearl Harbor, Code Talkers Day and encampments.”

Cpl. Kalista Base, 14, received the title of "Most Motivated" when she finished recruit training. Her favorite activities are going to encampments, singing cadences, participating in color guard and meeting other Young Marines.

“I really enjoy talking to all the veterans and hearing their stories,” Kalista said. “They always give good advice to us. We met Tom Berg, who’s 94, at Pearl Harbor. He told us to go to college and get a degree. Recently, I was given the honor of carrying the Arizona flag at the Navajo Code Talker Day parade in Window Rock, Arizona.”

For the four Base sisters, the Young Marines is a family affair.

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