• Marine Commander to Keynote Salute to the Military

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    October 11, 2017

    Major General David G. Bellon will be the featured speaker at the 39th annual Salute to the Military on Tuesday evening, October 24th, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center in Biloxi.
    “The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc. will host its annual Salute, continuing a 39 year tradition of bringing the nation’s top military leaders to the Mississippi Coast to join in tribute to our local neighbors-in-uniform,” explained Salute Chairman and Master of Ceremonies John McFarland of the American Red Cross.
    The evening will include a cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Convention Center and a ceremonial program and seated dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Remarks will be given by Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce President Tommy Murphy, U. S. Congressman Steven Palazzo, and General Bellon to recognize and honor the contributions of area military personnel. Entertainment will be provided by the 41st Army Band, and the Thomas V. Fredian Community Service award will be presented to one outstanding enlisted honoree.
    This year’s program will include video tributes on the 75th anniversary of U.S. Navy Seabees and the 100th Anniversary of Camp Shelby. Guests will also view a unique collection of military exhibits in the convention center and on the coliseum grounds.
    The event is open to the public. Civilian tickets are $60, and reserved tables of 10 are available for $600. Presenting and Corporate sponsorships are available and include complimentary tickets to enlisted personnel at area installations. Black tie or dress uniform is preferred, but business dress is accepted. Dinner is included.
    “Our goal is always to provide sponsored tickets to local installations for enlisted military member who want to come,” McFarland said. “We encourage businesses to sponsor tickets for the military or, if they purchase a table for themselves and won’t use all 10 tickets, to let us know and we’ll distribute the extra tickets in their name.”
    Salute co-chairman Bob Coniglione of PAE at Stennis Space Center, a Salute sponsor says, “Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce members have been honoring our military neighbors in this very public way since 1978 – something no other American community can claim. This tradition has been very important to the military and to the community. Every year we have been able to bring one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or other top leaders to the Mississippi Coast to help honor our military neighbors.”
    Major General David G. Bellon was born in Fort Polk, Louisiana and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He went to college at the University of Kansas, graduating in 1987. He subsequently attended the University of Missouri School of Law where he graduated in 1990. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1989.  Bellon initially served seven years on active duty before joining the Reserves. His first active duty tour was served as an infantry officer with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He then served a second active duty tour with 1st Force Service Support Group as a Judge Advocate.
    In 1997, he resigned his commission and left active duty. He immediately joined the Select Marine Corps Reserve and commenced service with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (LAR). At the same time, he began his civilian law career working for a law firm in Los Angeles County, California. While with 4th LAR, Captain and then Major Bellon served as Fire Support Coordinator, Company Commander, and Operations Officer. In 1999 he started his own law firm in Oceanside, California.
    In January 2003, Major Bellon was activated in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) 1. During OIF 1, he served as Operations Officer for 4th LAR with both TASK FORCE TARAWA and TASK FORCE SCORPION. He was de-activated in October of 2003. In January 2004, Major Bellon was once again activated and deployed as the Intelligence Officer for Regimental Combat Team -1 for OIF 2. He served as the intelligence officer for RCT 1 during its 14 month deployment in and around the City of Al Fallujah, Iraq, participating in both battles for the city. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel during this tour.
    Upon returning home in 2005, Lieutenant Colonel Bellon assumed command of 3d Battalion 23d Marine Regiment. He was activated for a third time and subsequently deployed with 3d Battalion in 2007. The battalion executed counter-insurgency operations in and around the city of Al Haditha, Iraq and returned home in April of 2008.
    In 2008 Lieutenant Colonel Bellon was selected as the Marine Corps Reserves representative as a full time student at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. While at War College, he was promoted to colonel and also received additional activation orders for deployment in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.
    Brigadier General Bellon deployed to Afghanistan in September 2009 with the British 6th Division.  While in Afghanistan, he served as the Chief of Operations for Southern Afghanistan during NATO's 2010 surge of forces to secure the strategically vital area in and around Kandahar City.
    In 2011, Brigadier General Bellon Joined QRS Recycling where he is the Managing Partner for QRS Direct as well as a partner with Re-Poly, a QRS affiliated company specializing in manufacturing plastic resins from recycled plastics recovered from the waste stream.
    Major General Bellon assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South on May 22 of this year.  In addition to its other missions, his command supports Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands which, along with the  U.S. Agency for International Development have been delivering humanitarian relief supplies to Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The task force is a U.S. military unit composed of Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, and represents U.S. Southern Command’s primary response to the hurricanes that have affected the eastern Caribbean
    His personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and three gold stars in lieu of fourth award as well as the Legion of Merit.
    Past Salute to the Military speakers include two secretaries of defense, three Air Force secretaries, two Navy secretaries, four chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and more than two dozen other members of the joint chiefs of staff.
    To reserve tickets or for sponsorship inquiries, contact the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc. office at (228) 604-0014 or email Ashley Butsch at ashley@mscoastchamber.com. Tickets will not be available at the door on the evening of the event.

    Ashley Butsch, Programming Coordinator & Military Liaison
    (228) 604-0014
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