US Marine Corps

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One day when we were just dating he randomly stopped in our conversation and said, “You know I’m going to marry you one day, right?”
I laughed it off thinking ‘how could he say that if we just started dating?’

Time goes by and I just know that he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, thinking ‘he was right.’

He asked me to marry him and told me “I’m going to do everything to make you the happiest and give you the wedding of your dreams.”
I giggled. He asked me why I was laughing, and I said “I’ve always dreamt of having fireworks at my wedding, but I know that it’s a far fetched idea and I want you to know that just marrying you will be enough.”

He went on deployment, and I had to do all the wedding planning on my own.
The little bit of time we got to talk he always sounded so guilty for not being able to help, but assured me that he would do as much as possible when he got back and that he wanted everything to be perfect.

On our wedding reception we were dancing in a line to the train song (him and I in the front of the line), when before you know it almost all our guests are in our dancing train, the DJ opens the doors and leads the train outside to two chairs. I started asking him,”Wait what’s going on?”
Then fireworks start to burst in the sky.
“You said you wanted fireworks,” said my husband, “you got them.”

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Turns out, the United States Marine Corps has an *~amazing~* Flickr page. (Seriously, check it out.) We stumbled across it recently, and we’ve been obsessed ever since.

In addition to stunning photography, they do a great job representing women as powerfully as men, and offer a no-nonsense look at the life of Marines. There are also some really cool shots of the technology they use, and some charming pics of things like doggies and teary homecomings.

And if you want more, check out these powerful war stories >>

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The Indestructible Jack Lucas,

In 1942 Jacklyn H. Lucas enlisted in the Marine Corps, not an unusual thing to do during World War II, but certainly unusual at the age of 14.  A boy who looked much older than his years, Lucas claimed he was 17, forged his mother’s signature, and was inducted into the Corps no questions asked.  Jack Lucas underwent Marine Corps training at Parris Island and qualified as a sharpshooter and heavy machine gunner.  However after training, Lucas was sent from one menial assignment to the next, first in the lower 48, then at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

By 1945 Lucas was becoming bored with peaceful service, and on January 10th he went AWOL and stowed away on a ship bound for Iwo Jima.  Despite going AWOL, Lucas was given a combat assignment and attached to the 5th Marine Division.

Upon hitting the beaches Lucas and his fellow Marines were sprayed with murderous Japanese gunfire.  Perhaps the only Marine to invade Iwo Jima unarmed, Lucas immediately picked up a rifle and returned fire. During the battle, it was his squad’s duty to clear out a machine gun nest near a deep ravine.  It was then that a grenade landed in the middle of his squad.  Without thinking, Lucas leaped upon the grenade, determined to use his body as shield to protect his comrades.  Then another grenade landed nearby.  Lucas grabbed that grenade as well, and stuffed it under his torso.  When the two grenades exploded his body was thrown into the air.  Amazingly, Lucas was still alive, though seriously wounded.  Covered from head to toe with shrapnel wounds, Lucas was evacuated to a hospital ship.  Over the next seven months of recovery, Lucas would undergo 21 surgeries to remove 250 pieces of shrapnel from his body.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions (the youngest Marine to receive the award), as well as the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

After the war, Jack Lucas returned home, resumed his education as a ninth grader, graduated high school, and graduated college with a business degree.  He married three times.  His marriage with his second wife didn’t go so well, as she hired a hitman to kill him.  Fortunately he was able to fend off the attack.

In 1961, he rejoined the military, this time joining the US Army and becoming a paratrooper so that he could “conquer his fear of heights”.  During a training jump, his two parachutes failed to open, and he fell 3,500 feet before slamming into the ground.  Miraculously, despite screaming to the earth at terminal velocity, Lucas walked away from the accident unscathed.  From 1961 to 1965, Lucas served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne.  When he finally retired he had risen to the rank of captain.

Jack Lucas died of Leukemia in 2008 at the age of 80.  His Medal of Honor and citation is currently sealed within the hull of the USS Iwo Jima.

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M60 machine gun teams throughout the Vietnam War. The M60 beccame a distinctive weapon of the war due to its appearance, signature sound, and by its ability to attract enemy fire. American M60 machine gunners were nicknamed “roosters” during the war, as the muzzle flash from the gun creates an outline or pattern reminiscent of a rooster’s tail.

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Making History in the Sky with Capt. Katie Higgins

#MyStory is a series that spotlights inspiring women in the Instagram community. Join the conversation by sharing your own story. To see what life is like for the Blue Angels, follow @gearupflapsup on Instagram.

“#MyStory illustrates how a desire to serve one’s country can inspire someone to reach beyond their own preconceived notions about themselves.” —US Marine Corps Capt. Katie Higgins (@gearupflapsup), a 29-year-old third-generation military aviator and the first female Blue Angels pilot

“Being a female student at the US Naval Academy was the first time I was a minority simply because of my gender. When I was there, it was around 20 percent women. I learned a lot of valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, perseverance and hard work. Most importantly, however, I learned the significance of pulling your own weight and earning respect versus demanding it. I always say the same thing to women who want to pursue any career let alone a nontraditional one: ‘Calm seas don’t make a skilled sailor.’ It’s not the easy times in your life that make you who you are. It’s the hard times, the obstacles, the rough seas that shape you as a person. My time in Afghanistan is the part of my life that I am the most proud of. I became a Marine to support those troops on the ground in every way possible. In Afghanistan, I felt like I was doing that every single day.”