Newsletter Issue 2 2016


MCTA Reunion 2016
Fort Benning, Georgia

President's Message

Another Greeting My Association Members,

This message will focus on our upcoming reunion. This reunion is significant for two reasons: (1) the general membership meeting on Saturday, 15 October will provide some necessary and long overdue discussion on critical topics, and (2) all of us are Fort Knox trained in some fashion. I am not a “jumper” and have never had the inkling to do so. I have never even thought about visiting Fort Benning, but as the successor to Ft. Knox, this is now our “home.” Having made a recent reconnaissance to ensure LtCol Martinez doesn’t think we can still pass the PFT with events he has coordinated for our visit, I need to pass on some knowledge recently acquired at that reconnaissance.

Please note the minor changes in the itinerary published in our last newsletter. These changes were made to better accommodate attendees. The hotel is enthusiastic about having us aboard but I have two words of caution. When our Marine Corps graduates a class of either crewmen or mechanics, the number rarely exceeds thirty. When the Army graduates a class of either, plus airborne Soldiers and Marines, it can number into the hundreds. Our Hampton Inn sits about two hundred meters from the National Infantry Museum (NIM) where the graduation ceremonies take place at the beautiful and historic location. Bottom line is that the hotel fills up – quickly. I urge all of you who contemplate attending the reunion to make your reservation now! I may not be able to help you secure a room at the last minute.

The second issue is the distance from the hotel to the NIM, where we will hold both the “Ice Breaker Social” and the final banquet. Although the two are connected by a common parking lot, the distance is about two hundred meters. I plan on no additional transportation other than shoe leather to arrive at either. This is also something members will have to plan for.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible, ready to share your advice and suggestions on how to make our Association better serve your needs. Until the 12th of October, I can always be reached on e-mail or cell.

Diggs sends

From the Secretary’s Desk – George Rose

The most urgent item is to make sure that you order your room for the reunion from the Hampton Inn Columbus at 706.660.5550. There will be an army graduation of 200 during our stay with guest to compete for billeting. Get’er done. Send your reunion registration directly to HQ , MCTA ASSOCIATION, P O BOX 20761,EL CAJON, CA 92021 with a check. You won’t want to miss this year at Ft. Benning. We would like to post your photo on the web page when you sign up for life membership or send articles to the web site for publishing.

This is a new request for our new members as well. Our sympathy and prayers go to all of the survivors of our passed tankers this year . Stay in touch. May God bless you.

Please fill out this form, fold it to fit in an envelope and mail to:

2016 Marine Corps Tankers Association Registration Form
P. O. Box 20761
El Cajon, CA 92021

Registration Form

  • Please answer questions or indicate events you plan to attend

RSVP by 31 August to National Headquarters at the above address with your payment enclosed. Rooms will be parceled out Twenty-five at a time. Reserve your rooms at Hampton Inn as soon as possible to guarantee availability.

Hampton Inn Columbus/South-Fort Benning

2870 South Lumpkin Rd
Columbus, Georgia 31903
(706) 660-5550
Registration Code: MCT

Wednesday, 12 October
1800-2000“Ice Breaker” Social
2000-2200Hospitality suite open
Thursday, 13 October
0730-0830Residual registration
830Fort Benning muster
0900-1100MCoE & Airborne Tour
1100-1200Command Brief with MarDet
1200-1330Lunch with staff and students
1330-1630R & R or Museum Tours
1700-2000MarDet MOH Building Memorialization
2000-2200Hospitality suite open
Friday, 14 October
0830 (adventurers) Fort Benning Muster 0830 (Columbus) Historical tour Muster 
0900-1200 Tank restoration and trng obs0900-1200 Tour Columbus
1200-1400 PX/food court1200-1300 Lunch
1400-1900  Rest & Relaxation1300-1700 R & R or Museum tours 
1900-2200Hospitality suite open
Evening meal on your own 
Saturday 15 October
800Reveille and form for PT
0900-1100General Meeting
1130-1300Board of Director’s Meeting
1330-1630Rest and relaxation
1730-2100Reunion banquet
2100-2300Hospitality suite open
Sunday 16 October
NLT 1100Farewells and departures

2d Tank Battalion News…

Commanding Officer LtCol Robert J. Bodisch, 2d Tank Battalion, 2d MAR DIV stated the New Year brought an exceptionally busy time for the Battalion (BN). In addition, 2d Platoon, Charlie Company, the first tank platoon to deploy to Eastern Europe as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force Combined Arms Company (BSRF-CAC) returned from the historic deployment late in the month and later replaced by 1st Platoon, Charlie Company. The BSRF-CAC tank platoons exemplified the “Iron Horse”, 2d Marine Division and the entire Marine Corps in outstanding fashion. Also, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company participated in coalition exercises in Romania, Bulgaria, and Norway; and 2d Platoon, Alpha Company followed with an impressive deployment with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Similarly, 1st Platoon Alpha Company followed with its deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). All of the MEU tank platoons are highly trained and accomplished their missions as expected. The Battalion Marines and sailors back at MC Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina continued preparing their combat readiness training and maintenance schedules.

January 2016―Bravo Company successfully qualified all of its tank crews during semi-annual gunnery qualification. And last month, the battalion conducted a somber Charlie Company Deactivation ceremony in which more than 350 visitors witnessed the Formal procedure. Charlie Company’s rich combat history will never be forgotten and we all greatly anticipate the day of its reactivation.

February 2016―2d Tank Battalion conducted an unprecedentedly large exercise known as “IRON BLITZ” which included 16 units from across the Marine Expeditionary Force; and units from the US Navy and US Air Force.

The exercise took place on Camp Lejeune and involved crossing the New River with more than 180 vehicles and 800 Marines under live artillery fire and simulated chemical attack conditions. The BN conducted non-live and live-fire combined arms maneuver training integrated with LAVs, Amtracks, infantry, and special intelligence assets to include aircraft from the US Air Force for 7-days. The BN performed magnificently in all areas. There is no question the Marines and Sailors stand ready to answer the nation’s call in any mission.

March 2016―much of the Battalion departed Camp Lejeune headed to Fort Pickett, Virginia. While in Virginia the BN trained there until 2 April conducting Platoon and Company level training with H&S Company, Alpha Company, Charlie Company, Scouts Platoon and TOW Platoon and attachments from 2d Tracks and 2d CEB. During this time, both tank companies conducted tank gunnery and company level maneuver training while H&S Company, Scouts and TOW Platoon conducted various live fire and non-live training. Also, 1st BN 6th Marines mortar platoon, a rifle platoon from Lima Company, 3d BN 8th Marines and Hotel Battery 3rd BN 14th Marines (USMCR) joined the BN training. The BN conducted Fire Support Coordination Exercise mid-month, integrating tank fires, mortars, 155mm artillery, and close air support. After concluding FSCE and “IRON FURY” with a 5-day FEX event the BN participated in a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE). During the MCCRE event, the BN conducted offensive and defensive tasks to include breaching with ABVs and AVLBs, employed our TOW and Scout Platoons, conducted numerous relief-in-place and passage of lines between units with the highlight of incorporating a forward tank platoon engagement area live fire as well as conducted operational level NBC decontamination. The operation required BN level railhead movement including tanks, M88s, AAVs, AVLBs, ABVs, and wheeled vehicles on 68 railcars totaling over 3,800 tons. The train was over 1 mile long and the II MEF transportation folks informed us it was the largest rail movement conducted out of Camp Lejeune in the last 10-years. It was quite the logistical challenge as we needed to refresh and sharpen our embarkation and deployment readiness and the Marines did a fantastic job despite the inclement weather. Lastly as you all know, Delta Company was in the final stages of deactivation having already divested all of their weapons, tanks, wheeled vehicles, and communications equipment.

April 2016―brought the BN Talent Show where numerous Marines and Sailors bravely took the stage and displayed their talents in poetry, music, singing, and comedy. The LtCol expressed his special thanks to those who participated. Furthermore, with summer quickly approaching, a turnover of Battalion key personnel was anticipated with the loss of the BN Operations Chief- Master Gunnery Sergeant Ramon Sanchez and his wife (Command Team Advisor [CTA]) Ester; and Sergeant Major Thomas Burkhardt and his wife (CTA) Kandi as well as others. But with these farewells, the BN warmly welcomed the new Marines/ Sailors and their families aboard 2d Tanks.

June 2016―ushered in hotter weather and a change in command at 2d Tank Battalion, Camp Lejeune. Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Bodisch of Texas relinquished his command to Lieutenant Colonel Lance J. Langfeldt of Nebraska. Major General John K. Love of Abilene Texas presided over the Change of Command Ceremony on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 at W.P.T Hill Field, Camp Lejeune North Carolina. Family and friends attended and wished the Colonels well.

LtCol. Bodisch stated the Marines and Sailors of 2d Tank Battalion “Iron Horse” are all doing well and training hard and saw the companies remained busy training in the field, taking care of individual annual training, and conducting maintenance exercises through the last quarter, and bid the BN Marines and Sailors, and family’s farewell.

LtCol Robert J. Bodisch, Commanding Officer


MCTA-NW Chapter News

Memorial Day at the Armor Fest in the Pacific NW. A great opportunity to seek out new members for the MCTA. The MCTA-NW Chapter set up a booth that drew considerable interest. Our members talked to well over 100 people with lots of questions about the MCTA. Three young

Marines took applications and many requested information about the MCTA website. Thanks to Dana Miller and Fred Lillian for stopping by and lending a hand. Rich Hine 425-923-3117.



In December of 1941, Company C, 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division was established by the United States Marine Corps as the nation began to mobilize for World War II. Originally outfitted with M3Al “Stuart” light tanks, the com- pany first deployed to Iceland, providing a northern guard to the European front. When the Marine Corps shifted its focus to the Pacific front, the company first saw combat in August 1942 on theisland of Tanambogo during the Gualdacanal Campaign. Following lessons learned during that battle, Company C was up- graded with the M4A2 “Sherman” medi- um tanks in 1943 in preparation for addi- tional Pacific island seizure operations.

The campaign to seize the Gilbert Islands began in No- vember 1943, and Company C participated in the heaviest fighting of the amphibious as- sault on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. The combined arms pow- er that Company C brought to the 2d Marine Division landing force proved invaluable during the battle, and has been the model for successful tank- infantry integration in the Ma- rine Corps ever since. After the assault on Tarawa, Company C participated in combat actions on Sai- pan, Tinian, le Shima, and Okinawa. After the war’s end, the company per- formed occupation security duties in Japan with the rest of the 2d Tank Battalion until relocation to Camp Lejeu- ne, NC in 1946. During the 1950s, Com- pany C often trained in large scale fleet landing exercises deploying to Vieques, Puerto Rico and further honing the Ma- rine Corps’ amphibious warfare doctrine and techniques. As tensions rose during the Cold War, Marine tanks were chosen to secure and defend American interests at home and abroad. During the 1960s, platoons from Company C were routine- ly deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an integral part of the base’s defenses..

During the Vietnam War, Company C and the rest of 2d Tank Battalion provid- ed training and combat replacement personnel for the 1st and 3rd Tank Battalions who were forward deployed to Southeast Asia in combat. When the war in Vietnam ended in 1975, 2d Tank Battalion transitioned its focus to NATO security operations. In 1978, Company C deployed to West Germany in support of NATO exercise Bold Guard, refining mo- bilization procedures and combat inte- gration with joint forces and European allies. In the 1970s and 80s, Company C platoons also routinely participated in Marine Amphibious Unit deployments. In 1989, the company deployed to Camp Fuji, Japan in support of the Unit Deployment Program.

Two years later, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Company C was again called upon for combat operations, this time in support of Operation Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. On 3 January 1991, the company arrived in Al Jubayl, Saudi Ara- bia attached to the 8th MarineRegiment and was key to the overwhelming com- bat power that forced the Iraqi Army to retreat out of Kuwait and restore inter- national borders. Victory came swift for Company C and by May 1991 the tanks and men of the company were back in North Carolina. Throughout the 90s, Company C was in a steady rotation of Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments, Combined Arms Exercise training, and international exercises. In 1998 the company deployed to Nova Scotia, Canada and in 2000 the company deployed to Greece for allied training  exercises. After the events on 9/11, Company C was ready to “win when called upon” and within months a platoon from the company was deployed to Pakistan in support of Operation Swift Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2002, with a platoon in Pakistan, the company also deployed to Zargosa, Spain in sup- portof additional multinational training.

On 30 June 2003, Company C re- turned to the sands of the Middle East and arrived in Kuwait in preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a key play- er in “the opening gambit,” the com- bined arms firepower and speed of the tanks of Company C were instru- mental in pushing back Iraqi forces and shaping the battle- field for success. In 2004, the Marines and tanks of Company C deployed once more to Iraq in support of OIF. While attached to RCT-lthey participated in the “Battle of Fallujah,” the largest urban battle in the Corp’s histo- ry. The company deployed to Iraq once again in 2006 in sup- port of OIF. After the comple- tion of this deployment, Compa- ny C platoons participated in multiple MEU deployments and Mojave Viper training exercises until 2011, when they deployed for combat as a company once again. In 2011, Company C was attached to the 2d Combat Engineer Battalion and deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF. Returning from Afghani- stan, the company spent the next sever- al years in rotations on MEU deploy- ments, Integrated Training Exercises, and deployments for training to Fort Knox, KY and Fort Pickett, VA. In October 2015, 1st Platoon, Company C departed for Bulgaria. This final deployment was a historic event for the Marine Corps, the first time Marine armor deployed to an Eastern-Bloc country since the end of the Cold War, and a fitting finale for one of 2d Tank Battalion’s most decorated and accomplished companies.

4th Tank Battalion I&I Change of Command

24 June 2016

Marines with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion integrated with elements of 2nd Tank Battalion in a week-long exercise on Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 18 to July 21. The intent was to train the active duty and reserve Marines in the event they deploy together in the future.

2016 WRAP-UP

Greg LiCalzi, Jr., Board President, says the 7th Annual “Ace in the Hole Foundation Memorial Run” had its greatest showing on Mother’s Day weekend, May 9, 2016. In comparison to past events, this event is the biggest turnout in the Foundation’s history. Greg and the LiCalzi family reported it was great to see the families and friends of our fallen Marines.

For the first time at this event, the Grames Sanchez family was present and honored by the Town of Hempstead , at Lido West Beach, on Long Island NY; and the Ace in the Hole Foundation. All in attendance had a great time meeting LCpl Grames Sanchez’s (father Mr. David Grames) widow (Lindsay), and his 12 year old son, Corbin (he was only 2 when he lost his dad).

2d Tank Battalion Marines had Corbin (whom has a very strong resemblance to his dad) in front of the run formation and he pushed a great pace leading the Marine Tankers without breaking a sweat. The Grames family was at the finish line to proudly watch him cross with the 40 Devil Dogs. Also joining Lt. Colonel Bodisch up front was the I&I for 2/25 Garden City Lt. Colonel Ed Bitanga (a former TBS Platoon mate of the Colonel’s), Colonel Bitanga’s Marines showed great class with their Color Guard support.

The LiCalzi family sends their best regards.


The Ace in the Hole Foundation is a recognized 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York that was founded to remember and honor the sacrifice of 1st Lt. Michael LiCalzi USMC. 1st Lt. LiCalzi lost his life while serving our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom in May 2006. The AIH Foundation provides financial aid, material assistance and succor to charitable organizations and causes. The Foundation’s financial aid and material assistance is administered directly to deserving recipients or through contributions to charitable organizations with which the AIH has working partnerships. Particular emphasis is given to supporting the Marine Corps Tankers of the 2d Tank Battalion, 2d MARDIV, MCB Camp Lejeune, and other armed service personnel and their families.

The Ace in the Hole Foundation was founded in 2008. The term “Ace in the Hole” derives from Mike’s service with the 2d Tank Battalion. The 2d Tank’s slogan is “Ace in the Hole.”

Marine Corps Tankers
Association Board of Directors

PresidentBuster Diggs
bdiggs60@gmail.com1133 Cima Dr San Marco CA 92078H 760-304-0019
C 619-873-7385
Vice President John Studenka 1782 Palomino Ct Oceanside CA 92057H 760-758-2507
Executive Secretary George D. Rose Sr.
gdroseusmcr@yahoo.com1275 Navello St El Cajon CA 92021H 619-579-7848
fax 619-579-7848
Chief Financial Officer Harold Meeks
halmeeks@cox.net1475 Mountain Meadow Dr Oceanside CA 92056H 760-726-3815
C 760-518-8523
Director John Pierce
panzer06@san.rr.com241 Stonegate Dr Carthage TX 75633H 858-484-0730
C 858-336-8118
Director/ScholarshipsSteve Chambers  stevechambers@cox.net1922 Freeman St Oceanside CA 92004H 760-532-9897
C 714-720-4499
Director Conwill R. Casey
casey@telepage.net28 Frank Cove Ln Gasburg VA 23857H 434-577-2346
X 434-637-0622
Director Rich Lewis
ricklent@aol.com5663 Balboa Ave #366 San Diego CA 92111H 858-735-1772
DirectorAllen “Hobie” Hobart
 P O Box 11, 175 Jones Cottontown TN 37048H 615-323-0709
DirectorMario Tamez 14115 Amber Hallow Ct Cypress TX 77429H 281-256-4954
C 713-539-2269
Newsletter EditorLloyd “Fitz” Fitzpatrick
Lloyd.fitzpatrick@yahoo.com2500 Thomas Dr #1615 Edmond OK 73003C 405-863-8942
MCTA FounderGeorge “Red” Saunders
 3410 Spanish Wy Carlsbad CA 92008H 760-434-5402
Northwest Chapter PresidentRich Hine
richhine@comcast.net7305 53rd St NE Marysville WA 98270H 360-658-3335
C 425-923-3117
East Coast Chapter PresidentMario Tamez
mariotamez@standardcement.com14115 Amber Hallow Ct Cypress TX 77429H 281-256-4954
C 713-539-2269
ChaplainMario Tamez
mariotamez@standardcement.com14115 Amber Hallow Ct Cypress TX 77429H 281-256-4954
C 713-539-2249
HistorianStan Smith
templarstansmith@hotmail.com4367 Osprey St San Diego CA 92107 H 619-384-2685
fax 619-291-8780
Web MasterRich Hine
richhine@comcast.net7305 53rd St NE Marysville WA 98270H 360-658-3335
 C 425-923-3117
Director EmeritusLen Maffioli
enmaff33@verizon.net40724 Carte Albara Murrieta CA 92562 H 951-677-3104

Silver Sprocket

The prestigious Silver Sprocket award to the oldest MCTA member is taken over by Martin J. “Murph” Murphy of Leawood, Kansas born March 6th, 1925. Murph enlisted in our Marine Corps on August 6, 1943. He attended recruit training in San Diego and then transferred to Camp Pendleton. Although trained as a Mapping and Tactical Instructor, he volunteered for the 5th Tank Battalion, 5th Marine Division. He was immediately transferred to Camp Tarawa, Hawaii training for the surprise attack on Iwo Jima. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Tank Battalions participated. The 4th and 5th divisions assaulted abreast initially and their tanks landed within the first hour. On February 19, 1945, Murph was in the first tank to land successfully on Iwo Jima. He participated in the entire battle for Iwo Jima as a tank crewman and radio operator. Corporal Murphy was honorably discharged on April 12th,1946


Our thanks to Bob Montgomery and Bob Frye for submitting.


FOX, Donald C left us April 2015
PUGSLEY, Benjaminhusband of Margueriteleft us June 2015
MELTON, Linwood Ehusband of Cathyleft us 12 November 2015
WRIGHT, William Fhusband of Marieleft us 2016 (PO Notice)
RUIZ, Ruben Jhusband of Jacquelenleft us 28 May 2016
ERICKSON, Charles E left us 26 May 2016