The Old Breed: Marine Corps Rugby Honors Fallen Heroes

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Thanks to Jim Blottman for forwarding this.

Who is the Old Breed? We are a group of Marines (and Navy Corpsmen), active duty, reservists, veterans and retirees, that at one time played rugby in the Marine Corps. Our club is open to all that served honorably with the Marine Corps and share a passion for rugby. The Old Breed has expanded in recent years to include veterans from other services as well as civilians that we feel embody our ethos and support our fundraising efforts.

the cash

The Old Breed was formed in early 2005 to celebrate and honor the memories of our fallen brothers.. Like us, these fallen heroes were Marine rugby players that shared the joy and camaraderie of our great game and our great Corps. The catalyst was the death of one of our leaders, Lt. Col. Kevin M. Shea. Kevin was KIA in Iraq in September 2004. Kevin was a ferocious rugby player, outstanding Marine, and loving father. His older daughter Brenna just completed her second year at the US Naval Academy. Kevin was a brother to many of us who had the honor to know him and we miss him terribly, along with all of our brothers who have given the ultimate sacrifice since September 11, 2001.


CanAm 2015 marks our 3rd visit to the Adirondacks to play in the greatest tournament in North America. We’ll have 3 sides competing this year: open, 45+ and 50+. Our 50+ side is known as Chesty’s Disciples; in honor one of the greatest Marines that ever lived, Chesty Puller. You may remember us from previous years as we ended the tournament with a rousing version of the Marine Corps hymn after our final match, a tradition we’ll continue to carry on this year.

We will be soliciting donations for the Lt.Col. Kevin M. Shea Memorial Fund, administered by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation ( The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation provides education funds for the children of Marines and Corpsmen severely wounded or killed in combat. We want to sure Kevin’s legacy is carried on and by endowing the memorial fund in his name, we will be able to do so. The Old Breed Rugby Club is a 501(c)(3) organization so your donation is tax deductible*.

To donate in-person at the CanAm tournament, find one of the Marines. We’ll be easy to spot, I promise. We’ll also be walking around the different venues soliciting donations as well. You can also donate via PayPal on our website at


Finally, we invite all veterans. their families and all rugby players in general to join us at the Lake Placid American Legion Post 25 (316 Main Street, Lake Placid) on Friday night, July 21 1 at 6PM. A $20 donation at the door gets you two drink tickets and light food. We will celebrate and memorialize our fallen brothers, and raise a toast (or several) to the Marines and service members who have and continue to serve our great nation.

Semper Fidelis!

-Marc Okicich
The Old Breed Rugby Club

The following email came in just before publishing this column from the father of fallen Marine Sergeant Donald Lamar II. It was sent to Jim Blottman, who reached out to us. We felt obligated to include it:

Jim, can’t tell you all what it means to see my son’s name on the Teams memorial banner honoring the fallen, it’s very humbling. My son had a passion for the sport. He went to college and played for Longwood and boy there are so many stories to share but too many to post. The one thing that stands out in my mind is how much they were a family & had each others back! He took that experience with him when he joined the Corp. He had a deep commitment to his Marine brothers. I know he would of loved to play for you all but I am positive every time you all go out on that field he will be there!

And a follow-up:

Jim, I would love to see you guys play sometime. Take care and good luck…… guys are doing a great thing!

About Sgt Lamar:
Marine Sniper Sgt. Donald James Lamar II was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 12, 2010 by a IED while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Lamar’s awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Purple Heart & Bronze Star with Valor

Donald was awarded the Bronze star for his heroic actions in combat

On April 1st 2010 Sgt Lamar led his team during company operations, providing reconnaissance which allowed multiple platoons to orient and close with enemy positions and ultimately resulting in a successful company attack.

 On April 5th 2010, while under heavy and effective enemy machinegun fire, he provided direction to two platoons and served as the single link between units in contact and higher headquarters. Thus, resulting in three destroyed enemy positions.
On April 20th 2010, he took selfless initiative and led his men to successfully destroying one enemy vehicle, killing eight insurgents, and wounding six others. Due to his personal bravery under fire, unparalleled leadership capability, and initiative to personally influence the battlefield many Marines and Sailors lives were saved and at least one squad of enemy fighters was destroyed.

On May 12th 2010, he led a successful clearing operation over 1 mile of enemy territory consisting of 40 buildings. He dauntlessly and relentlessly continued his pursuit of the enemy and it ultimately cost him his life. He was mortally wounded by a directional radio controlled IED while volunteering to stand security so other Marines could rest 

Although his body has been laid to rest, when we speak of Donald, we must remember that he is still with us in many ways.

In every action we take there is a reflection of the model he has set for us. In our minds, each decision is made with knowledge and wisdom he imparted upon us. In our memory, he will never die as we tell his story and refuse to let him be forgotten. In spirit, his soul will always live on in heavens gates, eternally watching over us. Donald is still with us in many ways.
Final Note: All of us here at Rugby Wrap Up are indebted to all mentioned above. Thank you, for your service.
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RWU Co-host Johnathan Wicklow Barberie is the contrived Kiwi rugby personality who can't go ANYWHERE without being asked for an autograph. He always obliges... Matt McCarthy handles the more serious interviews and handles the RWU Sports Desk.