Bett-Toomey Detachment

Marine Corps League

Marine Corps League

The Marine Corps League is the only congressionally chartered United States Marine Corps-related veterans organization in the United States. Its congressional charter was approved by the 75th U.S. Congress and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937. The organization credits Major General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Marine Corps commandant, as one of its founding members. The League holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.


The detachment is honorably named after Edward Bett and William Toomey, who were the first Marines from Lack-awanna that were killed on Iwo Jima. In their honor and respect for their sacrifice, this club memorializes their names.


 In 1949 thirteen Marines from Lackawanna organized the Lackawanna Detachment of the Marine Corps League with the purpose of perpetuating the history of the United States Marine Corps, and by fitting acts, observe the anniversaries and historical occasions of interest to Marines: To hold sacred the memory and history of Marines who have given their lives to our nation: To band those who are or who have served in the United States Marine Corps in fellowship that they may promote the ideals of American freedom and democracy; and to create a bond of comradeship between those Marines who have returned to civil life. The detachment first met in the Executive rooms of Post 63 American Legion in memorial Hall. Later was built for the detachment over the state in Memorial Hall. The Marines soon changed the name of the detachment to Bett-Toomey, honoring the two Marines from Lackawanna lost in action during World War II.

In February in 1945, Lackawanna lost two of its’ citizens on the remote island in the Pacific called Iwo Jima. One was Private Edward Bett, USMCR, the other was PFC William J. Toomey, USMC.


Born on December 5, 1923, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. In 1944, he participated in the invasion of the Marshall Islands, for which he received the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon for 4 operations in the theatre. It was in February 1945, that he was involved in the invasion of Iwo Jima where he was hit by a mortar shell, survived and taken aboard a hospital ship, where he later succumbed to his wounds, and subsequently buried at sea. Posthumously, he was awarded another Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. For his outstanding service to the United States of America, and having accomplished so much in his 21 years, we honor him as one of the namesakes of the Bett-Toomey Marine Corps League in Lackawanna, New York.


He was born March 23, 1920 in Lackawanna, New York. His service to the United States began when he enlisted in the Marine Corps on April 1, 1942. His first experience was with the Third Marine Division Assault Battalion. He was awarded the Purple Heart when he was woun-ded on July 21, 1944 during the invasion of Guam. Later, in February 1945, he was part of the team that invaded Iwo Jima, where sadly he was killed in action. PFC Toomey was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna in 1946. He was posthumously awarded a second Purple Heart.  Because of the outstanding service to our country and his association to Lackawan-na, we proudly honor him also as the namesake of our detachment.

We are proud to name our detachment after these two distinguished young heroes.

 Excerpts from Bett-Toomey Detachment Presents…. 23rd Annual Dinner Dance Program, October 21, 1972 and Bett-Toomey Detachment Presents… 25th Annual Dinner Dance Program, November 2, 1974.

Link to the entire article Bett Toomey Detachment 25th Annual Dinner Dance Program, November 2, 1974

Link to entire articles about Edward Bett, and William Toomey from the Bett-Toomey Presents… 23rd Dance Program, October 21, 1972.