Lou Diamond

Master Gunnery Sergeant Leland “Lou” Diamond was born on May 30, 1890, in Bedford, Ohio.  His parents were Canadians from Belleville, Ontario.  His father was the youngest of the famed Diamond Brothers of the North-West Mounted Police.  He is descended from the Hudson River Valley AlgonquinMohican Diamond family of the pre-American-Revolution era.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in Detroit, Michigan, July 25, 1917 at the age of 27, listing as his previous occupation as “railroad switchman”.

Because of his incredibly powerful voice, which matched his 5’11” 200-pound frame, Diamond was once dubbed “The Honker.”  Many of his comrades at Guadalcanal considered him “a human air-raid warning system.”

Diamond often defied rules and regulations of the Corps, going hatless and wearing dungarees in open defiance of military dress regulations. He also had a goatee and relaxed grooming standards compared to other Marines.  (He even accepted one of his decorations in dungarees.) His self-confidence, even cockiness, was one of his outstanding characteristics. He considered anybody with less than ten years in the Corps a “boot”.  While he ‘dressed down’ recruits who sometimes instinctively saluted him, he frequently failed to salute officers who were less than field grade.

Diamond was offered many opportunities to become a commissioned officer and rejected them by saying, “nobody can make a gentleman out of me.”

As a corporal in January 1918, he shipped out from Philadelphia aboard the USS Von Steuben bound for Brest, France and saw action during World War I, with the famous 6th Marine Regiment in the battles at Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.  Promoted to the grade of Sergeant, he marched to the Rhine with the Army of Occupation.

At war’s end, he returned to America, and received an honorable discharge.  But he soon found out that railroading and civilian life did not suit him.  On September 23, 1921, Diamond re-enlisted and saw more action in Shanghai, with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.  But the Sino-Japanese controversy, in Diamond’s opinion, was “not much of a war,” and on June 10, 1933, he returned to the United States, disembarking from the USS Henderson (AP-1) at Mare Island, California. By then he was a Gunnery Sergeant.

Diamond returned to Shanghai with his old outfit, the 4th Marines, ten months later; was transferred to the 2nd Marines in December 1934; and returned to the states in February 1937.  Two years after his promotion to Master Gunnery Sergeant on July 10, 1939, he was assigned to the Depot of Supplies at Philadelphia to help design a new infantry pack.

Following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Diamond shipped out to Guadalcanal with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, arriving at the beaches on August 7, 1942.  He was then 52 years old.

Diamond proved himself an expert with both 60- and 81-mm mortars, his accurate fire being credited as the turning point of many battles on Guadalcanal.  Among the many fables concerning his Guadalcanal service is the tale that he lobbed a mortar shell down the smoke stack of an off-shore Japanese cruiser.  It is considered a fact, however, that he drove the cruiser from the bay with his harassing “near-misses.”

After two months on Guadalcanal, physical disabilities dictated his evacuation by air against his wishes.  He was moved to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and later to a hospital in New Zealand, where he somehow acquired orders to board a supply ship for New Caledonia.  There a friend ordered him back to Guadalcanal — the supposed location of his old outfit. Upon his arrival, however, Diamond discovered that the 1st Marine Division had shipped out to Australia.  Diamond made the trip, without orders, by bumming rides on planes, ships and trains.

But Diamond was destined not to see any more combat.  On July 1, 1943, he disembarked from the USS Hermitage (AP-54) at San Pedro, California, and twelve days later was made an instructor at the MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina.  After two years as an instructor, he was transferred to Camp Lejeune, on June 15, 1945, and joined the 5th Training Battalion with the same duties.  Five months later, on November 23, 1945, Lou retired fro the Corps and returned home in Toledo, Ohio.

Diamond was a member and frequent visitor of the Toledo, Ohio Jewish Serviceman’s USO Club, sponsored by the National Jewish Welfare Board in 1943, as indicated by his registration card coded as a NON-JEW with a hole punched in the top left hand corner.

His death at the Great Lakes, Illinois, Naval Training Center Hospital, September 20, 1951, was followed by a funeral, with military honors, at Sylvania, Ohio.  He was laid to rest at Toledo Memorial Park in Sylvania.

Actor Ward Bond portrayed Diamond in an episode of the television series Cavalcade of America entitled “The Marine Who Was Two Hundred Years Old”.  It aired on June 1, 1955; a copy has been located at the Marine Corps Museum.

The Filipino-American actor Lou Diamond Phillips was named after him by his father, an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Although Diamond is sometimes referred to as “highly decorated”, his only personal decoration was the Secretary of the Navy Commendation Ribbon, which later became the Navy Commendation Medal. His other awards include:

Diamond also earned the French Fourragère (Croix de Guerre 1914–1918) as a personal award, since he had participated in earning it with the 6th Marines.

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Drew Carey

Drew Carey was born on May 23, 1958, and grew up in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.  He graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School in 1975 and then  attended Kent State University.  He left Kent State after three years and enlisted into the Marine Corps Reserves in 1979 and served for four years with Headquarters and Services Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, as a field radio operator.

In 1985, Drew began his comedy career by following up on a suggestion by David Lawrence, a disc jockey friend who had been paying Drew to write jokes for David’s radio show in Cleveland.  The following year, Drew won an open-mic contest and became Master of Ceremonies at the Cleveland Comedy Club.  He performed at comedy clubs over the next few years in Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Drew first came into the national spotlight when he competed in the 1988 series of Star Search.  He then appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in November 1991.  His performance impressed Johnny, who invited Drew to sit on the couch next to his desk; this was considered a rare honor for any comedian.  In that same year, Drew joined the 14th Annual Young Comedians Special on HBO and made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.  In 1994, Carey wrote his own stand-up comedy special, Drew Carey: Human Cartoon, which aired on Showtime and won a CableACE Award for Best Writing

Drew has appeared in several films, television series, music videos, a made-for-television film, and a computer game.  He has hosted The Price Is Right since 2007 on CBS.  He is interested in a variety of sports, and has worked as a photographer at U.S. National Team soccer games, and is a minority owner of the Major League Soccer team Seattle Sounders FC.  Drew has written an autobiography, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined, detailing his early life and television career.

Please visit the SuccessfulMarines PX to purchase Drew Carey products.

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Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Miriam and Harry Keitel, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Poland, respectively.  His parents owned and ran a luncheonette and his father also worked as a hat maker.

Harvey grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister and brother.  He attended Abraham Lincoln High School and Alexander Hamilton Vocational School, but dropped out to join the Marines in 1956.  While serving with 2nd Marine Division as a rifleman fire team leader, his service took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Bat.

Harvey’s time in the Marines made a huge influence on his life and helped shape many of his perspectives.  During training at night combat school, he mentioned being afraid of the dark.  An instructor told him that everyone is afraid of the dark because people are afraid of the unknown, and he would teach him how to handle it. Harvey took the lesson to heart and extended it to other areas of his life over the years.

After his discharge he returned to New York and worked as a court stenographer for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career when he joined the New York’s Actors Studio.  His persistence paid off, and he began landing roles in live theater.

His film career took off with Martin Scorsese‘s 1967 “Who’s That Knocking at My Door.”  The actor and director hit it off, and Harvey returned in future Scorsese films.

Harvey’s film career now has 150 credits as an actor, and five as a producer, spanning from 1966 – present day, he is still active in Hollywood and working on several projects, with his latest films including “Chosen“, “The Ridiculous 6“, and “The Comedian.”  He credits time serving the Marine Corps for his success and professionalism within the film industry.

Check out the SuccessfulMarine PX for Harvey Keitel’s films and other products.

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Donald Bren

Donald Bren was born on May 11, 1932, in Los Angeles, California.  His father Milton was a naval officer, talent agent, real estate developer, and successful movie producer.

Donald attended the University of Washington, on a skiing scholarship and earned a degree in business administration and economics.  After graduation he and then served for three years as an officer in the Marine Corps.

He began his business career at the age of 25, in 1958 when he founded the Bren Company, which built homes in Orange County, California.  He built his first house in Newport Beach with a $10,000 loan.

In 1963, he and two others started the Mission Viejo Company (MVC) and purchased 11,000 acres to plan and develop the city of Mission Viejo, California.  Donald was President of MVC from 1963 to 1967.  International Paper bought Bren Co. for $34 million in 1970, and then sold it back to Donald for $22 million in 1972 following the recession.  He took the proceeds and in 1977 joined a group of investors to purchase the 146-year-old Irvine Company,

The historic Irvine Company dates back to 1864, and has been the master planner and master builder of the 93,000 acre Irvine Ranch since 1960.  This purchase made him the largest shareholder of the company, owning 34.3% and gave him the title of Vice-chair of the board.  By 1983, he was the majority owner of the firm and was elected chairman of the board.  By 1996, he bought out all outstanding shares to become the sole owner.

In 2005, OC Weekly wrote that Bren “wields more power than Howard Hughes ever did, probably as much as any man in America over a concentrated region—determining not only how people live and shop but who governs them.”  In 2006 the Los Angeles Times said that Orange County looks like Orange County because of Donald Bren.  In its 2015 edition of, “The 400 Richest Americans“, Forbes ranked Donald as the wealthiest real estate developer in the US and 30th “Richest American” with an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion. Today, he is number 29 on the Forbes 400 list.

The Irvine Company now owns several hotels, marinas, golf courses, 60,000 apartments, more than 40 shopping centres and 500 office buildings make up the property portfolio, with the majority located in Southern California. .

In 2008, BusinessWeek named Bren one of the top ten philanthropists in the nation, with his contributions to various causes such as education, conservation and research among other areas exceeding $1 billion.

You can read more about Donald by visiting: The Irvine Company and by visiting the SuccessfulMarines PX for products related to Donald’s successful career.

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