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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Ten Young Marines Return From a Very Special ‘Reunion of Honor’ on Guam and Iwo Jima
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ten youth members of the Young Marines have returned from their March 12th trip to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual “Reunion of Honor.” Each year, American and Japanese veterans and their families 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 Young Marines who went on the trip include:

  • YM SgtMaj Dakota Richter of Crestview Hills, Kentucky. – National Young Marine  of the Year (YMOY)
  • YM SgtMaj Austin Loppe of Mingo Junction, OH – Division 1 (YMOY)
  • YM SgtMaj Jason Mooney of Parkville, MD - Division 2 (YMOY)
  • YM SgtMaj Alexander Messmer of Havelock, NC - Division 3 (YMOY)
  • YM SgtMaj Joshua Aikman of Marrero, LA – Division 4 (YMOY)
  • YM SgtMaj Michael Borka of Swartz Creek, MI – Division 5 (YMOY)
  • YM MSgt Blake De Weese of Beaverton, OR. – Division 6 (YMOY)
  • YM MGySgt Mary Wessell of Geneva, OH – scholarship winner
  • YM MSgt Nathan Baker of Atlanta, GA - scholarship winner
  • YM 1stSgt Oscar Pinate of Miami Springs, FL.- Director’s Choice

Adults who accompanied the Young Marines were:

  • George Biedenbender of Fredricksburg, VA – adult leader and chaperone
  • Lisa Farmer of Jacksonville, NC. – adult leader and chaperone
  • Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines

Young Marines with Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, James F. Amos, at the Anniversary Monument on Iwo Jima.“The Young Marines were able to spend several hours listening to the experiences of the veterans,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “This is living history, not a third party interpretation of what someone thinks might have happened, but the unvarnished reality of war through the eyes of those who were there. Whether they were a trigger puller or a logistician, a runner or a boat driver, their stories are all very real and captured a slice of history that Hollywood will never be able to put on the big screen and that our history books will sadly never reveal.”

“Watching the reactions of the veterans to us was priceless,” said YMSgtMaj Dakota Richter of Crestview Hills, Kentucky, who is the National Young Marine of the Year. “From sitting beside them at breakfast each morning to assisting them all over the island of Guam on our tours, what began as suspicious curiosity quickly transformed into a grandparent/grandchild relationship. Those kinds of bonds are so rewarding, and I’m so thankful we could connect with the veterans in that way.”

The Young Marines were able to attend the memorial service took place for veterans and family members at the Anniversary Monument on Iwo Jima. Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, James F. Amos, delivered a poignant eulogy for the fallen of both sides.

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.

According to Kessler, one thing that set this trip aside from the others was the pride that he saw in the family members accompanying their father on this adventure. Also, none of the returning veterans seemed to be lamenting the return nor did they show any malice for the Japanese.

“They clearly understood that despite the fact that many of them lost close friends to the tenacity of the Japanese defenders,” he said, “they understood that the enemy had a job to do, and they performed as best they could given the circumstances.”

A veteran - Mr. Owen Agenbroad - shared a story with the Young Marines. During WW II, he served with the 5th Marine Division. While assaulting across the island, he came upon a recently abandoned Japanese position. There he found a straight edge razor and soap dish which he picked up as war treasures. Later in life and in looking more closely at the razor, Mr. Agenbroad saw that it had Japanese writing on it, and he set about finding a translator. After confirming that it was the name of the Japanese soldier who owned it, he tried to find out what happened to him. On learning of his death on the island, he felt duty-bound to find out if there were family members still alive. This was confirmed. On March 19, at a very private but emotional setting on Iwo Jima, he returned the razor to the family.

“Makes the hair stand up, doesn’t it?” Kessler said.

YMSgtMaj Richter feels that the sheer magnitude of the reverence that these veterans still carry with them today is awe-inspiring: reverence for their leaders during the battle; their fellow Marines who served with them; and for many, for their buddies who never came home.

“It’s been 69 years, and yet these veterans still choke on their words when describing memories,” she said. “That’s how strong the bond of brotherhood is between those men.”

The Young Marines impressed not only the veterans but the Governor of Guam as well.

“Following his speech at the banquet on March 18th, the Governor commented to General Snowden that he was truly impressed with the Young Marines and wanted to start a unit on Guam,” Kessler said. “We are working on providing all of the information they need to make that a reality.”

Mr. Yoshitaka Shindo, the grandson of the Japanese island commander, LtGen Kuribayishi, is very proud of his grandfather, and he hasn’t missed a Reunion of Honor (RoH) until last year. His job prevents him from attending mid-week events. As president of the Bereaved Iwo Jima Japanese Family Association, Mr. Shindo requested that the 70th anniversary next year be held on Saturday, March 14, 2015. This request was granted.

“Unfortunately and yet understandably, there were far fewer Iwo Jima veterans this year compared to last, and yet we made the most of every minute with them,” said YMSgtMaj Richter. “It’s a somber reminder as to the rate at which these heroes are passing, and every memory we can gather from our veterans deserves to be cherished and documented for future generations.”

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, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at:


Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899 or