CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
From a small town in Northeast Texas to the hustle and bustle of the largest Marine Corps base in the world, retired Gunnery Sgt. Rhett E. Radcliffe, a communications electronics technician, challenged himself to do his best and help the younger demographic through his efforts.
Before retiring, the Whitehouse, Texas native served with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, where he said working with the younger Marines was his favorite part of the job.
“The part of (the Marine Corps) I will miss the most is taking care of and mentoring young Marines,” he said. “They are so eager to learn thus, they are so willing to absorb everything you tell them.”
The eagerness in junior Marines is why he reminds senior enlisted Marines to maintain themselves at a high level at all times; because NCOs want to be like their senior leadership, he said.
“Your noncommissioned officers are always looking at you even when you don’t know it; Marines want to be led,” said Radcliffe.
Radcliffe led with that in mind, said Gunnery Sgt. Samuel Paulk, a good friend of Radcliffe also with the unit.
“He went above and beyond to help his Marines,” said Paulk. “He performed well in a first sergeants’ billet and stopped at nothing to make sure his Marines were taken care of and that’s why they looked up to him.”
Being looked up to is something Radcliffe never looked for, but he is quick to credit his fellow service members for their dedication to a country that’s given them freedom.
“I don’t idolize anyone, but I believe each and every American, especially a Marine that is injured, risks injury or is willing to do so in the defense of his fellow Marine or his country, is a hero to me,” said Radcliffe.
One moment in particular comes to his mind almost immediately. The day a great leader did what his job title states; lead.
“Lt. Col. Ty Edwards was shot in the head when he left the safety of his humvee to lead a company of Afghan Soldiers into an assault against an ambushing group of insurgents on Oct 18th, 2008,” recalls Radcliffe as if it were yesterday. “He is a brave man and great leader and has been wheelchair-bound ever since the injury.”
That is what the Marine Corps is made of, said Radcliffe, and as his chapter in the Marine Corps comes to an end, he has no doubt the next chapters are going to be just as bright.