Service to honor Marines

The annual memorial service honoring the 32 Marines who died on Mount Rainier more than 60 years ago is planned for noon Saturday.

The event, hosted by Mount Rainier Detachment 989 of the Marine Corps League, will take place at Veterans Memorial Park.

The Marines died Dec. 10, 1946, when their military airplane slammed into the face of Mount Rainier while making a journey from California to Seattle. They were part of a group of six military aircraft. Due to inclement weather, four pilots abandoned their plans and returned to California; one plane made it safely to Seattle.

Saturday’s ceremony will include a welcome by Enumclaw Mayor John Wise, who also will read a proclamation. Also taking part will be Chaplain George LaFrazia of the Department of Washington Marine Corps League; the Scottish American Military Society, which will post the colors of all branches of the military; and the Marine Security Detachment out of the naval station in Bangor, Wash., which will post the national colors.

The keynote speaker will be Jay Rodne, a member of the Washington State Legislature..

Saturday’s program also will feature the reading of the poem “32 Marines” by Edward Falter, senior vice commandant of the Department of Washington, Marine Corps League; singing of the national anthem by Karen Washabaugh, past national president of the Marine Corps League Auxiliary; “Amazing Grace,” performed by the Scottish American Military Society; and a rifle salute performed by the Marine Security Detachment.

The most solemn part of each year’s ceremony comes with the tolling of a bell, the reading of the names of the 32 lost Marines and the laying of roses in front of the ceremonial marker. Taps will be played by Mark Ceccarelli, trumpeter and member-at-large of the Marine Corps League.

Killed in the 1946 crash were Lt. Colonel Alben C. Robertson; Maj. Robert V. Reilly; Master Sgt. Charles F. Criswell; Master Sgt. Wallace J. Slonina; and privates Duane R. Abbott, Robert R. Anderson, Joe E. Bainter, Leslie R. Simmons Jr., Harry K. Skinner, Lawrence E. Smith, Buddy E. Snelling, Bobby J. Stafford, William D. St. Clair, Walter J. Stewart, John C. Stone, Albert H. Stubblefield, William R. Sullivan, Chester E. Taube, Harry L. Thompson Jr., Duane S. Thornton, Keith K. Tisch, Eldon D. Todd, Richard P. Trego, Charles W. Truby, Harry R. Turner, Ernesto R. Valdovin, Gene L. Vremsak, William E. Wadden, Donald J. Walker, Gilbert E. Watkins, Duane E. White and Louis A. Whitten.

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