Megan McClung

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Megan M. McClung
Captain Megan McClung-01.jpg
Born (1972-04-14)April 14, 1972
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Died December 6, 2006(2006-12-06) (aged 34)
Ramadi, Iraq
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1995-2006
Rank US Marine O4 shoulderboard.svg Major
Unit I Marine Expeditionary Force
Battles/wars Iraq War 
Awards Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Hawaii Medal of Honor

Megan Malia Leilani McClung (April 14, 1972–December 6, 2006) was the first female United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat during the Iraq War. Major McClung was serving as a public affairs officer in Al Anbar Province, Iraq when she was killed.[1]


Early life; education; family[edit]

Megan Malia Leilani McClung was born on April 14, 1972 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Mike and Re McClung. She was raised in Orange County, California and graduated from Mission Viejo High School, Mission Viejo, CA in 1990. Megan became one of the first women to attend Admiral Farragut Academy in New Jersey.

Her family had a history of military service. Her paternal grandfather served in the United States Army during World War II, and her father was a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer[2] who served in Vietnam, seeing combat in the Tet Offensive. Her maternal grandfather was a U.S. Navy officer and pilot.[3] She attended the United States Naval Academy,[4] graduating and receiving her officer's commission in 1995.

McClung graduated with her master's degree in Criminology from Boston University in 2006, several months prior to her death.

Marine Corps career; Death in Iraq[edit]

McClung was commissioned an officer in the Marine Corps in 1995 and served on active duty until 2004, when she entered the Reserves. In 2004, she joined Kellogg, Brown, and Root, an American engineering and construction company and went to Iraq as a private contractor.[4]

In 2006, she returned to active duty with the Marines[4] and in January 2006, she was deployed to Iraq as a public affairs officer with the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). She was promoted to the rank of Major in June.[5] In December 2006, she was in the final month of a year-long deployment to Iraq. On December 6, 2006, McClung was serving with the I Marine Expeditionary Force as the Marine Corps head of public affairs for Al Anbar Province, in charge of embedded journalists.[6] Earlier in the day, she had been accompanying Oliver North with his Fox News camera crew in Ramadi. She subsequently was escorting Newsweek journalists into downtown Ramadi.[7] A massive improvised explosive device (IED) destroyed McClung's Humvee, instantly killing McClung and the other two occupants. The Newsweek journalists were not injured.

McClung was the first female Marine officer to be killed in the Iraq war,[2] as well as the first female graduate of the United States Naval Academy to be killed in action since the school was founded in 1845.

Major Megan McClung was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on December 19, 2006.[5][8]

Athletic endeavors[edit]

While in high school and college, McClung competed as a gymnast.[9]

McClung was a triathlete (having competed in six Ironman competitions)[5] and a marathoner. In October 2006, she organized and ran in the Marine Corps Marathon's satellite competition, Marine Corps Marathon Forward[10] in Iraq.[6]

Posthumous honors[edit]

McClung was posthumously honored at Boston University's Metropolitan College 2007 commencement ceremonies with the 2006 “Excellence in Graduate Study in Criminal Justice”, which was presented by Dr. Daniel LeClair.

The second annual Major McClung Memorial Run was held August 23, 2008 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to raise money for wounded Marines and their families.[3]

Marine LtGen Carol Mutter honored Major McClung for her sacrifice during a speech at the Republican National Convention on September 4, 2008.[11]

In 2008, the first Major Megan M. McClung Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a college student by her parents, Drs. Re and Michael and the Women Marines Association.[11]

In Iraq, Army General Ray Odierno was responsible for building a state of the art broadcast studio, which allowed live interviews as well as numerous press events, and he dedicated the studio to Major McClung.

The Defense Information School, the United States Department of Defense's training school for photojournalists and other public affairs personnel, presents the Maj. Megan McClung Leadership Award to one graduating member of each Public Affairs Qualification Course.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NBC4, December 11, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Rivenburg, Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Barber, Mike (May 26, 2008). "After Megan died, parents learned about the Marine their little girl became". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  4. ^ a b c Ritchie, Orange County Register, December 12, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c "Megan Malia Leilani McClung, Major, United States Marine Corps". 
  6. ^ a b Mitchell, Editor & Publisher, December 12, 2006.
  7. ^ Strupp, Editor & Publisher, December 18, 2006.
  8. ^ Fumento, American Spectator, December 27, 2006.
  9. ^ "Sponsored athletes". Synflex America. 
  10. ^ "Marine Corps Marathon to Run in Iraq". News Blaze. 2006. 
  11. ^ a b "Remarks as Prepared for Delivery: Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter (USMC - Ret.)". GOP Convention 2008. September 4, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008. But tonight I want to talk to you about another woman who earned a unique and honored distinction in our nation's history... The daughter of another Marine I served with more than 25 years ago, Major Megan McClung. 


External links[edit]