Watch the USMC 235th Birthday Tribute Video


On 10 November 1985, Captain Robert E. Richter, USMC (Ret) founded The Marine Corps Mustang Association (MCMA), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The MCMA is a full member of and participant in the National Marine Corps Council of Agencies.

Since sometime before 1935, the term "Mustang" has been used by the United States Sea Services to denote enlisted men who worked their way up the ranks to officer status. Now, of course, women Marine officers with prior Marine Corps enlisted service are also Mustangs.

Going back to the Middle Ages, there was always a distinction between officers and men in the ranks which amounted to a caste system. Shakespeare in his Henry V exemplifies this when he has a sentry hail, "Art thou officer? Or art thou base, common and popular?" (1)

In its proper sense, "Mustang" referred to the wild or half wild horse of the American plains, especially of Mexico and California, and was a distortion of the Spanish term "Mestengo". (1)

"Mestengo" is the name/title of the MCMA Newsletter.

What is a Marine Mustang?

The Answer is:

Any Marine, after having served on active duty in the enlisted ranks of the United States Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve, has risen to the officer ranks, and further served as a commissioned or warrant officer on either active duty or reserve status. The title includes all such Marines: active duty, reserve, retired, and/or honorably discharge.

The title of a Marine of this status is, and shall evermore be...MUSTANG!

"There is no honor greater than to be called "Mustang". You have long epitomized the warrior virtues of courage, devotion to duty, sacrifice, and imaginative leadership."

General Alfred M. Gray USMC, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps and a Mustang.

Semper Fidelis – Marines

Our Mission

The MCMA strives to inspire love of our Corps and Country and afford to all of its members a means to promote camaraderie and esprit de corps in keeping with the highest spirit & traditions of the United States Marine Corps.

MCMA also provides a forum in which Mustangs may assemble for social intercourse and to provide a forum for the communication of matters of mutual interest.

We also strive to sustain reverence for the memory of our departed shipmates and to preserve the historical records of Mustangs and their achievements.

Awards Made by the Mustang Association

Each year, the MCMA presents the Colonel Mitchell Paige, MOH, (Deceased)


Awarded to a graduate of the Marine Corps Warrant Officer School Class and each Marine Corps Basic School Class, that has former enlisted Marines in the class.

The award, in recognition of having displayed those qualities best typifying the Mustang Spirit exhibited by attitude, leadership and esprit de corps; consists of a plaque, and one year free membership in the MCMA.