Commandant: Jim Sims (360) 432-8195, Sr. Vice Commandant

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April 2015 Vol. 14 #1 Olympia, WA

Commandant: Jim Sims (360) 432-8195, Sr. Vice Commandant: Cecil Cheeka (360) 352-7227, Jr. Vice Commandant and Quartermaster: Daun Lenz (360) 493-2297, Sergeant At Arms: Eric Rathke Detachment Armorer: position vacant, Paymaster: John Britcher (360) 888-4475, Judge Advocate: Bill Greenwood (360) 943-4290, Adjutant: Bryson Langel (360) 352-9912, Chaplain: Dave Grundl (360) 786-8052, PAO/Editor: Ken Clark (253) 964-8326. COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN: BOY SCOUTS – John Sager, COLOR GUARD – Jim Deacon and Gilman Pelkey, PARADE MARSHAL: position vacant, ROSE PROGRAM– Shanin Brennan and Tracey Lundquist, AWARDS COMMITTEE – Tim Collins, FUNERAL COMMITTEE - Jim McCallum, Dept. of WA Representatives to the WA Veterans Legislative Coalition: Primary – Dick Marcelynas, Secondary – Ev Brown, Toys For TotsJohn Moysiuk, Web Sergeant – David Ball.



Letter from the Commandant

Commandant’s Message 9 April 2015

I very much appreciate your confidence in me by electing me as Detachment Commandant. Our Detachment is the envy of many within the Marine Corps League and it is my intention to continue to strive with YOU in making our Detachment even better in service to the community, honoring fellow veterans and their families, promoting Americanism …. and most of all in having fun as we salute and honor our Marine heritage.

We all owe thank yous to Ev Brown and Gary Waer for their leadership this past year, and thanks to Cecil Cheeka, Daun Lenz, Bill Greenwood, John Britcher, Eric Rathke, Bryson Langel, and all who continue to serve the Detachment in leadership roles.

I will be in Virginia during our May muster, but will do my best to ensure that I get to enjoy our unique Marine fellowship the rest of the time.

Thanks again for your confidence and Semper Fi …. Jim Sims
“I have only 2 men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold.” 1st Lieutenant Clifton B Cates, USMC; July 19, 1918; Soissons, France

Chaplain's Corner

Dear Marines,

Last March at our Detachment meeting we talked about the chain of command and how important it was to the military and in our department. Afterwards I thought about how that was also true in our daily lives and in our families.

In order for our society to function and survive, we need a chain of command to lead us and for all of us to follow. Without chains of authority there would be utter chaos. Without leadership and direction in families, the family unit is also one of chaos and lack of respect. When children are allowed to “do their own thing” there is a lack of respect not only for their parents but for all other authority figures.

The Bible also speaks to this chain of command. Without question God is our high commander and when we live by His commandments our lives are more peaceful and we have respect for each other. God also talks about respect for those in authority in our government, when He said in Romans 13:1 to “submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”. No, our government is not perfect, but God can even use imperfection and we are fortunate to be in America where we can have a say-so in our government. Finally, God also said in Exodus 20:12 to "honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land your Lord your God is giving you.” When we have respect for our parents and we follow His commandments for raising our children it will follow that they should also have respect for others and for authority figures.

I pray that all of you have the Lord as your commander and search His word for His leadership in your life and in your family’s lives.

David Grundl, Chaplain

Muster Minutes

Minutes of April 4, 2015:

We mustered at the VFW Post in Lacey.

Commandant Ev Brown opened the meeting at 0837. Sergeant At Arms Eric Rathke secured the quarters and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Chaplain John Britcher offered an opening prayer.

Previous Minutes. Jim Sims moved that we accept the minutes of March 7, 2015. Dick Marcelynas seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.


Report of the Paymaster. John Britcher reported that, while the Detachment members voted last month to close the uniform account, the bank wouldn’t allow it’s complete elimination, so $5.01 remains in the uniform account. We have $2008.05 in savings and a total of $2690.40. Jim Sims moved that we accept the report of the Paymaster. Dick Marcelynas seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

New Members and Guests. Margaret Wehman was in the Corps from 1963 to 1969 and was stationed in Parris Island, San Diego, and Quantico. She lived in New Jersey until moving to Yelm last month, and she is transferring her membership to our Detachment. Margaret was accompanied by her daughter and caregiver, Denise Collette. Chase Weeks was in the Corps from August 2009 to August 2014 when he was let go due to the drawdown. Chase was in demolition, rockets, and antitank assault. He said he would …”blow the buildings so grunts could get in safely.” Welcome to all of you!

Report of the Senior Vice Commandant. Jim Sims had nothing new to report.

Report of the Junior Vice Commandant. Gary Waer reported that he had gotten 500 Marine Corps League cards printed; they can be bought from him for $1.00/20 cards.

Report of the Judge Advocate. Bill Watkins had nothing new to report.

Report of the Quartermaster. Gary Waer had nothing new to report.

Report of the Adjutant. Bryson Langel had nothing new to report.


Honor Guard Report. Jim Deacon reported that the Color Guard will do an opening ceremony for the Little League at a high school at 7700 New Market SW in Tumwater. He needs several more volunteers who should show up at 0800 to prepare for the ceremony beginning at 0900.

Local Growl. The Commandant announced that the next Growl will be held at noon on April 25th at Felder’s Pizza in Centralia; take exit 81.

Christmas Programs. Tracey Lundquist announced that she and Shanin Brennan have arranged to do our annual Christmas programs at the nursing homes on December 22nd; she will have more details next month.

Rose Sales Program. Tracey also announced that she will have details about an upcoming Rose Sale at the next Muster.

Report of the Website Sergeant. David Ball urged anyone who has something they would like posted on the website to contact him at


There was no old business to conduct.


Gifts for New Members. John Britcher announced that he would like to start a new trend; he would like to give guests and new members a Detachment Coin. He bestowed these upon Margaret, Denise, and Chase. John also announced that Denise is looking for work in the region and asked that we contact her if we know of any openings.

Uniform Funds. David Ball asked if we will still help new members purchase covers if they need help, now that our uniform fund has been abolished. Commandant Brown replied that we will still fund covers, but out of the general fund.

Swearing in New Officers. Outgoing Commandant Ev Brown called the following Marines to the front of the room to swear them in to their new positions: Jim Sims as Commandant, Cecil Cheeka as Senior Vice Commandant, Daun Lenz as Junior Vice Commandant, Bill Greenwood as Judge Advocate, and Eric Rathke as Sergeant at Arms. All present stood as Ev read the oath.

Message of the New Commandant. Commandant Jim Sims took command of the meeting, thanking everyone who voted for him and saying that we’d caught him at a weak moment! Speaking to the new members and guests, Jim pointed out that this is a great group; we may not be very formal, but we do adhere to the League bylaws. We meet here for business and to have some fun. He described the activity of Marine Mike Partridge who was in Snowmass, Colorado putting on a winter sports event for disabled Veterans; he does this every year. Mike says that each year the Marines have a big party; only Marines do this. Sims will be in Virginia next month for a meeting of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, so he will as the new Junior Vice Commandant Cecil Cheeka to run the May Muster.


Agent Orange Update. (I think it was Ev who said what follows) He was in Grays Harbor recently for a meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Association of America and a discussion of agent orange. It now appears that exposure to agent orange can have effects for the next 7 generations, so it is important that anyone who was exposed to agent orange who has ailing offspring should get their aliments documented. He and Cecil will have more information for us next month.

Gulf War Veterans. Commandant Sims reported that on Thursday the Secretary of the Army made a public apology to Gulf War Veterans exposed to chemicals left by Iraqis in Kuwait during the first Gulf War. The Iraqis also burned oil wells, and anyone downwind was exposed to chemicals. Jim urged anyone who might have been exposed to file a claim now.

Contacting Other Vets. David Ball urged those who are trying to contact fellow Veterans to try Facebook, where there are a lot of sites for that.

Less-than-honorable Discharges. Cecil Cheek remarked that many Vietnam Veterans were booted out of the service with less-than-honorable discharges. It appears now that many of these discharges were due to PTSD, and so the issue is being revisited at this time.

Following a prayer from Chaplain John Britcher and a rousing verse of the Marines Hymn, the Commandant closed the meeting at 0917. Our next Breakfast/Muster will be held at 0800 at the VFW at 2902 Martin Way East on May 2, 2015

I would like to thank Jim Sims for submitting the two articles that follow. Any mistakes in editing are mine alone. PAO Ken Clark

  1. The Commandant of the Marine Corps told lawmakers that Marines who disarmed before departing Sana, Yemen during an embassy evacuation in March did so on orders of US Central Command and State Department officials.  General Joseph Dunford fielded hard-edged questions March 31st from Representative John Kline (R-Minn) during a hearing on the mission before the House Armed Services Committee.  Kline, a retired Marine officer, is the author of a letter to the State Department and Defense Department demanding detailed answers about a controversial order to Marines to destroy their weapons and depart Yemen unarmed.

  1. NFL Pro Bowl QB Eddie LeBaron and the Marines (an article by Eddie LeBaron written in 2009 for Proceedings. Eddie LeBaron passed away on April 1, 2015) "As a high school kid in Oakdale, California, during the 1940s, I never had any doubt about what I'd be doing when I grew up. I wanted to become an all-American football player and a combat Marine. As it turned out, I did both - and the two have complemented each other throughout my career.

World War II had just broken out when I began my teen years, and my heroes were the great college football players of the day and the Marines who were fighting at places like Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. I'd entered high school at age 12, and quickly became the starting tailback. But I was too young to join the Marines when I graduated, so I went to the College of the Pacific, where I ultimately made all-American. At 18, I joined the Marine Corps Reserve in nearby Stockton.

I was at a practice session for the College All-Star Game when the Reserves were called up after the outbreak of the Korean conflict. I was commissioned directly and ordered to Quantico for Basic School; I arrived a bit late after being permitted to play in the game. But I quickly learned there were a lot of similarities between the way the Marine Corps trained its people and the way football coaches ran their training camps.

At Quantico, they teach you the "school solution", which provides a basis for handling most of the challenges you'd have to deal with in combat. But they also teach you how to think on your own to solve problems that arise. In football, they teach quarterbacks the same sort of thing - how to find a workable alternative when the "school solution" isn't likely to work. In both cases, you have only a split second to decide.

But Basic School also taught us a different kind of discipline from the one we used on the football field, and it was just as valuable: when you're given an order, you have to follow that order unhesitatingly. But when you're the one giving the order, you have to make sure that it's a good order before you give it - one that is based on a well-made decision, not on a slapdash judgement.

This was especially true in combat, where your troops had to have confidence that you were not needlessly putting them in jeopardy. But the lessons also carried over to my postwar career as a National Football League quarterback and, even later, to my days as a lawyer. No matter what you do, you have to be prepared for anything - so you can make a good decision when one is needed.

I finished Basic School in March of 1951, at age 21, and I left for Korea the next month. Thanks to football, I wasn't as well-prepared as the others in my class: because of the All-Star Game, I'd arrived too late to practice firing my weapon - possibly the only Marine in history who was sent into combat without undergoing target practice. But I'd learned how to take all my weapons apart and put them together again, and I'd gone hunting a lot as a kid, so that kind of made up for some of the lapse.

A week after I arrived in Inchon, I got orders to go to the 7th Marine Division, which was pushing north to stop a Chinese drive from the Yalu River, and I quickly became a platoon leader, and later the senior platoon commander. We patrolled deep into enemy territory, breaking the communists' defensive lines over and over again. Wounded twice, I received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. One of the guys in our unit earned the Medal of Honor.

That fall, the peace talks began, and were held on and off for several months. While the two sides negotiated, we watched the enemy build strong defenses on the mountains ahead of us. The talks would break down, and we would attack the lines that they had fortified during the most recent truce-period. In the final battle of my tour, in a deep circular valley known as the Punch Bowl, we took heavy casualties. Eventually, we broke through, and the talks finally turned earnest.

In December 1951 I was sent back to Quantico to teach tactics at the Basic School. I left active duty nine months later, became a civilian again - and immediately joined the Washington Redskins. Trudging up and down the hills of Korea may not have been on the list of prescribed exercises for the NFL, but it apparently kept me in good enough shape. I was voted NFL Rookie of the Year and went on to play 12 seasons of pro football.

In the late 1950s, I went to law school during off-season periods and passed the California bar exam. But before I could set up practice, the newly franchised Dallas Cowboys called to ask whether I'd like to play for the fledgling team, and I said yes. I was the team's first quarterback, playing with Dallas from 1960 to 1962. Later I began a series of new careers - first as a sports announcer, then as an executive for the Atlanta Falcons and later as a lawyer.

I know it's a cliché, but there's no question in my mind that being a Marine - and having been in combat - did a lot to prepare me for success in the civilian world. As a Marine, you learn to give clear, concise orders, look after people, and build a strong esprit de corps within your unit. If you can do this in any other organization or company, you're bound to succeed there as well.

As a Marine, you learn to master a "school solution" for a wide array of problems. But you need to be ready to fashion a credible alternative when that doesn't work. And you have to be physically and mentally ready to make decisions quickly and correctly. You need to foster the kind of spirit you find in the Marine Corps, where you feel proud to be a Marine and never want to let the Corps down.

My friends often notice with some amazement that so many of the country's most successful people started out as Marines. To me, that isn't a surprise at all. They all got the kind of training that lasts people a lifetime.

Marines and Associates, please feel free to contact me with any short articles or items of interest that you think would be a worthy addition to the Straight Skinny. Also, if you would like me to include a story from your time on active duty let me know and we will work out a way to get your story posted here. Cheers! PAO Ken Clark


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