Recruiting District Commander's Son Joins the Marines
By Sgt. John Neal
| | November 13, 2003
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. --
Instead of embracing his father, Nathan Foersch now has to salute him. At least while he's in uniform anyway.
Foersch, 18, has spent his whole life watching his father, Col. Warren Foersch, don a camouflage uniform and defend his country as a United States Marine. As of Oct. 31, the younger Foersch joined his father's ranks, having graduated from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and earning the title "Marine."
A native of San Clemente, Calif., Private First Class Foersch is a fourth generation military member. His great-grandfather served in the Army during World War I. His grandfathers both served in the Navy. Col. Foersch says his son is carrying on a sort of family tradition of service, while starting a new one.
"We started a Marine tradition," he said of his son's recent becoming a Marine.
Being the son of a Marine is no guarantee of actually becoming a Marine. Like thousands of young men every year, Pfc. Foersch had to succeed in some of the hardest basic military training in the world. It's a daunting task for most any 18-year-old, but the motivation to press on and graduate, Foersch says, came from a personal desire to come home a Marine and "to make bigger footsteps than my father."
To receive the title Marine was an obvious triumph for Foersch and his fellow Leathernecks of Platoon 3093, India Co., 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. For Foersch, though, Friday's graduation was especially memorable: his father was the ceremony's reviewing officer.
"I felt really special because not everyone gets to be reviewed by their father," said Foersch after graduation.
Col. Foersch considered the opportunity to be "a distinct honor." Foersch is the commanding officer of the 1st Marine Corps District, a recruiting command that covers the northeast United States and is headquartered in Garden City, N.Y. His boss is Brig. Gen. Joseph J. McMenamin, who is the commanding general of the Eastern Recruiting Region and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. When Brig. Gen. McMenamin found out the younger Foersch was at boot camp, he invited Col. Foersch to be the reviewing officer.
"To be asked to do it ... that was a gift from our general," said Foersch.
Col. Foersch also welcomed his son into the ranks by awarding him the Eagle, Globe and Anchor; the emblem of the Corps given to new Marines the day before graduation.
"He just said 'good job,'" said the younger Foersch. "He didn't give me a speech or anything."
After a brief stay home, Pfc. Foersch will go on to infantry training, and hopes to work with Light Armored Vehicles like his father did.
"I'm very proud he chose that," said Col. Foersch on his son's career choice. "When he was three years old, I was a company commander of LAVs. We were in parades and he got to wear a helmet. It's just in his blood."
As for saluting his father, Foersch says, "I've only done it once. I guess it's something I'll have to get used to." He then added jokingly, "I'll have to make sure I'm in civilian attire every time I'm around him."