Iwo Jima Veterans Encourage, Inspire New Marines

Published 02/14 2013 05:46PM

Updated 02/14 2013 06:36PM

    Iwo Jima veterans, full of knowledge of the history of our country's fight for freedom and continuing fight to stay free, shared that knowledge with new US Marines in a special reunion at Fort Sill.
    Master Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Banks, with the US Marines, says, "These Marines, they learn in boot camp and in marine combat training as young guys about the history and legacy of the marine corps and the marines that came before them.  This gives them the opportunity to actually meet some of these gentlemen."
    For the World War II veterans, the day wasn't only about teaching.
    Those from the greatest generation learned what US Marine life is like for today's generation.
    James Majors, an Iwo Jima veteran, says, "It's something else.  I asked him how much that jeep cost over there a while ago.  He said $300-thousand.  The Jeep we had in 1944 cost probably $2000-$3000."
    The icing on the cake for the new Marines, whose ages span from 18 to 21, was hearing first-hand knowledge and encouragement from Herschel "Woody" Williams, medal of honor recipient for his actions during the battle of Iwo Jima.
    "Service to country is not only a pleasure, it is a responsibility," Williams says.
    Private First Class Stephen Garcia, a new Marine, says, "To actually be here with him and to see him in front of you, it's a big deal.  It's really motivating.  It makes what you do every day so much better.  It makes it more fun.  It makes you just enjoy everything that we're doing."
    "They are fulfilling that responsibility as volunteers, which I never dreamed would ever happen: that we would have enough people loving America enough that we would have enough volunteers to have an all volunteer force," Williams says.  "To me, it is tremendous."
    This is the 22nd annual Iwo Jima reunion in Texoma.
    We'll have continuing coverage of this gathering of true American heroes as their reunion runs through the weekend.

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