Sunday, September 15, 2013

Warning Order - AT Right After Labor Day 2014 in Florida

We are looking to hold our first formation rightafter Labor Day, which is 1 Sep next year. Naturally, by then we'll have settled on a base like, Tyndall AFB, Pensacola NAS, Destin Army Rec Area, Panama City NSA, Whiting Field NAS, or perhaps a combination of these. 

That can all be worked out later. If someone has a suggestion we're open. I've stayed at all of these bases and can say we wouldn't go wrong at anyone of them. 

We did figure out that we're better off moving the drill to weekdays opposed to the weekend. Places and restaurants are less crowded as you can imagine. 

The Redneck Riviera as this area is also known is extremely popular. Some of these bases offer cottages right on the water but to rent one we would really need a very firm commitment. If we get the assurance we'll take a hard look at a beach house.

Semper Fi,

Bob Dart

Warning Order - Drill Weekend May / June 2014

We will still have Phase I of the 17th annual Alternate Drill Weekend at the very end of May or the first of June in 2014.  
This will be a weekend and I'll send out the specifics later. 

Share this with your fellow MWCS-48/MWCTS-407 buddies.

Semper Fi,

Bob Dart

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MWCS at Norfolk and Little Creek, Virginia September 2013

MWCS-48 Det Zulu
Craig Hullinger, Dennis Herring, Bob Dart, Eric Bennet

Aircraft Carrier at the Norfolk Navy Base. There were three big carriers and an Amphibious Carrier, also known as BGB (Big Grey Boat).

BGB Battleship Wisconsin. Dennis is from Wisconsin and his CheeseHead grew when he saw the BGB

Clear blue sky, pleasant temperatures and fellow Marines. What could be a better weekend than that which we just spent in the Norfolk area of Virginia. The seafood was the freshest since it was just pulled out of the water at our feet since we ate on the water's edge each night. The Chesapeake Bay provides an endless bounty of some of the best seafood in the world. 

Since this was our first Alternate Drill Weekend away from Ft. McCoy and some hadn't experienced what the Tidewater region has to offer we played the tourists. History just abounds here from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and right up to our present engagements Norfolk has always been at the forefront. At Ft. Story we saw where, during the war of Independence, the French Navy attacked the British as they sailed into the Chesapeake and just down the beach a short distance we saw the mighty USS Wisconsin battleship. And, of course, we saw much of the powerful US Navy fleet tied up at the Norfolk Navy Base including several aircraft carriers and submarines. During the evening after dinner we sat outside with a drink and enjoyed the sea breeze at the Navy Lodge and told lies.

As this was such a huge enjoyment we agreed that it was a "must do" event for next year.  Though we loved the Tidewater we thought it would be great to venture to another region that this great country has to offer.  You can image the discussion that this generated as selecting such a wondrous place is difficult to say the least.   But, we began to narrow our focus to the panhandle area of Florida.  We did have some criteria such as on-the-water, less expensive airfare (or not too far driving), military lodging and, if possible, sunny (though most of us avoid the rays so we wear hats and shirts).  But, you get the idea.  This is a great area as it mixes the sun, water, a concentration of military facilities, and is a foodies delight.

There are, of course, some logistics yet to work out such as a specific date and location.  Like this year we are looking to hold our first formation right after Labor Day, which is 1 Sep next year.  Naturally, by then we'll have settled on a base like, Tyndall AFB, Pensacola NAS, Destin Army Rec Area, Panama City NSA, Whiting Field NAS, or perhaps a combination of these.  That can all be worked out later.  If someone has a suggestion we're open.  I've stayed at all of these bases and can say we wouldn't go wrong at anyone of them.  We did figure out that we're better off moving the drill to weekdays opposed to the weekend.  Places and restaurants are less crowded as you can imagine.  The Redneck Riviera as this area is also known is extremely popular.  Some of these bases offer cottages right on the water but to rent one we would really need a very firm commitment.  If we get the assurance we'll take a hard look at a beach house.

If you haven't been to an Alternate Drill Weekend in the past it's hard to describe since so much of it is intangibles.  Just think of all the good times you had during your career and the great Marines you buddied with and roll all that into a couple of days and you will start to see what I'm talking about.  It doesn't matter one iota if it happens that you don't know one of the guys since we're all cut from exactly the same cloth.  We were or are still Marines and we all served in MWCS-48.  You can't have a better combination than that.  I'll put it in writing that you'll come away looking forward to the next drill weekend.

Think on it and let me know.  Oh, by the way we will still have Phase I of the 17th annual Alternate Drill Weekend at the very end of May or the first of June in 2014.  This will be a weekend and I'll send out the specifics later.  Share this with your fellow MWCS-48/MWCTS-407 buddies.

Semper Fi,

Bob Dart


Thursday, July 25, 2013

CWO-4 Edward Putzke (ret)

CWO-4 Edward Putzke (ret), a long-time warrior of MWCS-48 passed away on Monday, 22 July.  Ed who was 66-years-old served our Corps for 27 years.  He is survived by his wife Joan and five children.  They have six grandchildren with another due very soon.  Services will be held at 1100 on Friday at the Sommerfeld Chapel in New Buffalo, Michigan.  

Semper Fi,

Bob Dart


Edward J. Putzke

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 
NEW BUFFALO — Edward J. Putzke, 66, of New Buffalo, passed away on Monday, July 22, 2013, at St. Anthony Hospital in Michigan City.

Ed was born on November 18, 1946, in Michigan City, to Edwin and Lorna (Abel) Putzke. He lived in new Buffalo most of his life. Ed attended Iowa State University where he met his bride Joan Marie Boyd. On March 29, 1969, they were married.

Ed served his country for 27 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves serving in numerous engineering units. He also held several national offices in MCROA. His career as a civil engineer included building custom homes to water treatment plants to large bridges.

He was an avid bicyclist and completed several long distance charity rides. He loved to read and play games with his grandchildren. And most recently, he took up bird watching. Chess, mancala, uno, slap Jack, and backgammon were all favorites to play with his “little people.”

Ed is survived by his wife, Joan (Boyd) Putzke; children, Nicole (Ryan) Levang, Kristin Putzke, Amy Putzke and Michael (Stephanie) Putzke; grandchildren, Cooper, Dillon, Collin and Jaxxon Levang and Christopher and Elizabeth McDonald; his seventh grandchild, Charlotte Putzke, will be arriving soon; a brother, Jon (Margaret) Putzke; an uncle, Chester (Marlene) Putzke; and many nephews and nieces.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Lorna Putzke; and a brother, Ronald Bollman.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, July 26, at Sommerfeld Chapel  in New Buffalo with Rev. Brad Bartelmay officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Buffalo. Visitation is on Thursday, July 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary of the Lake School. Friends wishing to leave the family a message of condolence can do so at


Ed was a fine Marine and will be missed. 

Semper Fi

Craig Hullinger

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Colonel Ken Elmendorf



Ken Elmendorf was an outstanding Marine. A natural leader and motivator, he was a superb commander and a fine friend. Confident and aggressive, he put his troops at ease with humorous comments. He strutted and swaggered and thoroughly enjoyed leading his Marines, who likewise enjoyed his swashbuckling style of leadership. I served as Lt Colonel Elmendorf's Executive Officer in the mid 1980's, when he Commanded Marine Wing Communication Squadron – 48 (MWCS-48). He did a terrific job leading the Squadron, which was selected as the Squadron of the Year in large part because of his efforts. 

Ken commanded the Marine Wing Communication Squadron-48 at the Glenview Naval Air Station when he was still a Lieutenant Colonel. His first drill weekend was also the change of command for the Marine Air Control Group. Each Squadron marched in review before the incoming and outgoing regular Commander of the Group. Lt Colonel Elmendorf and the troops practiced until they were perfect. But there was a problem. The active duty officers did not like the large gold bracelet that the Colonel wore on his arm. They asked me to ask him to take it off. I did so. "Oh they want me to take off my bracelet, do they?” said Ken Elmendorf. “My wife NJ gave me this bracelet. I am going to wear it. To hell with them." And wear it he did, with the bracelet sliding up and down his arm as he raised and lowered his sword in the parade, strutting in front of his Squadron and the entire Marine Group.

Lieutenant Colonel Elmendorf assumed command of the unit at a time when the Squadron was suffering from a morale and attendance problem. Colonel Elmendorf seldom raised his voice, but just expressed confidence that his officers and Staff NCO's could solve the problem. And following his direction they did.

Colonel Elmendorf was famous for his ventriloquist dummy, Elmer. The troops loved to be entertained by the irreverent dummy. Elmer was dressed in a Lance Corporal Marine Dress Blue Uniform, with a very non-Marine like long hair cut. Elmer was salty and cocky and not afraid to insult anyone. He insulted senior officers, which was not politically correct, and a bad overall career move. Lt. Colonel Elmendorf always pointed out that it was not him but rather Elmer who was the wise ass culprit. LtCol Elmendorf also called the Executive Officer (Me) of the Squadron an asshole when the XO told Elmer to get a haircut. The troops loved that.

No one pushed the Dorf around. He was surrounded by aggressive and tough Chicago Marines, but he was the Bull Marine. He could dominate people with wit and humor and just a hint of good natured menace. And he thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

Colonel Elmendorf commanded a unit exercise at Cherry Point, North Carolina. It was one of the most difficult operations ever undertaken by the Squadron, with a large Naval Task force. Everything went badly. Communications were poor, and the top leadership lost their confidence. The morning briefings were embarrassing – downcast senior officers mumbling and shuffling and hoping things would get better. Into the fray charged Dorf. His Communication Squadron was just a small part of the exercise, but he started giving aggressive, dynamic, confident briefs. He took over the entire briefing and was the only positive and upbeat force in a defeated group. "Everything is coming around", said the Colonel. "It is all working now. Everything will work and work well." His briefing was not accurate – things were terrible – but his confidence and dynamism were contagious. Everyone became more confident. Things started to work. Lt. Colonel Elmendorf's leadership and positive attitude were contagious, and the situation turned around and the exercise became a success.

Another Lt. Colonel, a pilot and commander, was bad mouthing our unit and its performance. Word got back to Elmendorf. "I am going to hunt him down and kill him" said Dorf. I did not know Ken well at that point – I thought his comments were just braggadocio. Dorf met with the officer and then reported back that he had threatened him and reported that the officer would cease to criticize us. And he did. It was not until the next year that I met the infamous Marine Officer in California. He said, "Your boss is Lt. Colonel Elemdorf? I thought he was going to kill me. He is huge guy, and he was really pissed off. I thought I would not get out of there alive". After this our unit began to call Ken Attila-Dorf, or just Dorf for short.

Dorf took care of his troops and they took care of him. He made sure they worked hard, but also made sure that they had fun on liberty. He worked hard to ensure that all members of the unit got along. And he did not let any outsiders harass his troops. He liked to refer to his twelve Marine Officers as the "Dirty Dozen". He led a number of legendary escapades that involved doing unseemly things to and on the Admirals Cannon with some of his Dirty Dozen.

Dorf did not talk much about his experiences as a Lieutenant in AMTRAKs in Vietnam where he earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, but he did tell us a few humorous war stories. His favorite was when he survived a near miss in the field and noted to his Commanding Officer that "I could have been killed out there." Dorf reported that the Colonel dryly commented that, "Well, Lieutenant, there is a war going on, you know."

As a young Lieutenant he commanded an AMTRAC Platoon in Vietnam, and spent considerable time on patrols. Dorf was wounded when the AMTRAC (Amphibious Tractor) he was commanding was destroyed in combat.

Colonel Elmendorf had a safe, draft deferred job, but gave that up to become a Marine. He was always proud of that decision.

Dorf was proud of his sons and his beautiful wife, NJ.  He talked about them a great deal, and was very proud of all of them. He told us that his wife was a camp follower and enjoyed bringing his family to training exercises. He was also happy to take his family to Annapolis when he returned to active duty to teach at Annapolis, to give them a look at the wider world.

Colonel Elmendorf was an outstanding Marine, a great Commander and a fine friend. He is remembered and missed by all his Marine Comrades.

Semper Fi,

Colonel Craig Hullinger

On 7/6/05, NJ (Mrs. Ken) Elmendorf wrote:

Wow, what a nice gesture. I received your letter and promptly sent it to Brett, Dirk and Beth for Father's Day. Thanks loads! We have lots of memories and laughs and fully recognize your "tales" of the swarthy Marine who made life better for us all.

We can hardly believe that it is more than six years since Ken left  us......the boys have truly grown up and the grandson who was not quite six months is now six years old and coming to stay with us for a week at  "The Big E Ranch" for "camp" with another six year old named Jack.

The grandson - Grant, has his room decorated in military colors and attire, so maybe he'll grow up to be more like Grandpa. He has the personality to handle "Elmer Duff", so we're watching to see how it goes. So far he's a storyteller and jokester.

No we don't really live on a ranch, but in a house in town.....we got it in 2000 but this was my first full winter here as I hadn't sold out of Indiana until last Aug. Several years ago I had some friends visit from Indiana and they thought everyone who lived in Texas had a ranch so we
decided to oblidge's an Elmendorf thing I guess....

Anyway, we have guest rooms so you are welcome to show up anytime you come this's a great place to live or visit. We're 10 minutes from the airport.

Dirk came here to college and stayed and started a business (Rackspace Managed Hosting) with two friends, then got some investors, hired his brother Brett, began the process to go public, backed off before the dot com crash, and now they have 600 employees. I had planned to have us retire here, so looks like I got my wish......we are happy here. Dirk will be getting married next April 8th to Annie and setting up his home here.

Brett and I live in the same house, so far so good, we have a deal to give each other 6 months notice if our lives far nothing on the horizon.

I hope you and Beth are well and are enjoying the fruits of your labor  with your family.

Thanks again for sharing with us.

Semper Fi


* No corrections other than NJ never has dots......that was my 40th birthday present from Ken to go to court and become NJ no dots so computers would accept my name as they wouldn't's an Elmendorf thing.....

Dear NJ

I am glad you enjoyed the letter. Dorf was a super guy, and I always wanted to write it.

And he very much loved you and the boys.

Glad that you and your family are doing well.

Semper Fi,

Craig Hullinger