February Newsletter


Marine West Expo

The Expo at Area 22 on Camp Pendlton went smoothly and was well attended.  Teresa wouldn’t let me take home any of the real cool toys like remote control tracked IED seeking robot or aerial drone with exchangeable payloads.  The standard payload is a high def video camera, but I got them to admit that “experimental” projectile weapons are possible…But she probably would have let me keep the injured dummy.

South West Division Conference

Leagueres attended from all three departments as well as a visit and address by the National Judge Advocate and the COO of the League.

National JA Griffin reported that they have had to deal with some Chapter 9 issues, but most should have been handled at the local detachment level.
He emphasized the need to follow the bylaws.
The proper uniform -> there have been questions about photographs in Semper Fi; many are denied due to improper uniforms. Uniform Regs
—Remember that to be “in uniform” means to wear, at a minimum, the MCL cover.

Chief Operating Officer Bob Berka had a lot to say, and answered several questions.
Toys for Tots: – Everyone is doing a great job! Rarely any issue with the program.  The Commandant of the Corps wants us to participate in this program as much as we can.
Covers/Blazers: Shortage of covers in the Ship’s Store. 7 ¼ and 7 ½ are very hard to get. Orders will be doubled in an attempt to take care of the shortage. Blazers are also a problem. Hardwick, the company used in the past has been bought out and no longer offers the blazer. He will bring a solution to mid-winter. The jacket will be bright red.
Detachment Level Bylaw Templates: No detachment level bylaws on the website.  Use what is on the website but tailor to the individual detachment.  Make them simple. Adjust over time as needed. Should be short.  
editor’s note: The latest National bylaws have had the Policies and Procedures separated from the bylaws into its own document.  We may want to consider doing the same.
Full Minutes


The 68th Anniversary of the Korean War “Chosin Few”…..The Tootsie Roll Marines

On November 26, 1950, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemen were completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops in rugged mountains near the Chosin Reservoir. Chairman Mao himself had ordered the Marines annihilated, and Chinese General Song Shi-Lun gave it his best shot, throwing human waves of his 120,000 soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied forces. A massive cold front blew in from Siberia, and with it, the coldest winter in recorded Korean history. For the encircled allies at the Chosin Reservoir, daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower.

Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran dangerously low and the cans were frozen solid. Fuel could not be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn’t cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman’s mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather.

High Command virtually wrote them off, believing their situation was hopeless. Washington braced for imminent news of slaughter and defeat. Retreat was hardly an option; not through that wall of Chinese troops. If the Marines defended, they would be wiped out So they formed a 12-mile long column and attacked.

There were 78 miles of narrow, crumbling, steeply-angled road and 100,000 Chinese soldiers between the Marines and the sea at Hungnam. Both sides fought savagely for every inch of it. The march out became one monstrous, moving battle.

The Chinese used the ravines between ridges, protected from rifle fire, to marshal their forces between attacks. The Marines’ 60-millimeter mortars, capable of delivering high, arcing fire over the ridgelines, breaking up those human waves, became perhaps the most valuable weapon the Marines had. But their supply of mortar rounds was quickly depleted. Emergency requests for resupply were sent by radio, using code words for specific items. The code for 60mm mortar ammo was “Tootsie Rolls”but the radio operator receiving that urgent request didn’t have the Marines’ code sheets. All he knew was that the request came from command authority, it was extremely urgent and there were tons of Tootsie Rolls at supply bases in Japan.

Tootsie Rolls had been issued with other rations to US troops since World War I, earning preferred status because they held up so well to heat, cold and rough handling compared to other candies.

Tearing through the clouds and fog, parachutes bearing pallet-loads of Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. After initial shocked reactions, the freezing, starving troops rejoiced. Frozen Tootsies were thawed in armpits, popped in mouths, and their sugar provided instant energy. For many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. The troops also learned they could use warmed Tootsie Rolls to plug bullet holes in fuel drums, gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing the leaks.

Over two weeks of unspeakable misery, movement and murderous fighting, the 15,000-man column suffered 3,000 killed in action, 6,000 wounded and thousands of severe frostbite cases. But they reached the sea, demolishing several Chinese divisions in the process. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. Surviving Marines called themselves “The Chosin Few,” and among themselves, another name: The Tootsie Roll Marines. Join me in sharing their story and some Tootsie Rolls.




Upcoming Events:


Detachment Meeting, Spring Valley Lake, Feb 28th

Dept of Calif Spring Conference, Los Angeles: March 16th

Division Conference, Las Vegas: April 27th

Dept of Calif Convention, San Diego: June 2019

Hello Devil Dogs,



At our meeting this Thursday, we will be discussing a few interesting topics.  The National MCL has instituted a “Fire Team” as a potential way for members to get together in remote areas.  Mark will be providing some details about this.  We will also be hearing from Tom about an update on Orenda and how we can help.  I think Mike has a topic or two to discuss also.  Of course we will have plenty of time to socialize with fellow jarheads.

If you have not been following the news, a court in Texas has ruled that the draft must require women.  There has not been an official word yet, but it looks like women will need to begin registering sometime soon.  This is a bold new step for the military.  This will most likely be a topic of conversation on Thursday also.

If you have not stumbled across Terminal Lance, I highly recommend it.  The author is a Marine who did four years and then used his GI bill to go to college to obtain a graphic arts degree.  He clearly describes life in the Corps, I highly recommend it.  https://terminallance.com/

Darryl Evey

January 2019 Newsletter

With all the holidays behind us, it is time to get serious (as much as we are able…) about getting back to to the work of the Detachment. Please join us next week for our January meeting. Come with ideas and a willingness help propel us to great things this year.

Commandant’s Message
There is a rat in my house.  He is cute (I had a pet rat for a while), but this is not a pet just a random rat who wandered into my house.  Unfortunately, he is becoming bold.  He climbs on the counters and eats my food.  He has even started cutting across rooms while I am in them.  I really need to make him move out of my house.

But it is cold outside.  I refuse to poison animals so normally I would use a live trap to catch him relocate him somewhere in the woods a few miles away from my house.  But it is cold outside.  If I put him out in the cold, he will probably die.  I do not want him in my house but I do not want him to die.  I am very conflicted about what I should do.

I am also conflicted about how to best help people who are homeless.  When I see them panhandling, I want to give them the few dollars in my pocket.  There is an empty guest bedroom in my house.  I could potentially bring them home and give them a warm place to live.  It seems unfair that I have an empty bedroom and they have no place to sleep.  This is especially complicated when I learn the homeless person is a veteran. 

I am truly grateful for Orenda House and the great work they do.  When you think about our fellow devil dogs who are down on their luck, remember that Orenda is there to help them.  If you are working on your taxes and need an extra deduction, please consider Orenda.  They are doing some great work.  They help men clean themselves up, find stable employment, and get back on their feet.  Also, if you need work down around your office or home, they can build or fix almost anything.  During December, they fixed the electrical and a water leak problem at my office.

Upcoming Events

Marine West Expo / SW Division Conference

Camp Pendleton, Oceanside
February 6-8

Department of California 2019 Spring Conference
March 15-16
Location: Crowne Plaza-Los Angeles
Commerce Casino
6121 Telegraph Road
Commerce, CA 90040

The meeting dates for the first six months are as follows:
January 24th
February 28th
March 28th
April 25th
May 23rd
June 27th
It is the 4th Thursday of each month at
Spring valley Lake Country Club
13229 Spring Valley Parkway
Victorville, CA. 92395
Meeting time:  6:00pm to 8:00pm

Chaplain’s Corner

From the inception of the Orenda House for Veterans in 2013, our Detachment has been engaged in humble outreach efforts from gas cards for residents to disability claim assistance and often simple moral support for the residents. The founder Kelly Maxwell was one of our Charter members and has welcomed and encouraged our support and referrals of homeless veterans.

With the Orenda  house manager Tom Tomasello,being one of our key members we have been afforded an ongoing invitation to lend a assistance to the residents. 

One of those residents, a Marine, Louie Esparza has been more then receptive to networking his way into viable employment. Louie excepted our invitation to join the Victor Valley Marine Corps League a year ago and has been the beneficiary of the old adage, “you gotta circulate to percolate.” Louie has shown himself to be an honest and reliable hand for a slew of small projects for our members, including the Family Assistance Center where he now works full time. 

Suffice it to say, outside our mission of camaraderie and fellowship, we do prefer to leave no Marine behind, and Louie Esparza is a fine example of why fraternal organizations exist. It is our hope that we can give a boost to others who are seeking peace and prosperity.