Like Father, Like Son
(February 16, 2011)
|MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (MCN - Feb. 10,
2011) — Every parent expects their children to grow up and
leave the nest to conquer life's problems as an adult. Those
that leave the nest on good terms will sometimes follow in
the footsteps of their parents, hoping to succeed in life.
From left to right, Pfc. Jeffrey A. Lawrence, now a corporal, and his father, Maj. Roy E. Lawrence, now a lieutenant colonel, pose for a picture at Roy's parent's home in Woodburn, Ky., after Jeffrey's graduation from boot camp in 2007. Both Marines are currently serving their duties aboard MCAS Cherry Point.
|Cpl. Jeffrey A.
Lawrence found himself doing just that. He enlisted
in the Marine Corps around 25 years after his
father, Lt. Col. Roy E. Lawrence. As Marines, life
handed them the pleasant surprise of landing them in
the same place. Jeffrey was stationed aboard Cherry
Point as an avionics electrician for Marine Aviation
Logistics Squadron 14; while Roy was also stationed
here as the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing aircraft
As a high school
student, Roy had above average grades with honor
student status. When it was time for Roy to decide
whether or not to attend college, he felt it wasn't
his time to do so. The economy made it rough for Roy
to find alternative options, so he felt the Marine
Corps was his optimum choice.
“I just wanted
something different, I was looking for some
challenges,” said Roy. “I joined the Marine Corps in
1979. Life out there was kind of rough at that time.
The economy wasn't good and my mom and
dad had five boys to take care of ... so joining the
Marine Corps was a new challenge I could take on.”
Many years later, Jeffrey found himself in the same
situation as his father's due to the economy. He excelled in
high school and received a full scholarship to the
University of Arizona, but the academic life just wasn't for
“College was a little different,” Jeffrey
remembered. “It was an environment with different social
pressures. I got away from the academic role of college and
did more socializing. I left college during my second
semester and found a job in a pharmacy. I wasn't going
anywhere at all, then Dad brought it up to me that the
Marine Corps could straighten me out, get me on a good path
and lead me somewhere. So I joined.”
later, Jeffrey graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot
Parris Island, S.C. As with many other families, the
graduation was a bonding experience, though for the
Lawrences it was for different reasons.
Roy and his
wife, former Gunnery Sgt. Sandy L. Lawrence, went to the
graduation as proud parents to congratulate the
accomplishments of their son.
“When I went to boot
camp, I had no clue that was what they went through,” said
Jeffrey of his father and mother. “I gained a lot more
respect for them at that point. It enlightened me to know a
little more of what my father and mother did. Seeing him
there on graduation day, I felt a little more pride than
others who didn't have someone in the Marine Corps sitting
there for them. It was touching. It meant more to me to
salute my Dad right after graduation than it meant to
actually receive my Eagle Globe and Anchor.”
Jeffrey's parents were equally touched by the experience.
“I was extremely proud going back to Parris Island
for the first time since I graduated in 1980 to watch his
graduation,” Roy remembered. “We were both extremely proud
of his step into the Marine Corps. He's done very well in
his military schools, always being in the top 10 percent of
his class. He was meritoriously promoted out of boot camp.
It was a great experience going back.”
a special esprit de corps that only Marines will be able to
understand. Fathers and sons as well share a special bond
that ties them together for life. The Lawrences have the
pleasure of sharing both in their relationship. It's like
the saying goes, ‘Like father, like son.' In the Lawrences'
relationship, this is more than true.
had a great relationship,” Roy said. “He's always been a
great son and never gave us any problems growing up. The
Marine Corps also builds camaraderie, so just being Marines
together makes us stronger.”
with his father isn't just one of love and appreciation, but
one of learning as well. Roy has already been through most
of the challenges Jeffrey faces, and that gives Jeffrey a
new resource when handling what life throws at him.
“He has accomplished many things. That is one way I build my
confidence,” said Jeffrey. “When people are feeling down at
work because they have to do this and that, I know that my
dad already went through it, so why not me? I have the same
hardships but I know I can come out a winner.”
to the family's bond is Jeffrey's mother and Roy's wife,
Sandy. As a Marine, Roy had to sacrifice a lot of time with
his family for his job. Roy left on multiple deployments and
was stationed in California while his family lived in
Arizona, leaving Sandy to tend to the family's needs.
“His mom, being a former Marine, has taught him just as
much about life's challenges as I have,” Roy said. “She
decided to step aside and let me continue with my career and
she made sure the kids made it through high school. I was
gone a lot on two or three deployments. On two occasions I
was a geo-bachelor so they could be steady through school.
She held down the home front. Just like any military spouse,
she took on that role and taught them just as much as I
Like the song Cats in the Cradle, time has
brought the Lawrence family full circle from what it used to
be. Jeffrey married his wife Bethany D. Lawrence and has two
children. Roy said he enjoys the opportunity to visit with
his grandchildren before he retires.
“We kicked all
the kids out and joined the Marine Corps, so they wouldn't
come back home, but having those babies close is great,” Roy
joked. “It's been a blast. I know that won't always be the
case. When I retire and he moves on, we won't always have
Roy is scheduled to retire in September
2011. Roy will return to his home town of Bowling Green,
Ky., leaving for Jeffrey this bit of advice:
have to be consistent in your career and what you want,” Roy
told his son. “You have to set those goals. This is the
biggest piece of advice I've given him since he came in. You
need to keep striving to make those goals because the Marine
Corps isn't going to hand you anything on a silver platter.
There are a lot of opportunities in the Marine Corps, you
just have to reach out there and grab them.”
will continue with the Marine Corps as a career and is
currently applying to become an officer.
By USMC LCpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps News
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