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Semper Fi

June 11th, 2011 Comments off

Tomorrow I’m running in my first 10k.  In the past year I’ve slowly gotten back into running, and this race is one I’m looking forward to running.  I injured my knee last week, and so I’m hobbled a bit, but I’m still planning to go run, and do the best I can.  The race I’m running is called the Wounded Warrior 10k.  From the facebook page for the event:

The event will honor our men and women of the military and help raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to Marines and Sailors injured in post 9-11 combat, and ReserveAid, which gives financial support to Reserve Service Members from all branches of the military.

So why am I up and unable to sleep at 5am the morning before the race?  Who knows… but here’s what’s going through my mind.  Memories of the Marines and sailors that have impacted my life for the positive.

My grandfather, Stan Stueve, served in the Marines during World War II.  I don’t recall him telling many stories of his time in the Marines, but I do remember how he proudly he displayed his Marine Corps memorabilia.  When I was in high school, my grandfather was State Commander for the American Legion in Oregon the year I went to Boys State.  After I graduated from college, and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy he bought me my Naval sword.  When he passed in 1990, I was honored to take possession of is M1 Garand rifle.  My grandfather taught me to respect the flag, and honor the service of the people in our armed forces.  So I’ll be thinking of him while I run.

When I went to college, I joined the Oregon State University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.  As a freshman, I signed up for the Naval Drill Team, and was adopted by that band of brothers.  From men ahead of me, like John Carlstrom, Matt Biondi, Bill Becker, and Charlie Burk I learned about discipline and integrity.  From my peers that went on to serve in the Marines and Navy, like Rick McCormick, Rick Chambers, Rick Thompson, Dave Heino, Dave Magedman, and Tom Himstreet I learned the meaning of brotherhood and teamwork.  I’ll run with the many pleasant memories of all the Drill Team shenanigans.

After I was commissioned in the Navy in 1990, my best friend from high school was commissioned in the Marines.  Leonard Troxel is my brother from another mother, and I’m proud to call this fine man my friend.  While in college, I also formed life-long friendships with others like Steve Beals and Chris Evans.  I’ll be remembering their friendship as I run.

On my first ship, the USS Rushmore (LSD-47) I took part in Operation Restore Hope alongside the Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.  These black-booted Marines secured the port of Mogadishu to provide a secure environment for peace keeping operations in Somalia.  I’ll be thinking of their service and bravery as I jog along.

I left the service in 1999, a few years before the towers fell and the world changed.  I don’t know personally many Marines and Sailors that have fought in the battles and expeditions in our current struggles.  I honor their service and sacrifices they made in protecting our country.  The Marines I have had the privilege to know live up to the saying, “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

So as I run, I’ll run thankful for the service of the men I call brothers, and for the countless others that serve with pride and dignity, and for all of their sacrifices.

If you’d like to ‘tune in’ and watch my run, you can see it live on RunKeeper Sunday morning starting about 0715 hours CDT.

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