In 1953, retired Marine Corps Colonel Duncan Shaw, Sr., learned that a group of teenagers burned an American flag at a Southern California high school. Aggravated by this activity and the attitudes among American youth it represented, Colonel Shaw and a group of retired Marine Corps Reserve Officers, now prominent Southern California businessmen, asked the Commandant of the Marine Corps to help with a community benefit project that would aid the development of character qualities in teenage boys and girls, and enable them to become healthier and more successful young citizens.
The idea was to bring these youth down to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and let them observe how Marines are trained and then for ten days be trained themselves by volunteer Marine escorts.
The Commandant agreed that the Marine Corps would cooperate if this group of former Marines would form a charitable corporation to solicit contributions needed for food, transportation, insurance and other sustainable items which the government cannot pay for.
The name “Devil Pups” was conceived after observing that the German troops, during World War I, gave the United States Marines opposing them in battle, the name “Devil Dogs” because of their battlefield accomplishments and valor of the Marines. This success and challenge under stress is a fitting precursor for the name “Devil Pups”.
In summer, 1954, Camp Pendleton Commanding General John T. Selden, granted permission for Devil Pups, Inc. to bring aboard 1800 young men 14 to 17 years of age. In 1998, Devil Pups, Inc. welcomed its first platoon of girls into the program. Through the efforts of the active duty and reserve Marines working with the volunteers in the charitable corporation – Devil Pups, Inc. – the program has grown into a highly successful annual project. As we begin 2012 we are pleased and excited that this summer we will be graduating our 50,000th pup from this Good Citizenship-Physical Development Program
An interested boy or girl and/or their parents living in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho should contact their nearest Devil Pup Liaison Representative to determine eligibility. Each area is given a specific quota of participants to admit.
Click here for the list of Liaison Representatives