Marine guards to be replaced

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April 10, 2005

The Marines who stand guard at the Naval Academy will soon be replaced by other security employees, ending a 154-year tradition.

The changeover, which will take place in the next eight months, is part of the Pentagon's plan to free up more Marines for active duty.

City officials and lawmakers expressed concern about the decision, saying the Marines are more qualified to maintain security at the academy than civilian guards with less training.

But Naval Academy and Marine Corps officials said the move will not cause a lapse in security on the 388-acre campus, and that the new guards will be just as competent.

Last week, we asked whether security at the Naval Academy should remain under the Marines.

'Jimmylegs' recalled as academy guards

Your article about Naval Academy security is misleading in stating that the Marines have been standing guard at the gates there for 154 years.

In the '70s and '80s - as any longtime Academy faculty or staff member will tell you - security was provided by private security guards nicknamed "Jimmylegs."

Sometime in the early '90s, long before 9/11, the Jimmylegs were replaced by Marine guards, and for good reason. Most of the Jimmylegs were middle-aged, overweight and neither swift of foot nor of mind.

We will all miss the formidable presence of highly trained, capable Marines.

Marcia Talley


Marines on guard pleasing to veteran

As a U.S. Marine during World War II, I have been most fortunate to attend many functions on the Academy grounds.

The Marines performing their security duties always bring back memories of the Corps and its long history, and their important role in our democracy.

I would not want to have their 154-year tradition terminated.

I would hope and pray that those responsible for replacing the U.S. Marine Corps guards with civilians would reverse that decision.

In my view, security at the Naval Academy should remain under the Marines!

Norman A. Berg


We want your opinions

ISSUE: The House of Delegates recently passed a bill that would rename Baltimore-Washington International Airport after Supreme Court justice and civil rights leader Thurgood Marshall, a Baltimore native who died in 1993. The legislation is likely to face a full Senate vote, although leaders there, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, worry that changing the airport's name to Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport could obscure the identity of Maryland's largest airport and hurt competition with Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports, both in Northern Virginia. Proponents say the gesture would serve as an appropriate sign of respect to a national pioneer for racial equality.

YOUR VIEW: Should BWI be renamed after Marshall?

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