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 make.

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 founded.

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.