MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Marine Band welcomed a group of Marines who fought in the European Campaign and the Pacific Theater of World War II to MCLB Albany Friday by playing "The Marine's Hymn." Base officials were also on hand to welcome the former Marines.
The World War II veterans served with the Marine Detachment, USS Quincy (CA-71). A few also served with the original USS Quincy (CA-39).
Col. Joseph R. Wingard, base commanding officer, and a detachment of Marines greeted the Quincy Marines before they toured the base, saw a military working dog demonstration and a weapons display.
The vintage Marines tried out the base's weapons simulator and rode in a Light Armored Vehicle.
"Marines today definitely have more power than we did," said Gene Corkery, who arrived on the first Quincy in 1940.
Although these have not worn the uniform in many years, their visit brought back many memories, said Corkery, who also served on the CA-71.
Corkery recalled that the first cruise he was on primarily escorted supply ships ferrying in the North Atlantic. He also remembered when the original Quincy was sunk, on Aug. 9, 1942, while supporting Marine operations on Guadalcanal.
Although the Marines who visited the base were mainly part of the crew of the CA-71, Corkery was of four who served on the CA-39.
"I was not aboard ship," said Corkery. "But I remember we lost 379 people in a torpedo attack. Although we were warned, not enough attention was paid."
This year's visit was marked by a slight sadness because retired Marine Lt. Col. Wesley R. Christie, the detachment commander from 1944 to 1946, had passed away last month. Christie's wife was on hand and for the visit, in accordance with her husband wishes.
The Quincy Marines also carried out some of Christie's wishes.
One distinction the Marines carry was that they were among a few of the leathernecks who saw service in the European Theater during World War II. One of the visiting Marines, George Kirsopp, was among those American servicemen who took part in the Normandy Invasion.
Kirsopp also participated in operations on Utah and Omaha Beach. No one from the Quincy was lost while providing fire support on German gun batteries ashore. With precision accuracy and firepower, the Quincy helped troops landing on the beach to clear out the German defenses.
"It was new for those who had never been in battle," said Kirsopp, who described the battle as chaotic.
George Campbell, who served aboard the CA-71 from 1946-1951, appreciated the hospitality the base provided and the honor of hearing "The Marine's Hymn."
The World War II Marines also socialized with the young Marines who carry on the traditions of the Corps today.
According to Campbell, the Marines today definitely meet or exceed the standards of the Marine Corps. The method by which the mission is accomplished may have changed, but the mission has not. In the past, Campbell and others were motivated by fear.
"Today, Marines receive better training than we did," said Campbell. "They are still every bit as good as we were."
Some of the training may have changed, but Marines still work toward the same goal - making the world safe for democracy, said Campbell.