The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, has pledged up to $30,000 in post-high school scholarship support to each of the seven children who lost their Marine fathers in an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) blast in November aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Upon graduation from high school, these children—today all under the age of ten—will be eligible for funding from the Scholarship Foundation’s Heroes Tribute Scholarship Program for the Children of the Fallen, which can be used toward accredited community colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools.
Additionally, in memory of these fallen Marines, the Scholarship Foundation has established the EOD Marine Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student beginning in the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year.
The four EOD Marine Technicians, Gunnery Sergeant Gregory Mullins, 31, of Bayou L’ourse, La., Staff Sergeant Eric Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., Staff Sergeant Mathew Marsh, 28, of Long Beach, Calif., and Sergeant Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Oceanside, Calif., were killed in an explosion during a range maintenance operation to dispose of unexploded ordnances.
“We are overwhelmed at the generosity of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. While my daughter is only two years old, to know that the cost of college is covered is a tremendous burden lifted off our family’s shoulders,” shared Andrea Summers, widow of SSgt Eric Summers. “The extended Marine Corps family has shown my daughter and me tremendous support in the three months following Eric’s death. Words cannot express our gratitude for honoring such a loving father and husband.”
“The Marine Corps has an ethos of taking care of each other, and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation adheres to that priority. These children have sacrificed greatly. We are proud say that the Scholarship Foundation will be here to support these children’s futures and honor their loved ones,” commented Margaret B. Davis, president and chief executive officer, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. “These children are truly born from bravery. As a country, we owe them our support.”
Facing life-threating missions, EOD Marines have one of the most dangerous and challenging Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the Corps. Possessing a unique skill set to handle hazardous materials and disarm explosives, EOD Marines are some of the most highly-trained Marines in the Corps. Their decisions in the field can be a matter of life or death.
On Saturday at the annual Eagle, Globe and Anchor dinner held in Pebble Beach, Calif., the Scholarship Foundation will honor all EOD Marines with the announcement of the newly-created Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Marine Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“The physical and mental toughness of EOD Marines is unmatched. They stare in the face of danger with noble courage to protect our freedom. We are proud to honor their service and sacrifice,” added Davis.
The first EOD Marine Memorial Scholarship will be awarded as part of the 2014-2015 academic year. Currently, the Scholarship Foundation is accepting applications for the coming school year, with a submission deadline of March 3, 2014. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be the child of an active duty, reserve or veteran U.S. Marine who has received an honorable discharge or was killed while serving in the Corps
- Be the child of U.S. Navy Corpsmen who is serving, or have served with a U.S. Marine Corps Unit, or a veteran U.S. Navy Corpsmen who served with a U.S. Marine unit and have received an honorable discharge or was killed while serving in the U.S. Navy
- Have a GPA of at least 2.0
- Meet an income requirement
- Plan to attend an accredited undergraduate college, university or vocational/technical institution in the upcoming academic year.
The Scholarship Foundation gives particular attention to children whose parent has been killed or wounded in action.
About the Scholarship Foundation: The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children. Since its inception in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 30,000 scholarships valued at over $80 million to Marine Corps children whose parents have been killed or wounded in combat or have demonstrated financial need. For more information on the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, please visit http://www.mcsf.org/.