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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 142-00
March 23, 2000

SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ANNOUNCES HONORARY MEMBER PROGRAM

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig announced today that he has invited a group of prominent Americans from a broad spectrum of professions to join him in pioneering a new public awareness initiative for the Navy and Marine Corps called "Honorary Member of a Crew or Company."

As honorary members, this group of American luminaries will have the opportunity to see the contributions of our sailors and Marines by being associated with one of our front-line commands, from ships, to squadrons, to Marine Corps companies. Their involvement will highlight to America the important role our sailors and Marines make to peace and security around the globe, and directly to our nation.

"Today's American public has less contact with the military than anytime in recent history," Danzig said. "Fewer men and women are joining the military and fewer elected officials have military experience. All this is occurring at a time when we are increasingly calling upon the special talents and skills of our military to maintain peace and stability."

"This program will allow prominent members of our society a chance to interact closely with the men and women who make up the world's best Navy and Marine Corps," said Danzig. "I think the participants in this program will discover that joining the Navy and Marine Corps team as an honorary member is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity."

The program will vary for each honorary member. The character of their experience will be defined to a large degree by the honorary member and his or her host command. The bridge that results between the civilian sector and our naval forces will promote an invaluable dialogue, enhancing understanding and strengthening bonds.

The Navy and Marine Corps have enlisted nine honorary members to launch this program: Maya Angelou, Larry Luchino, Mia Hamm, Mike McCurry, Marlin Fitzwater, Peter Schwartz, Dennis Bovin, Chad Hennings, and retired Marine Corps Reserve Col. Ed McMahon, and they will be assigned to units ranging from ships like the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57), to major operational front-line Marine commands. The Navy and Marine Corps hope to expand this innovative program in the years ahead, in a continuing effort to reconnect our sailors and Marines with the public they serve.

For more information, call Navy Cmdr. Brian Cullin at 703-697-7491.

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