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Marine Corps holds celebration

The U.S. Marine Corps Monument in Allentown’s Cedar Beach Park was the scene of local veterans and their families celebrating the 246th birthday of the Marines Nov. 10.

Carl Kratochvil and Terry Stocker served as flag bearers and were flanked by riflemen Robert Hoffman and George Borman. Kratochvil served in the Marine Corps from 1975 to 1981; Stocker, 1968-72; Hoffman, 1958-62; and Borman, 1973-76.

The widow of a Marine veteran, Pam Hittinger, sang a heartfelt national anthem a cappella from behind the color guard.

“It’s an honor they asked me to do this,” she said.

Her late husband, retired Gunnery Sgt. Kurt Hittinger, served from 1977 to 1998. He died at age 56 in 2016 reportedly from a rare cancer related to his military service. The couple had met at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7293, Egypt, during an F-14 Tomcat installation ceremony in 2003, where she sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Attendees enjoyed fine autumn weather as they celebrated the Corps, as well as honoring two of their number, Lenny Keefer and Ralph E. Brodt III, with outstanding service awards. These were presented to them by Commandant of Bethlehem Detachment 284, Marine Corps League, Doug Graves. A Vietnam veteran, Graves served from 1965 to 1985 in the 7th and 4th Marines.

The event involving the Marine Corps League, Bethlehem, and Lehigh Valley detachments was organized by Marine vets Master Gunnery Sgt. Carl Schroeder Jr. and his wife, Master Sgt. Roslyn Schroeder.

The Continental Congress passed a resolution Nov. 10, 1775, to create two battalions of Marines to serve as landing forces for the recently commissioned Continental Navy. These fighting men distinguished themselves on land and sea during the Revolutionary War. This date in U.S. history is recognized as the birth date of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Marines’ motto is Semper Fidelis, Latin for “Always Faithful.”

PRESS PHOTOS BY ED COURRIER Linda Van Boven, dressed in fatigues, served from 1969 to 1973, leaving the Corps as a Sgt. E5. A demolitions expert, she also served in the U.S. Army.
Marine bugler Ralph E. Brodt III, at left, is given a certificate of appreciation for his martial musical contributions by Commandant of Bethlehem Detachment 284, Marine Corps League, Doug Graves.