Marine Corps Base Quantico -- The 2016 Modern Day Marine Military Exposition (MDMME) is set to open on Lejeune Field aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico next week (Sept. 27-29), with more than 400 vendors showcasing products as varied as is the Marine Corps’ mission.
“You’ll see small-scale products for infantry like boots and supplies, large vehicles like the amphibious assault vehicle, unmanned aerial system platforms, and everything in between,” said Charlie Baisley, spokesperson for Modern Day Marine.
MDMME’s over-arching mission is to help the Marine Corps identify and procure the best products and services to win in combat, Baisley said.
As well as experiencing the latest, greatest technological advances, MDMME attendees can go face-to-face with many of the nonprofit organizations and agencies that exist to assist service members and veterans.
“It provides education for everyone,” said Michael Regner, retired Marine major general and current national director of government affairs for the Marine Corps League, which puts on the expo. “Not just for junior and senior Marines, but for military family members, spouses and children, members of Congress and their staffs and civilian Marines.
“Spouses can take their children and show them the vehicle daddy drives, the armor that protects him, the medical care he gets if he’s injured and the technology that helps him stay in touch with his family,” Regner continued.
Industry representatives will be educated at the MDMME as well, Regner said. While they will be sharing information about their newest developments, they will also get a chance to hear from Marines about what they want and need from the technology to successfully complete their mission.
And the MDMME is a place where Marines can network and prepare for their transition back to civilian life, since it’s probable that many of the vendors present will be looking to hire service veterans.
“I tell Marines, ‘If you go, have your business card and your 30-second sound-bite. Learn, but be prepared to showcase yourself,’” Regner said.
MDMME has been held aboard Quantico for 30 years, Baisley said. It dates back to 1981, when then-commandant Gen. Robert Barrow asked for an industry trade day for the Marine Corps similar to those held for the other armed forces branches. The Marine Corps League held the first MDMME expo at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, in 1981. The next year, it was moved to a hotel in Washington, D.C.
In 1996, the MDMME’s organizers decided that the show needed to be brought closer to the Marines so that it would be easier for them to attend. They chose MCBQ for its reputation as “The Crossroads of the Marine Corps” and the home of research and development for the Corps.
“We like to call the show ‘the world’s only expeditionary convention center,’” Baisley said. “Everything is brought in, from the floors to the electricity to the tents. It’s a 30-day construction project to put it together. But we think it’s important that Marines not have to travel to get to it.”
“Everyone in the National Capital Region, please come to this event,” Regner said. “Bring your family, friends, office co-workers. You’ll be enlightened. You will see that America’s nonprofits and industry have some of the very best products and services available.”
“And you may even get a free coffee cup from the Marine Corps League!” he said.