View Full Version : An American hero to be honored Monday with a memorial flagpole

02-08-05, 08:30 AM
An American hero to be honored Monday with a memorial flagpole

By: RANDY MITCHELL - For the North County Times

OCEANSIDE ---- Marine Corps legend Maj. Gen. Raymond L. Murray will be honored at 10 a.m. Monday when colors are raised for the first time on a memorial flagpole erected in his memory at Murray Bridge.

Murray passed away on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. He was the recipient of two Navy Crosses, the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Star medals, Legion of Merit with Combat V, and Purple Heart along with four Presidential Unit Citations, nine Campaign Service Medals, the Korean Ulchi Medal with Gold Star and three Korean Presidential Unit Citations.

While commanding general at Camp Pendleton, he devoted efforts to improve the safety at the river crossing on what is now College Boulevard for Marines and others entering the base back gate. The bridge at College Boulevard and North River Road was recently named in his honor at a large public ceremony on his 90th birthday Jan. 30, 2003.

Monday's flagpole dedication has been arranged jointly by the 1st Marine Division Association and the City of Oceanside. Individual contributions have been received from across the country to underwrite the cost of the 60-foot flag pole, the 19-foot American flag that will be raised at the ceremony and other incidental expenses. The city made the site available, provided lighting, and agreed to maintain the facility with the colors flying day and night every day of the year.

The 1st Marine Division Band will play the National Anthem. Retired Marine Maj Gen Wilbur Simlik, a close friend of Murray's who served along side of him in combat, will make the dedication. Mayor Jim Wood, Maj Gen T. E. Donovan, Camp Pendleton base commander and Supervisor Bill Horn are scheduled to speak.

Lt. Col. Michael Kelly, Acting Commanding Officer, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, and MGy. Sgt. Tony French, Acting Sgt. Maj., will represent the unit Murray commanded in Korea. Today, most of the 5th Marines are deployed in Iraq. Fr. Michel Gagnon, of the Mission San Luis Rey and current president of the Rotary Club of Oceanside that Murray headed in 1975-76 after his 1968 retirement from the Marines, will give the invocation and benediction.

Master of Ceremonies will be Maj. Patrick S. Coulter, USMC (ret), 1st Marine Division Association and a life member of the 18,000-member organization. Bob Aikins, president of the local chapter, will represent The Chosin Few organization of Marine veterans who survived the 1950 march from the Chosin Reservoir in Korea in sub-zero weather.

The dedication has been arranged by a committee of the association, assisted by city staff, including Randy Mitchell, former Mayor RAdm Dick Lyon and Bill Mazzarella, a member of the Chosin Few.

Murray began his Marine Corps career in 1935 after graduating from Texas A&M and receiving a commission as a Second Lieutenant. Initially, he saw service in China, then in Iceland just before World War II began, where he served in the campaigns of Guadalcanal, Saipan and Tarawa. He also saw bitter fighting in several Korean campaigns and in Vietnam.

He is best known for leading the 5th Marine Regiment out of the Chosin Reservoir in sub-zero weather in 1950, a feat never excelled in military history. For that service Gen. Douglas MacArthur personally presented him the Army Distinguished Service Cross.

Contributions still are being accepted by the tax-exempt 1st Marine Division Association at 410 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054. Call 760-967-8562.

The dedication ceremony will last approximately an hour. Parking will be limited, but space is available along nearby residential streets and on the south side of the San Luis Rey River.

Randy Mitchell was a Marine major who served with Murray