COMBAT OUTPOST AKASHAT, Iraq --
During the Korean War, U.S. Marines fought to defend the citizens of South Korea against communist North Korea.
The Marines possibly saved millions of lives, including the life of one woman who would become the grandmother of a future Marine.
Cpl. Samuel E. Shin, a mortarman with Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, decided to join the Marine Corps to serve with the same organization that saved his grandmother.
Shin believes he is an American because of his grandmother’s strength. During the Korean War, she was on the run constantly from the communists.
“My grandmother has had it really hard her entire life,” said Shin, 25, from Fairfax, Va. “Her life has consisted of running away and surviving. She is the strongest person I know and probably will ever know.”
His grandmother was surrounded by explosions and violence everyday for several months in South Korea. She was constantly on the run to keep her self alive until the Marines arrived.
“The country was in such a horrible condition, but after the Marines came, she no longer heard or saw violence and death,” said Shin.
After the Korean War, his grandmother knew she had to become a United States citizen to be safe and raise a family. She saved up money, moved to America to live with her sister-in-law and applied for her green card.
When Shin was born, his parents abandoned him, so his grandmother took him in to her care. Since his grandmother raised him and told him her story, he established a love for the Marine Corps because of what happened to her and South Korea.
“I was motivated to join the Corps because South Korea was such a small nation that was invaded by its neighbors,” said Shin. “The Marines saved millions of lives and now the country is one of the most technologically advanced and richest countries in the world.”
Now on his first deployment, Shin is prouder than ever to serve alongside his fellow Marines. According to him, he owes his life to the Marine Corps.
“The service has changed my life and made me appreciate all of the small things in living,” he said.
Because of his pride in serving alongside his fellow Marines, he has shared his knowledge and motivated those around him. According to service members with Delta Co., he is very proficient at his job and strives to teach other Marines about it as well.
“When it comes to knowing his job, Cpl. Shin is the most efficient Marine at it,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Melton, 19, a field radio operator from Westminster, Md., with Delta Co. “Because of his teachings, I have become a more well-rounded and knowledgeable Marine.”
“Shin is always the first to volunteer for any extra duties,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey P. Hetrick, 33, a platoon sergeant from New Market, N.H., with Delta Co. “He’s never hesitant to engage on new challenges.”
Shin plans, after the Marine Corps, include opening up his own hardware business and traveling the world after graduating from George Mason University. Until then, he will proudly serve his country as one of America’s finest.
“Shin is a very passionate person who believes and has faith in the Marine Corps’ mission,” said Cpl. Edgar A. Mazanegos, 32, a vehicle commander from Ashburn, Va., with Delta Co. “In any combat situation, I would want him there with me.