Commandant Pays Tribute to Beirut Marine Victims
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    Exclamation Commandant Pays Tribute to Beirut Marine Victims

    Commandant Pays Tribute to Beirut Marine Victims
    court house

    By Joe Hart

    CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — As the U.S. Marine Corps marked the 25th anniversary Oct. 23 of terrorist bombings that took the lives of more than 240 brave American servicemen at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon, the Cape May County community mourns the loss of one of its own, Lance Cpl. George L. Dramis, who was killed in the aftermath of that terrible tragedy.

    “You can bloody our uniforms, you can fill our hearts with sorrow, but you can't stop us,” said Gen. James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, at the Oct. 23 ceremony. “We will replenish those units, and we will come after you with a terrible resolve.”

    The 19-year-old Dramis was the last U.S. Marine to die in Beirut as a part of the multi-national peace keeping force deployed there during the Lebanese Civil War. He was killed Jan. 30, 1984 by a lone sniper’s bullet in the waning moments of a fierce firefight, according to www.beirut-documentary.org/dramis.html.

    Dramis, a former student of Middle Township schools, served the Marine Corps in the Philippines and in the 1983 invasion of Grenada where he received a commendation and promotion to lance corporal.

    Dramis’ father, James, who passed away in 2005, served as a Marine and was also a Middle Township police sergeant. His mother, Luretta Undercuffler, was a long-time employee of the county Mosquito Control Commission.

    According to a 1984 Philadelphia Inquirer story, Dramis’ mother said, “It was God’s will,” after she was informed of her son’s death. The same article suggested Dramis remained loyal to his country, supporting the Marines’ mission in Lebanon, even in those difficult times.

    Undercuffler left the following eulogy at the 2008 Memorial Day Concert page at www.pbs.org:

    “Please remember our Marines killed in Beirut, Lebanon. My son, L/Cpl. George L. Dramis USMC was the last Marine to be killed in actual battle in Beirut leaving behind four sisters that dearly love and miss him,” she wrote.

    “His last letter home began, ‘By now you know, I won't be coming home ... Please keep me in your memories.’ Please help us by keeping him and all those Marines in your memory too ... Semper Fi...” wrote his mother.

    According to May 2, 1984 column by late Herald Editor Joe Zelnik, the Dramis family received over 1,000 letters of condolences and answered every one.

    When Dramis died in Beirut, he left behind a brother, Robert, and four sisters: Nancy, Dana, Suzette and Jamie.

    The Cape May County detachment of the N.J. Marine Corps League is named in honor of Dramis, detachment leader Donald McDevitt told the Herald. In 2004, state League Commandant Richard Basile posthumously awarded Dramis the Distinguished Citizens Award, the highest award he had the authority to grant.

    A memorial to Dramis stands on a 1,500-square-foot island at the three-way intersection of Dias Creek Road, Shunpike and Stites Avenue in Court House, adjacent to T.E. Wood American Legion Post 198.

    The memorial is engraved with important things from Dramis’ life: wrestling, football, skiing, surfing, dancing, his home, his education, his religion, a motorcycle, a van, and his dog, Louis.

    Dramis is buried in the Cape May County Veterans Cemetery where officials are holding Veterans’ Day services on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

    Contact Hart at (609) 886-8600 Ext 35 or at: jhart@cmcherald.com

    Ellie

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    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

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