Over a thousand family members and their friends joined MMA Cadets and staff for a weekend packed with activities celebrating this year’s Anniversary Ball Weekend, Nov. 3-5. The weekend honored not only the 35th birthday of the Marine Military Academy, but also the 225th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Registration, a reception in the Cadet Activity Center and an opportunity to tour the classrooms were first on the schedule for parents on Friday morning. Later that day, the Cadets lined up for a flawless noon pass in review. At that time, the Cadet of the Month awards were presented by MajGen Wayne Rollings, USMC (Ret) and Commandant of Cadets C.O. Myers,III USMC (Ret)to eight deserving cadets.
Friday night, parents and cadets rallied around the Leathernecks at a Homecoming pep rally as the football team looked to win the final game of the season against St. Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville.
Saturday opened with a Cadet parade, which included performances by the MMA band and silent drill team. During the ceremony, the General Vernon E. Megee Award was presented to the outstanding Cadet of the senior class. This prestigious award was presented to Cadet Carlos Rene Dostal of Alice, Tx.
After a victorious 9 - 7 win against St. Joseph’s Academy, the evening commenced with a reception, and receiving line held in the Neuhaus Messhall, followed by the Ball in the King Gym. MMA President, MajGen Wayne Rollings, USMC (Ret), performed the ceremonial cake-cutting, presenting pieces of cake to the guest of honor, LtCol Ernest A. Matacotta, to the oldest alumnus present, Jada Thacker, MMA class of ‘ 71 and to the youngest Cadet present, 12-year-old Gabriel Calvin of Harlingen, Texas.
One of the most prestigious awards a cadet can receive, the General Vernon E. Megee award, was presented to Cadet 1stLt Carlos Rene Dostal of Alice, Texas.
Dostal, the son of Drs. Federico and Edna Dostal is a senior cadet at the Academy, Company Executive Officer of Echo Company, and National Honor Society Vice President.
The Megee Award is presented each year to a senior cadet officer who participates significantly in sports or extracurricular activities, possesses commendable conduct, and typifies the kind of cadet that best represents the Marine Military Academy.
The award is named for General Vernon E. Megee, the first superintendent and long time trustee of the Marine Military Acadmey, who during his 40-year Marine Corps career rose from private to assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.
Cadet Dostal was the first recipient of the Heard Scholarship, in memory of former Cadet Christopher heard. Last year he was named as the top student in his class. Also, Dostal received the Exemplary Conduct Award.
"Dostal is an outstanding young man who excelled in this environment and is a pleasure to have at the Marine Military Academy" remarked Commandant of Cadets Col C.O. Myers, III, USMC (Ret).
Mrs. Leona Hand, longtime supporter of and employee at the Marine Military Academy will retire this month after 14 years of dedication and service to the Academy. Mrs. Hand also had a son, James Roy Hand, III who was a cadet at the Academy who graduated in May ‘80. We all at MMA wish the best for her in her new endeavours.
The Marine Military Academy Drill Team spent 10-11 Nov in the greater Chicago area performing for the local Marine Corps Birthday Ball celebrations and Veteran’s Day observances. The trip was made possible through the generosity of MMA ‘79 Alumnus, Craig Matteson.
MyGySgt Jim Hager stated that he was most proud of the Drill Team’s performance and conduct and wanted everyone to know that we should all be proud of the Cadets and our association with the Academy.
The Drill Team received standing ovations for their performance, were the topic of continuous accolades, and were requested by all to return next year!
“The weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time”, stated Cadet Patrick Kenny. “Supporting my school and performing for those Marines and Veterans felt very good and it is something I would like to do again”, said Cadet Erik Dofelmier and Cadet Colt Smith stated, “The weekend was a turning point for our Drill Team. We conquered our pre-show nervous jitters and performed better than anyone ever expected. We had to adapt to different drill pad sizes and weather. This weekend, I learned quite a bit about the brotherhood of Alumni and Marines”
The First MMA Benefit dinner in St. Louis was held on Saturday 28 October 2000 and was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Gary Watson, Mr. and Mrs. John Brunner, Ms Brenda Hampton and Distinguished Friends of the Academy.
Honored guest speakers were General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (Ret), 29th Commandant of the USMC, and former Marine Larry Conners, “News 4 St. Louis” anchor.
The dinner was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Missouri and was a most enhoyable evening for all in attendance.
Cadets Nick Boire, Brandon Pina, Ned Sherer and Andre Testman were special guests and were greatly assisted in acquainting many new and current supporters of the Academy to Cadet life and aspirations.
A special note of thanks to Mr. Gary Watson, MMA Trustee and father of MMA ‘99 graduate, Nick Watson.
ON NOVEMBER 11, the Marine Military Academy paid special honor to Veteran’s Day with a parade at the Iwo Jima Parade Grounds by the MMA Corps of Cadets.
Moving performances were made by the MMA band. During the pass in review, all veterans who were present, were asked to step forward and be recognized.
Several commented afterwards that it was a very moving tribute and that they were honored to have taken part in such an event. A 4000 balloon release was also part of the events scheduled for Veteran’s Day. This was in conjunction with the National Funeral Directors Association effort for the WWII Memorial Monument Fund Drive.
The following are original readings presented by students from Mrs. Dye’s Speech classes at the Thanksgiving Vespers service on 15 November.
Thanksgiving is a time to think about the great things that we might be thankful for. Most of us are thankful for many things, because we just are. Others might be thankful because they received a cool car for their sixteenth birthday. And still, others are thankful because they had a great year. But maybe some are thankful because they are able to be themselves, and to make their own choices. They are thankful for the men and women who wore the uniform, similar to the one we are in right now, that gave their lives so that we may live today.
I am not certain of what others are thankful for, but I do know that I am thankful to live in such a country that allows me to be free, and for a family and friends who love me. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe trip home.
About a month ago, a group of cadets and I went with the Chaplain to help out at an orphanage in Mexico. While I was on this trip, I saw a side of Mexico that I never knew existed. I saw people’s homes were homemade shacks and little kids walking around without shoes. Going on this trip made me realize how lucky and grateful I am for all that I have. But most of all, It made me thankful to have the opportunity to go out into the world and help others who are less fortunate. Experiencing this was a great opportunity to share the gift of giving
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.”
This Thanksgiving I am going to go home to Corpus Christi, TX. When I arrive, I know I will be with the people who have stood behind me through all the good and bad times. This Thanksgiving I am going to look at these people and say, “Thank You!” These people I am referring to are my family and friends.
I am going to say thank you for always finding a way to put a smile on my face, even through the roughest times. I am going to thank them for always looking out for me and being there when I need a shoulder to cry on.
I strongly encourage all of you to go home to the people that love you and say, “thank you!” A little thank you will go a long way.
On 2 November 2000, the National Honor Society held its annual Officer Induction Ceremony for the school year 2000-2001. They were chosen in a vote among all NHS members.
National Honor Society is comprised of young men who were selected on the basis of their cumulative GPA of 3.33 or better their sophomore year, leadership, character and service to their communtiy and school.
Once inducted, these young men participate in a variety of service projects on and off campus such as the American Red Cross Blood Drive, the Feast of Sharing and Relay for Life.
This years homecoming game against Brownsville St. Joseph Academy during Birthday Ball weekend proved to be one to remember. The first half ended in a scoreless tie as the Leatherneck defense made several stands ( one inside the 5yd line) and were led with outstanding play by linebacker Sean Ryan. Clay Spencer had his best game at corner back while new starters, Chris Manchester and Jacob Moore stepped into the strong safety position with solid first half efforts. Playing his usual intense and dependable game at nose guard was Austin Le Blanc.
The Leatherneck offense got on track scoring on their first drive of the second half on a 48 yd touchdown pass from Calvert Davis to tight-end Adrian Lash. The extra point failed, but we led 6-0 for the remainder of the 3rd quarter.
With over 4 minutes left in the game, the Bloodhounds drove for a touchdown of their own and kicked the extra point to pull ahead 7-6. We received the ensuing kickoff and turned the ball over. The defense stepped up once again and held St. Joe to three and out, And we got the ball back with just over one minute left in the game with 66 yds to score. After 4 plays, The offense had moved the ball but still had 50 yds left to score with only 15 seconds to play. On the following play, David Sanchez threw a perfect pass to Sean Cary who made a perfect 33 yd catch and was tackled out of bounds, stopping the clock with 7 seconds left to play with the ball on the 17yd line.
Coach Tom Morton called Drew Hardberger over to the sidelines and told him he was going to try to kick a field goal. We had only attempted on unsuccessful field goal all year, and this would be Hardberger’s first try at one. Drew was nervous, and his breathing was becoming more rapid and shallow, so Coach reinforced that he had what it takes to get the job done, and to go in and give it his best shot.
Scott Fite snapped his best kick-snap of the year and Sean Cary caught the ball and made his best placement of the year as Drew Hardberger stepped forward and drove the best kick of this life through the uprights to win the game 9-7.
It was an unbelievably satisfying moment to watch the players and fans rejoicing a season’s worth of effort in one summarizing play. The work was worth it. Congratulations Leathernecks for an awesome win.
Leathernecks Win Opening Game
The Leathernecks of Marine Military Academy took to the hardwood of 5A Harlingen South for a season opening thriller in basketball.
The South Hawks came out on fire, as they scorched the nets for three and a half quarters from behind the 3 ping line, and opened up leads of 10 and 12 points at various times.
The Leathernecks, however, kept creeping back to within striking distance, and with just under 4:00 left in the game, MMA took the lead and began spoiling the home opener for South, as they went on to defeat the Hawks 73-68.
Cody Victor produced a monster game in his debut for the Leathernecks, as he started the season with a thunderous dunk and capped the night off with a 25 point performance. MMA got balanced scoring from starters Cal Davis with 19, Kalen Mahoney with 16, Aaron Decuir 12, and Adrian Lash netting 5.
After only four days of practice, the Leathernecks showed that with time, they could become a very good team.
MMA now travels to Dallas for a private school tournament before the Thanksgiving break.
‘73 LtCol Terry Amyx USMC (Ret) - 11645 Captain Rhett Ln., Fairfax, VA 22039 (703) 249-9627 (h);(703)465-4631 (w) Recently retired from USMC, now management consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, consults with DoD, primarily Marine Corps on advanced technology programs, enjoying his work, but travels a lot. He is Alumni Association contact for D. C., Maryland and N. Virginia and would like to set up a meeting or function of alumni in that area.
1stSgt Bob La Course - 3907 Teckla Blvd., Amarillo, TX 79109 (806) 352-3206 former DI “B” Co ‘68-72 - was Grand Marshal at Veteran’s Day Parade in Amarillo; retired but still active with Drill Team at high school where he was JROTC Instructor; “ain’t what he used to be” but will try to make MMA Reunion 30 March - 1 April.
1stSgt Bill Cook - 1746-6 Cloister Dr., Crosby, TX 77532 (281) 328-4353 - former DI “C” Co. going through a lot of medical treatment, much from many wounds in Vietnam, possible liver transplant if health permits. Former cadets of Cook are encouraged to write or call. No email address at present time.
‘76 Tom Carpenter - 11254 Rivers Bluff Circle, Bradenton, FL 34202 (202) 341-5079 (w); - “Would like to get back and see everyone
‘78 LtCol Ernest A. Matacotta, - a four - year Cadet and graduated salutatorian in 1978. While at MMA, he served as a Squad Leader, Battalion Sergeant Major, Platoon Commander Company Commander. LtCol Matacotta entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 and graduated with a BS degree in Oceanography in 1982. Commissioned in ‘82 a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, he completed the Basic School in ‘82 and Infantry Officers Course in ‘83 before being assigned to 1st platoon, Third Battalion Eighth Marines, there he served as a Rifle Platoon Commander and Weapons Company Executive Officer for 18 months, and deployed to Norway and Beirut, Lebanon.
In 1986, Matacotta reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, where he served as Series Commander, Field Training Officer, Director of the Instructional Training Unit and Company Commander. He then joined the reserves in 1989 with VMO-4 as an Aerial Observer and Ground Training Officer assigned to Marine Air Group 42. He then served as the Intelligence Officer for Air Combat Element Staff and Combat Evolutions Officer for MAG 42. Following that he served as a Special Operations Liaison Officer with DEA for counter drug operations Nassau, Bahamas.
In 1999, LtCol Matacotta reported to Headquarter Battalion 4th Marine Division as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence and is currently working as a special Staff Officer for the 4th Reconnaissance Group, 4th Marine Division.
His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Selective Marine Corps Reserve Medal and the National Defense Medal.
Since 1994, he had been the CEO/President of Pre-employment Screening Services, Inc. He has also owned and operated a flight school in Hilton Head, South Caroline.
LtCol Matacotta is married to the former Victoria McLaughlin, has two children, Anthony and Christian, and currently resides in Marietta, Georgia.
‘90 Juan Carlos Nunez - 8 de Mayo @ 46-4 Lomas Hipodromo, Naucalpan edo.ed Mexico, CP 53910, Mexico - wrote his former teacher, Sandra Williams; lives in Mexico City, happily married with Argentinean wife, 3 year old daughter; majored in Marketing and worked last 5 years for FELD Entertainment, promoting Ringling Bros. Circus & Disney on Ice; now is an independent show promoter and brings some Latin shows to U.S. and international shows to Mexico; appreciates all he learned at MMA; anxious to contact old buddies from MMA.
The following alumni are serving as contacts in their state or regional areas to better communicate, possibly form chapters & hold meetings. NEEDED are contacts for each class to contact fellow classmates to attend REUNION 2001 on 30 March.
Louisiana - Mark Graham, (formerly Frank Stout) ‘73; 22 Beverly Garden Dr., Metairie, LA 70001 - (504) 616-5902 (H); (504) 833 - 4916 (W); email@example.com
Chicago Complex - Craig Matteson ‘78; 9 South 921 Stearman, Naperville, IL 60564; (630) 983-6050; Cell (630) 514-0549; firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida - Dr. Frank Colunga ‘75; 2015 El Cerito Court, Punta Gorda, FL 33950; (941) 575-4289 (W) #2 (941) 575-7942; email@example.com
DC, MD, No. VA - LtCol Terry Amyx USMC (Ret) ‘73; 11645 Captain Rhett Ln., Fairfax, VA 22039-1235 (703) 249-9627 (H); (703) 465-2631 (W); firstname.lastname@example.org
KY,OH, WVA - John McCoy ‘81; R.V. Buric Constr Management Counsultants, 300 Park Place, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022; (440) 567-6594; (440) 247-3700; email@example.com
Mr. Howard E Balshukat
BGen Victor Barraco USMC
Mr Jack H Berrymann, '41 to '45, HQ 3/6
SgtMaj Frank J Fonte USMC (Ret)
Christopher Lee Heard - MMA '99
Col Douglas T Kane, USMC (Ret)
Nelson Lohr - Chosin Few, China Marine
Mrs Myrtle Mason
Col John G Metz, USMC (Ret)
Mr Mendel H Perry
MajGen Ralph H "Smoke" Spanjer, USMC (Ret)