The mission of the Young Marines is to positively impact America’s future by providing quality youth development programs for boys and girls that nurtures and develops its members into responsible citizens who enjoy and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.


Strengthening the lives of America’s youth.

Promotional video about the Young Marines program:


History of the Young Marines

The Young Marines were formed in 1959 by Marine Corps League members of the Brass City Detachment in Waterbury, Connecticut.  It obtained its official charter on October 17, 1965.

Females joined the ranks of the Young Marines starting in 1974 and now make up nearly 33% of all Young Marines.

In 1993 the United States Marine Corps officially recognized the Young Marines as its focal point for Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.

For more history, please view this video on the History of the Young Marines:

History of the Miami Valley Young Marines

The Dayton Young Marines, were founded in 1998 at the Military Police Company C, Marine Corps Reserve Facility in Dayton, Ohio.  The original Commanding Officer was Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Ballentine who drilled with MP Company C.  Here the Young Marines held their first Recruit Training class and operated until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Due to an increase in security, the unit was forced to find a new home.  The Commanding Officer at the time was Chief Master Sergeant John Bankowitz.  The unit kept drilling at the VA Hospital in Dayton for several months, but the number of youth attending was dwindling.

Fearing the worst, CMSgt Bankowitz was in search of a new location for the Young Marines.  At the Marine Corps Ball held at MP Company C that next year, he found his solution.  A former enlisted Marine who later became a chaplain Earl F. Simone was seated next to the staff.  He mentioned his local church had plenty of room for our Young Marines and still today we meet at St. Peter Church in Huber Heights, OH.

In 2002 the unit changed the name from the Dayton Young Marines to the current name of Miami Valley since it better described the area our unit served.

In 2003, then Lance Corporal J. Keagan Miller took over as the Commanding Officer of the unit and was later deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  During which time, former Marine Corps Sergeant Steven Trusty took over as the Acting Commanding Officer until his return.

In 2004, the Unit was awarded the MCL Commendation award from the Ohio Department for their hard work and effort supporting the area’s Toys for Tots program.

In July of 2005, the unit earned the Meritorious Unit Citation – Regimental for placing first in the Ohio Regiment’s first Encampment / Competition.  The event featured numerous competitions of the various units including Close Order Drill, Color Guard, Knot Tying, and more.

In September of 2005, the unit went on its first deployment to Beluxi, Mississipi .  The trip was dubbed “Operation Thicker than Water” since it was in support of a Young Marine family that was struck by Hurricane Katrina.  Two Young Marines and four staff members went on the trip bringing supplies gathered by the whole unit.  After doing repairs on the family members’ house, the unit then joined forces with the area’s Red Cross team and performed work orders for numerous needy families the rest of the week.

This earned the Young Marines the Distinguished Unit Citation.  Two Young Marines; YM/GySgt Ryan Stites and YM/Sgt Daniel Wormeley; were awarded the Personal Commendation Award (the second highest ribbon award) and YM/GySgt Taryn Collinsworth was awarded the Meritorious Service Award (the third highest ribbon award) for their outstanding efforts with the mission.

Also in 2005, the unit would begin its efforts in support of the Dayton Honor Flight Network after an introduction to the program to the Public Affairs Officer Ray Girard.  Noticing a great opportunity to serve our Nation’s veterans, Mr. Girard aided by supplying a Color Guard for the World War II vets that were returning from their trip.  This escalated through later years to include numerous other groups including the Vietnam Veterans of America, Patriot Pinup Incorporated, the Knights of Columbus, United States Airforce of Wright Patterson, the Wayne High School Airforce JROTC, and the Boy Scouts.

The Unit was selected as the Division Unit of the Year later that same year due to its deployment to Mississippi and performance at the first Ohio Regimental Encampment as well as their annual efforts with Toys for Tots.

In 2008, CMSgt John Bankowitz took over as the Unit Commander again, which he served as until 2012 when the Steven Trusty took over.  Sgt Trusty had great success bringing together the Upper Valley Young Marines and Miami Valley Young Marines in a successful unit merger.

In 2014, CMSgt John Bankowitz regained his position as the Unit Commander.

In 2015, the unit earned its second Distinguished Unit Citation for its decade of service to the Dayton Honor Flight Network.

2016 Marked another new era with the adoption of our new Unit Logo. This sword and shield design was implemented on our new website as well as on the Unit T Shirts. J. Keagan Miller returned as the Unit Commander and made changes to improve community image and our drug demand presence.



Community Service

The Miami Valley Young Marines spend countless hours aiding our community.  Whether it be supporting of Veterans with the Dayton Honor Flight Network and Veteran’s Appreciation Week, or through Drug Reduction Training and Education with area youth during Red Ribbon Week, you will always find us on the job.

We welcome all community service opportunities.  If you think you have an appropriate application for presence, please click on our ‘Services’ section on this site to inquire.


basic guide

junior guide

senior guide

advanced guide


Young Marines are issued guidebooks as they progress through our program.  This series of four books covers ten subject areas, graduating in detail as a Young Marine progresses in the series:

  • Close Order Drill – Marching and learning commands to execute marching orders.
  • Essential Subjects – General topics in Young Marine education such as uniform etiquette and rank structure.
  • Life Skills –  Real life skills training that aid transition from childhood into adulthood in areas such as personal finances, resume writing and even ironing!
  • Field Skills – Survival training at it’s best to successfully navigate within a wilderness environment.
  • Map and Compass – Builds skillset to navigate terrain by way of a map, compass and other tips outlined in this section.
  • Drug Demand Reduction – Cornerstone program of the Young Marines which educates our youth on how to live a healthy and drug free lifestyle.  We also train our youth on identifying drugs and their negative effects.  The program is so detailed that often advanced Young Marines can become trained instructors in this topic to lead discussion and training not only within the unit, but also in public scenarios.
  • Leadership – Training to become an effective leader utilizing listening, guidance, direction and influential techniques.
  • Citizenship – Education on our Nation’s history plus guidance on becoming better citizens within our communities.
  • Health, Fitness, and First Aid – first aid, CPR – Basic techniques to improve overall physical fitness, eating habits and standard First Aid training.  Young Marines have the opportunity to receive advanced First Aid and CPR training on their own as they advance throughout the program.

Check out the Guidebook section for more details on Basic, Junior, Senior, and Advanced Young Marine training.

We also spend time with our Young Marines teaching sportsmanship, creativity, marksmanship and much more.  Check our our Facebook page to watch us in action or review our Calendar to see exactly what exciting events are in store for our unit.