Sunday, March 13, 2005

Lejeune, Puller, Basilone, Daly expected to visit station

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Four Marine legends will be visiting the station Nov. 10, via the postal service.

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone and Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly are being honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a new set of first-class stamps bearing the images of these Marines.

Every Marine is taught of the legendary heroics of these four Marines, among others, in recruit training though seldom have battlefield heroes been commemorated in such fashion.

"This represents the Marine Corps," said Staff Sgt. William A. Cooper, Station postal custodian of postal effects. "In my time in the Corps, this is the first time I've gotten a chance to see the Marines represented like this. It lets you know what kind of light society sees the Marine Corps in."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller is the most decorated Marine in Leatherneck history earning five Navy Crosses and remembered as a fearless leader.

"So they've got us surrounded, good, now we can fire in any direction. The bastards won't get away this time," a famous quote of Chesty's during the battle for the Chosin Reservoir.
Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, the 13th commandant of the Marine Corps, is known throughout the Corps as being the standard for Marine Corps leadership. Not only was he the first Marine to lead an Army Division in combat, Marines all around the globe recite his birthday message on Nov. 10 every year.

Stories of Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone's courage under fire at Guadalcanal, where he was awarded the Medal of Honor, and Iwo Jima, where he ultimately gave his life on the battlefield.
One of only two Marines in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice, Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly distinguished himself in combat during the Boxer Rebellion and in Haiti.

"This means a great deal to the Marine," said Cooper. "To receive a letter...from a Marine, with a Marine hero on the stamp is an honor in itself."

The set of 37-cent stamps will also be a collector's item for many Marines and civilians alike.
"I'm getting a sheet just to keep for me, not to use," said Cooper.

Along with the new set of Marine hero stamps, the Station Post Office will introduce four new sets of stamps; Black History, Ronald Reagan, Disney and Muppet characters due to hit the Station in May.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:51 AM