Kahn and his Marines held a formation and presented Tyler with an ALICE pack
filled with Marine essentials: flashlight, stickers, chem-lights, unit
whistle, and the reliable K-bar (the wooden version).
Once aboard the LAV-25, Tyler, Ryan, and their mom, Jill, took off towards
Landing Zone Hawk for a little off-road vehicle familiarization.
The entire family grabbed a Meal-Ready-to-Eat for lunch, with Tyler making
the wise decision to go with the Chicken Breast, at the MEU's Amphibious
Assault Vehicle Detachment's office. With full stomachs, the group donned flak, kevlar, and floatation devices
before boarding Cpl. William Shaefer's AAV for a ride around the Courthouse
Bay Complex. The group spent about ten minutes riding the trails before
splashing into Courthouse Bay for a quick swim back to the motor pool.
"It wasn't as bad as I expected," said Jill Willis after exiting the back of
'Track'. "But, it was hot with all that gear on."
With two full days already complete, Tyler Willis had one more mission to
Following a static display of company-level weapons, Tyler stood in front of
Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3/6's Commander, Lt. Col. Ron Johnson, and I
Co. BLT 3/6 to receive his "promotion". Sgt. Maj. Thomas Shank, BLT 3/6,
read Tyler's warrant promoting him to the rare status of Honorary United
Only 13 times since the "Honorary Marine" program became official in 1992,
have citizens been bestowed with the title of U.S. Marine.
"I think what they've done is an absolutely fantastic job," stated Karen
Keena, Tyler's grandmother and a founding member of Make-A-Wish in south
Florida. "I think it's really great and I can't wait to go home to the club
meeting and tell the girls what it was like."
With a congratulatory, "Ooh Rah", from the formation of Marines and Sailors
of the 22nd MEU welcomed their youngest Marine --- Tyler Willis.