Who We Are
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps' Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
The Young Marines of Pensacola was established on 15 June 2007. The Unit was started by MSgt Mike Holcomb, GySgt Pete Belanger, Tammy Holcomb and Shirley Belanger in June 2007. September 1st we graduated our first boot camp. Since it was founded, the unit has accounted for over 10,000 community service hours, given out over 500 Young Marine awards and been the recipient of numerous letters of appreciation from local communities, and two Marine Corps League commendations. The Young Marines of Pensacola have been involved with many different organizations like Toys For Tots, Wreaths Across America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, just to name a few.
In February 2009, Capt. Kenneth Morrow became the Commanding Officer. The Young Marines of Pensacola have been the 1st Florida Regiment's Unit of the Year two years running, 2009 and 2010. We are also the Division 3 Unit of the Year and in the running for National Unit of the Year.
In May 2011, GySgt Pete Belanger became the Unit Commander.
Young Marines Veterans Appreciation Week
For one week in November each year, Young Marines units across the country celebrate Young Marines Veterans Appreciation Week (YMVAW). The purpose of the campaign is to challenge our Young Marines to dedicate some of their time to help our nation's Veterans and to demonstrate, through their actions, their sincere appreciation for our Veterans' service to our country. Unit projects include sending thank you cards to hospitalized Veterans, cleaning up a disabled Veterans yard, visiting Veterans in the hospital, or simply setting up a community function to socialize with local Veterans.
During the summer months, Young Marines have the opportunity to attend the Young Marines National Summer Programs of: Adventures, Challenges, Encampments, and Schools (SPACES). Schools consist of leadership courses. Adventures have a historical emphasis and are designed with the younger child in mind. In contrast, older Young Marines can participate in Challenges. Challenges consist of training in areas such as survival skills, wilderness training, and water-based activities. Young Marine Encampments provide the opportunity for Young Marines of all ages to gather together and train as a large unit of up to 700 youth at a time. Over 3,000 Young Marines participate in the SPACES programs each year.
R.Lee Ermey, Official Celebrity Spokesperson
The Young Marines are honored to have R. Lee Ermey as their official celebrity spokesperson. Mr. Ermey garnered worldwide acclaim for his portrayal of Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's film, Full Metal Jacket (1987). Ermey is the host of the History Channel's hit show, Mail Call.