Three members of Casa Grande’s Marine Corps League Detachment 901 were honored this fall for their public service while on active duty and after their retirement.
Frank ‘Gunny’ Alger
Inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame on Oct. 13, Alger served 20 years in the Marines, retiring as a gunnery sergeant. Since moving to Arizona in 2002, he’s spent hundreds of hours speaking to over 30,000 young people as a member of the Joe Foss Institute (Center for American Civics).
He is a founding member of the East Valley Young Marines and East Valley Veterans Parade Association, and since moving to Casa Grande in 2020 he’s served on the local Veterans Day committee and coordinated its Youth Art Contest.
Another new Hall of Fame inductee, Smith of Coolidge worked with others to form the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 36 Pinal County in 2011, and as a veterans service officer helps more than 200 veterans file disability claims each year.
He negotiated the chapter’s lease on two vacant buildings owned by the City of Coolidge, the original site (now the DAV Veterans Museum) and a larger one after the group outgrew it. He obtained a van for Eloy veterans to use to get to medical appointments in 2017 and started a medical equipment program in 2019.
Hugues CQ Byrne
Byrne was the Cold War Grand Marshal for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, held Nov. 11. He came in as commander for VFW Post 1677 in Casa Grande when it was nearly shut down in 2019 and turned it around, then was named commander for VFW District 10 over all nine of its posts in 2021-22.
He’s been named an All-State and All-American commander in recognition of his work and is VFW’s Department of Arizona surgeon, or chairman of the health committee, which promotes health programs for all posts in the state.
Byrne is VFW National Convention Memorial Services Chairman. He was named Detachment 901’s Marine of the Year in 2022, and in July he was awarded the Gil La Montoya award by the Department of Arizona for efforts that go above and beyond the call of duty.