Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --
As the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition (MDMME) provided a glimpse into the future, the event also attracted veterans with a rich history of wars past—wars which laid the foundation of the future displayed during the three day event.
MDMME welcomed 94-year-old World War II veteran Theodore R. Marolda Sr., Sept. 20 to experience the direction the Corps is headed with new technology.
Marolda, a Winsted, Connecticut native who enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1942 and achieved the rank of tech sergeant (a Marine Corps rank until 1958)— equivalent to a gunnery sergeant. He served under A Company 1st Marine Amphibious Tractor Battalion.
The battalion was famously known for the operation of the Landing Vehicle, Tracked (LVT-1), commonly referred to as the Amtrac.
The Amtrac is a welded steel supply vehicle with the ability to propel on both land and water by paddle-type treads carrying approximately 4,500 pounds of cargo.
However, the vehicle was also used tactically as it moved artillery, held defensive positions and occasionally supported Marines with their mounted machine guns.
This was revolutionary technology for its time as it was first used in Guadalcanal with the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, 1st Marine Division in August 1942. Marolda manned a 30-cal, operated the vehicle and participated in the battles of Guadalcanal, New Guinea and Cape Gloucester.
However, at MDMME, Marolda was afforded the opportunity to walk aboard the newest Amtrac, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 (ACV), while trading stories with Col. Kirk Mullins, ACV product manager, Program Executive Office Land Systems (PEO LS).
“The really special part for me in meeting Mr. Marolda was that he was a member of 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, which ultimately became Combat Assault Battalion (CAB),” Mullins said.
Mullins was the CAB battalion commander for two years and felt he shared a real connection with Marolda.
“The idea that he was the generation that took the LVT-1, which was a first for his generation, into harm’s way and blazed a trail for amphibious operations for generations of Marines after him gave me moment for pause,” Mullins said. “And the ACV will be a first for a whole new generation of Marines who will write their own chapters.”