To a New U.S. Marine…

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Virginia Beach, halfway to Parris Island for my son David’s graduation from Marine boot camp this week.

I have been deeply grateful for all the expressions of support from many of you over these months, as I’ve pulled back the veil a bit on this important chapter in our family life. My regret has been that these expressions are scattered all over the place (Facebook, blog, Twitter, e-mail, elsewhere) and there’s no way to convey adequately to David how many people are grateful for him, and his fellow recruits, for the commitment they’ve made.

Then I thought – maybe we can. I’ve never asked for anything like this before, but here goes…

If it’s on your heart to convey your own message, in your own words, to David, would you please simply add a comment to this blog post? That way I can SHOW him, in one place, how many people love our men and women in uniform and value their service. I think it would be a great encouragement to him (and his fellow Marines who see it) to know that people all over who’ve never met him/them are thinking about them, praying for them, and grateful for their dedication.

I’ll add some pix of the graduation ceremony to this post later so you can see what a “newly-minted” Woodruff Marine looks like!

Thank you so much,

Steve Woodruff

[Update] It is Friday morning, just before the formal graduation ceremony (quite a show, we’re told!) – we had 5 hours yesterday with David for Family Day, and it was wonderful – a montage of pictures is below. I/we cannot tell you how wonderful also has been your response in the comments on this post. What an encouragement this is, not only to David, but hopefully to any young person making the choice and commitment to serve our nation.

[FINAL UPDATE] A picture of father and son after the formal graduation ceremony, which was quite a display of precision and pride.

And, in conclusion, two quick videos. First, a less-than-3-minute clip of the final moments of the graduation ceremony for 242 brand-new Marines. Yes, the distance makes it a bit less ideal for audio/video details, but I think you’ll agree that the last 30 seconds are worth the wait, when the new Marines are released to their families!

And, second, ever wonder if a young dog will remember a family member who has been gone for 3 months? Mystic certainly recognized David!


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

75 Responses to To a New U.S. Marine…

  1. Amy Fitch says:

    Dear David,

    On Thanksgiving this year, I mentioned to your Dad that my youngest brother was in Army Boot Camp at Thanksgiving a few years ago. My Mom was overwhelmed with worry that he wouldn’t get to eat turkey-or, if he did, that he’d be eating in his regimented 60 second time frame. She waited for his phone call home all day long until finally, the phone rang-he assured her that he’d eaten. Looking back, I thought THAT was a sacrifice for our Nation. A young man eating Thanksgiving dinner in a mess hall, without his family. But now, I see that the mess hall is a luxury. Last week, I’m sure there were many fine soldiers eating a Thanksgiving MRE in the battlefield. And you all do it for us, you sacrifice your comfort and freedom so we may have ours. There isn’t a “Thank You” big enough for me to give; only a sincere promise to continue to pray for you, and for all of our brave Men and Women in the Armed Forces, and to live in constant appreciation for the privileges you make possible. Congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment, Semper Fi.

    Amy Fitch

  2. Christine J Quedens says:

    As I finish up the last year of a 30 year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, a sister sea service of the U.S. Marines I am proud to have served, know those who continue to serve and those who will continue to serve to protect the Freedoms and Libertys that we enjoy each day in all five of the Armed Services. Thank you for your service and all that you do. Semper Fi
    Christine J Quedens
    Captain, U.S. Coast Guard

  3. Brenda says:

    I come from a very strong tradition of military service and know the love you have for your country and that of your fellow service men and women you have already served with and will serve with in the future. It’s a bond and connection you will have your entire life – that also includes your extended family.

    My Uncle proudly served in the Marines – two tours in Viet Nam. My Dad proudly served in the Air Force – yes, I’m an Air Force brat and still get goosebumps when I hear or see the Air Force planes flying. My husband served 22 1/2 years in the Army – I know right? Air Force brat married an Army guy – whaat? My brother just did retire from the Navy and is now teaching other Naval officers at the Naval Academy.

    I know the sacrifices you and your family are making. But know this – there is no deeper pride in America, or in your family, for your decision to serve. I live in Oklahoma and I have to tell you that pride runs deep here. We still say the Pledge of Allegiance before events, we still salute the flag, we honor our heroes. You’re now one of those heroes.

    Your work will make a difference for those that don’t have a voice or a chance to know what they’re capable of. Your work will allow the light of freedom to shine in areas that have only known darkness and fear. You and those you serve with stand between us and the powers against us. For that I’m deeply, deeply grateful. Grateful to you, your family and your friends that are supporting you in this decision. Thank you for your service. God Bless and God Speed. Brenda and Tim Finkle, Norman OK

  4. Christina says:


    I want you to know that we greatly appreciate the sacrifices and hard work that you are doing to serve our country. Without your bravery and courage we would not be able to enjoy our freedom and this great country. Congratulations and thank you!!


  5. xavier petit says:


    You are doing a wonderful and a very courageous think. I deeply admire young men and women like you who choose to serve our country and show their deepest commitment to our value.
    In the past decade, things have changed dramatically in the world of warfare and diplomacy and while still carrying the same level of high risks, missions have become complex and much more challenging in keeping a balance between peace keeping and fighting enemies.
    You certainly have chosen a challenging life and I hope that you will find success in your career with the Marines and that this will help you achieve your dreams.

    I want to thank you for serving and putting yourself at risk to protect us all. You will be in my thoughts and prayers along with all the men serving. Best wishes

  6. Dear David,

    I come from a generation that had so many “issues” that we failed to recognize what it takes for men and women to serve our country through the military. We were too self-absorbed during the 1970s to appreciate the depth of commitment, sacrifice and love of country required to serve.

    Please know that I recognize and appreciate all that now. I thank God especially for your servant’s heart, knowing now there’s no strength without it.

    Thank you for serving our country.

    Meredith Gould
    Princeton, NJ

  7. Ashley Messick says:

    Dear David,

    As your dad said in his post, it’s a shame that it “there’s no way to convey adequately to [you] how many people are grateful for him, and his fellow recruits, for the commitment they’ve made”. Our expressions of thankfulness are scattered and perhaps not stated as often as we should.

    Last night during Obama’s speech to the nation I thought of people like you, my boyfriend who’s a Marine, the many other servicemen and women in the states and serving away from home; for the first time it occurred to me how the words our leaders speak would only be words if it weren’t for the hands and feet of so many dedicated people who are willing to sacrifice to make those words a reality.

    You really are an American hero and I’m so thankful for your service. Blessings upon you as you go forth and may you return home to your loving family and to all of us Americans who appreciate all that you do. Semper Fi.


  8. Shelly Spoeth says:

    Congratulations on such a major achievement! Please know that you are thought about every day by so many Americans who appreciate what you do. I wish you courage, strength, peace, prayers and many, many thank yous as you venture into the service and protection of our country. Thank you and god bless!
    Shelly Spoeth and family, Atlanta, GA

  9. Jim Kane says:


    My father, his two brothers, my mother’s two brothers, four of my cousins, and now two of my second cousins have put on the uniform. And one of my grandfathers was Army Air Corps, WW 1.

    So coming from a family of vets, I say thank you for your willingness to put on the uniform and serve our nation.

    I pray that God will strengthen you, your unit, your CO, and your family in the days, months, weeks, and years ahead.

    Jim Kane

  10. Mike Myers says:


    Thank you for your service to our country! Your efforts are more appreciated than you’ll ever know. God speed.


  11. Jerry O'Neil says:

    Your dad and I know each other thanks to business, hence I see he’s en route to your boot camp graduation. Congrats; that, in and of itself, is quite the achievement. My dad was a proud Marine right up to the day he passed away, and he spent 3 years in the south pacific during WW II. Like many of my generation (I’m in my 50s), I was formed by the anti-Vietnam war fervor of the 60s and 70s, and I agree with Meredith, who wrote above that we were too self-absorbed to respect and appreciate the efforts and sacrifice of those who serve and protest our country in far away places. Not anymore. No matter my disposition towards war in general, or the specific wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, please know you and your fellow young soldiers are appreciated, highly thought of, and respected. Prayers and positive thoughts go your way as you take on whatever assignment is coming your way in defense of our nation. Come home to your family safely, and fall back on the moral and ethical foundation you gained thanks to your parents. Thank you for your sacrifice. Semper Fi!

    Jerry O’Neil

  12. Deborah Dykstra says:

    I’m sure your son will be the most handsome Marine at this graduating class! 🙂 May the Lord bless his service to our great country. I pray the Lord will guide & protect him and all his fellow Marines as well as those in other branches of the military. Thank you, David, you are one of God’s ministers for peace and justice.

  13. tammy colson says:


    Congratulations on achieving something few volunteer for, and fewer truly understand. Parris Island in the fall is just lovely. ~groan~

    Remember, it gets easier. You have to do the grunt work to climb the ladder, but the opportunities are amazing. (once you get past the fact that, well…. we are the first to fight, and that means we get the short end of things sometimes)

    What you have become will stay with you forever.
    Thank you for your service to our Corps and to our country.

    Semper Fi, Marine.

    Tammy Colson
    USMC (1989-1995)

  14. Sonya Martin says:


    Simply, Thank You. It is the courage and spirit of those like you that make freedom in this country possible. Thank you for doing what few ever could. God Bless.

  15. Katie Morse says:


    I’m not going to lie, it has taken me more than few minutes to compose this comment.

    When thinking of your courage and dedication, I think of my younger sister. She was ROTC in school, and now, as a nurse who works with cancer patients by day (or night), she’s in the process of enlisting in the reserved as a flight nurse. Her entire job will be to fly wounded soldiers back from the middle east, making sure they reach the US and their waiting families safely.

    Few have the courage to serve our nation as a Marine, and, as Tammy Colson says above, it’s a commitment and a choice even fewer truly understand.

    Thank you for everything you have, and will do, for our great country. I admire you and your fellow Marines for the commitment, dedication and sacrifices you make for our greater good.


  16. Mark Clowes says:

    David: Congratulations on your graduation–you have achieved something that few others will. I was in the World Trade Center the morning of 9/11 and witnessed firsthand the attacks on the U.S. So I am especially grateful to you and your fellow Marines for protecting us and making sure this does not happen again. You are the best. Thank you.

  17. Jane Bozarth says:

    Like other commenters here I, too, come from a long line of military men (disloyal lot, though: Marines, Army, Coast Guard, even a Sailor!).. It takes a remarkable man to join at all, much less during war time, and we are all indebted to you every day. Never feel that your commitment is unnoticed or your contributions and sacrifices taken for granted.

    Semper Fi!

    (A side note that might be of interest to some: My father was in his 50s when I was born so I missed this phase, but he was a Marine and was charged with building Camp Lejeune. There’s a [long….] interview with him at ]

  18. Kelly Horvath says:


    When your Mom first mentioned that you were joining the Marines, I thought it was the greatest thing you could have done. It shows deep commitment and strong character to take on and complete the challenge you have accomplished. You have a right to be extremely proud. But I must be honest ,what I am even more excited for you about is where your heart is and how it has changed over the past weeks.. That is truly what will make you a great Marine.


    The Horvaths
    Kelly, Steven, Brittany and David

  19. Jenna Sebring says:

    To our Hero,

    Where do I even start? Seth and I are so incredibly proud of you for making the decision to become a U.S. Marine! Too many times I’ve taken for granted the men and women that serve this county. I want you to know that while you’ve been away, you’ve single handedly reminded me day in and day out that I should pray for you, the others that serve this great country and the families that are home waiting for their safe return. Thank you for this reminder…

    We’ve been praying for you Dave – praying that you would be safe, praying that you would feel loved even while you’re far away from us, and also praying that God would do an amazing work in your heart that would turn you towards Him. I believe that He has done all three! We are so excited and grateful for these answered prayers.

    As you continue your journey as a man, as a US Marine and as a Christian – we’re here for you 100%, no matter what. I hope that you will always know this.

    Congratulations on become a Marine and thank you for serving to protect us and this great nation.

    We love you Dave and can’t wait to see you soon!

    Love, Jenna

  20. Michael Hickey says:

    As a former Marine, I have only a few words for you: Ooh-Rah, Devil Dog.
    The good, the bad, the joys, and the challenges; this is something you’ll remember – and cherish – the rest of your days. Congratulations, Marine.

  21. Seth Sebring says:

    Congrats on the graduation. It’s so great to hear that you’ve made it through this piece of your journey. I can see the love your family has for you when I listen to them talk about you and what you’re accomplishing at Parris Island. Thank you for having the courage to fight for the everyday freedoms we take for granted. There are so many people that have been praying and thinking about you each and every day. We are all proud of your accomlishments.


  22. Jenn C Coleman says:

    David, Your willingness to serve our country inspires me. It brings tears to my ears every time I think of the young men & women out there separated from their family, friends & home, serving for all of us. Thank you for your sacrifice and know that you’re in a lot of hearts. To mimic my friend Micheal Hickey, who always says it best, Ooh-rah!! Jenn in Austin, TX

  23. David,

    You and your fellow recruits have accomplished a milestone in your lives by graduating boot. You already have stories you will tell the rest of your life proudly, that many in the room will never be able to match. You are a Marine.

    Yet I’m sure the stories of boot will pale in comparison to the rich tapestry of experience ahead of you. Not all your stories will elicit smiles – some may even bring gasps or tears – but all of them will make you something even more special then you already are. They will make you a man to be respected, admired, and loved by those around you.

    They say when a Marine finishes boot camp he knows he can kill or eat anything in his way. 😉 But what they really mean is that you can accomplish anything you set out to do. Believe that.

    You make your family, friends, and Americans everywhere proud, and I know you will continue to do so. Kick ass, take names, and come home safe.

    Kevin McNulty
    US Army -1987-89

  24. David,

    I can not say enough how much I appreciate the strength you and the rest of our military has to take the step and protect our nation. Your father speaks so highly of you, and when I had the chance to talk with him in person about your accomplishment, the pride in his eyes and voice brought tears to my eyes. Being part of a long line of military (half Marine, half Navy) family, I know the sacrifice you have given, and I am so thankful that you, and your unit are willing to do so. You have now joined a long line of unbelievably strong men and women and we are all behind you! You will not enjoy every day, in fact, some days will probably be hell, on those days, remember that you are a phenomenal man, and you are doing something that very few people have the strength to do.

    Enjoy the experience, learn everything you can, and come home safe, we’re all behind you!!

  25. Kathy Mackey says:

    My thoughts are with you David as you venture beyond your loving family to proudly serve our country.

  26. Russ Dube says:

    Dear David,

    With five kids in tow and a whole future ahead for them, I want to thank you and your fellow recruits. When I came to the Unites States over 25 years ago from Canada I fell in love with this great nation and I now consider this my home.

    I wish that I would have been able to serve this country as a young man, but I was not able to. I can guarantee you that if my son or daughter decides to enlist, I will support them wholeheartedly and may call on you for some boot camp tips.

    As I type this short letter my 4 year old Beau is having a huge belly laugh while playing with his older sister Sophie who is 6.

    Having the peace of mind that there are individuals such as yourself looking out for them and me, is just awesome. Thank you and may God bless you and all of you who are serving this great adopted country of mine.

    The Dube family

  27. Gary Sadler says:

    Dear David,
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication and commitment to our great country and all that it stands for. There is no greater or more honorable duty than the journey you are about to begin. I am proud of you and look forward to the updates that your dad will be posting.

    Be safe and God Bless you

    Gary Sadler

  28. Colleen Swanger says:


    Congratulations on your graduation – what a terrific occasion! My family (and many, many others like us) thank you for your service to our country. We appreciate and your strength and courage. You and all the other great men and women serving in the Armed Forces are in our thoughts and prayers.

    God Bless,

    The Swanger Family
    Cumming, GA

  29. Bill Senger says:

    Dear David,

    Like Jerry and Meridith, I grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, and I too was part of the self-absorbed generation. But since then I have learned that it is not mutually exclusive to support our troops and yet question a war.
    What you have already accomplished is truly remarkable and will shape the rest of your life. You have every reason to be proud of what you have done and what you are about to do, and your family has every reason to be proud of you.
    If I could still fit in my Dress Blues I would salute you properly. You and your fellow service men and women are the fiber of our future. Without your collective sacrifices, we would not enjoy the security that many have taken for granted.
    We’ve been having MREs for Sunday dinner since last August. Not even close to the sacrifice of comfort that you and your fellow Marines will be making on our behalf. Just a small, symbolic reminder to start off each new week with a prayer and gratitude for all that you do.

    Hooh Rah,

    Bill Senger

  30. Janice Chanski says:


    We have never met but my husband and I were friends with your parents waaay back. They can tell the story if you are interested.

    Our son, Justin is 20 years old and in MCRD SD with a graduation date of 1-08-10.

    Congratulations for having what it takes to become a United States Marine. There was nothing easy about your last 13 weeks. Not many will stand in the yellow footprints. You have done a great thing and I am sure that your family is proud of you.

    And your country is proud of you. Thank you for being one the the few that is willing to do what it takes to defend our freedoms keep our great country free.

    Janice Chanski

    I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4: 12-13)
    But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

    “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
    –President Ronald Reagan, 1985

  31. David;

    thank you for being a bigger man than many. with sons also in the service – I am proud of you and appreciate you more than you can ever imagine.

    stay true to yourself

  32. I’m here because I have followed your dad on Twitter for some time now.

    I have been married for 2-1/2 years to a wonderful representative of the Marine Corps (now retired as Lt. Col. after 23 years active & reserve duty). Thanks to him, I have a deeper understanding of what it means to serve your country in uniform, as my father did in WWII flying bombers.

    Thank you for your service in the name of our nation’s mostly deeply held values, rights, responsibilities, and liberty.


  33. Chris and Rachel Luski says:

    Dear David,

    Well, we have nothing super eloquent to say to you, nothing that will knock your socks off, and nothing that will sound new to you. 🙂 BUT, we still want you to know that we are SO thankful for you and all those in the military!

    We are so proud of and humbled by young men like you who leave their families, their friends, and and the comfortable, familiar lives they know to go to unfamiliar places. We can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to say good-bye to your family and drive down your street away from those who protect you, love you, and care for you. Thank you for stepping, no leaping, out of your comfort zone to serve our country!!!

    We pray that God will use these years in the military to make and keep you physically strong, and that, more importantly, He would make you strong for His battle.
    We pray that you would develop a compassionate heart that will want to serve, both in the military and at home.
    We pray that you will cherish those in your family like never before and that your relationships with each of them will flourish, even while you are apart.
    We pray that God will make you into someone who will want to serve Him all your days.

    Congratulations on this milestone of surviving boot camp and becoming a Marine!

    Chris and Rachel

  34. Gretchen says:

    Dear David,

    Thank you for your service. It is an amazing enterprise you are taking on, and we are truly grateful for your dedication.

    The Gerth Family

  35. Tim Jackson says:


    You and all of your fellow service members deserve the respect, admiration and thanks of every American citizen. Regardless of political beliefs, every American should be thankful- that’s the very least each of us can do. Beyond that, I know that I am among those who will continue to pray for your safe return- for you and every service member who is doing their job so well.

    I’m in Seoul South Korea right now for business and sat a couple seats away from a man who served in the Navy many years ago and whose oldest son served in the Army for many years and is now retired. His youngest son served in the Marines and did not get to come home- and his father said, “I miss him a lot, but I am very proud of him.” Needless to say, I was choked up by his words. I think we all should be choked up and thankful for the dedication of every US soldier everywhere in the world who does there job with dedication, commitment and professionalism.

    May God watch over you as you serve and may all the prayers for your safety be heard and answered.

    Tim Jackson

  36. Anne says:

    Adding my voice Steve – I am so impressed with your son and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his service.

    I would love for my middle son to become a Marine, but he is still undecided. (He wants to play for the Yankees, actually.) But if his pro ball career doesn’t work out maybe I will someday be the proud parent of a Marine.

    God bless to you, your son, and your whole family!

    Anne @alivenkickin

  37. Jim Ainsworth says:

    Welcome aboard, Marine. I graduated from Parris Island December 28, 1965. I was a child of the 60′ and early 70’s but I was serving at Chu Lai when the riots began at Berkley in 1966. We felt it was meant for us personally. We were called baby killers when we returned to the world. You are receiving the support of most Americans as well you should. Always wear your uniform with pride because you earned the right to wear it with the Globe, Eagle, and Anchor. You will find that you will proudly be a Marine the rest of your life. You will continue to live your life as a Marine and use the many tools you were taught at PI and the remainder of your time on active duty. Even though I do not know you I am proud to call you My Brother Marine. May God keep you and your buddys no matter whereever you serve.

    SEMPER FI, Jim Ainsworth

  38. kathleen says:

    Your courage in these times and the courage of all men and women who choose to serve in our armed forces astounds me. Thank you. My father gave twenty-five years to the Navy during three foreign wars and carried those memories, stories and friendships with him all the days of his life. And that is what I wish for you. A safe return and long life to share your stories and wisdom of your time in uniform with your family and friends.

    Know that even though people don’t always show it, your nation holds you in their thoughts and hearts, quietly willing you safely home.

  39. Pingback: In South Carolina… « Impactiviti blog

  40. Beth Harte says:

    Dear David,


    Thank you for committing your life to defend ours.

    Thank you for protecting the freedoms we toss around carelessly while your personal freedom is limited.

    Thank you for staying up on rotations to defend our country while we sleep peacefully.

    Thank you for honoring a country that many dishonor daily.

    Thank you for being brave when many choose to walk away.

    As a sister, cousin and friend to many in the military I thank you, your fellow soldiers and all of the people that support you for being a Marine. May God bless you and keep you safe.

    Semper Fi.

    Beth Harte


    Steve, when my brother served in Somalia we didn’t hear for him for months…and were constantly worried. When we finally did, he told us he was fine, he was in Kenya & not to worry. Then one night while watching ‘Black Hawk Down’ he said “Yep, that’s what it was like.” I didn’t know whether to kick his ass or hug him fiercely…so I did both. 😉

    I share this because often soldiers aren’t at liberty to tell us what they are doing or exactly where they are and for that reason alone we need to stand by them 1000% to keep THEM safe.

    I know how rough that can be for a family. If you ever need to chat, you have my number. Call any time. 😉

  41. Liz says:

    David. A close friend of mine, who’s son is currently serving in Afghanistan, reminds me daily of the sacrifices that you and your peers make. Know that your actions and participation are appreciated and treasured. Keep your family and friends close to your heart and be safe. Thank you.

  42. Jay Ehret says:

    Thank you for your self-less service to our country. My father was in the military and that means as a child so was I. The journey on which you are about to embark will enrich your life and the lives of those around you. You will carry character, honor and discipline with you for the rest of your life.

    May God bless and protect you on this journey.

  43. Cam Beck says:

    David –

    Let me add my voice to those who are grateful for your service. Yours is a path filled with hardship and sacrifice, but also great honor. It still fills my heart with pride every time I get a chance to talk with today’s young Marines.

    For me, it started 17.5 years ago when I first stood on the yellow footprints in the same place you’re about to depart, but from experience I can tell you that, though you are now leaving to go to infantry training and then your specialty school, you will carry a little piece of Parris Island with you for the rest of your life. And though it was hard — you sweat, you bled — maybe even you cried or at least longed wistfully for the comforts of your former life, you will remember your time there fondly.

    The great Lewis “Chesty” Puller, (Hero of the Chosin Reservoir and recipient of 5 Navy Crosses to the uninitiated) when asked to comment on the differences in this “new breed” of Marine, famously said, “Old breed, new breed. All that matters is the Marine Breed.”

    Just so.

    From this moment forth, you — and by extension your parents and siblings — have been adopted into a new family that spans several generations. This family will look out for you and stand by you in thick and thin — people you can trust because they trust in your courage and commitment, who understand and accept you with all your human frailties, which you now know you have the capacity to overcome — yes by great personal fortitude that you’ve proved by walking through the fire yourself, but also by virtue of the men who walked, ran, crawled and clawed away for every single inch — at your side.

    Never forget that we stand with you, and never be afraid to lean on your old and new families if you need us. We stand behind you and we lift you up, just as you have done for us.

    Semper Fidelis — and God bless you!
    Cam Beck

  44. k2 says:

    Dear David:
    Congrats on your graduation from Marine Boot Camp.
    Thank you for making the selfless choice to protect and serve our country.
    You are a brave and wonderful man and I wish you the best of luck!


  45. Todd Keirns says:


    Thank you very much for your commitment to this country. Your dedication and willingness to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps on behalf of the citizens of this great nation is appreciated.

    Congratulations on your graduation. This is a wonderful accomplishment, and another step in your journey through life. I pray that you will use your training well, and that your training enables you to reach new heights. I also pray for your safety and for the comfort of your family.

    God bless you David.


    Todd Keirns

  46. teresabasich says:


    Wow. I hope you are so, so proud of yourself and the career you’ve begun as a US Marine. While military experience doesn’t extend deep into my family, both my grandfathers fought as marines in WWII and one of them fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal. I know little about their time fighting but I still couldn’t be prouder of the commitment and sacrifices they made to help protect our country.

    You and your fellow marines have the hearts most of us wish we had. The best we can do is show and tell you just how much we appreciate everything you’ve done and will continue to do to fight for the US (and more often than not, there aren’t even the right words in existence to do that).

    Like Beth said, thank you so much for protecting the freedom we so often take for granted.

    Good luck, soldier! And thank you.

    All the best,

  47. Chelle says:

    Dear David,

    It is with great pleasure that I get to thank you for your strength,commitment, and courage. You should be more than proud of yourself and your fellow service men and woman for the sacrafices you all have made and will continue to make.Please know that you are ALL thought of and in my prayers daily.I admire and respect you for your self-less choice and bravery to serve our country. YOu make me more than proud to be an american!!
    God Bless,
    Chelle Jones-Victoria,Tx.

  48. Beth Hawkes says:

    Dear David,

    Thank you deeply for choosing to serve our country. Wherever you go, whatever you do, civilians like me are 100% with you. You are in our hearts and minds.

    God bless you and your family,

    Beth Hawkes

  49. Connie Reece says:

    Dear David,

    I’m happy to join my voice with those congratulating and thanking you for your service to our great country. Your decision was not one made lightly, and the mission you undertake is quite possibly the most important thing you will ever do. I pray that you will be a shining example of the bravery and honor that is part of being a Marine. May God protect you and help you to excel, and may you be an example to many wherever you serve.

  50. David,

    I don’t know you (though I guess now I do), but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your father. His pride in your accomplishment and your willingness to walk a brave path is obvious and heartwarming; thanks to a little thing called “social media,” many of us around the country and globe share in it.

    Though I am one now, I was not born an American. Regardless, serving in the military is something people from every corner of the world can relate to. I come from a military family, and married into one. I know the sense of community it fosters, as well as the leadership, quick thinking and courage – often in the face of great fear – it brings out in one. And cliched though it may sound, when we wake up we’ve all had one more night of safe sleep in our beds because of folks like you.

    So thank you, God bless, and Godspeed. And if ever our paths cross “IRL,” my life will be the better for it.

  51. Semper Fi David.

    I was where you were on Dec 6th 1993 right after high school. Joining the Marine Corps is the best decision I have ever made in my life; and has opened the doors to so many opportunities throughout my professional career. The Corps also paid for my undergraduate degree.

    I still hold true to the values that were instilled in me so long ago and those have definitely brought out the best in me as a husband and father.

    I salute you for making this decision with all the turmoil going on in the world. It’s decisions as this that separate the United States from other countries; not that we are better in any way. Just that we have a strong sense of patriotism to a country that has been so good to us.

    Thank you for serving and God Bless.


  52. Mary Barber says:


    What a very cool thing your Dad is doing to allow us all to express our appreciation for you. Congratulations on your graduation from boot camp. I wish you the best in your Marine career and know that, while it will challenge you to the limits, you will be a better man for it.

    Each day I rise thinking how grateful we all are, and should be, for all the men and women in uniform who devote their lives to keeping ours safer. Thank you for all that you have and will do for the people of this world.

    Stay safe and know that their are many who are doing all we can to cloak you in safety wherever you are.

  53. Dear David, Your Dad beamed with pride and love when he told me about his son joining the marines. My congratulations to you on your graduation and to him for being blessed with such a son. That said, I also promise to pray for your protection on and off duty and for a resolution to the wars in Iraq and Afganistan that leaves those countries, and our country, better off than before they began. Thank you doesn’t quite say enough for your willingness to defend our freedoms.


    Betsy Raymond Stevenson,
    Pawcatuck, CT

  54. David,

    From one Marine to another.

    Congratulations! You join a band of brothers that extends back more than 200 years. Ours is a noble calling and one that challenges you anew every day – mind, body, and soul. To serve the nation is a privilege that too few enjoy or appreciate – and you are now part of that proud tradition.

    Military service molds you in ways that you may not recognize or appreciate yet – but others will. Whether you choose to make it a career, or do your initial enlistment and move on, you will be forever changed by what you do and who you serve with.

    I hope that your service is safe and uneventful; in these times the latter is unlikely, so I will wish fervently for the former. Whatever happens, I know that if you take care of your buddies, they’ll take care of you.

    Take your place at the side of those who came before you and resolve that you will do your duty with honor, with courage, and commitment. You can do no more; you should do no less.

    Semper Fidelis,

    Jesse Wilkins

  55. Gary Marinko says:

    David, congratulations on a huge accomplishment and milestone. It’s truly a privilege to say thank you and give a little support here. We’ll be thinking about you during your service, praying for a safe return home to your family. Stay safe, and thank you for defending our great country. We’re standing with your dad here – all very proud of you. God speed.

    Gary & Pam Marinko

  56. Sylvia Weise says:

    Hello David,
    As a parent of a soldier who has served this country for 11 years and who is about to be deployed again I know how very proud your family is.
    We are lucky and should never take for granted that we have people like you who make a commitment to serve our country and protect what we cherish and for standing up for a country that gets put down every day.
    Take care, stay safe BE PROUD!

  57. James Forte says:

    Congratulations and best of luck to your son! My family has had three generations go through West Point and my cousin has just returned from three tours in Iraq. We’re proud to have him serve his country, but even happier to have him home.

    Happy Holidays from the team at Campbell Alliance.



  58. Trisha Fazio says:

    Dear David:
    I’ve known your dad professionally for a few years now and always loved hearing about his “boys”. Now, I hear about his “man”. Congratulations on your wonderful achievement. May the grace of God always be with you and that He protects you always.
    A friend,
    Trisha Fazio

  59. Lisa Banket says:

    Dear David:

    Congratulations to you and your graduating class. It is heartwarming to see so many individuals reach out to let you know the appreciation many Americans have for our servicemen and women but don’t always openly show.

    My father was in the Navy during WWII and still stays connected to his friends that served on the USS Sheilakoff. As he gets older in age, he speaks frequently of his memories now during the war. Stories that stayed buried for many years, now surface as if to soften the burden that servicemen bear.

    I wish for you a safe journey as a marine. May you always hold you head high and may you hold in your heart friendships that last a lifetime.

    Please never doubt the respect and support you have from this country. As people age and have families, it is when we look at our children that we gain so much more of an appreciaition for what truly matters.

    Thank you and your fellow marines for your support and protection and making it easy for parents to feel as if their children are safe.



  60. Jeanne Male says:


    The post-graduation photo of you in uniform with your beaming dad by your side is so inspiring. Your spirit and commitment give me great hope and comfort that we will achieve security and peace. For some reason I was just recalling a photograph taken of me during the Vietnam era; I was 12 years old and trying to look cool by “throwing a peace sign” (backwards…like a real dork) and wearing a teardrop peace symbol . I was too young to appreciate the great fortunate of being a soul that could have been born anywhere on the planet but enjoyed the pure luck of knowing freedom as my birthright. I didn’t have any sense of the sacrifices that established what I took for granted. I was confused by the by the polarities created by the war- most were either blindly loyal or fiercely anti-war and establishment. We all want peace and I celebrate this day as one where we can feel more secure because YOU, David Woodruff, are a Marine!

    Not only will you serve us and our country but I’m also excited by how your military career will serve you. My sister just celebrated her 20th anniversary in the USAF and currently testing to become a Senior Master Sergeant. She’s had an amazing career, was commandant of the AF Academy, served in Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and just returned from a year in Korea only to re-up for 3 more years. I’ve been so very proud of her and though it’s not truly my place… David, I’m bursting with pride on your Graduation day! We are blessed by your service and may God bless richly bless you.

  61. John Sjovall says:


    Congratulations and Semper FI!!

    From and old army warhorse, thank you for your service nd goodluck out there!!

  62. Paul Bejgrowicz says:


    Congratulations! You are embarking on an incredible journey and will carry with you a unique calling and sense of honor and duty that will forever seperate you from others, there is new sense of pride and love of country that is hard to explain but you will feel it and no one will ever take that away from you! The best advice that I recieved when I enlisted and graduated Navy Bootcamp 26 years ago this month was to be your best and make the most of the experiences you are about to embark on. Your opportunities are boundless! I wish all the best and continued success as your journey begins.

    Paul Bejgrowicz


  63. Thank you, David. Just…thank you. Please know that you and your fellow marines, and everything you stand for, are respected and appreciated.

  64. Scott Sauve says:

    David, I know your dad from work and often follow his life through his writing, and I hope we can also take a glimpse into your world as a new Marine. I come from a Navy family, Grandfather served in WWII on Aircraft Carriers, Father was a Corpsman and served some time at Camp Lejeune and had has some funny stories about the Marines he treated. Uncles that served on Nuclear Subs and also one did 2 tours in Viet Nam on the teams as a Navy Seal. I have the greatest respect for them and the sacrifices they made for their families and this country. They shared with me the traditions of serving the country and I am sure you will experience those same traditions. Know that this country honors you and your duty as a Marine. Stay Safe.

  65. Stephanie Baldwin says:


    I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with your Dad this year via the pharma and social media world.
    And I admire his willingness to share his pride in what you are doing.

    I want to thank you for protecting all of us here is the U.S. My family and I truly appreciate your commitment.

    Thank you!

    Stephanie Baldwin

  66. Brother John says:

    Dear Marine,

    This Uncle is terrifically proud of his nephew. You completed the dreaded Crucible, celebrated with a Warrior’s breakfast, and now you are wearing the exclusive emblem bestowed to the chosen few. “Nice going” doesn’t do it here, David. Either does “Congratulations, Sonny”. You have made a seismic accomplishment, and I am enormously impressed. I am relying on you and your skills to do your very best to keep me and your country free and secure.

    Love, Trust, and Respect,
    Uncle John (Air Force Veteran)

  67. Mike Van Bochoven says:


    Congratulations on graduating from boot camp. That is quite an accomplishment! Thank you for your willingness to serve our country in this way. It’s people like you that make this nation great. May God grant you success and safety as a United States Marine!

    I am sure your papa is proud! 🙂


    Mike Van Bochoven

  68. CK says:

    I am SO proud of you. And it has been such a joy for your Dad to share this journey with us–because it has been so inspiring to be reminded of the pride of serving one’s country.

    And it really has made me take a step back to remember what’s really important (family, honor, freedom) and how fortunate we are to have people like you who take care of us every day. Thank you for humbling us and, I look forward to more updates!

  69. Andy Hartnett says:

    Dear Steve,

    We haven’t spoken since my days with NSPST and Reed & Carnrick.

    Thank you for son’s service and your well-deserved (and obvious) pride in his career choice. I retire from the Air National Guard this coming September after 27 years and multiple deployments. My son is in Balad at this moment and counting the days (65) till he rotates back to the states.

    Young men like your son represent the very best of this nation.

    As you vacillate between concern and pride, I’ll share my wife’s favorite saying, “I’m proud of my young man and worried about my little boy”.

    Please pass on a hearty “Semper Fi”. Your family is in our prayers. I look forward to reading future stories of his long and illustrious career.

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  71. Awesome!

    Semper Fi to you all. You have reason to be proud. 😉

  72. Mike Z says:


    As your Dad can tell you, I am not a real great talker, but I will do my best to say a heartfelt thank you.

    My family and I are living the American Dream – a dream that is not possible without brave people like you ready to protect and defend this wonderful country. Thank you so very much.

    I cannot tell you how much I admire the decision you have made. Good luck and thank you for your service.

  73. Mike Capaldi says:


    Congratulations on your graduation and I wish you well in your future endeavors.

    Most of all, thank you in advance for your service to our country.

    God Bless,
    Mike Capaldi Family

  74. Karen says:

    Dear David,

    I saved the e-mail from your dad until I was done traveling for the year and could spend some time reading it. I was very interested in the title of his blog post because my son recently informed me of his intent to enlist in the Air Force. Your dad’s post hit very close to home–and I’m so impressed by the number and quality of the comments that people have left for you.

    Congratulations on making it through boot camp and blessings to you in your future endeavors in the Marine Corps. My father retired from the Army after 30 years, so I have a fairly good idea of military life. Thank you for your service and I pray God’s protection for you and your fellow graduates in the years to come.

    Karen Settlemyer

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