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2nd-Oldest Barracks in U.S. Closes : Marines Won't Be Defending Maine Anymore

September 18, 1987|Associated Press

KITTERY, Me. — The American flag was raised for the last time today at the nation's second-oldest Marine Corps barracks, a victim of expanding global interests after 174 years of defending the New England coastline.

In a small closing ceremony in drizzle this morning, 77 Marines raised the flag on the mall of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and received a send-off from the yard's commander, Navy Capt. Peter Bowman.

The Marines also fired a 21-gun salute and played taps as a war memorial plaque was rededicated to add the Vietnam War.

At sunset, with no fanfare, Marines plan to lower the colors for the last time and turn the duty over to the Navy.

The detachment of 129 Marines and four officers, one of five being redeployed to boost security on Navy ships worldwide to guard against terrorism, began moving out last month and will be gone by Oct. 9.

Pentagon police will take over the brick barracks, built by Marines in 1822, and the Marines' security duties at the shipyard, which, among other things, repairs nuclear-powered submarines.

The only older Marine barracks are those in downtown Washington, built in 1801.

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