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Patriotic Article
Military

By USMC Pfc. Emily Cone

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Recruit Returns Favor To Corps For Saving Father's Life
(August 11, 2010)

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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (MCN - 8/6/2010) — Those who enlist in the Marine Corps have many reasons for joining. These reasons can range from family tradition to a strong desire to serve one's country, however very few have likely joined the Corps because a group of Marines saved their fathers' lives.
Pfc. Weldu Aregawi Gebrimichael, Platoon 3275, Company M, 3rd Battalion was inspired to join the Corps after hearing how a Marine sniper team saved his father's life.

Weldu Aregawi Gebrimichael, the father of Pfc. Gebrimichael, was an activist against the communist government in Ethiopia and known to have valuable information that could be used to fight them, said Gebrimichael.

The communist government had gained a foothold in Ethiopia in the early 1980s due to a series of famines that hit Ethiopia due to draughts. The famines affected 8 million people and left 1 million dead.
 
 Pfc. Wendu Gebremichael, foreground, Platoon 3275, Co. M, listens to directions before providing part of a perimeter around the Sky Scraper obstacle on the Confidence Course.
Pfc. Wendu Gebremichael, foreground, Platoon 3275, Co. M, listens to directions before providing part of a perimeter around the Sky Scraper obstacle on the Confidence Course.
His father fled to Sudan with other activists but was captured by the Ethiopian government. Later, he was rescued by Marines who were conducting operations in Sudan at the time said Gebrimichael.
He said his father returned to Ethiopia in 1988, and shortly afterward Gebrimichael was born and given his father's full name, which is an Ethiopian custom.

A short while later, his father moved to the U.S. for his safety. Gebrimichael grew up in Ethiopia with his mother, never having known his father nor heard the story of the Marines who had save his father's life.

It wasn't until five years ago, at the age of 17, that Gebrimichael was able to come to the U.S., sent for by the father he had never met. It was then he learned that his father's life was saved by Marines.

“I knew I wanted to join the Marine Corps as soon as I heard the story about Marines saving my father's life,” said Gebrimichael.

However, despite his desire to enlist he chose to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to learn to speak English properly before enlisting.

“I will finish college while I am in the Marine Corps but I stopped for now so I could enlist,” said Gebrimichael.

“He shone among his pears because he had a better attitude and was very enthusiastic and motivated,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Taylor, drill instructor, Platoon 3275, Co. M, 3rd Bn.

Gebrimichael has now proven he is worthy to join the same forces the men who saved his father had chosen, he said

“He refused to quit even when it got hard on him,” said Taylor. “He did more than exceptionally well on the tests.”

Gebrimichael has earned a Sharp Shooter badge on the rifle range and has a first class PFT. He finished the 54-hour Crucible, the final task to complete before earning the title of Marine, with his fellow recruits, culminating in a nine-mile hike called the Reaper, on July 29, and then received his eagle, globe and anchor emblem, the symbol of the Marine Corps.

“On the Crucible he worked hard,” said Taylor. “ I think he put out max effort. It was exhausting and he never lagged behind. At the Emblem Ceremony he really had earned it.”

Article and photo by Pfc. Emily Cone
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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