August 30, 2014

Elyria
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Saturday breakfast marks birth of Marines

ELYRIA — They were born in a tavern before the creation of the nation they defend, and the U.S. Marine Corps has a long and vaunted history of which it is proud.

That history and tradition will again be celebrated this weekend on the anniversary of the corps’ founding Nov. 10, 1775.

This year’s breakfast gathering will be 8 a.m. Saturday at the Elyria AMVETS Post 32, 11087 Middle Ave., where veterans, families and others are expected to gather, according to Pat Foreman, a Vietnam War-era Marine veteran and assistant principal at Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

“This is our second year at the AMVETS, and last year we had about 200 people show up,” Foreman said. “That’s why we moved the venue. We found as time goes by that more people want to come to this.”

While the gathering focuses on Marines and the corps’ founding, it is open to veterans of all military branches.

“They’re a little more willing to come out these days, and we’re more than willing to have them,” Foreman said. “We appreciate all of them.”

Organizers of the local event also make sure families of veterans and widows of veterans know about the celebration.

“We have some wives of deceased veterans who might want to come,” Foreman said. “We want them to feel connected with us, too.”

The morning will feature posting of the colors by Elyria High School ROTC students, bagpipe music and speakers, including Lorain County Domestic Relations Judge David Basinski.

A Marine Corps veteran, Basinski, 75, will talk about his experiences as a pilot to mark 2012 as the 100th anniversary of Marine aviation.

“I’m still a Marine, but no longer a pilot,” Basinski said.

Basinski joined the Marines after graduating from John Carroll University. Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, he did his flight training at Pensacola, Fla.

One of the most memorable parts of that training came when he had to land and take off from an aircraft carrier.

“That was one of the top thrills I ever had flying,” Basinski said. “It was a huge kick.”

While he subsequently flew and landed on carrier decks, often under less-than-ideal conditions, nothing matched the experience of “that first time when you see that carrier deck.”

Basinski had flown his T-28 Trojan trainer out to the carrier about 50 miles offshore.

“To qualify you need to make two touch-and-go’s” which are flight maneuvers in which aircraft literally touch down on the carrier deck surface only to shoot off, bank around, and make another touchdown, Basinski explained.

After having no problems during the first few, Basinski recalled a warning light coming on in the cockpit.

“There was a short somewhere, and they cleared everyone out of my path so they could taxi me up to the elevator to drop me down on the hangar deck,” Basinski said. “Then it (the plane) quit on me on the elevator.”

Marine aviation officially began in 1912 when Lt. Alfred Cunningham convinced a superior officer to assign him to flight training.

“Here I am an old man who drives a black Chevy pickup that has a ‘Semper Fi’ sticker on the back,” Basinski said. “That’s how important the corps was to me.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.