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The Villages
Monday, December 11, 2023

Marine Corps League detachment in The Villages names new commandant

The Col. Phillip C. Delong Detachment #1267 of the Marine Corps League installed a new commandant at its monthly meeting Monday night at Bacall Recreation Center.

Out-going commandant Reggie Nealy turned over the gavel to in-coming commandant Nathan Pratt during a swearing-in ceremony presided over by Jim Hackbarth, past national vice commandant of the Southeast Division.

In-coming commandant Nathan Pratt, left, prepares to accept the gavel from the out-going commandant, Reggie Nealy, during Monday night’s ceremony.

Following the ceremony, Pratt presented Nealy, who served two terms, with a plaque on behalf of the members thanking him for his outstanding service and energy in leading the group and the community.

Nealy responded to Pratt, “I’ve got something for you, too.” Turning to the audience, Nealy said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from league members.

“It has been a great ride, exhausting, but a great ride,” he said. “We have a great team. No one can do it alone.”

Then, turning to the new commandant, he added, “Even with all the support, there will be times when you feel like a storm is coming.” And with that, he presented Pratt with a USMC umbrella.

Out-going commandant Reggie Nealy and in-coming commandant Nathan Pratt take part in a changing-of-the-guard ceremony for the The Col. Phillip C. Delong Detachment #1267 of the Marine Corps League on Monday night. At right is Jim Hackbarth, past national vice commandant of the Southeast Division.

Pratt said he’s looking forward to continuing the positive charitable work the league is involved in.

“I would like to expand our social gatherings,” he said. “We work hard, and I would like us to take a little time to enjoy ourselves.”

Pratt said he is planning some day trips to military museums and deep-sea fishing outings, among other things. “I think we will try our luck at hosting another casino night,” he added.

The new commandant said he’s also looking forward to recruiting new members and making people aware that they don’t have to be a Marine to become a member.

Out-going commandant Reggie Nealy shares a laugh with fellow Marine Corps League members as the new commandant, Nathan Pratt, opens his new Marine Corps umbrella. The umbrella was a gift from Nealy, who told Pratt that even with all the support, there will be times when he feels like a storm is coming.

“We have several associate members that are Navy, Army and civilians,” said Pratt. “The League is open to anyone who wants to join a great, well-respected service organization.”
Nealy said he really enjoyed his time as commandant, although the duty was non-stop.

“The phone calls and e-mails were constant and each one required an action item,” he said.
Neely, however, doesn’t plan to take a long rest. He already is working with local Chapter 795 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and is slated to become commander of that group in February 2019.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Marine Corps League is invited to attend the group’s next meeting at the Bacall Recreation Center at 7 p.m. Monday, June 18.

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