More than 100 Crossville/Cumberland County Marines gathered with their families and friends Saturday to celebrate the charter ceremony and swearing in of the Crossville Sgt. Morgan W. Strader Crossville Marine Corps League Detachment 1467.

Last January a small group organized and started the process of creating a Marine Corps League in Cumberland County.

The Marine Corps League is a National Veterans Organization with more than 72,000 men and women, officers and enlisted Active-duty and Reserve Marines, honorably discharged Marine Veterans, qualified Fleet Marine Force corpsmen and Navy Chaplains. There are more than 1,100 Marine Corps League Detachments.

William Bryan Hudgins Jr. vice commandant, explained the first step was to get at least 20 Marines to commit to joining the detachment.

The second step was to name the detachment. 

“We wanted to name our detachment to honor a local fallen Marine … We chose Sgt. Morgan W. Strader a local Marine hero who was killed in action in Iraq on Nov. 12, 2004. We were 100% in agreement to name our detachment after Sgt. Strader,” Hudgins said.

Strader joined the U.S. Marines Corps in July 2000 after graduating from Cumberland County High School. He served with the 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California. 

Strader was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed in action while fighting in the second battle of Fallujah. He died while protecting his platoon and the convoy his platoon was escorting.

Strader’s memorial and gravesite are in the Hebbertsburg Cemetery in Cumberland County’s Hebbertsburg community.

The Crossville Detachment had to get permission to use the name from Strader’s mother and father who both live in different states.

“It’s an honor and impressive,” Gary Strader, father of the fallen Marine, who attended the ceremony. “Morgan would be so proud to have been honored in this way. Thank you for honoring the memory of not only Morgan, but for all who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country …”

The group also applied for a 501(c) (4) status from the government.

They group also had to get approval from The Marine Corps League national headquarters to form a new detachment.

“Our new detachment is committed to forming a Cumberland County Honor Guard and burial detail for our veterans, supporting the Young Marines, Wounded Warrior Project, veteran family support, Marine Toys for Tots program, student scholarships, Eagle Scout program, and working with other veteran organizations in the county,” Hudgins said.

The group’s founder and current commandant is Dan Davis. Other officers include Senior Vice Commandant Edd Dyer; Junior Vice Commandant Bryan Hudgins; Paymaster Josh Hudgins; Adjutant Rick Leonard; Sergeant-at-Arms Dennis Spry; Quartermaster Curt Léger; Judge Advocate Danny Harris; Historian and notary Vivian Dyer; Chaplain Willard Dale; and Vet 4 Warrior program leader Terry Strasser.

In order to get the process started the new detachment was named the Crossville Marine Corps League Detachment 1467.

Davis said shortly after coming to Crossville a couple years ago he visited the Cumberland County Military Memorial Museum and saw the Sgt. Morgan Strader display. He said he knew it would be fitting for the detachment to honor Strader.

A name change is underway to officially name the detachment “The Sgt. Morgan W. Strader Marine Corps League Detachment No. 1467.”

“Even though this is a new detachment, it feels like we’ve been together for years. It’s amazing. It’s like a family, and we look forward to getting involved in Crossville and Cumberland County and being an asset to all veterans and providing needed and valuable services to our veterans and our community,” Davis said.

Hudgins said there are currently more than 50 members, and several more are considering joining.

For more information about the Marine Corps League or the Sgt. Morgan W. Strader Crossville Marine Corps League Detachment 1467, call Davis at 925-765-3522.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

Crossville Chronicle senior staff writer