Seventy-seven-year-old L. David Kirk lives by the U.S. Marine Corps’ motto, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
He served in the Marine Corps from 1956 to 1964, completing two tours of duty in the Mediterranean, two tours of duty in Okinawa, and serving in Southeast Asia and California, as well.
“It was the best eight years I ever spent, because it took me from teenager to man,” said the retired Lutz business man. “I can never thank the Marine Corps more, for giving me the discipline to make it where I am today.”
Even though he completed his service more than half-century ago, Kirk’s fidelity to the U.S. Marine Corps remains robust.
“Three years ago, two other Marines and myself, and our wives, we got together and we thought it would be a good idea if we started a Marine group in Land O’ Lakes,” Kirk said.
That group, named Marine Forever Veterans Group LLC, meets on Monday evenings at the Beef O’ Brady’s in the Village Lakes Shopping Center, 21539 Village Lakes Shopping Center Drive in Land O’ Lakes. The shopping center is on the north side of State Road 54, slightly east of U.S. 41.
Kirk now is accepting applications from those wishing to join a new Marine Corps League Detachment that likely would meet at the same Beef O’ Brady’s restaurant.
The league is open to active duty, reserve and honorable discharged veterans of Marine Corps and Navy FMF Corpsmen and Chaplains who live in Land O’ Lakes, Lutz, Odessa, Wesley Chapel and surrounding areas.
There’s a need for the new detachment because there isn’t one nearby, Kirk said.
“We’ve got Marines here that travel 15 and 20 miles to belong to the League. Think how many more that would join, if they didn’t have to travel that far. And, there’s a lot of Marines that live in this area.”
Besides being more convenient, it would be less expensive to attend meetings in Land O’ Lakes, because it wouldn’t take as much gas to get to meetings, Kirk added.
To launch a new charter, the group needs at least 20 members that do not belong to an existing detachment, Kirk said. Once the new detachment is established, existing league members can transfer, he added.
A meeting has been scheduled for June 25 at 2 p.m., at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, in the Village Lakes Shopping Center, to answer questions about the proposed new detachment, the annual dues, uniforms, meeting dates, mission of the group and so on.
Anyone who would qualify to join and would like more information is encouraged to attend, said Kirk, past commandant of the Angus R. Goss Detachment in Tampa.
The Marine Corps League was founded in 1923 by World War I hero Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune, and its congressional charter was approved by an act of the 75th Congress, which was signed and approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 4, 1937.
The league’s mission calls for its members to “join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps and those that have been honorably discharged from that service that they may effectively promote the ideas of American freedom and democracy.”
The league’s mission also calls for “voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines and former Marines and to their widows, and orphans; and to perpetuate the history of the United States Marine Corps and by fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.”
Kirk said he’s confident that a new detachment will be formed, noting he already has commitments from 10 potential members. But, he would like to form this new detachment as soon as possible.
For more information about the Marine Corps League, visit http://mclnational.org//
For more information about Marine Forever Veteran Group, LLC, visit Marine4Ever.com
Published June 22, 2016