Calling all Marines

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Billy Stelpflug Detachment meeting monthly at Trinity Lutheran Church

Contributed by Ron Russell

Members of the Marine Corps League join in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those honorably discharged from that service.

In early 2000, while shopping in a local grocery store, two Marines, Bill Weidner and Jack Simms, both World War II veterans, met and started talking about the number of Marines they each knew in the Auburn-Opelika area. They decided to form a Marine Corps League chapter in Lee County and invited all Marines they knew to a meeting. Soon a Detachment was formed, and it was officially chartered on Nov. 14, 2000, with Weidner as the first Detachment Commandant.

Members voted to name the new Detachment “The Billy Stelpflug Detachment #1604,” in honor of a 19-year-old Marine from Auburn who lost his life in the 1983 Beirut, Lebanon, terrorist bombing.

William John Stelpflug attended Auburn schools, graduating from Auburn High School in 1982. Upon graduating from high school, Billy enlisted in the Marine Corps, being assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Infantry Regiment. On Oct. 23, 1983, Billy, along with 241 other Marines and servicemen, lost his life when a terrorist drove a truck loaded with 12,000 pounds of explosives into the headquarters of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, collapsing the roof and leveling the building.

Over the years, the Detachment has grown and is involved with many Marine, civic and educational programs in the Auburn-Opelika area.

The Detachment meets on the third Saturday of each month at 7:30 a.m., January through October. The temporary meeting place is the Trinity Lutheran Church on South Gay Street in Auburn.

For more information, visit www.auburnmarines.org, call Bob Johnson, Commandant, at 334-821-7067 or call Ron Russell, Sr. Vice Commandant, at 334-887-8478.

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