Twentynine Palms -- The 7th Marine Regiment hosted an Alumni Day for retired veterans from the Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association aboard the Combat Center, March 28, 2018.
Alumni Day consisted of a tank display, lunch at Dunham Hall and a live-fire rifle shoot at the Marksmanship Training Unit. The visiting veterans fought in various wars, ranging from Vietnam, Korea and Desert Storm.
“Today was wonderfully educational,” said David Dangwillow, board member, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association. “It’s fulfilling to be around young Marines. The Marine Corps is better than it’s ever been before because the Marines are of higher quality than ever in training and in character.”
Throughout the visit, the changes in equipment were the most talked about among the veterans.
“We did not have the same equipment in our day,” said Vince Mast, president, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association. “The tanks we saw today are twice as large and the weaponry is twice as efficient.”
During the live-fire event, the retired veterans experienced the new and improved weaponry, flack jackets and kevlar helmets. The active-duty Marines enjoyed showing the veterans the new equipment and seeing their reactions.
“One of my favorite parts of today was seeing a veteran smile when we showed him a fully automatic grenade launcher,” said Cpl. Thomas Elijah Diner, squad leader, Motor Transport, 7th Marine Regiment. “Today taught me a lot about the experience that Marines had in Vietnam. It shows what holds the Marine Corps tradition and history together.”