Sayonara to a Pacific softball pitching legend
Published: July 1, 2010
The retirement ceremony itself took a bit of a drenching from severe weather cell just before the scheduled start of the 2010 Firecracker Shootout Pacific-wide interservice softball tournament.
Still, nice was the sendoff for a longtime face of Okinawa softball, three-time All-Marine Richie Krause, a Marine master sergeant who on Thursday wrapped up 26 years of service to the Corps.
That the ceremony took place on a softball field, Field 1 of the Gunners Fitness & Sports Complex on Camp Foster, was entirely appropriate given his long affection for the game. In three tours covering 14 years on Okinawa, Krause played for at least six on-island open teams, and is one of a handful to play for both now-defunct Pacific Force, which holds the record with 39 Pacific interservice Grand Slam tournament titles, and American Legion, his last team, which is second to Pac Force with 12.
But above the winning, Krause says he'll miss the good competition and the camaraderie of what he calls the Pacific softball family.
"We compete on the field, we come together off the field," Krause told AFN Eagle 810-AM DJ Tech Sgt. Deidre Hines (aka Murphy Dee) during Thursday's Traffic Jams radio program.
Krause cited All-Army men's team captain Elmer Mason, whose wife, Val, last month underwent surgery at Tripler Army Hospital in Hawai'i for breast cancer, and the love and affection that even the most bitter rival teams showed for them. "Whether you're deployed or if you get sick, there's always someone there to check on you," Krause said.
Krause, 44, hails from LaCrosse, Wis. He and his wife of 21 years, Angel, have three children, Joshua (22), Justin (19) and Jayllan (10). For now, Richie plans to head to Colorado Springs, Colo., but also said "there may be another go-round for Richie Krause in the Pacific," just after the retirement ceremony.
The ceremony was not without a touch of humour, borne on the t-shirts worn by Angel, Jayllan and Justin:
Angel: "For 21 years, I shared Master Sgt. Krause with the Marine Corps. After today, Mister Krause is all mine! Oorah!"
Justin: "My dad, the Force from the Pac who hid in a Yellow Box to escape and show the Legion of America how to leave as a proud All-Marine."
Jayllan: "I did my time as a Marine Brat and all I get is ... the title of "retired" Marine Brat and this lousy t-shirt."
Fare thee well, Richie. :)