World War II Veteran with Legacy of Leadership and Achievement Adds Vintage "Swagger" to 41st Annual Higgins Memorial Mess Night at Lexington, Kentucky

41st Higgins Memorial Mess Night 2011

Lexington, Kentucky; April 30, 2011: Marine officer candidates from Kentucky, southern Ohio and southern Indiana, converged on the Crowne Plaza Lexington (The Campbell House) to enjoy traditional Marine Corps camaraderie at the 41st renewal of the Colonel William R. "Rich" Higgins Memorial Mess Night, hosted by the Officer Selection Stations (Cincinnati and Lexington), Marine Corps Recruiting Station Louisville (MCRSL).  Guest of Honor and keynote speaker was the Honorable James E. (Ted) Bassett III, a Marine Corps veteran of World War II, who was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa. Speaking directly to 94 aspiring officer candidates, seated among 54 active duty/reserve Marines and veterans, Mr. Bassett challenged them to fully achieve their potential, not only through the rigors of Marine Corps training, but in whatever else they may choose to pursue as a life's work, noting that their Marine Corps experience will remain with them forever, as they seize the great opportunity and enormous responsibility of leading Marines. Mr. Bassett reminisced with fond memories of his own drill instructor, who played such a critical role in the development of his core leadership skills, which have served him well through a long and distinguished career in sales, law enforcement (Director of the Kentucky State Police), and thoroughbred racing (Chairman, Keeneland Association). Following his legendary leadership of Keeneland, Mr. Bassett has remained loyal to the "change that lasts forever," as Chairman of the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky (MCCCK) and as a Founder of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Following his remarks, Mr. Bassett was presented with a World War II era Marine Corps swagger stick, bearing his rank insignia and engraved name.  After enjoying a delicious meal and partaking in traditional challenges and resultant fines, a number of toasts were offered.  Officer candidates were recognized by the MCCCK with the following 2011 traditional awards:  CWO S. Tilford Payne Memorial Award (Outstanding Officer Candidate Academic Achievement) (Books from the Commandant's Reading List) to Joseph M. Alemagno, University of Dayton, sponsored by Kenneth F. Herrington III, Colonel, USMCR (Ret) (1971-2001); Corporal Aaron D. Robichaux "Iron Man" Memorial Award for Outstanding Physical Fitness - OSS Lexington (Marine Corps Wristwatch) to Joseph C. King, Berea College, sponsored by Jack R. Cunningham, USMC (1969-1972); Captain Eric "D-Ring" Terhune "Iron Man" Memorial Award for Outstanding Physical Fitness - OSS Cincinnati ("Louisville Slugger" Baseball Bat) to Daniel C. Schadler, Northern Kentucky University, sponsored by Capt Ryan McCullough, USMC; Colonel William R. Higgins Memorial Leadership Award (Ka-Bar Knife/Presentation Case) to Brendan A. McIntyre, Miami University (Ohio),  sponsored by LtCol Mary K. Broussard, USMCR (Ret) (1972-2001) and Maj Allen D. Broussard, USMC (Ret) (1963-1985); Lieutenant Presley N. O'Bannon Memorial Award (Outstanding Junior Officer Candidate) (Marine Corps Officer's Jewelry Box) to Richard T. Collins, University of Louisville, sponsored by Robert V. Evans, Jr., Colonel, USMCR (Retired) (1958-1983); and Second Lieutenant Terrence C. Graves Memorial Award (Outstanding Senior Candidate) (Mameluke Officer's Sword) to Michael W. Wisotzkey, University of Louisville, sponsored by Russell B. Scott, Jr., USMC (1962-1968). Mr. Charles H. Stallard, President, Montford Point Marine Association, Louisville Chapter, received the Rodney Williams Jr. Memorial Award for dedicated service and commitment to the Marine Corps community in Kentucky. Congratulations to Major Rory B. Quinn, USMC, Commanding Officer, MCRSL, who served as President of the Mess and Captains Michael L. Masters, Jr., USMC and Eric W. Spitznogle, USMC, Officer Selection Officers (Lexington) (Cincinnati), who planned, organized and executed this very successful event. (Photograph by Sgt Daniel Angel, USMC, Marketing and Public Affairs, MCRSL) (Additional photos in "Galleries" section, courtesy of Jennifer Armento (MCCCK Webmaster), Ed Armento (MCCCK Secretary), and Sgt Daniel Angel)