A Marine scans the horizon. The heads-up display in his B-24 exoskeleton helmet reveals a hot spot in its infra-red readout. Is that an enemy? Servos kick in and whir as he takes two steps forward for a better look. Confirmed hostile. The information beams back to superiors as the B-24's shoulder launched high explosive grenade launcher locks on target. The Marine prepares to fire.
September 29, 2016 - Micah Daily, a 9-year-old boy at the time, drew a photo of a robot and wrote a note addressed to Marine Corps Recruiting Command aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA in 2015. Capt. David P. Foley wrote and hand-delivered a note to Micah to attend the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition (MDMME) later that year, but could not because his grandmother became deathly ill. Foley extended the invitation to the next year, where Micah, his grandmother and his father attended the 2016 MDMME. Foley is the adjutant officer for MCRC. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Shaehmus Sawyer)
One 10-year-old boy aspires to build the concepts of the future like this, but could not wait to tell the military his plans. Micah Daily wrote a letter to Marine Corps Recruiting Command, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., that ended with, “if you show me the place ware you make all the Robots and stuff I will tell you how to build it.”
The letter included a drawing of his ‘B-24' one-manned robot equipped with mini-guns, control systems and a seat for a Marine. The letter was duplicated and sent to multiple branches of the military, but only the Marines replied. One reached MCRC, where Capt. David P. Foley, the adjutant officer of MCRC, saw it.
“I read it and realized that Micah was from a neighboring town very close to where I grew up.” said Foley. “I took it to my boss and asked him if I could respond to it myself. I gave them a call letting them know I received the letter.”
In April of 2015, Micah Daily, the young boy who sent the letter, and his family came home from vacation to a voicemail from Foley.
“I couldn't believe it!” said Heidi Redd, Micah's grandmother. “We told Micah not to expect anything to avoid disappointment, but we never expected this.”
Foley went on leave for Independence Day, but had another plan while on vacation. On July 2, 2015, Foley grabbed the letter he wrote, put on his Dress Blue “D” uniform and hand-delivered an invitation to Micah for the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition (MDMME) held aboard MCB Quantico.
“When I got that letter, it felt like a roller coaster,” said Micah. “I don't even know how to explain it. It just felt so weird—“
“Like butterflies,” his father, Justin Daily, said with a glowing smile.
Unfortunately, his grandmother developed a medical condition, preventing them from attending the event Foley invited them to, and so he extended the invitation to the next year. Although she is still suffering from her medical condition, it did not stop her, Micah and his father from attending the event this year.
The three drove more than 400 miles from Lancaster, Ohio to Quantico, Va., Sept. 26, 2016. Foley arranged for the family to receive a tour of the Pentagon, and they also visited the National Museum of American History and other historical places, Sept. 27.
“Captain Foley really went above and beyond for Micah,” said Heidi Redd. “Since we received his voicemail to today, we never thought this would have happened with the letter Micah sent.”
September 28, Micah saw the MDMME. He held weapons, shot at a simulated marksmanship booth, climbed into the driver seat of military vehicles, learned about amphibious assault craft on display, played with many remote-controlled robotics and more. He experienced a lot of things many kids do not have the opportunity to, but he never failed to thank the Marines or contractors who took the time to show him the contraptions.
“I think he really enjoyed it,” said Foley. “The intent was to give him the shock and awe effect of the Marine Corps. You could see it on his face, he was excited and thrilled to be here the entire time. Part of why I did this was the connection to my hometown, and I thought of how amazing it would have been if someone had done this for me as a kid.”
After having some chow, Micah, his family and Foley visited MCRC and met Foley's team. He learned a little about the mission of MCRC and the roles Marines play in it.
“Ever since I could walk, talk or do any of that stuff, I wanted to be a part of the military,” said Micah. “I really want to be a Marine now.”
The last trip of the day was the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps in Triangle, Va. There, Micah was able to read the plaques and learn all he could about the history and traditions of the Marine Corps, and related what he learned in the museum to his experiences during the MDMME.
“I still can't believe how much Capt. Foley has done for Micah,” said Redd. “This really was a dream come true for him. The fact that the Marine Corps was the only branch to respond to us meant a lot, but to give us a tour of the Pentagon, get us into the Modern Day Marine Expo, get us on base to meet his team... it is was just above and beyond.”
Micah and his family left MCB Quantico with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, thanks to his letter and Foley—the Marine who made one boy's dream a reality.
“When you complete a task on your daily list of things to do, you get a sense of fulfillment, but it goes away quickly,” said Foley. “Something like this brings a deep and profound sense of fulfillment because I know I did something that possibly impacted someone's life. It's still sinking in. It's definitely something that is going to stick with me for a very long time.”
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Shaehmus Sawyer
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