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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The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014

Drug Demand ReductionThe 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 unveiling of the program took place at the annual Adult Leader’s Conference held June 4-7 in Washington D.C.

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation provided $90,000 in grant monies for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in producing and promoting an even more robust Young Marines Drug Demand Reduction effort. This resulted in the new slogan: “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The word “Gate” links to what’s called “gateway drugs” which are tobacco, marijuana, prescription medication, inhalants and alcohol.

“The grant is the largest ever given by the Child Welfare Foundation,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “Needless to say, we’re humbled by the foundation’s trust and confidence in us to be effective in our drug demand reduction efforts.”

Each unit is receiving the newly branded kit that includes stickers, tri-fold flyers, pledge forms, slap bracelets, activity books, key chains with a USB drive of the program and feedback forms. These printed materials are being distributed not only to the 300 Young Marines units but to schools and youth organizations in the communities as a part of the outreach program.

“It is essential the drug demand reduction message reach as many young people as possible, and 11,000 Young Marines are working tirelessly to that end,” Kessler said.

The curriculum used is Project ALERT, a school-based, substance abuse prevention program for grades seven and eight.

“Instead of reinventing the wheel with a new education program, we use Project ALERT, an evidenced-based program which has been developed by RAND, the nation’s leading think tank on drug policy,” said Joe Lusignan, deputy director, West Coast Operations and drug demand reduction resource officer with the Young Marines. “When we presented our initiative to the Drug Enforcement Administration, who was already supportive of what we had been doing, they were really excited by the direction we are headed with ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs.’ ”

According to Lusignan, the program is important because it provides standardization throughout the Young Marines program.

“We are reaching all of our Young Marines with the same education, with the same teaching formats, and the same leadership opportunities,” he said. “In addition, the program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often.”

A 22-year career in law enforcement taught Lusignan that abusers don't leap into the harder drugs that everyone is so concerned about. The insidious infection of drug abuse starts with the gateway drugs. If youth can be stopped from experimenting with the gateway drugs, it stands to reason they won’t progress to the drugs that garner all the concern.

“I'm inspired by the enthusiasm of the Young Marines who have picked up the gauntlet,” Lusignan said. “They’ve become certified instructors and are now leading the charge against the onslaught of drug abuse by educating others, not only in their units, but also within their communities. Our Young Marines are not only picking up the ball but are carrying it forward and bringing their peers with them.

The program consists of lessons that help kids learn and practice new skills and strategies for resisting drugs. In addition, the lessons build positive expectations about life without drugs.

“This program removes the old visual of the adult standing in front of the class lecturing the audience that ‘drugs are bad,’” Lusignan said. “This program puts the power into the hands of our youth, and it gives them not only the education about the drugs themselves but also the tools to resist the temptations they evoke.”

“With our new ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’ program, we consider ourselves the premier drug demand reduction youth organization with national scope and impact,” Kessler said.

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 with affiliates in a host of other countries to include Germany, Thailand and Hungary.

For more information, visit the official website at


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