News: Last class of Marine LAAD gunners graduate at Fort Bliss as Marine colors are cased
Story by Sgt. Barry St. Clair
FORT BLISS, Texas – The last Marine class of Low Altitude Air Defense system gunners class 3-12 graduated June 29, 2012. The Marine Detachment was deactivated at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony following more than 50 years of Marine air defender training on Fort Bliss.
USMC Col. Gregory T. Breazile, commander for Marine Corps Communication and Electronics School, Twentynine Palms, Calif. addressed the Marines of class 3-12 during the ceremony.
“This is a big day for you all. You are gonna go out into the fleet … hit the ground running at the fleet,” said Breazile.
Breazile thanked the Army community at Fort Bliss for outstanding support of the Marines all during their training tenure here.
The Marine detachment and class 3-12 was honored by a former commander’s address.
Michael A. Hunter, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret) was the honored guest and shared this with the class and staff:
“Generations of Marines here today are passing on the specialty of shooting down enemy aircraft to the next generation,” said Hunter. “It is combat readiness that drives Marine Corps policy decisions.”
Marine Corps Detachment commander Scott E. Cameron of Newton Falls, Ohio also addressed the class and those present for the graduation and casing of the colors.
“I first want to than the Army for letting us use your base. We greatly appreciate it,” said Cameron.
“You’ve got the present up here,” said Cameron about his LAAD instructors and staff, “and you’ve got the future,” he said, pointing at class 3-12. “What we need to concentrate on is the future.”
Cameron spoke to the future Marines about the responsibility of taking charge, and shooting down enemy aircraft in the field.
“You will be better in whatever path your career takes, having assumed the responsibility of being stinger gunners here,” said Cameron.
The ceremony concluded with the casing of the colors, retirement of the colors, and the Marine Hymn.
The Marine Detachment is scheduled to relocate to the Marine Base at Twentynine Palms, Calif. July 31 and reactivate there.
The Marines began air defender training at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1962.
This work, Last class of Marine LAAD gunners graduate at Fort Bliss as Marine colors are cased, by SGT Barry St. Clair, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.