If you remember, 7News brought you a special edition of ‘Veterans Voices’ with Marine Corporal Jesse Beckwith of Toronto.
He’s still active duty and serves as a body bearer at Marine funerals at Arlington National Cemetery each day. Perhaps no one is more proud of his accomplishments than his father Shawn, a retired Marine who spent 15 years in the service.
This is Shawn’s story, in his own words.
“I had never thought about going into the military,” he said.
What was never a thought quickly became a career for former Marine Shawn Beckwith.
“One day I was walking down the road from the store and a recruiter pulled up beside me in a government vehicle and asked me if I’d ever thought about joining the Marine Corps and I said no,” Beckwith explained about his decision to join the military. “He said ‘would you think about it?’ And I said sure.”
Beckwith was still in high school at the time, but went to boot camp shortly after graduating in October of 1998.
“They really taught me the team mentality. There was no I,” he said of boot camp.
From there, Beckwith was assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where Beckwith said his job was to fill out paperwork for Marines just joining the service.
“That’s all I did,” he explained. “I was one of the lowest ranks in there. There’s private, PFC, so I got all the paperwork that was going through and everything.”
After two years, Beckwith continued to Washington D.C. where he worked as a retirement clerk, receiving a promotion to lance corporal and then corporal.
Beckwith then moved closer to home, stationed at a recruiting station in Cleveland.
“I met a lot of good Marines up there,” he said of his time in Cleveland. “We got to process a lot. I got to see how the applicants come in and get processed.”
Beckwith said this was one of his favorite duty stations, and also one that came with some practical jokes.
“I remember taking my baby’s dirty diapers and sticking them in my Master Sergeant’s locker,” he recalled. “He couldn’t figure out where the smell or anything’s coming from or what was going on.”
After a promotion to sergeant, Beckwith was stationed in New River, North Carolina. Here he worked in a personnel center and continued to move up the ranks.
“It was just a really great moment to get pinned on as staff sergeant while I was there,” Beckwith continued.
He also spent times stationed in Quantico, Virginia and Montgomery Alabama, which is where he retired in July of 2013.
Beckwith said his time in Alabama was probably his favorite duty stations. There he became a substance abuse counseling officer, medical liaison representative and equal opportunity representative.
Through almost all of the moves, Beckwith’s family was with him.
“It’s a really good experience for them because they got to see a lot of different parts,” he said. “They got to meet a lot of different people. We had people in and out. We constantly had a lot of friends. I think they liked it. They don’t regret it I think.”
He also credits his wife, Tiffany, for helping him to succeed in the Marines.
“I couldn’t of done it without her,” Beckwith said. I’m just really appreciative of my wife and how she’s raised our family and raised the kids and everything like that.”
And his son Jesse, who is in the midst of his own career in the Marines.
“It’s kind of interesting that my first duty station was Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. His first duty station was Camp Lejeune,” Beckwith said about his son’s career. “My second was the barracks at 8th & I and that’s where he’s at now. That’s his second duty station, so he’s kinda following along where I went.”