The Fleet Reserve Association, (FRA) is a national organization that services former and current enlisted Navy, Marine and Coast Guardsmen. Branch 229 of New Windsor, New York covers the area throughout the Mid Hudson Valley and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
As part of the celebratory event guest speakers Lt. Colonel Patrick Flanery, the commanding officer of Marine Air Group 49, at Stewart Field and Captain Robert Watts, USN (ret), the superintendent of New York Military Academy in Cornwall, NY, welcomed members. Also on hand was Steven Jennison, a charter member of the branch currently residing at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington DC. The ex-Milton NY resident recalled events from the early years of the branch.
The surprise visitor of the night was Marlboro High School Junior and Life Scout Daniel McHale, who led the opening ceremony and read from his essay, which had been submitted to the Fleet Reserve Association as an entry in its national contest.
As a youngster of 12, McHale discovered a Silver Star award and citation belonging to his late grandfather Gunnery Sgt. Stephen P. Compoly, USMC (ret). in an attic trunk. The award had been given to his grandfather by the legendary Marine General Chesty Puller.