Marines Guard Famous Painting of Mona Lisa
This week we are republishing a story that appeared on our pages on this date in history from the 1963 edition. We hope it will give you an appreciation for our Corps’ illustrious heritage and a unique look at the style and tone of journalism during these years. Today’s article features Marines from Eighth and Eye guarding the Mona Lisa at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC Marines from the Marine Barracks at Eighth and Eye commenced guarding the Mona Lisa at the National Gallery of Art here. They will assist the Secret Service in keeping a continuous watch over the da Vinci masterpiece, on loan to the United States from the French government, for the three-week period of public display in the Nation’s capital.
Each day’s security detail, posted during hours of public visit, is headed by a Commander of the Guard and is composed of three reliefs—each relief consisting of four sentries, a supernumerary, and a Corporal of the Guard. A formal relief of the two sentries flanking the painting is conducted each hour.
The President of the United States formally opened the exhibit on January 8. His arrival at the Gallery was marked through an honor cordon from the Marine Barracks. Inside, a section of the Marine Band orchestra provided promenade music for 1200 spectators.
Sergeants William R. Hapgood, of Elizabeth, New Jersey; Idus E. Stinson, of Blakely, Georgia; and Albert G. Kihlstrom, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; and Gunnery Sergeant Michael T. Doyle, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, provided a special honor guard for the painting at ceremonies which opened the exhibit.
Members of the first relief of the security watch were: Staff Sergeant Ralph J. Larsen, of Grandhaven, Michigan; Corporal Edward J. Smith, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey; Lance Corporals John E. Fierro, of Yonkers, New York and Robert G. DiLossi, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Privates First Class Clarence L. Billingsley, of Cleveland, Ohio; Robert F. Neal, of Jamestown, Kentucky; and Frank Louis Castora, of the Bronx, New York.
These Marines, members of the Barracks; Ceremonial Guard Company, normally perform special security tasks in and around the Nation’s Capital, and are frequently participants in “full Honors” arrivals, departures, and street parades for the President of the United States and visiting dignitaries.