Colonel Nate Smith Scholarship

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Donate to the Colonel Nate Smith Scholarship      Download the Application


The Colonel Nate Smith Scholarship application period closed on 31 July 2020.



The MCRD Command Museum Foundation is proud to announce the opening of the 2020 Colonel Nate Smith Scholarship cycle is 1 June 2020 – 31 July 2020.

Established in honor of WWII and Korean War hero, and Museum volunteer since the inception, Colonel Nate Smith. The annual scholarship is awarded to three Marines, Sailors, and dependents of MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region each year. Awards are based on academic performance, extracurricular opportunities and community involvement, and future potential. Past awardees have gone on to complete higher education programs across the country and much like Colonel Smith, exemplify the best the Corps has to offer.


Program Impact:

Since its inception in 2003, the museum has gifted over 50 scholarships by giving three, annual, $1,000 awards for enlisted Marines, Sailors, and dependents of Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the Western Recruiting Region who are currently enrolled in an Undergraduate or Graduate Program.


“I hope that through this scholarship and continuing my education that I can influence my junior Marines to take advantage of the educational opportunities to better themselves, their Marines and the institution as a whole by being the example that this Scholarship deserves of its recipients.”

-SSgt John R. Paxson, USMC - 2019 Col Nate Smith Scholarship Awardee


“Since being named one of the recipients of the Col Nate Smith Scholarship, my dream is becoming a reality at West Chester University this award gives me an opportunity to earn skills that will serve the medical community following graduation.”

-Kadidia Cisse, Active Duty Spouse - 2019 Col Nate Smith Scholarship Awardee


About Colonel Nate Smith, USMC (Ret):

In 2003, the Col Nate Smith Memorial Scholarship began when the Smith family asked for donations to the Command Museum in memory of Colonel Nathaniel Smith, USMC (Ret.). Col Nate Smith, USMC, (Ret) was a plank holder for the MCRD Museum, an original member. He joined the museum and immediately volunteered full time in the archives and collections. Col Smith made it his duty to catalog accessions, conduct research and provide insight to the museum staff. At that time, the museum staff was in the process of cataloging the initial inventory and Col Smith created and signed Deed of Gift letters to donors.

Col Smith lived in Coronado, and after his Marine Corps retirement he completed a career with the San Diego City administration offices. Col Smith was the perfect volunteer for his position in the museum as he had served in WWII, and Korea. He was able to identify many individuals in photos, and could relate firsthand historical accounts, often adding “the rest of the story.”

He liked to wander the halls and engage visitors in conversation, and he especially appreciated seeing new recruits on T-56. Col Smith also had first-hand experience being part of history as a Marine, as he was one of the first Marines to be air lifted from the battle via helicopter during the Korean War when he was wounded.

He began his Marine Corps career as an enlisted man and completed his degree while on active duty. He appreciated an education, and was a walking encyclopedia for Marine Corps history, often relating tales of the Old Corps you could not find in books. He epitomized a Marine Corps Historian, and his family and friends pay tribute to his memory with the annual Col Nate Smith Scholarship.


*In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these scholarships are more important than ever to help bridge the funding gap occurring for so many in these uncertain times. The MCRD Museum Foundation is seeking donations to help keep this (and other) important programs functioning and continue to honor Col Nate Smith’s legacy in perpetuity.

To donate and help fund and support the Colonel Nate Smith Scholarship contact MCRD Museum Foundation Deputy Director, Chris Weimer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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MCRD Museum Foundation
Building 26 Post Office Box 400085
San Diego, CA 92140-0085

Federal Tax ID: 33-0290006 


MCRD Museum Foundation 990

Museum Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM

Foundation Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday, 8:00AM-4:00PM

Friday, 8:00AM-3:00PM

Telephone: 1-619-524-4426

Gift Shop: 1-619-524-0663

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