The 8th & I Reunion Association

An organization of Marines
who served at
Marine Barracks
8th & I Streets, S.E.,
Washington D.C.

The 2009 Presentation of General Chapman's Swagger Stick to the Barracks

In July, 1958 Cpl. Don Keelan (Ceremonial Guard Company) was standing guard duty at the main gate, when then-Colonel (later to become Commandant of the Marine Corps) Leonard F. Chapman drove in. After Don rendered his salute, Col. Chapman, grinning from ear to ear, told Don that he had just heard of his promotion to the rank of Brigadier General, and gave Don his swagger stick in remembrance of his "final salute" as CO of the Barracks.

During the recent past, several 8th & I Marines have submitted interesting stories (they may be found in the initial listings on our Memories of the 1950's page) on the subject of the use enlisted and Officers' use of "swagger sticks" at the Barracks. This caused Don to inquire as to whether the Barracks would be interested in having General Chapman's Swagger Stick.

The Barracks (and the Center House Association, which had presented the General's Sword and medals in a beautiful Mahogany display case) immediately answered with an emphatic "YES," and arrangements were made for the presentation on June 10, 2009.

The Barracks Historian, Capt William "Hart" Smith, briefs Don, his wife Verrall, and his daughter Elizabeth on the front porch of Center House immediately prior to the ceremony, which included a full muster of the Barracks officers.

Don, Capt "Hart" Smith, and Barracks CO Col. Andrew Smith at the beginning of the ceremony, which took place in the living room.

Don studies the swagger stick and its engraving showing Col. Chapman's name and rank.

Don transferring the swagger stick to Col. Smith during the ceremony.

Col Smith explains the history of Center House's Drum Room, and expresses to Don his appreciation for Don's gift of this important item of Barracks' history.

The swagger stick is affixed to the special plaque in its place of honor at Center House, marked with the inscription "Donated by Don Keelan, June 2009"

Contact us at: 8th&I Reunion Association

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8th & I Reunion Association

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