Significant needs of veterans met by the Marine Corps League

Members of the Marine Corps League always are a fixture at Veterans Day events.


The crisp white shirts and blue pants with the red stripe and red covers or caps were unmistakable in identifying the Marine Corps League members of the color guard unit at a Veterans Day ceremony.

The ceremony was held at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Merritt Island, which also serves as the home base for the League’s Brevard County Detachment #513.

Immediately after the ceremony, the members of the league were on their way to another presentation assignment.

Many might know the Marine Corps League — especially at this time of the year — as supporting the Toys for Tots program that distributes toys to children of needy families. But there is a lot more to the Marine Corps League Brevard County Detachment.

These are veterans who continue to serve fellow Marines, other veterans and in their communities.

In addition to supporting the U.S. Marine Corps and fellow Marines, sharing in camaraderie, the local detachment participates in Wreaths Across America, the Missing in America Project, serve as honor guards at funerals and help fellow veterans wherever possible.

“If there is a need, you have to do something,” said Vinnie Howard, the commandant of the Brevard County Detachment. “This is what we do, find a need, meet that need.”

The need might seem simple, but significant. Sprucing up a roadside memorial to a fellow marine or other fallen troops could be one of those small but important projects.

One member, Tom Fitzgerald, uses his caisson to honor fallen veterans at funerals at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

Other units might be involved in other projects.

There is another detachment in Brevard County, the Barefoot Bay Detachment 918.

Units or detachments are involved with Scouting and the Eagle Scout program, the Volunteer Assistance Veterans Service, POW/MIA Remembrance and as veterans service officers, helping fellow veterans access benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and scholarship programs.

“We do fundraising events that help other veterans,” Howard said. “If there is a need somewhere, we respond to it.”

Howard served in the Marine Corps from 1982 to 1986 when he left as a corporal. He said he enjoys the camaraderie with fellow Marines and the opportunity to help others.

The Marine Corps League comprises 10 divisions, 48 departments and more than 1,140 detachments nationwide.