SIKESTON - Having provided military rites for veteran burials in many civilian cemeteries in the area, the Marine Corps League Cpl. Mason O. Yarbrough Detachment 1081 is looking forward to the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery at Bloomfield's opening.
"We hope to be very active there," said Leonard Spicer, junior vice commandant for the unit.
Made up of honorably discharged former Marines and Navy sailors that were attached to a Marine Corps, or "Corpsman," the Detachment 1081 provides honor guards and post the colors for all sorts of events, but veteran funerals are special. "We don't want anybody to be buried without military honors," Spicer said. "We do all branches of service."
The unit was formed about two years ago and named after World War II casualty Mason Yarbrough whose body was found and brought home to Sikeston after being missing for decades in the South Pacific.
"There's 105 of us and growing," said Spicer of the unit. Usually four to seven go for military burials, Spicer said. "For a parade there's a lot of us out there."
Over the last month, their unit has provided their services for between 13-17 veteran burials in this area.
In addition to providing honor guard, color posting and funeral services, the unit also does other community-oriented activity. Very active with the SEMO Toys for Tots program, the unit is planning an "Americanism" program in area schools when they are back in session. "We're also working on starting a Young Marines," Spicer added.
Spicer said his unit will also be the host for the Marine Corpse League convention in June at Cape Girardeau.