Major: Marines accomplishing mission
By BARB LIMBACHER, T-R Staff Correspondent

The Marine Corps is alive and well, Maj. Shenandoah Sanchez of North Canton told about 60 who attended the semi-annual dinner of Tuscarawas County Detachment 845 of the Marine Corps League.

The event was held Tuesday in the social hall of the Senior Center at Dover.

Sanchez enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1988 and has served in Iraq twice – the first time during the initial invasion in 2003 and again from January 2005 to September 2005.

He said schools and factories are now operating in Iraq and it is not the barren wasteland as some may think.

“We were once focused on the Soviet Union but after Sept. 11 everything changed and our focus was aimed toward another place,” Sanchez said. “The Marine’s appearance looks the same but we are called to do different things. It is an extreme environment that our young men and women operate in while touring Iraq.”

Sanchez said many women Marines have lost their lives during this war.

“They are out there every day and still accomplish their mission,” Sanchez said.

Another speaker, 1st Sgt. Richard Mathern of Cuyahoga Falls, is a drill sergeant and has been a Marine for about 20 years. He trained as an infantry Marine in San Diego and served in both Desert Storm and Iraq.

“The average age of most recruits is about 19 and (most are) recent high school graduates,” Mathern said. “The first week of training we walk, talk and look like a Marine. We learn basic marksmanship and continue through 13 weeks of basic training. Marines get four hours off on Sunday for church services.”

“No matter what the background of a young recruit happens to be when they are done with basic training, they are able to hold their heads high – they are part of the Marine Corps.”

Mathern said Marines are mindful of those who have gone before them.

“The Marines support the veterans well,” Mathern said. “They never forget who they are and where they came from.”

Both Marines told stories about heroes who lost their lives to save other Marines.

Louise Palmer and Dave and Ann Marino, all of Dover, were recognized as having children serving in the Marines.

Special guests recognized were Laura Luyster of Dover, widow of Ray Luyster; Ida Deceuster, widow of Joe Deceuster of Dover, and Edie Scott, widow of Herb Scott of Massillon.

Dave Berry of New Philadelphia, commandant, was master of ceremonies. Mel Anderson of Uhrichsville, chaplain, gave the invocation and benediction.