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Reunion #7 Report

     Nearly 80 Marines and spouses gathered at Parris Island, SC for the Seventh Birdcage Marine reunion. Arrivals on Thursday spent the evening in conversation about their “Cage” days and catching up on the past 50 or so years. Several Cagers attended for the first time

     Fourth Battalions. Graduations have changed radically from the “Old      Friday morning, we car-pooled out to PI to watch the day’s graduation ceremonies for 600 Marines of the Second and Corpsto be 5,000. It was impressive and the troops conducted themselves ” days and now include formal parades, and a Family Day the day before graduation. One person estimated  the audience well. We were all proud that the USMC tradition has not been eroded.

     Following graduation ceremonies, we had chow at H&S Battalion, then visited the Museum and gift shop. Some made a PX stop before returning to the hotel to prepare for dinner at the “O” club on Marine Corps Air Station—Beaufort. The weather was perfect—mid-eighties and sunny.

     After enjoying the “O” Club’s  full buffet dinner, our own celebrated author LtCol.Tom McKenney was gracious enough to speak to us about the history of the Marine Corps Receiving Barracks at Yemassee, SC. He recalled the old wooden building where some of us were introduced to the Marine Corps—rather abruptly. Tom has written extensively on Marine Corps history and recently published a historical work entitled “Jack Hinson’s One Man War:” through Pelican Books. Our scheduled speaker, S/Sgt. Chuck Taliano, could not be with us due to a health situation, so thanks to Col. McKenney for filling in on VERY short notice.

     On Saturday, we were free to explore the historic Beaufort area and generally relax before the evening’s dinner at the Amvets Club. We were treated to a finger lickin’ good meal of BBQ ribs and chicken with all the trimmings by Sticky Fingers catering. Concluding both meals, specially decorated cakes were ceremonially cut by Jim and Cass Shipley (Friday) and Col. H.W. Baker (it was his birthday) on Saturday. We shared our Birdcage memories with the group with all having the opportunity to speak.

     A good many door prizes were awarded. They ranged from items donated by Sgt. Grit, and bottles of Jarhead Red wine to handmade USMC insignia. To assuage the complainers who thought our reunions were becoming “flea-markets”, the only tickets sold were to raise funds for the Wounded Warriors which helps wounded Marines and their families cope.

     At the risk of missing some, first-time attendees included Jerry Lowe, Ed and Janice Tyzca, Paul and Judith Caldwell,  Bill and Elizabeth Garczynski, George and Mary Ruth Huffman, Bob Pitts, Billy and Margaret Stephens, Chris Hatmaker, Bob’s son. Our apologies if we missed anyone.

     Bob Evilsizer and Bill Yates volunteered to lead the 2010 edition of our reunion. As they work on the development of that event, they will be in touch with us.

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