Marine Corps Retirement on MCAS Miramar
Twenty-three years of service to the United States Marine Corps is a long time. When Major Larson started his career, he was enlisted, then earned a college diploma while active duty and commissioned as an officer. Four children, countless moves and multiple deployments later, he retired as a major in the United States Marine Corps.
Retirement ceremonies in the Marine Corps are a sight to behold. Yes, they have the requisite pomp and circumstance. But like anything in the Marine Corps, they are well-prescribed. Awards are presented, retirement orders are read, spouses and children are recognized. A well-respected leader - usually a former C.O. - makes a speech about the Marine's character. The Marine then talks about their time serving the country. The presentation of Olde Glory - a touching ceremony revolving around the United States flag - closes out the ceremony.
My favorite part in all of this is hearing from the Marine in their own words. Twenty or more years of doing the same thing - especially when you're moving constantly, deploying, spending time away from your family - is a long time. I love hearing their thoughts on a career in service to their country. In his speech, Major Larson said, "Yes, I'm going to take this uniform off, but that doesn't change. The character that I am, who I've been and who I've created and built, what I've taken from all the people around me, what I've taken from all the impressive people that I've served with and been around, my friends and my family, my leaders, my Marines, that doesn't change. I take that with me.
"I don't know what we're going to do next - that hasn't become completely clear - but that doesn't matter. We're going to win it. We're going to figure it out. And that's the biggest thing I've learned from the Marine Corps: how to win, and how to succeed. I'm going to take that with me outside of this uniform."
I am so grateful to have been a part of such a memorable day.