By Cpl Damien Gutierrez PAO, MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif. | Leatherneck Magazine | Leatherneckmagazine-digital.com | September, 2011
The legacy and tradition of one Marine who changed the lives of hundreds of wounded veterans was given new life at the place where he did so much good—at the Stepp Stables on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Jinx McCain Warrior Riding Program, a program under the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and in conjunction with Camp Pendleton’s Stepp Stables, kicked off with the June 22 dedication of the riding program in honor of Colonel Jinx McCain, USMC (Ret), who died May 3, 2003.
In the early 1960s, while stationed at Camp Pendleton, McCain would host trail rides for amputees from Vietnam to help rehabilitate their spirits. McCain was awarded the Purple Heart four times in a career that included combat in World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima, in the Korean War and in the Vietnam War.
At the ceremony, Col McCain’s daughter, Debbie McCain, spoke about her father’s distinguished military career and shared stories of his triumphs and dedication during his time in and out of the Corps. “This is a great honor that has been bestowed upon my father from this wonderful group of men and women that ride here at Pendleton and Team Semper Fi,” said Debbie McCain, who currently works at Stepp Stables.
Team Semper Fi, whose motto is “Recovery Through Sport,” is a rehabilitative sports program offered by the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. The team of more than 200 injured leathernecks who compete in athletic events throughout the United States, is made up of Marines who have suffered a combat-related injury and refused to let their disability prevent them from doing what they do best—compete.
Col John Mayer, Commanding Officer, Wounded Warrior Regiment, and Karen Guenther, founder and president of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, attended the ceremony. “The Semper Fi Fund is honored and privileged to have this moment to name this great program after such a legend,” said Guenther. “We have a lot of work to do, and have a lot of wonderful people to help us on our way.”
The ceremony included a presentation by the Marine Corps’ Mounted Color Guard from Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., and concluded with the presentation of a plaque from the Semper Fi Fund to Debbie McCain for her hard work and dedication for making the Jinx McCain Warrior Riding Program possible.
For more information about the Semper Fi Fund, visit http://semperfifund.org/.