Rich Parsons

A Student of Martial Arts
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Oct 13, 2001
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Tonight I spent most of it at the emergency vet clinic. I saw a box colelcting money for cards. People would pay $3 or more for a card (* per the instructions *) and place the filled out cards into another box.

The catch was that it was for Major Douglas Alexander Zembiec, More information on him here:

The Problem and confusion I have is the letter written to get people to donate. It read:

"Major Doug Zembiec, Captain of the US Marine Corps, ... . "

The Wiki site lists him as a Major. I know there were some articles written about him while he was a Captain.

My confusion is the double usage of rank, and it not matching. I would have thought it would have been Major in both. I understand that sometimes a Marine Captain will be called Major while on a Naval Ship, as there is only one Captain on a Ship, but this is not the case.

I hope it is not someone trying to use his good name to get money from people. I was hoping someone might have more information than I or a better explanation.



Crazy like a...
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Jan 16, 2006
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According to the Wikipedia article, he graduated from the academy in 1995. At that time he would have been commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. In the lower officer ranks, an individual's time in grade is pretty much fixed...its not really possible to get promoted faster based on the job one does.

For the Marines, its typically about 4 years from 2nd Lieutenant to Captain, and another 4-5 years from Captain to Major. Therefore he would have been likely been a Captain in Kosovo in 1999 and almost certainly so when he was the XO at the Amphibious Reconnaissance School in 2000. Wiki says that he was promoted to Major on July 1, 2005, which is in line with the timetable.

It appears that he earned his honours in Fallujah in 2004. "He was named the "Lion of Fallujah" as a result of his heroic actions leading Echo Company 2/1 during Operation Vigilant Resolve in 2004. As a rifle company commander, he led 168 Marines and sailors in the first conventional ground assault into Fallujah, Iraq. He was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device and two Purple Hearts due to wounds incurred in action."

At that time he earned those medals. he was a captain. A historical reference to that time (such as the Wikipedia photo on his page) would refer to the man at the time as a Captain, as he would have not yet received his promotion to major.

Looks like everything is on the up and up :)