JOHN T. O'BRIEN 1924-2010
click on picture for S.I. Advance Obituary

History of Staten Island Detachment #1
Marine Corps League Detachment #246

In August of 1946, at the home of John T. O'Brien at 171 Fremont Avenue, Grant City, Staten Island, three Marines met to discuss the possible formation of a Marine Corps League Detachment. Besides John O'Brien, there were Charles Warner and Ken Strong. All three had served in World War II

        Thereafter, a few informal gatherings were held at the same locals to which a few more Staten Island Marines were invited. There seemed to be enough interest to warrant going ahead and a request for information was sent to the Marine Corps League Headquarters, then in Albany, New York.

        A few meetings were held in Semler's Park Hotel. The Detachment was soon issued a charter on October 8, 1946, as the Staten Island Detachment 246, which was signed by twelve members.

        Although in existence for only a few months, the organization decided on holding a military ball on November 19, 1946 at the Boulevard Hotel located at Hyland Boulevard and Midland Avenue.

        A more central meeting place was desired and so the Detachment soon moved to the Democratic Club in Stapleton. At this time, the unit fielded its first color guard for the Memorial Day Parade down Victory Boulevard in 1947. It has attended every such parade since that time.

        After one Memorial Day Parade, the commanding officer of the local Naval Militia invited the organization to hold their meetings at their headquarters in Tompkinsville. The Detachment then met there until 1949 when it took over its present site from the Army and Navy Union and renting from the City.

        Mostly, through the efforts of the late Arthur Foley, the Detachment purchased the property from the City in 1964, with the mortgage being paid off in 1978. Many members donated $100 each, while one Marine, John Fanning gave $1,000

        The years 1965 to 1969 saw 29 Island Marines lost in Viet Nam, although the war was much longer.

        In 1965 Bobby Thompson was the leader in a drive to erect a fitting memorial to our dead in the club rooms. Another appropriate memorial was that to Father Capodanno, lost in Viet Nam. Gino Terranova was the spirit behind this imposing monument at Fort Wadsworth in 1977. Bob Thompson was the one who also had Sea Side Boulevard renamed to Father Capodanno Boulevard. Abe Beam was the mayor a that time.

        Thereafter, the Detachment slowly increased its membership, surpassing 200 in 1991, which also marked its forty-fifth anniversary. At such time, 85 Island Marines had lost their lives in the service of their country, while fifty Detachment members had passed on.

        In 1991, the Detachment supported our forces in Desert Storm and assisted with the formation of the Family Support Group. The same year saw great improvements to the physical facilities under the leadership of Pat Gambardella.

        In 2001 we saw our Country attacked and part of the attack was in our great city. Our Detachment members helped in the clean up and family support of the many casualties from this horrific attack. The Detachment members attended numerous memorial ceremonies and still do today. There is now a monument erected on our parade grounds for all United States Marines who served our great country. Gino Terranova once again was the spirit behind this life size soldier monument along with the late Harold Lane.

        The Detachment looks back on over a half century of service to community, country and Corps, as it looks confidently to the future.

October 10th 2010
Staten Island #1, Detachment 246 of the Marine Corps League
will celebrate its 64th year of existence.
Proudly, we all share the same unique title, virtues and brotherhood.

Once a Marine, Always a Marine!




Our Staff

Devil Dogs

MCL Uniform

Calendar of Events

Detachment Pictures

Commandants Message



Do You  Remember?

Questions? Email the Detachment at:

S.I. Detachment 246 Web PDD JAY SALERNO
Need to add SICK CALL information or send pictures, Email me:


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