Marine carries on family tradition
By Sgt. Kimberly S. Leone
| | May 23, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Company C graduates two Manygoats!
And that is a source of pride for the Manygoats family and part of a family tradition dating back to World War II.
In actuality, while Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion has trained two brothers named Manygoats, a total of four Manygoats men have trained aboard the Depot in the last five years. Today, PFC Lawrence Manygoats joins his two older brothers, Michael and Larrison; his father, Harry; and several other family members as he graduates from boot camp bearing the title of Marine.
"I am very proud of my sons and daughters (for) taking-up these initiatives," Harry said. As a single parent, he has watched four of his children, sons and daughters alike, opt to join the U.S. military. Three sons chose the Marine Corps, while their sister, affectionately known as "the odd ball," opted to join the U.S. Army. Yet another sister has decided to finish her college education before signing up with the Corps.
Harry himself served from March 1970 to April 1973 in Vietnam as a lance corporal. He describes his path to the Corps as differing from his children's because he was drafted.
"I had no choice but to (enlist) into the Marines," he said. But Harry doesn't look back at that lack of choice with bitterness or regret. He sees his time in the Corps as a period during which he served his country, developed his sense of self, and gained a greater appreciation for his cultural heritage. "The Marines have higher morality and discipline training that instills a better outlook on life and builds ... self-pride, (self) reliance, and (self) identity."
He describes the training and pride he gained from training and serving as a Marine as complementary to the "pride in oneself" instilled by the traditions of his Navajo culture. Now a sergeant serving in Phoenix, Ariz., Harry's son, Larrison, 26, agrees with his father, finding the longstanding relationship between the Navajo nation and the Marine Corps to be an ongoing source of inspiration and pride.
"(About) 70 percent of my hometown is made up of Marines," said Larrison describing the large Marine community in his hometown of Tuba City, Ariz. "I used to just sit there listening to Marines in their wheelchairs or looking at their scars ... telling their stories about the fight in the bush. It just made me want to be there. Maybe it was the child in me at the time, but it was so interesting, thereby making me want to be there with them and be a part of the Marine Corps. Maybe I just wanted to tell my own stories when I got home."
The Navajo code talkers, made famous by Hollywood, are a reality of tradition and history for the Manygoats' family. As each member has worked their way toward the title of Marine or soldier, they have been interviewed by media, inspired by the heroic tales of the proud men in their community, and followed by a cloud of high expectations.
Lawrence, 19, the newest Marine to follow in the Manygoats' footsteps, didn't face the media attention, but did carry with him the tales of the veterans in the wheelchairs itching old wounds.
According to Lawrence, he found his way to the Marine Corps in an effort to get out from the shadow of his older brothers and in the hopes of making those veterans proud.
The new Marine leaves the Depot today excited about home cooked meals and spending some time with his family. Lawrence plans to use his time in the Marine Corps to advance his education, travel and in general, "make something of himself."
"I wasted a lot of time back home," he said. "I'm focused now. Eyes open and back on track. I want to make my tribe proud and set myself up for better opportunities in life."