Calling all Marines!

Father David Epps's picture

As anyone who has successfully passed through Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., or San Diego, Calif., knows, there is no such thing as an “ex-Marine.” There is a reason for the phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” The sense of pride in having served as a member of this elite group stays with a person forever.

I have a friend in middle Tennessee who joined the Marine Corps during the final days of World War II and was discharged in 1948, yet when I attended a meeting at which he was present several months ago, he was wearing a Marine Corps baseball cap.

There is a grandmother in my congregation who has a Marine Corps bumper sticker on her car — she, too, served in World War II. In fact, I know very few formerly active Marines who don’t at least have a bumper sticker on their car or several items of USMC clothing.

Now, an opportunity is coming to Fayette and Coweta counties that affords Marines, active duty, reserve, and those who received an honorable discharge (as well as Navy Corpsmen who served with the Fleet Marine Force — a lot of Marines wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t of these great sailors!) to serve once again with their fellow leathernecks.

There is currently a core of Marines (as opposed to a Corps of Marines) who are forming a Marine Corps League Detachment in the Fayette/Coweta County area.

George Dienhart has volunteered to head up the effort and a meeting is planned to brief the core on what the league is and what it does, identify potential members and how to reach them, and determine the course of action. Active recruiting for the MCL detachment will begin in January.

According to a previously published article in this newspaper, the proposed detachment will be the first of its kind in metro Atlanta’s south suburbs.

“We are definitely filling a need,” said Dienhart. “We will strive to provide service to our local Marine population, as well as the community in general.”

The Marine Corps League has an array of ongoing programs designed to help Marines and their communities, including: Marines Helping Marines — Wounded Marines Program; Young Marines of the Marine Corps League; U.S. Marines Youth Physical Fitness Program; Scholarship Programs; Legislative Programs; Veterans Service Officer Program; Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Program (VAVS); Toys-For-Tots; and the Marine-4-Life/Injured Marine Support Program.

The League also participates in various patriotic functions, locally and at a national level.

“I’d like to see us participate in local parades and events, too,” added Dienhart.

I have a t-shirt which reads, “Not as lean, not so mean, but still a Marine.”

My wife says it should read, “Not nearly as lean, never was all that mean, and only thinks he’s still a Marine.” She, like all non-Marines, can never understand.

The change really is forever, as the ad says. Those who do understand — those who have served as Marines — should contact George Dienhart, at 770-629-1836 or 678-893-2517. January will be here soon and, in any event, the Marines are coming. Oorah and Semper Fi!

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Submitted by tammy@savasbeatie on Tue, 12/02/2008 - 1:59pm.


What a great article! I have learned more about the Marines from this book.

Below is a link to a Hollywood-style book trailer for "Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery," by Nick Popaditch with Mike Steere (Savas Beatie, October 1, 2008).

Make sure you watch to the very end for a "special" photo message from "Gunny Pop" Nick. I know you will appreciate seeing him.

Nick "Gunny Pop" Popaditch is a former marine Gunnery Sergeant, a Silver Star winner, a 15-year veteran of the USMC, and was widely known around the world as "The Cigar Marine:" (Google it.). His tanks captured Firdos "Saddam" square in April 2003 and pulled down the hated statue. Nick was severely wounded one year later with an RPG to the head, which was captured live by a media news crew. He had to fight his way through an incredible odyssey of turmoil, heartbreak, and bureaucracy to recover everything he had lost. His website is

If you know anyone in the media who you think would be interested in interviewing "Gunny Pop," don't hesitate to call or email them and let them know.

We appreciate your support of Nick and his family in any way you are able. The success of this book will open doors for this blind warrior, and hopefully provide revenue and success to someone who has sacrificed so much for his country.

Thank you.

Tammy Hall
Sacramento, California

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