Detachment 1328

Marines honor local league's namesake

Reprinted here with Sun-News Permission

By Christine Steele / Sun-News Bureau Chief


SILVER CITY - Members of the Marine Corps League Gaffney-Oglesby Detachment 1328 honored one of their own Thursday - Capt. Joseph Gaffney, for whom their detachment is partly named - with a a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave on the six-year anniversary of his death.

Larry Himes first met Gaffney in 1961 when Gaffney was inspecting Himes' battalion.

"I'm sure he wouldn't have remembered me," Himes said. "He was inspecting 1,100 men."

But an incident that happened during the inspection stuck in both men's minds and decades later when they met again, it would cause them to remember.

Gaffney moved to Silver City in the 1970s and opened a plant nursery out at the end of Rosedale Road, Himes said.

"I didn't run into him for several years. He started coming to our annual Marine Corps birthday and I said, 'I know you, Joe, I know you."

One day it dawned on Himes where he knew Gaffney from.

"I finally said, 'Joe, I know where I know you from. Do you remember an incident with a sergeant you were inspecting who had everything sewn to a blanket?"

It was the Marine standing next to Himes at that inspection so many years ago, who had sewn all his items to his blanket and then rolled it out for inspection.

"That was it. And we were friends until the day he died," Himes said.

Joseph Gaffney joined the Marines as a private and served on Saipan in 1942 or 1943 and during the Saipan Campaign. Between wars, he was a China Marine, stationed in China.

"He was an enlisted

man who became an officer. Most officers come out of a college program or out of Annapolis," said Himes.

Gaffney served in WWII and was in Vietnam just before the Vietnam War started and retired as a captain. He passed away in 2003.

Last spring, members of the local Marine Corps League decided to organize and form a local chapter with a charter. They named their local Detachment 1328 the Gaffney-Oglesby Detachment, for two local Marines who served in different wars and died at different times of their lives.

Kenneth Christopher Oglesby joined the Marines in 1990 at age 24 and served in Desert Storm, and in 1993, volunteered to go to Somalia. He got out of the military in 1994. He was struggling with PTSD, but getting help, when he died in his sleep in 2003.

The two Marines are buried within 50 feet of each other at Fort Bayard Cemetery. In July, the detachment honored Oglesby with a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave, also on the six-year anniversary of his death.

"From now on, we'll honor them both on Memorial Day and Veterans Day," Himes said.

Christine Steele can be reached at; (575) 538-5893, ext. 5802