Colorado Springs Marine proud to serve twice during Afghan drawdown
During America’s longest war, many newly-minted Marines’ have wished for an opportunity to dirty their boots in Afghanistan. In the past year, however, deployments to Helmand have slowed and the remaining forces are focused on the redeployment and retrograde effort, while others continue to advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces.


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:50:00 GMT
Marine reconnects with Trinidadian roots
A Marine raised in a Trinidadian household, will reconnect with his heritage when he meets distinguished guests from Trinidad and Tobago during their visit aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), July 25.  Staff Sgt. Steven Superville, a communications chief with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, expressed


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:02:00 GMT
USS America receives distinguished guests in Cartagena
Marines and sailors on the flight deck of the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) moved to their positions as an MV-22 Osprey carrying U.S. and Colombian distinguished guests came in for a landing, July 17. Marines and sailors rendered honors as the guests exited the aircraft welcoming with handshakes and smiles as they entered the

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:57:00 GMT
SPMAGTF-South Marines visit Colombia
Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South took their first step onto Colombian soil, July 16, after shuffling off an MV-22 carrying packs weighing more than 80 pounds. They were greeted by Colombian Marines with handshakes and smiles, eager to build a long lasting relationship.  Approximately 40 Marines and sailors with


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:55:00 GMT
4th Tanks practice live fire ranges and amphibious operations
Digging into the dusty path, the enormous tank uses its tracked wheels to climb onto a range leading a convoy of assault vehicles. Locked, loaded and ready to fire, the 120 millimeter main gun rotates, aims and waits for the target to appear.  Cradled deep in the belly of the M1 Abrams Tank, the gunner peeks through the sights focused on the tree


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:21:00 GMT
Marine combat veteran paddles the Mississippi River, raises awareness for post-traumatic stress
Hazy rain clouds settled overhead as the tides of the ever-flowing mighty Mississippi River bashed on the shoreline at Algiers Point. With a crowd of gathering Marines focusing their eyes on small silhouette in the distance, their voices raised in excitement and cheering as the wearisome paddler made his way to them.  Former Marine Cpl. Joshua


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:19:00 GMT
Determination, motivation drive young man to Marines
Hard work and determination can get people places they never though they could go. One Marine set his mind to one thing and accomplished it.            Pvt. Jose A. Caban Jr., Platoon 3203, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, didn’t give up on his goal and lost 70 pounds to enlist in the Marine Corps.            Caban realized what he


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:39:00 GMT
Marine Corps Reserve Policy Board announced application acceptance
Marine Administrative Message 328/14 announced the acceptance of applications for the Marine Corps Reserve Policy Board during calendar year 2014 through 2016. The MCRPB was established to make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy on matters that affect the readiness, mobilization, and deployment capability of the Marine Corps Reserve.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:08:00 GMT
Commandant promotes new chaplain of the Marine Corps
Capt. Brent W. Scott was promoted to the rank of rear admiral by the commandant of the Marine Corps and assumed his duties as 19th chaplain of the Marine Corps/deputy chief of Navy chaplains at Marine Barracks Washington, July 25.  During his remarks, Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, welcomed Scott back to the Marine Corps after


Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:43:00 GMT
3/3, ROK Marines conduct sea-based operation
U.S. Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, teamed up with Republic of Korea Marines and attachments from the New Zealand Army to conduct a simulated assault on opposing forces provided by 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment at Kahuku Training Area, Hawaii, July 11, 2014 as part of the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise.


Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:23:00 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
Experienced Lawyers in Defense Base Compensation Claims

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