MCA looks back at Beirut

27 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Barrera

The Marine Corps Association held a luncheon at Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 27.

The luncheon was a time for both retired and active-duty service members to share war stories, pass on knowledge and talk about the different tools Marines use now.

The event started with a social hour for service members to introduce themselves. Retired senior noncommissioned officers talked to active-duty noncommissioned officers about staying up on Sundays ironing and starching their sateen uniforms.

“I remember those covers would be stiff as rocks,” said a retired sergeant major attending the event. “Get it wet, though, and all that starch would get all over your eyes, and the cover would get floppy.”

Old leather spit-shined boots were compared to the new boots Marines wear. Retired Marines also reminisced about staying up late buffing their belt buckle and using toothpaste to make their belts look as white and clean as possible.

The guest speaker for the luncheon was retired Col. Timothy Geraghty, who was the commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at the time of the Beirut barracks bombing.

Geraghty told the story about what happened 27 years ago.

“It was the largest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded,” said Geraghty. “It caused massive casualties and led to a change in U.S. national policy and was the beginning of the war on terror.”

Geraghty told the service members attending the conference about how Beirut was the first blow, and since then, the Marine Corps has been fighting the war on terror.

When Geraghty finished speaking, guests lined up to meet him and shake his hand. For some, it was saying hello to a friend and leader.

“This is my first time here, and it was really interesting to hear how a commander with experience and level of authority can put stuff together,” said Cpl. Waylon Cabe, a forecaster analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station New River. “The meal was also good.”

For Adam Terry, a retired sergeant major and now the east coast representative for the Marine Corps Association, the event was also enjoyable.

“This was a great event, it was a time for retirees and active-duty Marines to get together and share our history,” said Terry. “It was great having Col. Geraghty here to share his wisdom and make us smarter Marines and ready for the future.”

Geraghty said it was great to be at Camp Lejeune and also be a guest speaker for the Marine Corps Association.

“I have fond memories here, and it was nice talking to old friends who are now retired and working in the community,” said Geraghty. “Being back at Camp Lejeune is like coming home again.”