LOS ANGELES --
When you join the Marine Corps you’re not only joining for a four-year enlistment—you’re joining for a lifetime.
Veterans ranging from World War II to current operations were acquainted with each other and 137 future service members who took the oath of enlistment during a ceremony in Los Angeles, May 23.
Former Marine Dan F. Sturdivant, II a recipient of the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts and Vietnam veteran spoke of the connection he feels toward Marines.
“I believe that I stand on the shoulders of those who preceded me. What I think you see is brothers helping each other,” Sturdivant said. “We are the largest fraternity in the world.”
Sturdivant said he is thankful for what the Marine Corps gave him. Even after being wounded, he continues to show his patriotism by working for the United States Department of Homeland Security.
“I have my home, I have my job, and I have my education because of the Marine Corps. It was the best thing that happened to me despite getting wounded,” Sturdivant said.
He hopes he can continue to help combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with issues ranging from housing assistance to easing the transition to civilian life.
“I don’t think we do enough for combat veterans. I think there is more we can do,” Sturdivant said. “I think anything a disabled veteran wants they should be able to get.”
Former Marine Jeff Estep reinforced what Sturdivant said about the bond he shares with all Marines. He said there have always been, and will continue to be veterans willing to help each other.
“We have a special bond that no other service seems to have because we’ve all walked that same path,” Estep said. “Staying connected with Marines allows you to help each other in a way that transcends active duty.”
Sgt. Ryan Warner from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, noted the importance of events that bring combat veterans together. Due to his experience in a combat zone Warner is able to relate to combat veterans from past generations.
“In my short career in the Marine Corps you’re always preached about the brotherhood you’re going to create, and we don’t understand it as a whole while we’re still young in the Marine Corps,” Warner said. “Then you speak to these guys who are veterans of foreign wars, and they still have the same camaraderie and the same brotherhood as we now have with our bothers. It’s an enlightening experience.”