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Embassy veterans visit MCLB

MCLB-ALBANY -- On Friday, some Marines from the past got a special opportunity to interact with the present.

Retired Marines and civilians who served in various capacities at the American Embassy in Saigon paid a visit to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.

The group of 60 from throughout the country served either as foreign service officers or as Marine security guards at the embassy until its fall to the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975, which signified the end of the Vietnam War.

"We have been meeting periodically in various cities to renew friendships," said Robert Bishton, embassy veteran and coordinator of the visit. "We usually do a tour, a banquet and then go our separate ways."

The group is scheduled to visit Sunnyland Farms and Plains today.

Bishton served at the embassy as a civilian 1967-69. The visit to the base included a tour of Maintenance Center Albany, which provided to be very insightful for the group.

"I'm sure everyone will gain a new respect for the Marine Corps," Bishton said. "That was my whole purpose; to show them all the updates and add it to their own experiences.

"This trip has been very good."

The new generation of Marines also gained a lot by meeting these visitors.

"(The group's visit) is important to the base because the new Marines need to know the history of the Corps," said 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas, public affairs officer at the base. "We always put a priority on helping the retired community. They get to see the new breed of Marines and how things have improved.

The members of the group also included Vietnam Marines and civilians. The organization is composed of members of the Marine Corps Security Guard detachment, civil servants and members from other branches of service attached to the embassy during the Vietnam War.