BANNON LOMAHQUAHU, a ninth-grader from Holbrook, Arizona, is fitted for a utility cover by MMA seamstress Noemi Salinas during fall registration. Lomahquahu was one of 194 new cadets to enroll at the Marine Military Academy 12 Aug.
One of the key players in the MMA chain of command is the Academy Sergeant Major, who serves as a liason between the Commandant of Cadets and the drill instructors. In July, SgtMaj Ford Kinsley, USMC (Ret)
was named to that vital post.
The 46-year-old native of Pennsylvania spent 29 years in the Marine Corps, including two tours as a drill instructor at Parris Island where he was also chief instructor of drill instructor school. His last position, prior to joining MMA, was as Sergeant Major, Marine Corps Recruit Depot/EasternRecruiting Region, Parris Island, N.C.
“I was involved in the training and education of young men in the Marine Corps for many years, so this is a great place for me to be,” Kinsley said. “Plus, it’s a good opportunity to work with General Rollings again. He was the Commanding General, III MEF when I was Director of the Staff NCO Academy at Okinawa.”
Kinsley said his duties at the Academy would be similar to that of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
“I’ll provide another viewpoint of the Corps of Cadets and what’s going on at the Academy to the Commandant and to the President.”
Kinsley and his wife, Tessie, have four grown children, Floyd, Jerry, Scott and Samantha.
In a ceremony 11 Aug., the Academy recognized its battalion staff for the 2000-2001 school year. Named as Battalion Commander, the highest ranking officer in the cadet corps, was Nicholas Boire, an 18-year-old, second-year cadet with some rather high aspirations in life.
“I want to get an ROTC scholarship and hopefully go to the Naval Academy. Then I want to become a Marine infantry officer, and eventually either Commanding Officer of Marine Ground Forces at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Pacific,” he says matter of factly.
Such lofty goals could be unrealistic for many, but Boire seems to be someone who believes anything is possible.
“He’s really a gung-ho individual with an enthusiasm that I believe will spread through the entire Corps of Cadets,” said Col Cliff Myers, Commandant of Cadets. “He’s focused, he has a great deal of initiative, and I think he will be respected by the company commanders and other cadets. I’m really excited about the can-do attitude of Cadet Boire and of the entire battalion staff and other officers this year.”
Prior to MMA, Boire was in a JROTC unit in his hometown of Excelsior, Minnesota, and said his family influenced his decision to pursue the Marine Corps.
“I have three uncles who were Marines in Vietnam, plus one who was a Navy SEAL and another who was an Airborne Ranger,” he said. “My Uncle Dan influenced me the most. He said in the Army or Navy, you get in and you get out, but the Marine Corps is like a band of brothers; once a Marine, always a Marine. That pumped me up.”
During his sophomore year in high school, Boire came across the website for the Academy on the internet.
“At first I thought it was a staff college,” he said. “Then I found out it was a high school, and I said, ‘Wow! I’m going there.’ I talked with my parents and they agreed.”
In the fall of 1999, Boire enrolled at MMA, and immediately made an impression. He was named the Cadet of the Month for September by his drill instructor at the time, MSgt Michael Krauss, who said, “His skills are honed beyond any first-year cadet I’ve ever seen. He’s super disciplined and super motivated.”
At the end of the school year, Boire received the Captain Roger Gunning Memorial Award as, “the underclass cadet who best exemplifies the Marine Corps ideals of Esprit de Corps and brotherhood.”
“I think he’ll be an excellent candidate for the Naval Academy,” Krauss said. “The young man is hightly motivated and determined to improve the school and Corps of Cadets. He leads by being the example for others to follow.”
Director of Admissions, LtCol Bob Grider, said he was not only pleased with the number of MMA cadets enrolled for the 2000-2001 school year, he was equally impressed with the quality of the applicants, as well.
“They seem to be a real good group of kids,” he said. “They’re motivated, hard-charging, maybe a little apprehensive, but ready to face the challenges of MMA. Many will realize a tremendous potential that maybe has been lying dormant for years.”
A total of 194 new cadets were registered 12 Aug. for the fall semester. Their number combined with the 180 returning cadets brought MMA’s total enrollment to 374, for classes that began 16 Aug.
Processing was held at the Cadet Activities Center, where papers were filled out and cadet leaders and drill instructors met with parents and their sons.
Then it was time for the boys to say good-bye to their families and hello to MMA. Haircuts were first on the list, followed by a trip to the Quartermaster to gather gear.
Cadets from Charlie Company, and their drill instructor, MSgt Mac McFarland, have moved to Echo Company this year, so that their barracks can undergo renovations. For their trouble, they will get to move into the newly renovated Echo Company, which received new paint, plumbing and other improvements during the previous school year.
Don’t be surprised if you hear a southern accent, and maybe the word “yawl” around the MMA campus. While a total of 29 different states and six foreign countries are represented by current MMA cadets, the vast majority still make their home right here in the Lone Star State.
One hundred and ninty-two cadets, or more than half of the cadet corps, are from Texas. The second largest number, as is the norm, comes from California with 34. Other highly represented states are Louisiana (14), Florida (10), New York (8), Oklahoma (8), Colorado (7) and Arizona (6).
Enrollment was up this year from Mexico with 40 cadets, probably the largest number percentage-wise from that country to ever attend the Academy. There are also 24 cadets this year from the Rio Grande Valley, probably the most ever.
“In recent years we seem to be participating in a lot more civic events here in Rio Grande Valley, such as Rio Fest, blood drives and ushering at theaters,” said admissions officer Tee Recore. “I think that kind of participation is making a favorable impression in the community, which is starting to pay off in terms of our enrollment here.”
(L-R) MGySgt Jim Hager, Alpha Company; MSgt Michael Krauss, Bravo Company; GySgt Antonio Aguilar, Delta Company; MSgt Mac McFarland, Echo Company, 1stSgt Alvin Thomas, Fox Company; SgtMaj Al Wilson, Golf Company
THE MMA Military Department staff is (L-R) LtCol Gary Andresen, Director, School of Leadership Studies; GySgt Frank Martinez, Assistant Drill Instructor; Paula Frizzell, Military Administrative Assistant/Secretary; Capt Fred Clark, Cadet Chaplain; Patricia Cavazos, Social Directress; Col C.O. Myers, Commandant of Cadets; Barbara Bean, Secretary, School of Leadership Studies; SgtMaj Ford Kinsley, Academy Sergeant Major; GySgt Raul Garcia, Leadership Instructor; GySgt Larry Wisnoski, Operations Chief.
New teachers for 2000-2001 come to the Academy with an incredibly wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Science teacher, David Allen, for instance, received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas A&M University in 1980, then spent five years working as a hatchery biologist at the Laguna Madre Shrimp Farm near Bayview, Texas. In 1988, he changed careers and began teaching at San Benito High School. This is a return trip for him to the Marine Military Academy. He taught chemistry here for one year in 1996-97.
Ralph De La Rosa is a native of the Rio Grande Valley. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa. For the past five years has taught at St. Anthony Catholic School in Harlingen, where he was in charge of the physical education program. He also worked for one year at Vernon Middle School in Harlingen where he taught Texas history and was the golf coach. At MMA, he will teach government and economics, and also coach football.
Wendell Drye spent most of his life in North Carolina, where he graduated in 1964 with a mechanical engineering degree from N.C. State University. For seven years he worked as an engineer, and for 24 more in data processing. He and his wife, Jini, also owned and operated a campground and marina in North Carolina for most of those years. In 1997, they moved to the Valley. At MMA he will teach math.
English teacher, Maria Esmay, actually joined the MMA staff at midterm last year. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and completed one year of graduate work at Regent University. After six years teaching for the Chesapeake Public School System in Virginia, she and her husband moved to the Rio Grande Valley so he could pursue his career as a border patrol agent. Esmay’s primary interests are traveling, scuba diving, reading, cooking, hiking and camping.
Keyboarding instructor, Susan Jackson, has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Louisiana in Monroe. In the late 70s, she and her husband, Barry, began helping teenagers involved with the juvenile court system, and later they founded a boarding school for troubled boys, where she served both as a teacher and surrogate mother. Additionally, they are parents of six children of their own. Five are grown, and one, Stone, 5, lives at home. Jackson enjoys playing in a USTA tennis league.
Jackie Kyger will teach computer application at MMA. He has an associates degree in computer information systems from Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, and a bachelor’s degree in technical management from New Hampshire College. He also is pursuing a master’s degree in educational technology from the University of Texas. Kyger is a retired Coast Guard officer, and is an active volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He holds both a U.S. Merchant Marine Captain’s license and Ship Pilot’s license.
Math teacher, Mike Mahoney, grew up on a cattle farm in Missouri. In 1975 he joined the Navy, and spent four years working on aircraft electronics. He also spent six years in the reserve. Upon his discharge from active duty, he joined Ball Aerospace Systems Division in Colorado as an engineering technician. He later received a degree in mathematics education from Adams State College and has taught math and physics at both the secondary and college level.
English teacher, J.P. Palamara, was born in New York City. She spent three years in Germany with her husband and son when he was stationed there with the U.S. Army. In 1983, she began teaching in the Texas public school system in the Fort Hood area. She received a teaching certificate and later a master’s degree as a reading specialist from Mary Hardin-Baylor University in Belton, Texas. Her interests include rollerblading, horseback riding, traveling, scuba diving, and, most of all, reading.
Scott Swinnea graduated from Harlingen High School, and attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was a three-year letterman and team captain in football. After college, Swinnea attended the Texas Department of Public Safety training school, and for four years he was a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper. At MMA, he will teach world history and world geography, and also coach football.
Look out for the Leathernecks. That’s the word from MMA Head Coach Tom Morton, and that kind of news couldn’t come at a better time.
Morton said his Leathernecks are deep and strong at nearly every position entering this, his third year at the helm of the team, a year when MMA will compete in football league play for the first time ever.
Last year MMA began competing in TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) in all sports except football and basketball. This year those two teams get in on the fun. It will be a new experience for a Leatherneck football program that has competed as an independent throughout the school’s 35-year history. The Leathernecks won a state private school title in 1977, but that was an invitational game, and not part of league play.
This fall the Academy will play a 10-game schedule, with the final five opponents all from TAPPS District 2-4A, which is comprised almost entirely of South Texas. The top three teams from each of the league’s four districts qualify for a state playoff competition, which will be held in November.
Morton’s Leathernecks have slowly improved from 3-3 in his first campaign to 5-3 last year. Of course, the Leatherneck skipper brings much more experience to the table than that. For 20 years he was an MMA assistant coach for his father, the late Jim Morton. Tom also starred four years at Texas A&I University, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons and spent a brief time in the NFL.
One reason he can be especially confident about this season is the return of his starting quarterback David Sanchez, a junior from Reading, Massachusetts, who was good at his position last year, and should be even better this season.
“David is much improved from last year,” Morton said. “He’s stronger, faster, and he knows our system which can be a little complex. His arm is stronger than last year, and we will throw the ball this year.”
Three players are battling for the starting tailback position. They are Anthony Mendoza, Cody Victor and Jorge Sanchez. Morton said all were about even, though if he had to pick one it might be Victor, a senior from Lafayette, Louisiana.
Fullback is a two-man race between Aaron Lieber, a junior who started last year, and Rex Covens, also a junior and new to the team. Morton said whichever one started at fullback, the other would start on defense at linebacker.
Since Morton plans to throw the ball more this year, he’ll need plenty of receivers, and he has them. Returning senior Rees Williams, from Houston, Texas, has been one of the best, along with Cal Davis, a senior from Opelousa, Louisiana. Other possibilities at wide-out are Aaron Decuir, Sean Cary, Alex Gregoriou and Corey Owens.
Tight end is also a solid position for the Leathernecks with the return of two-year starter Adrian Lash, a 6-1, 240-pound junior from Mission Viejo, California. He’ll be backed up by Russ Royce, a junior from Dickinson, Texas.
The Leathernecks also have several returners on the offensive line. Adam Romero, a senior at left tackle, Scott Fite, a junior at left guard, Charlie Vige, a junior at center, and Doo Hwan Kim, a senior at right guard, all saw plenty of playing time last year. The newcomer in that line is right tackle Mike Barth, a sophomore from Cameron Park, California. Another promising lineman is Ray Mathews, a 6-1, 310-pound junior from Maryland, Tennessee who currently is sidelined with a knee injury. Morton said when he’s healthy, Mathews should be a big asset somewhere in the line.
On defense, Lash and Royce will start at defensive end, with back-up help from sophomores Robert Ferguson and Joey Quackenbush.
The defensive tackles will be a pair of new players, Brinson Bryan, a sophomore from Marlin, Texas and Michael Johnson, a junior from Maryville, Tennessee. The nose guard will be Austin LeBlanc, a sophomore from Humble, Texas.
In addition to either Lieber or Covins, Sean Ryan, a junior from Pine Plains, New York, will start at linebacker.
The Leathernecks have a lot of talent in the secondary, with returners Jorge Sanchez and Rees Williams, joined by Sean Cary and Cal Davis.
Morton said it’s unknown yet who will be kicking and punting for the team, with Matt Christian, Robert Ferguson and Sean Ryan all vying for those positions.
Morton’s brother, Mike, will be the team’s offensive coordinator. The defensive coordinator is Eric Schmitt. Other coaches are Chuck Reininger, Scott Swinnea and Ralph De La Rosa.
The Academy opens the season with a familiar foe, the University of Tamaulipas, out of Matamoros, Mexico. Last year the Leathernecks handled them 21-14.
“They have both college-age players and 16- to 18-year olds at their school. It’s always a question mark as to who or what they’re going to bring up, but you can be sure they’ll be competitive,” Morton said.
MMA then plays a 2A public school in the Rio Grande Valley, Santa Rosa.
“They have a new coach and their program has been down for a while,” Morton said. “I’m sure they’ll be hungry for a win.”
After that it’s off to San Antonio for the first of three games the Leathernecks play there this season. They’ll be taking on San Antonio Cornerstone, which will be fielding a football team for the first time in the school’s history.
Then it’s back to the Valley for one of the toughest tests of the year. The Academy will host Rio Hondo, which returns nine offensive starters from a team that made the 3A public school playoffs last year.
The Academy’s final contest before its district games will be in Austin against St. Michaels.
In TAPPS games, the Leathernecks play four teams from San Antonio which are Antonian College Prep, Holy Cross, St. Anthony and Central Catholic. The other league foe is longtime MMA rival St. Josephs out of Brownsville.
“The San Antonio schools are all about the same calibre as one another, and all very competitive,” Morton said. “They’re mostly bigger than us, and they play a lot of the 4A and 5A public schools up there. Last year Holy Cross best us 42-0, and then Central Catholic beat them, so those two are probably the powerhouses in district.”
While a playoff birth may be a longshot for the Leathernecks, Morton certainly thinks a winning season is within reach.
“The last two years we’ve been right around .500, and we hope to improve on it,” he said. “We have a lot more depth, a lot more size on the line, and a lot of skilled people. The question mark is the offensive line. If it comes around, look out for the Leathernecks.”
Alex Carrington - P.O. Box 11, Rathdrum, Id. 83858, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alex, a three-year MMA cadet, is a patrol lieutenant with the Rathdrum (Idaho) Police Department, and has been in law enforcement for 17 years. His specialties are as a firearms instructor, certified armorer, breath-testing specialist and radar instructor. He said he has kept up with MMA through the website and Leader and is very impressed by all the changes since he graduated 25 years ago. “I am very proud to have been a part of this fine academy,” he writes. Alex would like to hear from any former classmates.
Maj Brian “Boots” Bartholf, USMC - XO, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD, P.O. Box 16001, Parris Island, SC 29905-6001, (843) 228-2572. Boots was a PG in Company C for MSgt McLaughlin. He also lettered in both football and track.
Capt Lawrence Coleman, USMC - PSC 559, Box 5581, FPO AP 96377-5581. Lawrence and his wife will be in Okinawa, Japan for three years.
Floyd Thompson - Floyd, who is the son of Navajo Code Talker, Frank Thompson, wrote that he is very impressed with all the improvements to MMA he has seen through the MMA Leader and the school’s website. He is currently the chief executive officer of the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico, where he lives with his wife and three children. Floyd credits MMA for much of his success in life.
Jimmy Haley - JHaley37@aol.com. What is it with MMA and long snappers? First Dale Hallestrae, a MMA PG in ‘80, became a premiere long snapper with the Dallas Cowboys. Now Jimmy, a member of MMA’s great ‘95 team, which went 7-3 and beat both Harlingen schools, is snapping for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. Jimmy also started his last game at tight end, the position he played for the Leathernecks and at the University of Kentucky. He wishes all his friends at the Academy the best.
Ryan Beckwith - Ryan.Beckwith@dm.af.mil. After five years at MMA, Ryan spent some time at home with his family before deciding he needed a new direction in life. He really missed the structure and discipline of MMA, and decided in April 1999 to join the Air Force. He is stationed in Tucson, Arizona which he enjoys very much.
Michael Arroyo - email@example.com. Michael the drum major for the MMA band, received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, but is now a Marine reservist and attends San Diego State University, majoring in music. His cousin, Mark Bickel, just graduated from the MMA summer camp.
Josh Enos - 6508 Meadow Lakes Court, Fort Worth, Tx. 76180. Josh sent in his address and asked about information on other graduates from his class.
Joshua Izakson - P.O. Box 5248, USAF Academy, Colorado 80841-5248. Josh just completed introductory training at the U.S. Air Force Academy and is beginning fall classes.
MidnThomas J. Duff, 041782 - P.O. Box 12628, Annapolis, Md. 21412-2628, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tommy recently started classes at the U.S. Naval Academy.
People usually don’t think of an education at MMA as a gift, but that’s how Dr. Frank Colunga, sees it.
The ‘75 graduate of the Marine Military Academy received financial assistance from a trustee, Maj Orrin Johnson, USMC (Ret), enabling him to go to the Academy. Now, he and several other MMA graduates are returning the favor by helping current students in need of assistance. It’s their way of saying thanks for the opportunity they were given many years ago.
“When I went to MMA it was a great experience; one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Colunga said. “I thought this was a good way to pay back the system for what I received.”
Colunga, Drew Dodson and Robert Dolard are among the grads that have given money to the MMA Alumni Scholarship Program. Two cadets currently benefitting from that program are a pair of ninth graders, Nick Lugo and Jeff Ryan.
“These boys are both very good students, and MMA is the next step to take if they want to do something special with their lives, instead of just hanging around a public school,” Colunga said. “They needed the well-rounded kind of eduction MMA gives. It may not always be fun, but it’s a good experience in what life is all about. You learn to be responsible, to think of others, and to see the bigger picture. That’s why I say MMA is more than a college prep education; it’s an education in life.”
Both boys seem to be adjusting well to their new environment at MMA.
“My dad was in the Air Force for a long time so I really understand the strict discipline here,” Lugo said. “That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been difficult. I’m sort of a laid-back, tie-dyed kind of person, and this is a complete contrast with my style, but I know it will be good for me, and I want to get a scholarship to a good college.”
Ryan said MMA had actually been a little easier than he at first expected.
“I thought it was going to be really tough, just like the Marines in the movies, but the only tough part has been waking up at 0555,” he said. “I hope to spend four years here and become an officer. Then I want to get into a good college and go to medical school.”
Colunga, originally from San Antonio, was a four-year cadet at MMA. He graduated from Texas A&M with a pre-med degree in 1979, and later attended the University of Texas medical school in Dallas. He now is an emergency room physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida. He also serves on the medical advisory board of the Florida State Athletic Commission, and helped found the Charlotte Academy, a small private school in his hometown of Punta Gorda, Florida. In 1998, Colunga was guest of honor at the MMA Birthday Ball.
“I’m really a big advocate of MMA,” he said. “It’s not like public school. It teaches you to be responsible for your actions, and to be a leader. That’s what sets MMA apart. At least, that’s what I hope these boys get out of it.”
IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and Federal Register, 40CFR, Section 763.93 (g-4), all interested personnel, specifically parents, teachers and employees, are hereby advised of the following:
The Marine Military Academy, in accordance with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1989, submitted to the Governor on July 5, 1989 its Management Plan. A copy of the plan is on file and available for review in the office of the MMA Facilities Department.