Welcome to the heart of the 1st Marine Division Association. Our “About Us” page is a window into our mission, our legacy, and our commitment to serving Marines, Sailors, and veterans. We are a dedicated community, united by the bonds of service and camaraderie. Discover our rich history, explore our programs, and learn how you can become a part of our enduring legacy. Together, we honor the past, support the present, and shape the future.
1st Marine Division Association: Honoring Our Legacy, Supporting Our Troops, and Serving Our Veterans
Our members are proud of our history and legacy of service in the 1st Marine Division. We created this organization to remember and feel that Esprit de Corps that only U.S. Marines and their families understand and live by. We are the guardians and living proof of our Corps’ legacy of excellence from Guadalcanal to Okinawa during World War II – Inchon to the Frozen Chosin in Korea – Operation STARLIGHT to Operation HUE CITY in Vietnam – Mogadishu, Somalia – Kuwait to Al Anbar Province in Iraq – and Helmand Province to Kabul in Afghanistan. The 1st Marine Division Association (FMDA) is truly a “Band of Brothers” that spans across age, rank, race, gender, social, and economic differences. We are a family of warriors.
To our members, we provide our quarterly online magazine, The Old Breed News. It contains timely information on how and where your old outfit is committed, news of our Chapters across the country, and other news any U.S. Marine would want to know about.
We conduct annual reunions in a different city each year in early August to celebrate Operation WATCH TOWER on Guadalcanal, the first major amphibious assault by U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater. This historic battle was highly successful, blunting the Japanese incursions in the South Pacific. Our reunions are always conducted in a first-rate hotel, including a formal military memorial service, wreath-laying ceremony, and a banquet highlighted by a Marine band concert. We arrange visits to historic, military, and tourist sites, and our banquet guest speaker is often the Commanding General of our Division or even the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Each year, we return to Camp Pendleton to celebrate the formation of the 1st Marine Division. All members are invited to participate in this week-long “mini reunion,” during which the active-duty Marines and Sailors of the Blue Diamond Division roll out their red carpet. Our members observe field exercises, a “Rededication of Colors” ceremony that highlights the historic battles won by our division; they spend a day at Camp Pendleton with the young Marines serving with their outfit, and they enjoy a banquet with the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division and many Marines on active duty. This unique gathering allows veterans, young and old, to observe those who have followed in their footsteps during their day-to-day lives. In addition, during these “Anniversary Weeks,” Association Members attend a recruit graduation parade at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
FMDA Chapters are in many cities and counties nationwide and in Korea. Their members meet frequently and experience that camaraderie, that Esprit de Corps that only combat veterans can appreciate. Chapter meetings have often provided the opportunity for Marines and Corpsmen to meet their buddies for the first time since their wars. We also have “Unit Chapters” that are comprised of those who served in the same outfits (i.e., the Echo 2/7 Vietnam Veterans, the 1/5 Vietnam Veterans, and the 3rd AA Battalion). We are open to having these unit chapters formed by veterans of the wars in Kuwait, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Chapter membership is not required to join the FMDA.
The 1st Marine Division Association was initially formed to provide a scholarship program that benefits the children of Blue Diamond Marines who are deceased, 100% disabled, or missing in action. We are proud of our scholarship program, which has resulted in over 550 college degrees over the years. Today’s program provides an award of $2,500 per year for four years to all qualified students. We are the only scholarship program we are aware of that does not turn away any eligible recipients. If you know of a young American who is the child of a U.S. Marine or Navy Corpsman who served in or supported or was attached to the Blue Diamond Division and is deceased or disabled, please let us know. They qualify for our scholarship!
In addition to the scholarship program, we are committed to helping active-duty Marines and Corpsmen serving today in the 1st Marine Division and their families. We committed to the concept that “Marines take care of Marines.” We carry out this mission in several ways:
Most of our members served in combat during their wars. Knowledge and experience about the challenges of warfare are critical to those on “the tip of the spear.” Our association has developed an informal “speakers bureau” consisting of experienced combat veterans who will make themselves available to meet with units for Professional Military Educational seminars (PMEs) and other gatherings.
Many of our members have aided recently discharged members of the Blue Diamond Division by helping them navigate through the bureaucracy of the Veterans Health Administration to obtain the benefits they deserve. Our focus is not only on the disabled veteran but also on the able-bodied veteran. Knowledge about what is out there that can benefit any veteran is essential and can make a difference in your life. We acknowledge that many veterans service organizations in our country can assist in many ways. We see our role as a “clearinghouse” to help veterans decide which VSO to work with.
Looking back on our lives, we appreciate that those Americans who have chosen to wear the uniform for a few years or a career are often faced with choices. The young corporal, nearing the end of their four-year “hitch,” wonders, “Should I stay in, or should I get out?” Most of our members have enjoyed business careers or careers in academia. They are willing and able to provide information and counseling to those who have decided to take off their uniform and either go back to school to complete their education and seek a business, academic, or government career. Information from those with experience can benefit young people poised in a new direction.
Our long-term goal is to raise funds designated to helping any veteran of the legendary Blue Diamond Division in any way we can.