Newsletter Issue 1 2017


MCTA Reunion 2016
Fort Benning, Georgia

President's Message

A Belated Happy Birthday & Happy New Year To Our Marine Corps Tankers Association. The East Coast was surviving Hurricane Matthew and we were holding our reunion in Fort Benning, Georgia. Past President Casey was giving us day to day SITREPS on just how difficult a time some residents were having. I have not heard from any other members on their misfortune and our thoughts go out to any tackling the recovery phase of such a devastating storm.

Lieutenant Colonel Martinez and his detachment did an outstanding job as our reunion hosts. He delayed

the dedication of the new MarDet barracks in honor of our tanker Medal of Honor recipients, Gunnery Sergeant Robert Howard McCard and Sergeant Frederick Timmerman, so that we could participate. His static displays and allowing us to mingle and dine with his staff and students were beyond our expectations. Although the ladies missed the detailed briefs and tour of the Tank Restoration Facility hosted by former Marine Corps Tanker Lin Dyer, they experienced an educational tour of how life was in Columbus years ago. I am glad I wasn’t living in that capital city back then.

I was encouraged by both the attendance and input by those that attended the general meeting. We will hold a combined reunion with the Vietnam Tankers Association in St. Louis this coming September.

Registration form is included in this newsletter. Your board of directors will take up the policy of allowing ONTOS crewmembers into our Association after Jack Schuyler informed us how the two battalions were integrated into 1st and 3rd Tank Battalions in Vietnam. Members are finally speaking out on how they want our organization to evolve.

Those that did not attend the reunion should get some sense of being there with all the photos Rich Hine took and “Fitz” Fitzpatrick put together in this newsletter. We owe a great deal of thanks to both.

I always conclude with advising the membership to feel free to contact myself or any director with your comments or concerns. We volunteer to serve in these billets to make you Association the best it can be for YOU.

2016 Reunion Raffle Winners

Secretary’s Note


I had a great time at the reunion in Ft. Benning. I examined the first combat tanks of WW1. I never thought I would ever see, first hand; our logo T-17 and I enjoyed talking to old and new friends. This is your first reminder to send in your annual dues this January. This money helps to float our day-to-day operations in membership and admin. Membership continues to grow within the active community. We have initiated an honors and awards program at the schoolhouse at Ft. Benning which will recognize graduates and top performers in many fields. We also offer one year free membership to top graduates.

MCTA Annual Business Meeting
Columbus, Georgia
October 20. 2016

I. A quorum was established.

II. Buster Diggs, President, presided over the opening and offered his welcoming to all members, guests, and speakers attending the reunion.

III. The CFO report was presented by the Vice President, John Studenka, from the CFO briefing paper prepared by the CFO Harold He explained that the Foundation has been drawing down on the scholarship funds and has reduced the total to a balance that will become unsustainable if continued. A motion was seconded and passed to accept the report without discussion.

IV. Membership reports indicated that the drive for new members has been successfully recruiting tankers from the training schools and battalions to a small degree. A discussion followed concerning the availability of members e-mail capability to assist in replacing the expense of a hard copy newsletter, as well as whether our larger membership not attending the reunion would be interested in some of the more important Association issues. Directors Studenka, Pierce, and Hine will develop a list of questions to be sent to all members to “clean up” the membership roster. The Directors were also interested in getting the numbers for the graduating Armor classes that may help in recruitment and establishing a direction for future. Social media and Face Book are new areas to develop and maintain. The idea of buying add space in military publications to advertise the Association was welcomed with a motion by the Directors to follow up on this. The motion was seconded and passed. Robert has been appointed POC for this action.

V. Scholarship was addressed by Diggs and he referred to the recent article in the newsletter which detailed the selection process and the results of this year’s applications.

VI. The Executive Secretary reported on the type and quantity of correspondence received and the administrative cost of $2300 in annual expense.

VII. Mr. Fitzpatrick was introduced as the new Editor of the Newsletter. First edition is out and well done; many compliments.

VIII. Mr. Studenka reviewed the Tanker of the Year Award Program. There will be 16 awards this year. Awards for First Tank Battalion are ordered; the MCTA President will present them at a formation at Twentynine Palms. We are looking for a member to take over this activity in the future. A motion to accept all the standing committees’ reports was seconded and passed.

IX. The President reviewed the activities of the East Coast Chapter’s President and further praised his close relationship with the Ace in the Hole Foundation. Rich Hine, Northwest Chapter President presented his chapter’s efforts toward recruitment and the association with the 4th Tank Battalion activities in Yakima, Washington. Director Rick Lewis offered to contact the City of San Diego Chamber of Commerce for a list of military activities in the A motion to accept these reports was seconded and passed.

X. The President presented background information on the Silver Sprocket Award and announced Murphy as the present recipient and how enthusiastic he was to receive the award.

XI. Mr. Fitzpatrick discussed the relationship with Facebook and how effective it is. He encouraged MCTA to use this social media. He will consider the possibility of managing this new undertaking. A motion was made to approve the old business reports; seconded and passed.

XII. President Diggs enumerated the history between the MCTA and VTA. He further explained that we have developed a closer relationship by sharing members and leadership. Rick Lewis is a VTA Board Member as well as an MCTA Director. Mr. Lewis has recommended that the two Associations meet in St. Louis for their respective 2017 reunions. The discussion from the floor covered Marine Corps history and esprit-de-corps, and that we should attend a joint reunion as a step to ultimately achieving the creation of one umbrella Marine Corps Tankers Association. It was moved and seconded to provide a liaison member to work with the VTA to provide a continuum for success; seconded and passed.

XIII. Lt Col. Martinez, the commander of the Marine Detachment, Ft. Benning, spoke on his unit’s functions and it’s developing association with the MCTA, VTA, and the Marine Corps League. His goal is to foster community support for his efforts to provide history and live contact with former tankers in the area. He asked MCTA to support his Master Gunners Course by providing a gunnery patch and helmet bag to the graduates and to start an MCTA chapter at the He offered that a smart way to start new tankers on the road to the MCTA is via connectivity to Facebook. He offered the help establish a Facebook managed account at the center. LtCol. Martinez discussed the movement of the monument from Ft. Knox to Ft. Benning and asked for financial support this effort.

XIV. Rick Young, representing the National Armor and Calvary Foundation, discussed the effort to build a museum to house the armor collection that has been moved from Ft. Knox and now sits at Ft. Benning. $40 million in donations and funding will be used to make this effort become a reality. The MCTA Monument will also be moved. A memorial of pavers will be built with the individual purchase of $200 pavers. Lt. Col. Martinez is the POC for the MCTA monument transfer.

XV. Stewart Fisher reminded the participants that both the MCTA and VTA will benefit by increased cooperation and information sharing with each A motion for same was made, seconded and passed.

XVI. Adjourned.

R/S by

George Rose, Executive Secretary


The address above unlocks our website to anyone with a computer. Don’t know much about websites? Maybe it’s time to take a look. Don’t have a computer? Use one at your local library or just have one of the kids or grandkids tune in from their computers. Might be fun for both of you to have them teach you a bit of computer stuff.

What is in our web site? Information/ pictures of past and future events, scholarship awardees and info on future awards, messages from our president, new joins, financial news, and a memorial page for fallen comrades. There is also a section that includes a copy of the most recent newsletter!

If you want to keep up with what is going on, the web site is the place to look.

I am the web site manager (for the lack of a better term) and welcome your feedback. Got some old Marine Corps tank pictures? Send a copy my way and I will see that they get into the gallery. Be part of this site. Your history matters!

More articles to follow about the web site in the next issue.

Rich Hine (email-


Subject: The 2nd Tank Battalion’s Step-child Outfit, Company “E”

I read with interest the latest issue of the MCTA Newsletter, especially the parts about Martin Murphy, the oldest MCTA member, and the comments about the early days of the 2d Tank Battalion.

As far as age is concerned, I’m not far behind Martin since I was born August 12, 1925. I enlisted October 27, 1941, so I was only 16 years old at the time. After boot camp in San Diego, I attended Radio Operators school, right there at the end of the MCB parade ground. After finishing school, March 13, 1942, I was assigned to temporary “E” Company, 2nd Tank Bn, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Elliott, California.

Probably a little known fact is the existence of this step-child outfit, “E” Company. At that time, “A” Company had been away in Iceland, and “E” Company was its temporary replacement. It consisted of a dozen or so young men right out of boot camp, several of us brand new Radio Operators, and two Marmon-Herrington 2-man tanks! These little monsters were armed with one .50 cal and two .30 cal machine guns.

They did not have synchro-mesh transmissions, and shifting gears was seemingly impossible. The rest of the battalion had M2A4 or M3 Stuarts.

Since “A” Company was on its way back from Iceland, “E” Company was disbanded about May 30, 1942, and I reported to the Tank School being newly constructed at Jacque’s Farm near East San Diego. Here, I helped set up the new camp and assisted in some of the instructing. No more “E” Company, no more two-man tanks!

For the rest of my story, I shipped out in January 1943 with the 12th Defense Battalion Tank Platoon (M3A1’s).  Our first operation was the occupation of Woodlark Island, about 200 miles east of New Guinea. Then on October 8, 1943, our tanks were taken away and some time later the 12th Defense Bn was redesignated 12th AAA Battalion. As such, we served with the 1st Marine Division at Cape Gloucester and Peleliu.  I was rotated back to San Diego when the war ended.

(J W Taylor w/Reising gun, center back row, Tank Plt, 12th Def Bn, Woodlark Is., Aug 1943)

I thought some folks in MCTA might be interested in the story of the 2nd Tank Battalion’s short-lived step-child, the two man tank outfit, “E” Company.


The Venerable M103A1

The genesis of this article is the result of a conversation with President Diggs prior to the MCTA’s recent sojourn to Fort Benning regarding the deployment, or lack thereof, of the M103A1 heavy gun tank. After nearly eight months in Basic School, Quantico, VA, I reported to the 2nd Tank Battalion, ForceTroopsLant in April of 1961. Following this assignment, I was posted to Platoon Commander, 2nd Platoon, Company C, and alerted for a deployment in August to Vieques, Puerto Rico. The tank inventory of Charlie Company was the M103A1.

The normal annual deployment for 2nd tanks was two Mediterranean cruises, two PHIBEXes and two TRALEXes. The M103’s were not deployed to the Mediterranean, but, during the 1960s, handled mostly the TRALEX deployments, sometimes three to the Caribbean. In those days with hurricanes, assassinations, and high jackings of commercial airlines to Havana, it was not unusual to “mount out” as a response force.

Already in preparation for the August TRALEX, 2nd Platoon was alerted on a late Friday, June afternoon, to be ready to sail Saturday morning. The troops had to be rounded up, tanks needed to pass through maintenance, staged at the railhead for transport to Morehead City, and loaded aboard ships. The platoon sergeant was GySgt Louis Jandrosits. Gunny Jandrosits did a magical job getting everything put together while I attended meeting after meeting. By 1400 hours Saturday afternoon, we were aboard ship and departing Morehead.

Great Job Gunny! Our mission was in support of 1/6. The tank platoon, already on standard deployment, was also a “Charlie” Company M103A1 platoon led by 1st Lt. John Marsh. This “flap” lasted a month or so. Upon returning to CLNC, the 2nd Platoon was still scheduled for the August deployment. Other “Charlie” platoons picked up the gauntlet and continued the pace, 1961-1962.

During the summer or early autumn of 1962, all of Company C deployed on a special exercise in the Caribbean under the command of Captain Jim Delaney. The company had already deployed when I returned to 2nd Tanks after completing the Associate Armor Officers Career Course at Fort Knox, KY August of 1962.

The Cuban crisis came upon this country during the fall of 1962 and the M103A2s of Company C went to Cuba. They remained there until sometime in late 1964 or early 1965. Then, the venerable M103A1 left the Marine Corps inventory. Just like all the heavy guns of the past, the M103A1 had its problems. The German Tiger, King Tiger JS-1, 11, and 111 each had problems with gun system weight, suspension load, and peculiarities such as defective radio frequency transmission. Despite these inherent problems, the gun itself was magnificent and would be today, if enhanced by modern technology. All in all, the Marine Corps received good service from the M103A1 heavy gun tank despite the above-mentioned weaknesses.


MCTA Public Affairs Article (8 November, 2016) (submitted by MARDET, Fort Benning GA)

From 12-15 October, 2016, The Marine Corps Tankers Association (MCTA) held its annual reunion at the Marine Corps Detachment (MarDet) aboard Fort Benning, Georgia. Marine Corps Tank Veterans and their families traveled from across the country to congregate at the current site where the tankers, infantry, mechanics and engineers of the future are trained prior to reporting to the Fleet Marine Force for duty.

The event began on 12 October with an evening social at the U.S Army’s National Infantry Museum. At the social, the MCTA members reunited with old friends and socialized with members of the Marine Corps Detachment’s (MarDet) staff to discuss the week’s schedule. Marine Veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom all gathered to share food, drinks and war stories, making for a memorable evening.

The morning of 13 October, the MCTA toured Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) Headquarters, followed by a tour of Eubanks Field, the site where the Army’s Basic Airborne Course (BAC) is conducted. The MCTA members were given a demonstration by the Marine Instructors of the Infantry Training Company that work alongside the Army to successfully graduate over 700 Marines annually. The MCTA spent the rest of the day at the Marine Corps Detachment’s Vehicle Maintenance Instruction (VMI) facility where they received lunch and a brief from the MarDet Commanding Officer, LtCol Ruben Martinez, on the current and future state of armor in the Marine Corps. Following the brief, the MCTA toured the Detachment’s training facilities, providing an opportunity for the MCTA members to observe the M1A1 Abrams, the M88 Recovery Vehicle, the Assault Breacher Vehicle, as well as interact with the Marine students and instructors.

On the evening of 13 October, a building dedication ceremony was conducted at the Marine Detachment Headquarters to honor World War II Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients. The MarDet HQ was renamed in honor of Gunnery Sergeant McCard and the MarDet student barracks was named in honor of Sgt Timmerman. Both were Marine tankers who posthumously received the Medal of Honor at the Battle of Saipan. Following the dedication ceremony, a social was conducted that included lectures from the following guest speakers: Major Vickers (USMC Retired), “The Battle of Tarawa;” Joan Thomas, Senior

Curator Of Art, National Museum of the Marine Corps, “Charles Waterhouse’s USMC Art;” Major Arthur Dyer, (USMC Retired) The History of Marine Corps Armor.

On 14 October, the MCTA toured downtown Columbus, Georgia as well as the US Army Tank Restoration Museum. The MCTA observed up close and personal a variety of tanks, both American and international dating from pre-WWII era to present day.

On 15 October, the MCTA held a banquet at the National Infantry Museum for members and their families to mark the culmination of the week’s events.


2017 St Louis Reunion

Sheraton Westport Chalet

September 21 – September 25

Want to save $25?

Mail your registration before July 31

  • Vietnam Tank or AT

  • Reunion Refund Policy: If you find that you cannot attend the St Louis reunion after you have pre-paid your reunion fees, the USMC VTA will refund your total reunion fees if you notify us prior to July 31, 2017. If you notify us of your cancellation after that date, we are sorry but we cannot make any refund offer

    Pre-July 31 Form
  • Men’s T·Shrt Sites 5-XL = $15each
    ($5.00txt,_ forXXl& XXXLI
  • NAME (S) asyou want them toappear onyourreunion name C
My Registration fee: $160$
(After July 31st the late registration fee is $185 per person) 
My T-Shirt$1M2()$
Number of guestsX$160$
(Early registration fee for each guest is $160.00)
Guest T-shirtX $1M2()  
  SUBTOTAl = $
Optional: Would you like to donate a few dollars
to help with the beer fund?

You must make your own hotel room reservations by August 30th to get the low room rate!
Call: 1-888-627-7066 and be sure to mention both the “Sheraton Westport Chalet” and “USMC Vietnam
Tankers Reunion” for the special room rate of $119.00 per night. The special room rate is good for three
days prior and three days after the reunion dates as well. Please note the regular hote room rate is $180
per night.

CAUTION:Do not confuse the above hotel bookingdeadline date with

the eorly reglstrotlon offer whichhas a July 31″deadline.



Submit this fonn along with your payment byJuly 31st to purchase a reunion t-shirt and save $25 oil of the Reunion Registration Fee

Send check ormoney order made out to: USMC VTA and the completed registration loon to:


c/o Ron Knight

6665 Burnt Hickory Orive Hoschton, GA 30548-8280

Pre-July 31 Form

1st Tank Battalion75th Birthday Celebration

Marine Corps Air Combat Center Twentynine Palms, CA, United States 1 Nov 2016

On 1 November 2016, 1st Tank Battalion celebrated 75th Birthday aboard Marine Corps Air Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, cut the birthday cake and presented it to LtCol Buster Diggs (ret.), guest of honor, and to Corporal Dior R. Jarrett, Headquarters & Service Company Tanker of the Year. LtCol Meyers and SgtMaj Brian A. Priester, command sergeant major, 1st Tank Battalion, presented awards to the 2016 Tankers of the Year.

Maj Christopher A. Ashinhurst, operations officer, 1st Tank Battalion, forms up the battalion and reports to LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, during the 1st Tank Battalion 75th Birthday Celebration.

Col Buster Diggs (ret), receives the first piece of cake from LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, during the celebration of 1st Tank Battalion’s 75th Birthday on 1 November 2016.

MGySgt Steven M. Heath, operations chief, 1st Tank Battalion, receives the first piece of cake from LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, during the celebration of 1st Tank Battalion’s 75th Birthday on 1 November 2016.

LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, and SgtMaj Brian A. Priester, command sergeant major, 1st Tank Battalion, oversee the celebration of 1st Tank Battalion’s 75th Birthday on 1 November 2016.

LtCol Christopher V. Meyers, commanding officer, 1st Tank Battalion, and SgtMaj Brian A. Priester, command sergeant major, 1st Tank Battalion, oversee the celebration of 1st Tank Battalion’s 75th Birthday on 1 November 2016.

2016 New Members

Date of MembershipNamePhoneComments
2/1/2016PUES, Harlow A815 232 8681 
3/29/2016ALVARENGA, Roberto A310 418 0554 
5/24/2016SPURGEON, Marc A586-876-0950New Life member
6/20/2016AYOUNI, Rachis206-841-4070 
6/20/2016EWBANK, David No phone
7/22/2016GILCHRIST, Dan562-607-3654 
7/22/2016DeCICCO, Michael407-704-6043Reg member to Life
9/26/2016LANGFELD, Lance J858-668-9687AD LtCol
9/26/2016GOUTRMOUNT Jr, Lowell B928-581-9286 
9/26/2016TOSCANO, Alberto AD
11/10/2016KUES, Edwin J619-463-7093New Life Member
11/10/2016SCHOEN, Wm. J239-261-7170 
11/10/2016HEATON, Randall E702-791-2397 
 MARTIN, Sam  
 WERNER, Larry  


BEATY. Lewis husband of Lucileft us May 2015
HOPKINS Jr, husband of Jean Cleft us 13 Oct 2015
HUBER, Raymond B left us 2016 (PO Notice)
RUSSELL, Mack E left us 2016 (PO Notice)
READ, Lester Dhusband of Susanleft us 9 Jul 2016