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Dedication


By admin | August 20th, 2017

We are at a point of inflection

Keith Oliver, National President

Keith Oliver, National President

President’s Notes

Well, this feels familiar.

The year was 1967, a half century ago. The U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association gathered in Washington, D.C., to focus on a new mission at the behest of Director of Information, Brig. Gen. Frank Garretson:

“To … administer a prestigious annual program designed to recognize the professional competence of active-duty Marines in the fields of public information, photography and art.”

Author Garry Cameron (Last to Know, First to Go) described “poorly attended” conferences in Philadelphia and Atlantic City the prior two years and “an association floundered in direction and motivation.”

But a combination of rank-and-file enthusiasm, CMC support (including dedicated military airlift) and active national leadership involvement by some of our most revered and colorful names in the gyrene PR biz, e.g., Jim Hurlburt, Hal Watkins and Bob Suhosky, meant “the CCs were turned back on,” wrote Cameron.

That first line-up of awards consisted of 11 winners and, by the way, predated both the Thomas Jefferson Military Journalism Competition and the Army’s Keith L. Ware Awards Program.

The seed had been planted the year prior, making the ’67 confab “the best-attended, most productive and successful national assembly of Marine CCs in the history of the organization to that time.”

My fightin’ hole friends, ‘tis seed-planting time.

Oh, we are going to enjoy a fine conference in sunny San Diego this week. We’ve got some “name” speakers in Max “Terminal Lance” Uriarte, former DirPA Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy and Hollywood go-to guy Dale Dye.

The inimitable Pat Coulter is back with us.

And a blast of last-minute fiscal energy by some especially busy operational commands ensured the presence of some of our award recipients who would not otherwise have been able to make it.

Plus we shall witness the posthumous designation of legendary war correspondent Dickey Chapelle as an Honorary Marine.

But I come to you now asking your help in making the 2018 Conference (set for 21-23 August on riverfront accommodations in historic New Bern, North Carolina) a CC get-together for the ages. We will mark the end of the first full year of the U. S. Marine Corps merger of all our storytellers into one MOS.

And I promised HQMC’s Master Guns Chuck Albrecht and his designated successor, Master Guns Michael Shellenbach, that the USMCCA will proudly be a force multiplier in making this unification of our colorful military occupational specialties a stunning success.

Count this, then, as your joyful battle cry to:

— Rededicate ourselves to the prestige and professionalism of the original USMC awards program which celebrates excellence among our video and still photogs, our scribbler and our combat artists;

— Actively engage today’s Marines — our successors. Encourage them to sign up as members, to submit their work for award consideration and to join us in good fellowship (and training) in New Bern next year;

— And prove to the world that “veterans groups” and “military associations” do not have to choose between camaraderie and professional development – they can and should be both.

Semper Fidelis!
Keith Oliver, National President

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