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Patriotic Article
Military

By USMC Cpl. Skyler Tooker

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Chaplain Assistant Serves God, Country, For More Than 25 Years
(October 10, 2010)

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CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan—Boyd Lewis has spent nearly 26 years in the military. The Petty Officer 1st Class has joined the 1st Marine Division (Forward) for one last deployment before retirement.
This is Lewis' first deployment to Afghanistan, but this is not his first time serving overseas with Marines. Lewis, the religious program specialist for the 1st MarDiv (Fwd), deployed to Iraq with Regimental Combat Team 5, in 2008.

Lewis assists Navy chaplains in developing programs for the emotional and spiritual health of the sailors, Marines and their families.

Lewis wanted to serve in the military ever since he was in the seventh grade.

“As a little kid no one ever played Marine or sailor, because there is no way to do that, we didn't know what those services were,” said Lewis, 43, from Bardstown, Ky. “So, in the woods, back behind my parents' house, playing army was just a normal game and it evolved from there.”
 October 7, 2010 -- Petty Officer 1st Class Boyd Lewis, the religious program specialist for 1st Marine Division (Forward), is on his last stretch with only a few months left in his deployment to Afghanistan. Lewis, 43, from Bardstown, Ky., is set to retire in 2011.
October 7, 2010 -- Petty Officer 1st Class Boyd Lewis, the religious program specialist for 1st Marine Division (Forward), is on his last stretch with only a few months left in his deployment to Afghanistan. Lewis, 43, from Bardstown, Ky., is set to retire in 2011.
By the time Lewis was a junior in high school he joined the Army Reserve.

He went to basic combat training courses between his junior and senior year and performed military drill with the Reserve Officers' Training Corps his senior year. Lewis went active duty immediately following graduation from Marion Centennial High school in Willisburg, Ky., in June 1985.

Lewis served as a chaplain's assistant with the Army until 1995 and decided he wanted to spend more time with is wife and four children. Lewis stayed in the Army Reserve after coming off active duty.

“I missed the [active duty] military horribly and I wanted to come back in,” said Lewis. “I talked to the Marines about being a chaplain's assistant and they pointed me to the Navy. So, I called the Navy recruiter and they said they attach Navy chaplains and RP's to Marine units.”

Lewis decided he was going to join the Navy. He shipped off exactly 16-years from the day he joined the Army.

“I was supposed to go to a Navy boot camp that was for other service veterans, but my paper work was messed up,” Lewis said. “So, me and this other guy who was a former Marine were going through boot camp together and we had a ball, because we already knew how to do boot camp.”

Lewis ended up losing his former rank of staff sergeant in the Army when leaving the military and started at petty officer 3rd class when entering the Navy, but he was going to serve with the Marines, which is what he wanted to do.

Lewis has served under every president from Ronald Reagan to the present Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama. Between the Army and the Navy, Lewis is going on 26 years in the military. Lewis plans to retire next year after returning from his year-long deployment with 1st MarDiv (Fwd) in Afghanistan.

“I have been able to jump out of airplanes with Army paratroopers and serve with Marines. Very few people get to do that,” Lewis said proudly. “I have got to live every little boy's dream.”

Article and photo by USMC Cpl. Skyler Tooker
1st Marine Division
Copyright 2010

Provided through DVIDS

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