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U.S. Marines with the Recruiting Sub-Station Fullerton, Recruiting Station Orange County stand behind retired U.S. Marine Col. Tim Anderson for the Cake Cutting Ceremony in Yorba Linda, California on Nov. 10, 2020. Marines, Marine veterans, and local law enforcement came together in order to surprise retired Col. Anderson with a Marine Corps birthday celebration. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Sarah Ralph)

Photo by Sgt. Sarah Ralph

Recruiting Station Orange County Honors Marine Veteran’s Last Marine Corps Birthday

8 Dec 2020 | Sgt. Sarah Ralph 12th Marine Corps District

Four years ago retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Tim Anderson was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Earlier this year he was given the heartbreaking news that his diagnosis had transitioned into the late stages of Lou Gherig’s disease. Colleen Anderson, Tim’s beloved wife of forty-one years, didn’t know if her husband would be able to celebrate and experience another Marine Corps birthday.

Anderson was commissioned into the Marine Corps Reserves forty-two years ago and has been the recipient of the Bronze Star while serving in Vietnam, and the Legion of Merit, an award that is given due to exceptional meritorious conduct. Anderson has a remarkable history within his beloved Corps by being the highest ranking officer to qualify as an active jumpmaster, becoming the Commanding Officer for 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) and 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance.

Tim is loved by the community in which he served on the Los Angeles Police Department in 1971, and had the pristine opportunity to work with Los Angeles SWAT and K-9 unit. Anderson was able to work simultaneously at the police department and maintain his career in the Marine Corps Reserves. Retired Col. Anderson served in Marine Corps Reserves for thirty years before he decided to retire in 2008 from both the Marine Corps and the police department.

Sid Heal, a retired Chief Warrant Officer-Five and close friend, assisted in organizing a surprise birthday celebration for Anderson.

“Tim has never been the type of person to mention his personal setbacks or sufferings,” says Heal. “He is one of the most courageous people know.”

Colleen and Tim had no idea of the surprise that they encountered on the morning of November 10th. Marines from Recruiting Station Orange County, Marine veterans, Los Angeles police officers, and Orange County police officers showed up on the front lawn of the Anderson’s household in order to surprise Tim with a traditional Marine Corps birthday celebration.

Marines from Recruiting Sub-Station Fullerton, Recruiting Station Orange County provided the Honor Guard for the Cake Cutting Ceremony.

“It was important for us to be there for Colonel Anderson today, so we could pay tribute to a Marine who had a part in shaping the Marine Corps of today,” says Staff Sgt. Jordan Law, Color Sgt. for the Honor Guard and recruiter for Recruiting Sub-Station Fullerton.

Upon seeing the surprise celebration Tim and Colleen were unable to hold the tears back.

“I could hardly speak, I was so overwhelmed with emotions,” says Tim. “This may have been one of the best Marine Corps birthdays I've ever had. I truly didn’t think I’d get the chance to celebrate it again.”

Recruiting Station Orange County expresses our gratitude to Col. Anderson and his dedication to the nation and Corps. Marines with the station felt it was an honor to support this event, and to assist in continuing the traditions for the Marine Corps birthday one last time for their fellow brethren.

“Community service is a pillar of the Marine Corps’ mission. There is a reason we pass a slice of birthday cake from the oldest to the youngest Marine, says Law. “ The Passing of history and traditions is what sets our institution apart from all others, it’s what makes us great and formidable. “


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