Warrior Canine Connection enlists recovering Veterans to train service dogs for their fellow wounded Warriors. A litter of seven Labrador Retrievers was born to mama Temple in April 2015 as part of a cooperative effort between Warrior Canine Connection (WCC) and Power Paws Assistance Dogs, an Arizona service dog organization.
Four of Temple’s pups – named the “Semper Fi” litter – have joined the WCC pack in Brookeville, MD, with the remainder of the litter heading to Power Paws. The names of the Semper Fi Litter reflect those who have served the Marine Corps in a variety of ways – from the highest levels of leadership to the gravely wounded in combat.
Part of 3/7 Lima Co in Iraq, Cpl Bunce was one of the first Marines to engage in night fighting. On his second tour of duty in March of 2004, Cpl Bunce incurred a penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device. He would later suffer a second TBI which was further complicated by a brain infection.
The story of Cpl Bunce’s bravery, determination, and honor are endless. Shortly after his injury, while still hospitalized Cpl Bunce learned that the commandant of the Marine Corps was coming to pin a Purple Heart on him. Resolved to be at his best he asked his dad to put a Marine Corps uniform shirt on him. When the commandant entered his room, Cpl Bunce shifted his legs off the edge of his bed, pulled himself up and straining to maintain his balance, stood at attention as the commandant pinned on his medal.
On August 13, 1918, Opha May Johnson became the first of 305 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. She was given the category of “F” for female and the rank of Private. Ms. Johnson and the women who served during World War I were hired to take over office, clerical and secretarial duties to “free a man to fight” where they were needed in overseas combat.
Ms. Johnson worked at Headquarters Marine Corps as a civil service employee, was assigned as a clerk in the office of the Quartermaster General, and by war’s end was the senior enlisted woman with the rank of Sergeant. She and her fellow female Marines of 1918 would pave the way for great change and by World War II, nearly 20,000 women were enlisted with duties which ranged from rigger and mechanic to cryptographer. The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established in February 1943 and on June 12, 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps.
General James F. Amos, USMC, Ret. was the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps. A Naval aviator by trade, General Amos held command at all levels from Lieutenant Colonel to Lieutenant General. Most notably he commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in combat during Operations Iraqi Freedom I and II from 2002-2004, followed by command of the II Marine Expeditionary Force from 2004-2006.
He subsequently served as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command and as the Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration from 2006 to July 2008. General Amos was promoted to his present rank and assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on 2 July 2008. On 22 October 2010, he assumed the duties of Commandant of the Marine Corps. General Amos retired from the Marine Corps on December 1, 2014.
Mrs. Bonnie Amos, also known as “Bon Bon” proudly fulfilled many roles in her lifetime, including that of the First Lady of the United States Marine Corps. Mrs. Amos has dedicated much of her time and energy to family readiness programs, spouse clubs, and numerous volunteer organizations.
Mrs. Amos has traveled the world, meeting distinguished leaders and dignitaries along the way; however she has explained that her most poignant conversations are those she’s had with parents and spouses of Marines. “It’s those parents who have lost their sons or their daughters, or whose son or daughter came back so physically and mentally and spiritually changed—their lives will never be what they once were for a myriad of reasons, and yet those parents, that young spouse, they don’t hit us in the chest. They say things like, ‘My son only and always wanted to do this. He died doing what he wanted to do his whole life.’ ” Mrs. Amos heard and witnessed that kind of loyalty to the Corps over and over again.