ST. GEORGE — After weeks of debate and two internal votes, St. George Marine Corps League members could not reach a consensus on a new name for their detachment.
For now, or until another proposal is presented and the logjam is breached, local members will remain part of Dixie Detachment 1270, a name the league has had since its formation in 2007.
Since early August, the league’s approximately 100 members have been split down the middle on changing the name in honor of Lt. Col. William “Bill” Toole, 1270’s founder, and Pfc. Samuel Tom Holiday, a World War II Navajo code talker.
The only alternative, said Pat Lisi, the detachment’s commandant, is to keep the peace and the current name for now.
“Because half of the group wanted Toole and half were for Holiday, we thought it best to keep it the way it is,” Lisi said. “The feeling was if we went for one or the other, half of our members might feel let down and right now, America is divided enough. We don’t need something else to divide us. For right now, we are going to let it ride.”
Along with keeping the peace, there were financial implications on any name change as well.
Lisi said although there would have not been a tremendous amount of money to change the name, it would have cost approximately $500 for new marketing material, and for a small detachment that amount of money could be better spent on other priorities.
Although the names of several “former” Marines were submitted as candidates for a new detachment name, Lisi thought his friend Toole was a natural choice because of his ties to Southern Utah and his commitment to its Marine and Navy community.
“I wanted the named changed,” Lisi said. “There were hundreds of Marines would we could have considered, but I was hopeful it was Bill Toole.”
To fill the void of not choosing anyone to honor as 1270’s namesake, future events and scholarships may have the legacy names associated them.
Along with Toole and Holiday, other Marines under consideration for the name change included the following:
- Pvt. Hans Naegle, a highly decorated WWI hero who died on the Western Front in France.
- Maj. David Richtsteig, who died in captivity at the hands of the North Vietnamese Army.
- St. George native Pfc. Laurence Green, who was killed in action in Vietnam.
Though quite gracious about the decision to keep Dixie as the detachment’s name – something Toole decided upon when starting 1270 – his widow Donna said the choice was bittersweet.
“I realize I am a tad biased,” Donna said. “My thought was the detachment should have been named after my husband because I don’t know any other Marine who had done as much for Southern Utah’s veterans as my husband did.”
Disappointed, Toole added, “this is just life.”
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