BANGOR – A recent Sunday was a special day for the Marine Corps League, Greater Bangor Area Detachment 1151. The veterans group was presented its charter during a ceremony at Miller’s Restaurant.
“The members range from World War II to the Persian Gulf,” explained William H. Jones Jr., junior vice commandant for the detachment.
“The World War II Marine, Mel Davis, was on Iwo Jima. It is an honor to have him aboard,” Jones added.
The Marine Corps League, formed by an Act of Congress in 1937, comprises active, reserve and retired Marines, as well as Navy corpsmen who served with the Fleet Marine Force. Those no longer in the service must be honorably discharged.
Participants in the ceremony included Roland Knapp, commandant of the Department of Maine Marine Corps League; and Jim Laskey, national vice commandant for the Corps’ Northeast Division.
Also taking part were: Robert Goulette, commandant of Detachment 1151; Andre Plante of Carmel, judge advocate; David Johnson of Eddington; Everett Holt of Palmyra, sergeant at arms; and the Rev. Charles Hurst of Apostolic Lighthouse, chaplain.
The Bangor area hasn’t had a league detachment since 1980, Jones said. In just a few months, more than 20 members have signed up for the group. Those attending Sunday all signed the charter.
The U.S. Marine Corps just marked its 228th anniversary, Jones pointed out. The Marine Corps League offers veterans, especially, the opportunity to once again have “the tight brotherhood and camaraderie” they knew in the service, he said.
Jones, who retired in 1999 as a staff sergeant after a total of 15 years in the Marines – three of them in Brunswick – was a machine gunner in the 2nd Marine Division stationed at Camp Lejeune. His tour of duty included ground combat against Iraqi forces in the Persian Gulf War.
Goals of the new detachment are to get the league well established in the area, and to get members into detachment uniforms.
Already, individual members have been involved in the Toys for Tots program, and acted as troop greeters at Bangor International Airport.
League detachments also are involved in the community in Toys for Tots, youth physical fitness, hospital programs, parades, color guards, graveside services for veterans and scholarship foundation awards. Members can take advantage of low-cost travel services and group health and life insurance.
In particular, Jones is hoping the local detachment will be able to start a Young Marines program for youth 8 to 18. The program has a “Boy Scout atmosphere” and offers activities such as camping and field trips.
The Marine Corps League meets at 1 p.m. the third Sunday of the month at the Maine Veterans Home on Hogan Road. For information, call Phil Eckert at 825-3722.