Front and Center Newsletter – Vol. 2, No. 2, February 2024

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Meet the Marine. Be Inspired.


Vol. 2, No 2, February 2024


Honor, preserve, and teach the legacy of Carolina Marines and Sailors.
Showcase the Marine example to inspire future generations.


Message from the CE0

Dear Marines and Sailors, Friends and Family,

We remain full speed ahead towards starting construction and building a world-class Museum. We have received the 100% schematic deliverable from our exhibit designer. Please check out the new pictures and renderings.

We are hosting a special event on 7 February at Sturgeon City in Jacksonville, NC to provide a sneak peek of the Museum to the public to solicit their feedback. If you can’t make it, we would still love to hear from you!

We recently finalized a “statement of declaration that will be prominently displayed within the Museum. This statement captures the essence of the project, and it is provided below:

“Step into the heart of the Carolina Museum of the Marine and experience the exceptional stories of Marines and Sailors whose service to our Nation exemplifies honor, courage, and commitment. The unique role of the Bases and Stations in the Carolinas in preparation for the crucial amphibious operations of World War II were the foundation for our victory in the Pacific. This legacy of dedicated service by Carolina Marines and Sailors has continued in all our Nation’s conflicts since and was made possible through the steadfast support of our local communities. The story of the Carolina Marines and Sailors is a compelling testament to the men and women who personify what is best about America, and their story must be told. Meet the Marine. Be Inspired!”


BGen Kevin Stewart, USMC (Ret)
Chief Executive Officer

Lastly, we often get the question of “inspired to do what” on our tagline of “Meet the Marine. Be Inspired!” Here is our answer:

  • Be inspired by the accomplishments of the Marines and Sailors who have given of themselves in the service of our nation.
  • Uphold the principles that our Veterans fought for (freedom, justice, and democracy).
  • Honor and remember the sacrifices of our Nation’s defenders.
  • Strive to make our Nation a better place for all.
  • Serve our Nation to make a difference and give back to future generations.
  • Serve others.
  • Think critically.
  • Live with Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

Thank you for all the support… we will deliver a Museum that you are proud of!

Sneak Peek of the Museum!


No RSVP required. Come as you are.

General Al Gray’s birthday guests stopped by to talk about their experiences with the 29th Commandant over his many years of service to this nation.

Below, LtGen Walt Gaskin, USMC (Ret) was among the stars who attended. LtGen Gaskin is currently serving as Secretary of the NC Department of Veteran and Military Affairs.

(See all of the interviews celebrating General Gray and his legacy at General Al Gray’s 95th Birthday.)

Marine Corps Traits and Principles of Leadership, Part 4

by James Danielson, PhD
Marine Veteran

Last month, we considered the Marine Corps leadership principle of knowing one’s people and looking out for their welfare. The next principle, keep your Marine personnel informed, is an extension of this, and it presents to us the interesting task of defining what is meant by being “informed.” In the discipline of biomedical ethics, the approach to defining the principle of informed consent to medical treatment begins by considering what it means to be informed about something sufficiently to give consent that is not compromised by misunderstanding. One cannot genuinely consent to a procedure one doesn’t understand in this way. The idea is not that a patient understands a procedure with the practical and theoretical comprehension of a physician, but that he understands a procedure well enough to be able competently to evaluate risks and benefits. Similarly, people in an organization need to be informed about a mission or goal, and the steps deemed necessary to the task, so they can perform their work efficiently and effectively. The Latin noun informationis identifies a concept or idea. The verb informare may apply to things, as when a sculptor “informs” his medium, imposing on it the shape he desires to produce. When applied to minds, it means to form, dispose, or to form an idea or conception of something. Implicit in the idea of informing someone is to produce understanding. When this is done well, it serves the welfare of everyone in an organization.

We read that “teams that are well-informed and maintain strong communication are much more likely to thrive. For this reason, it’s impossible to build confidence and trust without first developing strong communication.” What do we mean by “communication”? Being informed is the goal of effective communication, and so if to be informed is to understand, then the goal of a communicator is to produce understanding in those to whom he is communicating. Moreover, the principle we are presently considering holds that “strong communication” is required if there is to be confidence and trust within an organization. It seems reasonable to think that “strong” communication occurs when there is an atmosphere of openness to questions raised by members of a unit or organization and suggestions for improving what they do.


Col Peter Ortiz


A recent issue of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture contains an article by historian and Marine Corps veteran Roger McGrath titled “The Marine Corps’ Answer to James Bond.” The article looks at the life and career of Col Peter Ortiz, who was born Pierre Julien Ortiz in New York City in 1913. His mother was an American of Swiss-German descent and his father was French. Ortiz grew up speaking English, French, and German, and later acquired fluency in Spanish and Arabic, and proficiency in Italian and Portuguese. After grammar school in America, Ortiz went to France to attend prep school and later college at the University of Grenoble. Bored and eager for adventure, Ortiz dropped out of college in 1932, after a year, and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.

Ortiz received basic training in Algeria and was then posted to Morocco as a corporal where he was in a number of battles with bandits and pirates of various kinds, was wounded in combat, and twice received the Croix de Guerre. At the end of his five-year enlistment, Ortiz had become commander of an armored car unit at the rank of brevet 2nd Lieutenant.

Offered the rank of lieutenant if he’d stay in the Foreign Legion, Ortiz instead went to Hollywood where he was employed as a technical advisor on movies having a North African or military theme. When war began in 1939, Ortiz returned to France and re-joined the Foreign Legion at the rank of sergeant. Sgt Ortiz distinguished himself in combat and in May 1940 received a battlefield commission as a lieutenant for his leadership and courage.

During a French retreat in 1940, Lt Ortiz learned that a fuel storage dump had not been burned. Ortiz sped to the fuel dump on a motorcycle and set it ablaze while under fire from German soldiers. He was wounded, shot in the hip, and captured. For this act of bravery, Lt Ortiz received a third Croix de Guerre. Ortiz spent fifteen months in captivity in Germany, Poland, and Austria where he escaped in October 1941, arriving in Portugal in November. Both the Free French and the British operating in Portugal offered Ortiz a commission, but he chose instead to return to America to look after his sick mother.

Ortiz arrived in New York in early December of 1941, bound for California. While in New York, Ortiz was debriefed by Navy and Army intelligence officers, and also submitted paperwork for a commission in the American armed forces. Peter Ortiz was in California for several months without receiving a reply to his application for a commission, so he enlisted in the Marine Corps. At Parris Island, Private Ortiz made a significant impression on his drill instructors. The chief of staff at Parris Island, Col Louis Jones, sent a packet of materials to the Commandant of the Marine Corps including Ortiz’ application for a commission, the record of Ortiz’ service in the Foreign Legion, and a personal note saying:

Private Ortiz has made an extremely favorable impression upon the undersigned. His knowledge of military matters is far beyond that of a normal recruit instructor. Ortiz is a very well set up man and makes an excellent appearance…. In my opinion he has the mental, moral, professional, and physical qualifications for the office for which he has made application.”

n August of 1942, Private Ortiz received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He remained at Parris Island for two months as an assistant training officer before going to Camp Lejeune for Parachute School.


14th Annual Golf Classic

presented by Coastal Enterprises at Beautiful Bear Trail Golf Club

444 Harris Creek Rd | Jacksonville, NC 28450

14 June 2024, 09:00 am

Benefiting Carolina Museum of the Marine


Save the date!
Click here for more information and to register now!

Please join us in supporting the mission of

Carolina Museum of the Marine.

When you give to our annual campaign, you help to ensure that operations continue during construction and when the doors open!

Stand with us
as we stand up the Museum!

Copyright February 2024. Carolina Museum of the Marine

2023-2024 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

LtGen Mark Faulkner, USMC (Ret) – Chair
Col Bob Love, USMC (Ret) – Vice Chair
CAPT Pat Alford, USN (Ret) – Treasurer
Mr. Mark Cramer, JD – Secretary
General Al Gray, USMC (Ret), 29th Commandant
MajGen Jim Kessler, USMC (Ret)
Col Grant Sparks, USMC (Ret)
BGen Kevin Stewart, USMC (Ret), CEO, Ex Officio Board Member


Col Joe Atkins, USAF (Ret)
Col George “Bill” Ayers, USMC (Ret), Emeritus
Mr. Mike Bogdahn, US Marine Corps Veteran
Mr. Keith Byrd, US Marine Corps Veteran
MGySgt Osceola “Oats” Elliss, USMC (Ret)
Mr. Frank Guidara, US Army Veteran
Col Chuck Geiger, USMC (Ret)
Col Bruce Gombar, USMC (Ret)
LtCol Lynn “Kim” Kimball, USMC (Ret)
CWO4 Richard McIntosh, USMC (Ret)
The Honorable Robert Sander, Former Counsel of the Navy
LtGen Gary S. McKissock, USMC (Ret)
Col John B. Sollis, USMC (Ret)
GySgt Forest Spencer, USMC (Ret)


BGen Kevin Stewart, USMC (Ret), Chief Executive Officer
Ashley Danielson, Civilian, VP of Development
SgtMaj Steven Lunsford, USMC (Ret), Operations Director
CWO5 Lisa Potts, USMC (Ret). Curator