The Foxhole: Spotlight on Sean McNeill of Wilton

McNeill
Sean McNeill served as a marine in the Middle East, Africa and Asia during the early 1980s. —Contributed photo

As Sgt.-at-Arms for Post 86, Sean McNeill is the “official greeter” to the Post, whether it be new members, dignitaries or guests. He is also responsible for maintaining good order at meetings and events.

Born in East Islip, N.Y. in 1961, he graduated high school there and continued to the State University of New York at Albany. He was there for two years when he decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He left for Parris Island, S.C., in June 1981. After basic recruit training, he attended the Logistics School at Camp Johnson for his specialty training.

From there, he headed to the 1st Marine Brigade/Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU)-31 Kaneohe, Hawaii. When the MAU went to sea duty, they departed for Kenya, then on to Beirut, Lebanon, via the Suez Canal. Sean was assigned to the USS Duluth, Landing, Platform/dock (LPD)-6. During these movements, there was constant “close call” contacts with Soviet ships.

During the four months spent anchored offshore, MAU-31 resupplied not only the Marines, but the Lebanese Army as well. The tour ended when all supplies were exhausted from their ship. As a side note, MAU-31 departed Beirut Oct. 11, 1983, and exactly 12 days later, terrorists drove a truck bomb into the Marines barracks, where 220 fellow Marines and 21 other service personnel died.

Some of the ports of call that Sean made were in Okinawa, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Somalia. During this tour, Sean remembered a funny story from Beirut. As computer operator for Supply Platoon, he was responsible for entering all requisitions for supplies from the various elements of the MAU. Due to the high priority of the mission in Beirut, the normal system checks done on quantities being requested were suspended, which led to an interesting situation in which the motor transport section ordered 50 pints of a specialty lubricant that was only available by the drum.

So, when 50 drums arrived on the ship’s flight deck via helicopter, a certain corporal was summoned to the bridge. The end result was that the Lebanese Defense Forces received 49 drums of this extra lubricant courtesy of Uncle Sam.

Five months after returning from sea duty, Sean left the service, returned to Yonkers and graduated Pace University magna cum laude with a BBA in management information systems. After working as a software engineer for ADP, Greenwich Capital Markets, Citicorp, Solomon Brothers, and IBM, he has been with OTA Limited Partnership in Purchase, N.Y. for over 20 years, designing and building online trading systems. He has two sons with his wife, Caroline.

In addition to his duties as Sgt.-at-Arms, Sean can be seen as part of our color guard, as well as organizing and collecting toys for the Post 86 annual USMC Reserve’s Toys for Tots. Thank you, Sean, for your service!

Tom Moore is adjutant of Wilton’s American Legion Post 86. Information: legionpost86@gmail.com.

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