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World War II Marines visit

By Gunnery Sgt. Sean Wright | | October 12, 2000

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World War II leathernecks who fought in both the European and Pacific theaters, and ferried President Franklin Delano Roosevelt will visit here today.
Members of Marine Detachment, USS Quincy (CA-71), and their guests will be welcomed by Brig. Gen. Richard A. Kramlich, commander, Marine Corps Logistics Bases. They will also view uniform displays and a Military Working Dog demonstration.  Their day concludes with a tour of the Maintenance Center and Light Armored Vehicle ride.
The Quincy devildogs persevered through an interesting couple of years, according to retired Marine Lt.Col. Wesley R. Christie, detachment commander for 30 months from 1944 to 1946.
Tracing their roots to the original USS Quincy (CA-39), which went down in an early Pacific battle, Christie explained his Marines were among a few who participated in actions in the European Theater.
We were involved in the invasion at Normandy, said Christie, who currently resides in Valdosta, Ga. We then transitioned into the bombardment of Cherbourg and the invasion of Toulon and Marseilles.
Following fierce action in France, the Quincy became a presidential transport for Roosevelt, he explained.
We picked the president up at Virginia Beach, Va., and delivered him to Malta, Christie said.  He then flew with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the meetings with Russian leader Joseph Stalin in Southern Russia near the end of the war in Europe.
Following the first superpowers meeting, the Quincy retrieved Roosevelt at the Great Bitter Lake, near the Suez Canal, and returned him to the United States, Christie added.
The stateside visit didnt last long, according to Christie.  The war in the Pacific was at full-scale, and the Quincy soon joined the action. 
We originally attached to Task Force-58 and later participated in the bombardment of Okinawa, Christie said.  We also supported the first bombardment of the Japanese mainland and raids on Kyushu and Honshu. Christies Quincy warriors then provided security ashore at the Yokosuka Naval Facility on mainland Japan, he explained.
My Marines were getting a little stir crazy aboard ship so the security assignment gave us a welcome break ashore, Christie said. 
Disarming and repatriation operations on Myaki, Mikura and Hachijo Jima occupied the remainder of the detachments Pacific assignment.
We basically cleaned up after the war, Christie explained.  We collected weapons and instructed Japanese soldiers to go home.  We also destroyed remaining enemy emplacements.  Our goal was to collect many souvenirs, but we didnt gather as much as we hoped.
Following his retirement, Christie gathered plenty. He obtained a Doctorate in Communications and headed the Communication Arts Department at Valdosta State University for 22 years. 
He added that todays visit is important in keeping the dwindling, surviving members of his unit in touch.
World War II veterans are diminishing at a rapid pace, he said.  I hope to have 28 guests here today, and that will include some family members.  Weve been getting together for 22 years and each year the numbers dwindle.
An opportunity to mingle with todays Marines and learn briefly about current doctrine and operating procedures are the goals for the detachments visit, said Christie.
Christie said he enjoyed hearing Maj. Gen. Paul M. Lee, Jr., commander, Marine Corps Materiel Command, recently speaking on how the Corps has transitioned to using some civilian logistics methods to enhance capabilities.
This was fascinating for an old member of the quartermaster corps, Christie said.  Many of us visiting today have seen logistics methods pioneered under fire.  Its interesting to see the progression, and being among Marines is special. We appreciate the hospitality.
Marines are welcome to visit with the Quincy Marines during their lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Crossroad Restaurant.
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