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David McCallum, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation honored in ‘NCIS’ episode

The Feb. 19 episode of “NCIS” that paid tribute to late actor David McCallum also mentioned a national nonprofit that provides educational scholarships to the children of Marines.

When the team learns that their retired colleague Donald “Ducky” Mallard has died, it mentioned that the family is requesting, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

As the episode reached its conclusion, the daughter of the Marine featured in the story is told that she is being awarded a college scholarship from the nonprofit.

The last remaining original cast member of NCIS after 20 seasons, McCallum passed away in September 2023. In addition to his role as Mallard on the CBS crime series, McCallum is also known for portraying secret agent Illya Kuryakin in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” series decades ago.

McCallum was involved with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation offscreen and his family has been active on its board of directors. The family established a scholarship in memory of McCallum’s brother-in-law, Marine Cpl. George Whitney Carpenter, who was killed in the Vietnam War in 1967.

McCallum went beyond his personal financial contributions to MCSF and played a pivotal role in raising awareness for its mission of providing educational opportunities to the children of Marines. He worked with the show’s writers to weave mentions of MCSF into “NCIS” episodes. When it came time to write the tribute episode, the writers included the nonprofit once again since it was such an important part of McCallum’s life.

“The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation remains grateful for the enduring impact of David McCallum and his family,” said retired Marine Lt. Col. Ted Probert, president and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. “Their financial support and push for awareness give us a tremendous boost in pursuit of our goal to reach even more families and award more scholarships year after year.”

McCallum’s wife, Katherine Carpenter, previously served on MCSF’s Board of Directors and his son, Peter McCallum, currently serves on the board. In honor of McCallum’s life, his family has directed further donations to the organization.

“As my grandfather and uncle were Marines, military causes have always been a major priority throughout our family,” said Peter McCallum.

MCSF provides scholarships for the children of Marines attending post-high school, undergraduate, and career and technical education programs. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the nonprofit awarded $10.8 million in scholarships to 2,758 children of Marines nationwide — the largest number of scholarships and highest dollar amount ever awarded in one year in its more than 60-year history.

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