Newsletter Issue 1 2018


"Red" Saunders' "Golden Tee"

President's Message

Even losing those we cherish, our Association must continue to move out at a full thirty inch pace. I am always torn on emphasizing the passing of one member over another but George “Red” Saunders must be so honored. Our hospitality suite will be named in honor of “Red”.

Our hosts, Ralph and Diane Kunk, continue to refine our reunion itinerary. The dates and place are firm. What might be altered is the visiting schedule. On the registration form is a place for an e-mail address in addition to a phone number. This will facilitate any late changes and increase the accuracy of your registration packet given upon your arrival. I say again I am hoping all make a special effort to attend.

Other aspects of your Association are moving forward. Your board of directors is deciding how to modify annual dues and Life Membership assessments. Dues collection is a cumbersome, costly and time-consuming task. The cost of newsletters and annual IRS reporting requirements to maintain our tax-exempt status surpass the initial amount given for Life Membership benefits. All current Life Members will be “grandfathered” but it might be prudent for current annual members to convert to Life Membership.

My closing remarks always strike a continuing message. If unable to attend our annual General Meeting at our Dayton reunion, contact me or any director with your concerns. Contact information is located elsewhere in this and other issues.

Diggs sends

Secretary’s Notes

This is your seconded reminder to send in your annual dues in January. This money helps to float our day-to-day operations in membership and admin. . Membership continues to grow within the active community. The total membership is strong at 743 active. Not all of these pay annual dues that is why it is vital to pay annually and promptly.

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.

Please use enclosed envelope to pay your dues and/or to return reunion registration forms.


Points of Contact

President Buster Diggs: (H) (760-304-0019 Executive Secretary

George Rose:

Scholarship Chairman Steve Chambers:

George “Red” Saunders

On February 12th at 0430, our Association lost who was without a doubt the most influential figure in establishing permanence to our Marine Corps Tankers Association. There have been other stalwarts like Max English, John Cornelius and Phil Morell to name a few. “Red” made it his mission to cement our primary purpose, “To foster, encourage and perpetuate the memory, spirit, and comradeship-in arms of members of the Marine Corps Tankers Association”.

Although most significant in our memories of “Red” was post Marine Corps service, he made himself known while on active duty in our tank community. One evening “Red” brought in a work detail for evening chow shortly after the messhall was closed. When he approached the chief cook on duty requesting his men be fed, the response was “the messhall is closed. A quick right hand to the chief cook’s jaw ensured his men received their third meal of the day. The “Gunny” continued on with business as normal.

A quick stint managing the 12th Marines NCO club on Okinawa in 1964 steered “Red” towards how our Association best remembers him. In retirement he purchased a cocktail lounge called “the Golden Tee.” From that establishment, for a countless number of years our infant organization grew in name and stature via the annual Labor Day reunions held there with “Red” as our president. Nobody remembers paying one cent for the bar-be-que and liquid refreshments served in the lounge and spilling over to the back lot. Word of mouth fostered the growth to the organization we have today.

Our fledgling scholarship program received a healthy boost to our annual dues with “Red’s” famous golf tournaments. An avid golfer himself, some tournaments attracted close to one hundred participants. In addition to the revenue, the tournaments cemented another of our purposes of “Preserving incidents and memories of our Association”.

Knowing and visiting Red well into his later years, this article doesn’t due him justice. It could not have been written without the help and respect for “Red” from George Ogle and Patti Berbaum. They provided a picture of “Red” as a caring, generous and love for God and country by a Marine Tanker. He would loan his fellow tankers money often not receiving any money back.

He even encouraged his sister, Polly to follow him into our Marine Corps and she was a frequent attendee of our annual reunions. Female Marines were not allowed by law to become tankers then as they are now or she would’ve been.

Any member who desires to contribute additional thoughts and memories, please respond back to me. I will collect and bind such responses to be displayed at our reunion hospitality suite now known as the “Red Saunders Room.”

Buster Diggs

MCTA Facebook (Fb) group has almost 600 members!

Many of you have heard of Facebook but don’t have accounts and don’t really know what it is or what it does. Simply stated, Fb is an open electronic forum where members of a particular group: can connect with old friends, make new ones, publish pictures, share stories, be informed of upcoming events, and learn about organizations where they have an interest.

In previous times, newspapers were the information highway to “pass the word.” While hardcopy newspapers have their place, the electronic media (Fb) is more efficient, effective, cheaper, more immediate, and more inclusive to those who want to “pass their own word.” With a few key strokes and a press of a button, 600 tankers “get the word!”

Very few of the 600 or so current Fb MCTA members are members of our MCTA organization! Most of them are young active duty or just retired tankers who for one reason or another haven’t signed up to join our national organization. Because of Fb, you can bet that all of them now know that MCTA exists and what we are doing. That is huge for our organization! As Buster Diggs was quoted, “This plants the seed for future tankers to join MCTA-maybe not now but in the near future.”

More on Facebook in the next article. Semper Fi!

2018 Dayton, Ohio Reunion Information

Our hosts, Diane and Ralph Kunk, have planned an educational and fun filled five days in Dayton. They have combined culture with military activities around this industrial city to accent the business portion of the Association coming together. It is anticipated all that are able will make that extra effort to attend this reunion.

We kick off exploring Carrrilon Park seeing items of commerce that were established in Dayton. We will lunch together at an old time German Brewery. Hawthorne Hill is the home of the Wright Brothers. Lots of history is located here. Starwin Industries is a subcontractor that manufactures aviation components. Select the bus that most accommodates your desires.

Thursday brings Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to center stage. It is the home of the 44th Airlift Wing. Many other key Air Force Commands are co-located on the Base. We will return to Wright-Patterson on Friday to tour the Air Force Museum. On a previous reunion to Pensacola, Florida, we toured the Naval Aviation Museum.

Most were in awe with both the magnitude and restoration of Naval military aircraft. This museum is better with an Air Force focus. A special 100th anniversary of “Air Force” flight will occur at 1300 sharp.

The Saturday business meeting will be my primary focus of this important reunion. After attending the combined reunion with the Vietnam Tankers Association last September, closer affiliation with our Association is occurring. Your board of directors needs to know your feelings regarding this evolving effort. “Silence is consent” might occur if your preferences are not heard.

I look forward to enjoying with you what Diane and Ralph have coordinated for us. The Dayton Crown Plaza hotel is ideal. Make your reservations directly with the hotel. Our hosts have planned one meal daily into your registration fee. Coupled with the breakfast the hotel provides, there might not be a need for some to dine elsewhere.

This will be a reunion for the ages.

Buster Diggs

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

2018 Marine Corps Tankers Association Reunion Registration

P.O Box 20761 El Cajon, CA 92021

Registration Form

  • For logistical purposes please answer following questions:

  • For Wright Patterson Air Force Base, those without ID cards may require additional information we will request prior to arrival.

2018 Dayton, Ohio Reunion Crown Plaza Hotel 18-23 September (844) 548-1647

Tuesday, 18 September
1200-1800 Arrival Day & Registration
1700 – 2200 Red Saunders Room Is Open Lunch and dinner on your own (O Y O)
Wednesday, 19 September
0900 embark (Bus #1) Tour Carrilon Park (less walking)
1130-1230 Lunch Carrilon Brewry
1230-1400 Tour Hawthorne Hill
1400-1500 Tour Starwin Industries
0900 embark (Bus #2) Tour Starwin Industries
1030-1230 Tour Carrilon Park (more walking)
1230-1330 Lunch Carrilon Brewry
1330-1500 Tour Hawthorne Hill
1700-2200 Red Saunders Room open
Dinner O Y O
Thursday, 20 September
0800 Embark For Wright/Pat Tour 445th Air Base Wing (C-17’s) 1100-1200
1200-1330 Windshield Tour Wright-Patterson
1330-1430 Interpretive Center
Evening hours Dinner OYO
1700-2200 Red Saunders Room open
Friday, 21 September
830 Embark for Air Force Museum
0900-1400 Tour Air Force Museum
Lunch OYO
1300 Sharp 100th Anniversary WWI flyover
1700 Buffet Dinner
2000-2200 Red Saunders Room Open
Saturday, 22 September
0830 – 1000 MCTA General Mtng
1030 – 1200 MCTA Board Of Directors Mtng
1700 – 2130 Farwell Banquet
1000 – 1300 2nd Street Market (signup)
Sunday 23 September
900 Farewells and departures


The Commanding Officer report: the Marines and Sailors of the “Iron Horse” have sustained a high operational tempo and performance level that defines the character of the Battalion. The Battalion’s responsibilities expanded entirely due to countless challenges as a combat ready tank unit. In addition, the multiple tasks required each Marine and Sailor’s attention to duty and proficiency to get it done; and all missions training was completed as expected. The CO expressed his extreme pleasure with the Battalion’s preparation in regards to its complete accomplishments during the quarter. 

During August last, the Battalion also prepared for the Field Maintenance and Supply Analysis Office (FSMAO) inspection. As you know, the FSMAO inspection measures the Battalion’s

maintenance readiness and equipment operational availability in areas of maintenance, logistics, and supply. The collective action from Companies Alpha, Bravo, and H & S Companies required a lot of time, much attention to detail and procedural accuracy. Moreover, the training activities concluded impressively resulting in combat field exercise training, rifle and pistol range employments, Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) training, and a 2d Marine Division exercise known as “Arrowhead Thunder”. Arrowhead Thunder demanded significant training time to complete the mission set before them. A busy September rewarded the “Iron Horse” with favorable inspections leading the way forward making the unit stronger. In comparison, individual Company training, in particular, Alpha Company’s participated in the Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) which required deployment to 29 Palms California for the exercise. Simultaneously, Companies Bravo and H&S conducted fire support training, and line company support in addition to improving combat training skills at the section level. As the Battalion transitioned into October, its focus remained high and improvements centered to the FSMAO inspection.

The quarter was busy considering the detailed training paid to the main inspection requirements. Furthermore, the Battalion deployed platoons from both Alpha and Bravo to support the 22nd and 24th MEUs; and the Black Sea Rotational Force Combined Arms Company (BSRFCAC).

On a closing note, the Battalion gladly welcomed returning Marines and Sailors from previous BSRF-CAC deployments; and continued in its operational demands and family related activities designed to strengthen relationships and build camaraderie. Battalion team building events included flag football tournament, dodgeball events and an outdoor adventure triathlon.

Integrated Training Exercise (ITX)

Alpha Co. Exercise at 29 Palms

2d Platoon, Bravo Company deployed to Eastern Europe for extra ordinary training with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners to represent the United States, transferred 2d; 3d Platoons to Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), trained at Fort Stewart Georgia as part of Arrowhead Thunder and represented the Battalion at Fleet Week Nashville.

Bravo Co. learns about the American Civil War and 26th North Carolina. Captain Ted Ehlert; Bravo Company Commander

H & S Company worked with administration and

inspections; and participated in Field Exercises during July alongside Marine Corps Reserve counterparts resulting in higher aptitude. Moving forward, the Company also focused on unit cohesion and training to enable a stair step approach aimed at improving combat skills.

Captain Justin M. Medeiros; H&S Company Commander.

Lastly in October, the Battalion enjoyed a Haunted Warehouse and Trunk or Treat occasion at the Supply warehouse; and held its principal events the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the Holiday Party in December. The CO encouraged all to attend. Other activities included plus the Iron Horse Marines of the Month Event and Spouses Nights; and he invited all to follow the 2d Tank Battalion Facebook page. Finally, LtCol. Langfeldt recommended that anyone should contact the Family Readiness Officer, Noreen Towle, for questions about the Family Readiness Program or support; and how to support the Marines, Sailors and the Iron Horse at 910-451-6343 (office) or at The CO concluded by expressing his appreciation to the families and contributions to their success.

Semper Fidelis,

LtCol Lance J. Langfeldt Commanding Officer 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division

Edited by Mario A. Tamez

Marine Corps Tankers Association, East Coast Chapter

Marine Corps Tankers Association

Summary of Account
  12/31/2017 1/26/2018
Beginning value 93,176.44 96,139.32
Assets added to account 9,096.00 0
Assets withdrawn from account -15,045.19 0
Fees and charges -9 0
Change in value 8,921.07 2,642.87
Ending value 96,139.32 98,782.19
Asset Details
Money Market 5,121.10 5,323.16
Taxable Municipal Bonds
Olathe KS Wtr & Swr Rev Bab 4.00% 10,083.40 10,066.20
Corporate Bonds
Manulife Financial Corp Sr Nt 4.15% 10,620.20 10,475.40
Mutual Funds
Capital Income Builder Fd CI C 33,592.94 34,917.43
Income Fund of America CI C 31,305.53 32,580.54
Lord Abbett Short Dur Inc Fd A 5,416.15 5,419.46
Total Account Value 96,139.32 98,782.19


Marine Corps Tankers Association Foundation/Scholarships

Summary of Account 
  12/31/2017 1/26/2018
Beginning value 210,534.14 219,157.05
Assets added to account 27,212.70 0
Assets withdrawn from account -35,513.50 -3,000.00
Fees and charges 0 0
Change in value 16,923.71 5,414.82
Ending value 219,157.05 221,571.87
Asset Details
Money Market 32,173.08 29,385.57
Taxable Municipal Bonds
Olathe KS Wtr & Swr Rev Bab 4.00% 10,083.40 10,066.20
Corporate Bonds
Manulife Financial Corp Sr Nt 10,620.20 10,475.40
Mutual Funds
Capital Income Builder Fd CI C 64,473.44 67,015.48
Income Fund of America CI C 68,798.99  71,601.03
Lord Abbett Short Dur Inc Fd A 33,007.94 33,028.19
Total Account Value 19,157.05  221,571.87


2017 New Members

18-09-17 GURLEY, Gary Valley Center CA Life Member
8/11/2017 COBB, Charles Mumfreesboro TX  
15-01-18 LYNCH, Adam Orlando FL  
15-01-18 KANEY, Perrin 29 Palms CA  
21-01-18 KILGORE, William Churdon OH New Life Member
22-01-18 BRIGHTWELL, Leroy Baldwin MD Life Member
15-01-18 FRETWELL, Charles Sneads Ferry NC