CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
“As an officer, it’s an honor to be able to promote or re-enlist a young Marine. I’ve done tons of promotions and it’s an honor when they come up and ask you, ‘Hey, sir, will you do this for me?’ It’s something that they thought about—something about you that made an impression on them and made them want you to promote or re-enlist them,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wayne D. Duree Sr., engineer equipment officer, Regional Command (Southwest).
This time, however, is even more special. The 22-year Marine Corps veteran administered the Oath of Enlistment to his son and namesake, Wayne D. Duree Jr. Adding to the already monumental occasion is the fact that Duree Sr. is currently deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
Duree Sr., a resident of Sun City, Calif., stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., went along with his son to the recruiting office prior to leaving on deployment in January. “He was bugging me for the longest time, ‘Dad, take me to the recruiter. Dad, take me to the recruiter.’ As a dad, as a Marine, I went in there kind of a little defensive. I wanted the recruiters to know, ‘Hey, this is my son.’ But he was just ready to go.”
For Duree Jr., 18, a senior at Paloma Valley High School, in Menifee, Calif., joining the Marine Corps was the obvious choice. “It’s the toughest,” he said. “I want a challenge.”
After enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, he must first complete Marine Corps Recruit Training prior to earning the title of Marine. Following completion of his initial training, Duree Jr. will attend a follow-on school in order to become an intelligence specialist, a military specialty that involves the collection, recording, analysis, processing, and dissemination of information. He plans to go to college and then become an officer in the Marine Corps.
But the driving force behind his passion to join the Corps lies closer to the heart. “I just want to be like my Dad.”
His father couldn’t be more proud.
“We were at church having a potluck and talking about who we were, and each person shared something that everyone else didn’t know about you,” said Duree Sr. “His thing was that he wanted to be a Marine because he wanted to be like Dad, and he had never said it before. It was pullin’ the heartstrings a little bit.”
Throughout his time as a Chief Warrant Officer and as an enlisted Marine prior to that, Duree Sr. has embodied the Marine Corps’ leadership philosophy.
“You take care of your Marines and you want the best for them and that’s just who you are as a leader. You don’t even think, ‘I’m making an impression on this person,’” he said.
This time, the lasting impression he made was not on one of his Marines, but on his son.
When Duree Sr. found out he was deploying for a year with Marine Expeditionary Brigade- Afghanistan, he knew that part of that sacrifice was the probability of missing out on major life events back home. With the blessing of technology, a bit of creativity and some coordination with Marine Entrance Processing Station San Diego, his son’s enlistment wasn’t one of them.
During the dark, barely morning hours of Feb. 6, Duree Sr. trod through the freezing rain to a nearly abandoned office. He stood at the position of attention in front of a black backdrop, opposite a laptop webcam propped up on the remnants of care packages.
Thousands of miles and several time zones away, his son looked back at him. Even over a video connection, the Duree family radiated pride, happy to be together for the long-awaited moment.
“It means the world to me,” said Duree Sr.
“As many times as I’ve done this, I think I’m the most nervous now,” he said. “Stand at the position of attention, son. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.”