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Marine Corps Becomes A Family Tradition
by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Monique LaRouche - December 31, 2011

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Major Angella M. Lawrence administers the Oath of Enlistment to her two sons, Kalab and Christian, Nov. 14, 2011 at the Military Entrance Processing Center, in Raleigh, N.C. Lawrence is a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps. Her sons are currently in boot camp and plan on graduating Feb. 10, 2012. Lawrence will be home from her deployment to Afghanistan to attend their graduation. Photo courtesy of Maj. Angella M. Lawrence
Major Angella M. Lawrence administers the Oath of Enlistment to her two sons, Kalab and Christian, Nov. 14, 2011 at the Military Entrance Processing Center, in Raleigh, N.C. Lawrence is a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps. Her sons are currently in boot camp and plan on graduating Feb. 10, 2012. Lawrence will be home from her deployment to Afghanistan to attend their graduation. Photo courtesy of Maj. Angella M. Lawrence

 CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (12/23/2011) -- When Maj. Angella M. Lawrence enlisted into the Marine Corps, she joined because she wanted to see the world and get out of Pierre Part, La. She had no plans to stay for the long haul or make the military a family tradition, yet 23 years after she enlisted, her sons Kaleb and Christian joined the Marine Corps, a week before Lawrence's deployment to Afghanistan.

Lawrence, Marine Ground Task Force (M) deployment distribution officer for Regional Command Southwest, Helmand province, Afghanistan, described how Kalab and Christian enlisted into the Marine Corps. “During the Christmas holidays 2010, the boys got together and decided they were going to join. Kalab was a third-year honor student and was dual enrolled with Chadron State and the local community college. He was classified as a senior when he signed,” Lawrence said.

After completing his first semester, Christian, the younger of the two, informed his parents that he was not ready for
college and was going to look into joining one of the military services. Kalab followed suit intending to finish school as soon as he could.

Although starting a tradition was not the major's motivation when she enlisted, the Marine Corps became a career and the family grew accustomed to the military lifestyle: regularly uprooting, changing schools and leaving friends behind. But their relationship as brothers grew very close.

“They have been friends with one another longer than anyone else in their lives,” Lawrence explained. “Most kids grow up with childhood friends from the neighborhood; they both have had to leave many of their buddies.”

The two brothers are “thick as thieves” their mom said and always side by side. “They hunt, fish, and ski together. They love being outdoors. Last year they even took a trip to New Orleans for Kalab's birthday and they wanted to go on a cruise, but Christian was too young.”

Lawrence was asked if she would like to administer the Oath of Enlistment to the new recruits at the Military Entrance Processing Center in Raleigh, N.C. where her sons were preparing to go to boot camp.

“I was honored” Lawrence said. “As I recited the Oath, they all repeated after me, and though the room was full, I focused on Kalab and Christian. I stood there sweating and with goose bumps. I shook everyone's hands and congratulated them but when I got to my boys, emotions took over and I started to cry. I'm not too Marine tough, even after 23 years of service when it comes to being a mom.”

The brothers are now at boot camp at Parris Island, S. C. and they are expected to graduate February 2012. The brothers have been writing to her. Christian said he understands his mother's hard work and the loneliness. In his letters, Christian describes how his mom must feel when she's deployed, and he said if he would have known what that feeling was like, he would have been writing every day.

Kalab expressed that being away at boot camp made him miss home, Lawrence said. Kalab realizes the importance of a letter from home and asked his parents to please write to the both of them every day. Kalab also stated that he is “tired, sore and hungry” but “drill is amazing.”

Lawrence reflects on her extensive career in the military. She was enlisted for just over 11 years and during this time she traveled the world, living in Japan for three years. Lawrence has been on multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait. She was a platoon commander, which she says was her favorite position in the Marine Corps. She worked through each enlisted rank, was appointed warrant officer and is currently a commissioned officer.

“I am proud the way I came in the Corps, but it was the long hard way,” Lawrence said, adding she was trying to guide Kalab and Christian to consider officer corps but they wanted to go though the enlisted route, as she did. Kalab would like to make a career out of the Marine Corps, just like his mom, and Christian is undecided about his future in the military.

“I would not change it for the world,” Lawrence says, remembering how her mother supported her decision 23 years ago. Now, she considers all her Marines as her sons and daughters.

“It's a band of brothers. When a junior Marine succeeds, it's all worth it.”

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Monique LaRouche
Regional Command Southwest
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2011

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