The Keystone Marines 1997 Picnic by Pete Bennett
Where did you serve? What happened during the invasion? Were you on Iwo? How long were you in Viet Nam? Those are just a few of the questions that were ask and answered at the 8th Annual Picnic and Meeting of the Keystone Marines as they assembled at the Tom Mix Birthplace Park on Saturday May 31st at Driftwood, PA. Their not an officially organized group such as the Marine Corps League, but just a group of former Marines who get together annually to discuss old times and enjoy each others company. By the way they do have a president. I attended along with the guy up the street as we are both former jar-heads from PA which is one of the requirements to attend. The rain held off and about 40 ex-marines and some of their spouses drove from as far away as Pittsburgh to swap war stories, many of which were true.
One story I recall that was told, that was said to be true, was told by a guy who attended. It seems he was in the invasion of the Philippines and just prior to General Mac Arthurs very publicized fulfillment of his promise of, I will return, this guy made a large sign and hung it on one of the Long Tom guns located on the very beach where the general waded ashore. The sign read, By the grace of God and a few Marines, Mac Arthur returned to the Philippines. Well the story continued, the general saw the sign and suggested that the Marine responsible for its creation be disciplined. No one would reveal the artist and only in the last few years, has the attending former Marine revealed that it was he who perpetrated this mischievous act. The marines name is Frank Pinciotti and he was a member of B Battery of the 11th Gun Battalion of the 5th Marine Amphibious Corps. He and Jerome Auman of Kersey left the following week for St. Louis, MO, to attend the Amphibious Corps 50th anniversary of the invasion of the Philippines. Imagine the stories told there. The Keystone Marines, after six years of picnics were having trouble getting volunteers to help organize the yearly event. The first thing a marine learns is NEVER to volunteer. George Lyle of Reynoldsville, PA reluctantly accepted the presidents position for the new year, from outgoing (and I do mean outgoing) president Bob Smith of Falls Creek, PA. Any former Marines reading this who may be interested in attending the picnic next year, which will be held on May 30, 1998, may contact Ray Flaugh, owner of the Tom Mix Birthplace Park at: 814-546-2044 or 546-2628 to get your name on the invitation list. Do it now.
A guest at the meeting was Curt Pfaff, director of the Eldred WWII Museum located in Eldred, PA. He invited all to visit the museum which is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Tues. Thru. & Sat. and is located at 201 Main Street. He also requested that all former service men take time to write down their remembrances of their service experiences and contribute them to the museum which is collecting and archiving them as living histories. So, if you served, no matter how trivial you think your experiences were, why not write them down NOW and send them to Mr. Pfaff at the Museum. Someday your childrens children will be glad you did.
And speaking of museums, the cute little Tom Mix Birthplace Park has a museum too, which includes over 2000 items of memorabilia from the Tom Mix movie era. Each year they hold a Tom Mix Round-Up which includes activities such as shootouts, hangings, western dress-up contests, country music and a visit from the national Tom Mix look-alike. This year they have scheduled many such activities and the Round-Up was held on the weekend of July 17, 18 &19th. Why not plan on attending next year. The park is located 5 miles south of Driftwood, PA off state route 555. Just follow the signs. Till next time, Attention, Semper Fi, Gung Ho, etc..... Fall Out!
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