MCA - It's our association

27 Nov 2007 | Captain Gabrielle Chapin

A friend of mine is a corporate headhunter.  In the past he has always touted former military members as being his bread-and-butter, due to their leadership abilities.  Recently, however, he reported to me an alarming trend.

Many former, retired, and Reserve Marines are not members of their own professional organization - The Marine Corps Association.  From his perspective it seems odd that any Marine, transitioning from the Corps or remaining in service, would not belong.  After all, in the corporate world, membership in a professional organization is imperative and carries far more weight than just add another bullet on a resume. 

He said that to corporate folks, outside the Corps, membership shows ?commitment and involvement.?  It also shows ?well-roundedness.?  After all, he added, are there any lawyers who would brag to a potential employer that they are NOT a member of the American Bar Association? 
For those who may not be aware the Marine Corps Association was formed by Marines of the 2d Provisional Brigade in April 1913.   John A. Lejeune, then a lieutenant colonel, headed its first executive committee.  Today the purpose of the MCA has changed very little than some 89 years ago.  Its purpose is to foster the spirit and preserve the traditions of the Marine Corps.  It is also to create a dialogue between members on important issues. 

The vehicles for doing so are through the Marine Corps Gazette and Leatherneck magazines, professional writing events, PMEs and seminars throughout the Corps.  MCA also recognizes quality performance and is the largest provider of professional awards and commendations to Marines.

So the conversation with my corporate headhunter friend ends where it always begins.  I tell him that I?m not interested in a job; the one I have suits me fine.  However, I?ll be on the lookout. 

What I fail to reveal to him is that I have not always been a member of MCA.  There was a time, not so long ago, that I could not see the professional association aspect, rather I focused solely on the magazines.  Ones that magically appeared in our public affairs office each month.  

A Marine General once told me that any association is just a reflection of the members who are a part of it.  As Marines we have the ability to further MCA?s rich tradition of keeping members informed of developments and future plans of the Corps, while also emphasizing our rich history.  The key to doing so, is through membership in our own professional association. 

For more information on the Marine Corps Association go to

Marine Corps News

Colonel Jim W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit