Marine Barracks at Key West

Marine Barracks at Key West

I pulled a 13 month tour of duty with the Marine Barracks at Key West 1974-75. Now I can’t find a single thing about it on Google. I don’t even know if it is still active (probably not) or if there are any old Jarheads I served with there on the internet or not.

We were responsible for the security of the entire Florida Keys, technically, although there was nothing worth worrying about north of the Boca Chica Naval Air Station (now NAS Key West). We had to practice defending the military bases and other things (such as the electronic monitoring stations), and also the local radio and television station in case terrorists or should try to seize either one for propaganda reasons. Back then we were armed with the M14 and of course the M1911A1 .45 ACP. We also had military 12 ga shotguns. We Marines were often sent out with the Coast Guard cutter. I believe its name was the Diligence. We manned the .30 and .50 machine guns when the cutter was expecting trouble, which we occasionally got from Cuban gunboats and drug runners.

Can you find out if there are any guys from the time I served there on the internet? I’ve tried USMC.mil and got nowhere fast. I’ve read on the internet that they shut down the naval station where the Barracks was located in 1974 (Truman Annex I think it was called) but that is NOT true, as I did not leave until late September of 1975 and they were still going strong then. Most of the duty we pulled was as gate guards for the various military annexes and as roving guards on the NAS and also at the ammo dump off the Trumbo annex. My elder daughter was born at the Naval hospital in Key West, by the way.

Any help would be appreciated. OBTW, at the Marine Corps Ball in 1974, the Assistant Commandant (General Earl E. Anderson) was our guest.

Don Herman
Corporal, USMC (at the time)

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17 comments


  • Bob Mosakowski

    I was a young E-4 at Marine Barracks Key West 1976-1977 and was a member of the last detachment that was deactivated in September 1977. The current Truman Annex entrance has a commemorative plate recognizing all Marines who served in Key West.


  • Donald Miller

    I was the last officer left when the Marine Barracks was deactivated October, 1977. I was basically the XO but things were rather chaotic at the end. You see, the barracks itself burned down, probably in September of that year. I suspect the SOG was depositing spent cigarettes in a hole in the wall behind his desk. One probably wasn’t properly extinguished, smoldered all night, and by the next afternoon, smoke started rising through the floors. Fire department dropped lines in the Gulf and pumped water on the building but it was a waste of time. That old barracks had well aged and dried timbers and nothing could stop it. So sorry to see it go. But the NWC on Boca Chica was no longer operational and rent-a-cops took over gate duty. Had a good time there from June ’75 to October ’77. Have pictures of the fire.


  • L/cpl R%aqymond Yanushonis

    I was at the Key West Marine barracks from 58 to 62. Played football on a team made up of Marines, Navy and civilians. Stood guard Duty at the Truman annex when Pres. Kennedy met with Mr. Mac Millan from Britain shortly after his election. Had the priviage to shake his hand.


  • George

    I go to Key West a few times a year as its a short drive from home. I have stayed at the guest lodge on Truman annex. I am a Marine as well, and I couldn’t find any information on marine detachments there. As of October 2008 Navy Shore Patrol does all the security there now, and there are no Marine security teams there at all. I will be heading there again in the beginning of March, I’ll look into it more then. Sorry wish I had better info for you. S/F!


  • Ronald Schmiegelt

    I was in Key West with the Coast Guard from 1990 to 1993. There were no Marines there at the time, except for a few officers at JTF4, Sailors stood gate guard duty at the various annexes, NAS Key West did not fully survive the Clinton years. The actual airfield at Boca Chica was relegated to an auxiliary landing strip. Personnel were drastically cut. The only force left there in appreciable numbers is the Coast Guard.


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