More than fifty Southeast Missouri Marines
have joined together to form the Corporal Mason O. Yarbrough Detachment of the
Marine Corps League in Cape Girardeau. They were inducted into the Marine Corps
League, received their Charter, and officers were installed Thursday evening, 21
June 2001, at VFW Post 3838 where they will hold their monthly meetings on the
third Thursday of each month. The ceremonies were conducted by state and
national officers of the Marine Corps League who presented the National
Commandant's letter transmitting the Charter to this new organization.
David Hunter, Commandant of the Missouri Department, accompanied by Bill
Rajewski, Vice Commandant of the Midwest Division, and Sam Gearhart, Syl
Brunnert, Billy Matthews, and Joe Bosch of the Central Missouri Detachment in
Jefferson City conducted the induction ceremony and presented the Detachment
Charter to Bill Walker.
Officer installation included Walker as Commandant, Jim Herod as Senior Vice
Commandant, George Jaco as Junior Vice Commandant, Mike Ballou as Adjutant,
Chuck Stotz as Paymaster, Charles Hatley as Judge Advocate, Jimmie Winder as
Sergeant at Arms, and Tom Zych as Chaplain. Walker, Herod, and Ballou reside in
Cape Girardeau while Jaco and Winder are Jacksonians and Stotz, Hatley, and Zych
are from Scott City, New Madrid, and Advance respectively. The Detachment is
proud of the fact that both Hatley and Zych are professionally suited to their
respective posts as Judge Advocate and Chaplain, a claim few organizations can
In her transmittal letter, National Commandant, Diana Dils clearly identified
the new Detachment as a subsidiary of the Marine Corps League which was
chartered by an act of the Seventy - Fifth Congress of the United States of
America August 4, 1937, and reminded the members of their obligation to serve
with the high ideals and standards under which the Marine Corps League was
The membership, which currently represents Advance, Bloomfield, Cape Girardeau,
Charleston, Dexter, Essex, Fredricktown, Jackson, Leopold, Marble Hill,
Matthews, New Madrid, Patton, Perryville, Scott City and Sikeston, elected to
name the Detachment after Corporal Mason O. Yarbrough.
Corporal Yarbrough was one of 900 elite U.S. Marines selected from 15,000
volunteers to become one of "Carlson's Raiders" in February 1942. A
Missouri native, born 16 August, 1922, Yarbrough enlisted in the Marine Corps 7
June, 1941. He trained with Carlson at Camp Elliot, California where he became
one of the first "GUNG HO!" Marines. When Carlson's 2d Raiders
Battalion went ashore on Butaritari Island, Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands 17
August, 1942, Yarbrough was among 19 Marines to fall to Japanese defensive fire.
When the Raiders withdrew to continue their South Pacific mission, Carlson paid
natives to bury the fallen Marines. Their bodies were repatriated in December
1999, and Corporal Yarbrough was finally laid to rest with full military honors
in Memorial Park Cemetery, Sikeston, Missouri 15 December, 2000.
There could be no better way to follow National Commandant Dils' mandate than to
begin by paying tribute to one of their own whose honor and high ideals
motivated him to be in the position that lead to payment of the ultimate price
for the freedom many Americans take for granted today.
The Marine Corps League has granted permission for the Charter to remain open
for signatures of members who have not signed it, and for new members who join
during the next few months. The Charter will be available for signing at monthly
meetings. All Marines who have honorably served more than 90 days on active duty
are invited to join and become a charter member of the Detachment.