Foundation Awards Scholarships to Children of Fallen Marines
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 6, 2004 With increased U.S. Marine deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is stepping up fund- raising so it can honor its pledge to award scholarships to all children of Marines killed in combat during the war on terror.
The foundation also has pledged to award scholarships to all children of Navy corpsmen killed in combat while serving with the Marines, and to any children of Marines and former Marines killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Scholarships run up to $10,000 each, according to Rose Gault, the foundation's director of development. All scholarships are funded through private donations.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Oster, chairman of the foundation's board, called the special scholarships part of the foundation's 40-year tradition of helping young men and women. Since its inception in 1962, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in scholarships and education bonds to children of Marines or former Marines.
During 2003, Gault said, the foundation awarded 982 scholarships totaling more than $1.5 million. That figure is expected to increase as more Marines make the ultimate sacrifice in Southwest Asia, she said. So far, 77 children have lost a Marine parent in Afghanistan or Iraq since Sept. 11, 2001.
When terrorists blew up the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, the foundation awarded $10,000 education bonds to every child who lost a parent in the attack, including children of Navy and Army service members. Similarly, the foundation awarded $10,000 education bonds to all children of service members killed during Operation Desert Storm, regardless of the parent's branch of service.
"We have always given special consideration to children whose Marine parent was killed or wounded in combat, and this policy is a continuation of our support for the Marine Corps family," Oster said.
"We want our warriors to know that we will be there for their family," he said. "Our unwavering commitment to youth, education and the values that have made our country strong will continue."
For more information about the scholarship program or to make a donation, visit the organization's Web site or call (800) 292-7777 toll-free.