VMGR-234 Joins Special-Purpose MAGTF
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing is preparing to join the aviation combat element of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Central Command operating in the Middle East.  The six-month long deployment will place VMGR-234 in the vital role of providing aerial missions and theater


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:34:00 GMT
CLB-15 conducts pre-deployment training with Special Operations Training Group
“We need food and water,” chanted the crowd loudly in Filipino as they grew more and more restless. The few dozen Marines and sailors in the medical aid station did their best to keep the peace while providing treatment to casualties caused by a typhoon that ravaged the area.  These were just a few of the challenges faced by personnel with Combat


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:21:00 GMT
Warrior Wednesday: Marine from Wilmington, Ohio
Lance Cpl. Benjamin J. Provoznik, spends his days staying current on situations happening around the world. When he’s not briefing officials you can find him relaxing playing video games.  Provoznik, an intelligence specialist for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, started playing video games as a way to bond with his older brother, now he enjoys


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:06:00 GMT
CLC-21 Marine, family recognized for community service
The Havelock Military Affairs Committee honored Gunnery Sgt. Otis James II and his family as the Family of the Quarter during a ceremonial dinner held at El Cerro Mexican Bar and Grill in Havelock, N.C., July 22. 2014.  James currently serves as the company gunnery sergeant and operations chief with Combat Logistics Company 21 at Cherry Point. His


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:54:08 GMT
Cherry Point PMO achieves operational excellence, gains accreditation
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Provost Marshal’s Office earned federal accreditation from Headquarters Marine Corps’ Plans, Policies and Operations Law Enforcement and Corrections Branch during a ceremony here July 17, 2014.  HQMC representatives visited Cherry Point on several occasions during the 15-month accreditation process to


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:15:15 GMT
VMAQ-2 maintains safety, squadron readiness
Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 is an EA-6B Prowler squadron stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The EA-6B Prowler is a specialized aircraft that requires dozens of Marines from 10 different sections within the squadron, each doing their part, to keep the aircraft ready to fly at all times.   The squadron, also known


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:10:32 GMT
Turret gunners of Combat Logistics Battalion 7 keep convoy safe
While most aboard Camp Leatherneck were eating breakfast as the early morning sun began burning the earth in a golden heat wave, turret gunners of Combat Logistics Battalion 7 were already mounting .50 caliber and M240B machine guns inside the turrets of their vehicles, preparing for one of the battalion’s last missions, July 14.  The gunners and


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:07:31 GMT
MWSS-272 conducts training at new MOUT town
Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 conducted forward arming and refueling point training at Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic, N.C., July 14.  The squadron established a FARP at OLF Atlantic using the newly completed military operations in urban terrain facility as a hasty combat operations center. They were the first unit to use the new MOUT


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:21 GMT
MWSS-272 conducts training at new MOUT town
Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 conducted forward arming and refueling point training at Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic, N.C., July 14.  The squadron established a FARP at OLF Atlantic using the newly completed military operations in urban terrain facility as a hasty combat operations center. They were the first unit to use the new MOUT


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Marines test tomorrow’s concepts today at RIMPAC
The Marine Corps Warfghting Laboratory, headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, conducted their Advanced Warfighting Experiment during the 24th iteration of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, hosted in Hawaii. The multi-week experiment proceeded at three sites on two separate islands


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:08:49 GMT
 
Thunder Struck: Riding for a Cause (Corps Connections) (Features)
Article By Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan
For the last 27 years, the streets of D.C. have erupted with the roar of countless engines as the city is flooded with motorcyclists on Memorial Day weekend. The hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists travel  [Read more...]
Article By Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan
Walt Sides, a retired Marine, sits on his motorcycle in front of his ranch in Leesburg, Virginia July 10, 2014. Sides is a co-founder and the executive director of Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. Incorporated. Rolling Thunder was created in 1987, to spread awareness of Prisoner of War and Missing In Action issues. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan/ Released)

Walt Sides, a retired Marine, sits on his motorcycle in front of his ranch in Leesburg, Virginia July 10, 2014. Sides is a co-founder and the executive director of Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. Incorporated. Rolling Thunder was created in 1987, to spread awareness of Prisoner of War and Missing In Action issues. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Keenan/ Released)

For the last 27 years, the streets of D.C. have erupted with the roar of countless engines as the city is flooded with motorcyclists on Memorial Day weekend.

The hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists travel from across the country to participate in the annual Rolling Thunder run.

Walt Sides, a retired Marine first sergeant with 21 years in the Corps, helped build Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. Incorporated to spread awareness about Prisoner of War and Missing In Action issues in 1987.

His towering stature and face full of story-telling wrinkles covered by some grizzly facial hair make Sides appear intimidating, but his mischievous cackle and selfless actions prove otherwise.

“Most people don’t impress me but for some reason Walt stuck in my mind,” said David Sehmel, a Marine veteran from Sides’ platoon. “He’d give you confidence in yourself. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for us.”

Today, Sides pours this leadership, determination and care into Rolling Thunder.

Marine Corps scout snipers sight in during training in Vietnam. The first Marine Corps scout sniper platoon to be trained exclusively in combat would later be nicknamed ‘the Rogues.’ (Photo courtesy of Walt Sides)

Marine Corps scout snipers sight in during training in Vietnam. The first Marine Corps scout sniper platoon to be trained exclusively in combat would later be nicknamed ‘the Rogues.’ (Photo courtesy of Walt Sides)

“Our deal is full accountability,” Sides said. “We’re looking for recovery and full accountability. We’ll probably never get there, but we’ll never quit trying.”

Sides’ said his passion is a fight to bring every man back.

Born in Mustang, Oklahoma in 1939, Sides joined the Marine Corps in 1956, where he believes he really grew up.

“I went in when I was 16 and retired when I was 37,” Sides said “It’s basically all I knew.”

Sides served his first tour in Vietnam as the platoon sergeant of 40 snipers from 1966 to 1967.

These men became the first U.S. Marine Scout Sniper Platoon to be trained in a combat zone. They were later referred to as ‘The Rogues,’ a nickname coined by the Marines under Sides’ charge.

“We were basically grunts with long guns,” Sides said “We were paid assassins and we did a good job of it … we killed a lot of people.”

Like many Vietnam veterans, Sides endured hellish conditions and atrocities of war during his two tours in the conflict. He received two Purple Hearts, three Navy Commodation Medals, a Bronze Star and a Vietnamese Cross in Gallantry with palm.

“I never shed a tear the 28 months I was in Vietnam,” Sides said. “I guess it really hit me around 1984. If someone said ‘Vietnam’ and I was in the room, I left,” Sides said.

After Vienam, Sides continued to serve in the Corps before retiring in 1977.

The greatest thing Sides said he took from his time in the Corps were the brothers he gained in Vietnam.

Marine Corps scout snipers sight in during training in Vietnam. The first Marine Corps scout sniper platoon to be trained exclusively in combat would later be nicknamed ‘the Rogues.’ (Photo courtesy of Walt Sides)

Marine Corps scout snipers sight in during training in Vietnam. The first Marine Corps scout sniper platoon to be trained exclusively in combat would later be nicknamed ‘the Rogues.’ (Photo courtesy of Walt Sides)

Sides and a dozen of his Marines remain close today and ride motorcycles together, he said.

“It’s just a deep feeling you get with these guys, I mean you bond for life,” Sehmel said. “You know more about them than you did your girlfriend back home.”

Taking what knowledge he learned from the Marine Corps, Sides became a co-founder of Rolling Thunder, the largest one-day event in the country.

Years after Sides retired, Ray Manzo, a Marine veteran, approached Sides and four other founders in front of the Vietnam War Memorial. He said he wanted to do a motorcycle run for the P.O.W. issue.

From this idea was born Rolling Thunder.

“Ray Manzo was a corporal in the Marine Corps and he wrote letters to different organizations asking people to join him in the P.O.W. issue and finding our troops,” Sides said. “The only ones who answered him were bikers.”

What started as only 25,000 to 30,000 motorcyclists in the first Rolling Thunder run has grown to 400,000 motorcycles and over a million participants in this year’s 27th annual Rolling Thunder run.

The organizers of Rolling Thunder don’t just spread awareness, they also incite action.

Since its establishment, seven bills have been passed through congress because of the organization, Sides said.

Now, Sides resides on a small ranch in Virginia with his wife Laura. They are still actively involved in Rolling Thunder and several other veterans’ events.

Even decades after his service in Vietnam, Sides still takes care of his men. He is determined to bring every service member home, or at the least make the world hear the cause through the thunderous roar of engines.


Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:26:41 +0000
 
Wounded Marines receives Pat Tillman Award
A former Marine and double amputee was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the Excellence in Sports Performance award ceremony in Los Angeles July 16, 2014.
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:03:57 -0400
Phrogs take flight, depart Quantico forever
Four CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters of Marine Helicopter Squadron One took to the air for the final time from Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico July 16, 2014.
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:40:43 -0400
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder [Image 7 of 7]
A newspaper clipping tells about retired Marine Walt Sides and the sniper platoon under his charge during the Vietnam War. Sides’ platoon, nicknamed "the Rogues," was the first Marine Corps scout sniper platoon trained exclusively in a combat zone. (Courtesy of Walt Sides)
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder [Image 7 of 7]
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:26:55 -0400
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder
For the last 27 years, the streets of D.C. have erupted with the roar of countless engine as the city is flooded with motorcyclists on Memorial Day weekend.
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:26:13 -0400
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder [Image 6 of 7]
Walt Sides, a retired Marine and co-founder of Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. Incorporated, tends a kiosk at the National Mall in Washington. Rolling Thunder Washington D.C. Incorporated was established in 1987 to spread awareness about Prisoner of War and Missing In Action issues. (Photo courtesy of Walt Sides)
Walt Sides: Retired Marine larger than life, louder than thunder [Image 6 of 7]
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:25:30 -0400
 
Marines, sailors partner with task force in Gabon
Marines and sailors from Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14 completed a partnership exercise in Gabon, June 28. The team of 15 Marines and sailors trained with their Gabonese counterparts from the Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux and the Gabonese military and Gendarmerie to demonstrate tactics that could then be applied to


Wed, 09 Jul 2014 04:00:00 GMT
Eleven countries participate in logistics conference
The United States and European nations alike face declining defense budgets and evolving strategic challenges. They will now more than ever need to rely on each other for assistance. Recently, eleven nations participated in a logistics conference hosted in Ljubljana, Slovenia to discuss and learn about the roles and methods of each country's


Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:00:00 GMT
A Hero of Two Worlds Honored
Two hundred and thirty-eight years after America declared it'sindependence, the legacy for one of the country's earliest and greatestallies continues to be honored and celebrated.  French and American service members, dignitaries and societiesparticipated in an annual commemorative ceremony at the tomb of MajorGeneral Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de


Sun, 06 Jul 2014 04:00:00 GMT
Latvian introduction to FET concepts by U.S. Marines represents collective security in Europe
It started with a respect for cultural norms; since male servicemembers were prohibited from merely looking or talking to women in Iraq and Afghanistan, searching a Muslim woman at an entry-control point was not allowed and caused security concerns. The solution was the Lioness program, where all-female Marine teams deployed to implement


Mon, 30 Jun 2014 04:00:00 GMT
Midshipmen go to Spain to train with the Marines
This past summer, four midshipmen left the pristine halls and classrooms of the U.S. Naval Academy and stepped into a new environment of rigorous training with the Marines.  Midshipmen Zachary Gawboy, Zachary Elsner, Lukas Alland, and Ryan Lewandowski from the U.S. Naval Academy all received the opportunity to train with U.S. Marines of


Thu, 26 Jun 2014 14:02:00 GMT
Marines climb to new heights in Spain
High above the forest floor, a platoon of infantry moves about the steep faces of the Spanish Pyrenees. Their military discipline contrasts the untamable wilderness like the frigid mountain air defies the expected scorching of June. The scene is picturesque. The task is daunting. Both were of little matter to the Americans and the Spanish as they


Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:08:24 GMT
Teacher gives up classroom for dress blues
Many would say that being a teacher could be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding, yet hard and stressful jobs around. Corporal Joshua Braun, a ground radio technician with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14, would agree.  Braun found himself in a non-traditional teaching role right after he graduated from Ashland University


Fri, 20 Jun 2014 07:11:00 GMT
American, Spanish Marines combine for amphibious training
Exhaustion had set in and the summer heat wore down their bodies, but the Marines knew that there was no choice but to accomplish the mission. Anything less was unacceptable – a failure not only to themselves but to their brethren, Spanish and American alike. That intensity was demonstrated when U.S. Marines from Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground


Fri, 20 Jun 2014 06:44:27 GMT
Marines, Georgians build interoperability during Agile Spirit 14 through live-fire training
Exercise Agile Spirit 14 started with a “bang” as Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fired on various weapon ranges with soldiers of the Georgian Armed Forces in the Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 10-11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled bilateral engagement hosted by


Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:56:00 GMT
Baseball game highlights Wounded Warriors, national team
Georgians and Americans alike gathered at Meskhi Stadium, located in the Vake district of Tbilisi, on May 31, to watch Marines from the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa’s Georgia Deployment Program play a friendly game against the Georgian National Baseball Team. The event was hosted by the U.S. Embassy and the


Wed, 18 Jun 2014 12:38:00 GMT
 
SPMAGTF 3 leads RIMPAC from the sea
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA (July 18, 2014) Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014 is the largest maritime exercise in the Pacific region. It includes 22 partner nations, 25,000 people and is headed up by Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 3.

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:07:00 GMT
Training differs between nations, goal remains the same
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii - Canadian and Malaysian service members along with U.S. Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted a squad live- fire shoot, July 18, during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:44:00 GMT
U.S., Indonesia Marines conduct grenade tosses at PTA
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii – Indonesian Korps Maranir and U.S. Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, trained on proper throwing for M67 Fragmentation grenades, July 19, during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.


Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:07:00 GMT
Meeting LS3: Marines experiment with military robotics
KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii - The Legged Squad Support System has taken five years in concept developed by Boston Dynamics and $2 million to create. It is now being thrown into the heart of Kahuku Training Area – completely controlled and field tested by five young Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.


Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:12:00 GMT
The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab showcases the UHAC during RIMPAC 2014
MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS, Hawaii - The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab sponsored an Advanced Warfighting Experiment featuring a half-scale Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) prototype at the Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, July 11.


Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:07:00 GMT
Australian, Mexican militaries conduct SWET Training during RIMPAC
Australian Army and Mexican Naval Infantry Force service members conducted Shallow Water Egress Training at the pool here July 1 as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014.  During SWET, participants were introduced to breathing with compressed air under water and exiting a simulated cage while submerged upside down. This training helps


Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:36:00 GMT
US and Japan forces conduct amphib landing, assault beach
Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force showcased their amphibious landing and beach assault capabilities for the first time at Pyramid Rock Beach here July 1.  The JGSDF conducted the training as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014 alongside U.S. Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Okinawa, Japan.  RIMPAC 2014 is the


Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:23:37 GMT
Combined Forces Train Together In Hawaii
U.S. Marines worked alongside service members from the Republic of Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Mexico to conduct Ground Air Integration Training using CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, June 30. The training included fast-roping as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014, the largest international maritime exercise in the


Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:26:00 GMT
RIMPAC to kick off in Hawaiian Islands
The U.S. Pacific Command is holding a large-scale multinational maritime exercise from June 26 through Aug. 1 around the Hawaiian Islands. Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 exercise involves 22 nations, 48 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 military personnel.  RIMPAC is a biannual theater security cooperation training

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 19:23:00 GMT
Hawaii commemorates Korean War in annual wreath laying
Service members, Korean War veterans, distinguished visitors and guests gathered at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), June 25, to honor the events that transpired in Korea so many decades ago. The 64th annual Korean War memorial ceremony paid tribute to the veterans, both living and dead, who fought for the freedom of South Korea and to protect an ally they hardly knew, which eventually resulted in a long-lasting friendship.


Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:43:00 GMT
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