By
Su Yim
Social Media Specialist
Professional Performance Development Group

It’s a cold November morning in Boerne RV community center. Lloyd Whitworth Jr and other Marines are preparing for a Marine Corps Birthday celebration with a “chow hall style” breakfast. They’ve been celebrating their beloved Corps’ birthday since 2006 with sausages, bacon, and biscuits with a hearty serving of scrambled eggs. This birthday party is joined by about 100 Marines and their families of all ages, and it’s their unwavering camaraderie that makes this annual celebration a very special occasion. Firm handshakes are exchanged as the attendees honor their beloved Corps, and it ends with the passing of the Marine Corps birthday cake.

This is a particularly a proud day for Mr. Lloyd Whitworth Jr and his family. Mr. Whitworth is a second-generation Marine, as his father Mr. Lloyd Whitworth Sr. and he both served with the Corps in two major American conflicts with distinction.

Lloyd Whitworth Sr. Was born in 1925 in the little town of Boerne, Texas. He was the youngest of the 8 siblings. Mr. Whitworth volunteered to join the Marine Corps in 1942 at a tender age of 17. His father had fought in the Spanish-American war in the Philippines, and he wanted to serve the country in his father’s footsteps. Mr. Whitworth saw action in Guam, where he was brought down by malaria while fighting the Japanese. He had to be transported back to Camp Pendleton where he received treatment. Then he was shipped out again to Okinawa in 1945 to fight in one of the bloodiest battles fought by Marines in their entire history.

Mr. Whitworth served with the 6th Marine Division in an infantry regiment in Okinawa. He fought with courage and valor despite seeing his comrades falling all around him. The battle for Okinawa was particularly brutal due to Japanese resolve to defend their home island down to their last man. Even the commander of the expeditionary force, General Simon Bolivar Bucker was killed in action in Okinawa. It was there that an incredible story unfolded for Mr. Lloyd Whitworth. During the last days of the Okinawa campaign, a grenade thrown from a hidden Japanese foxhole gravely injured Mr. Whitworth. Shrapnel from this grenade killed his best friend instantly, and it even split Mr. Whitworth’s trusty M-1 rifle in half! It was his weapon that literally saved him from the deadly explosion. While the pain was unbearable from the rest of the shrapnel that entered his chest cavity, he had fought and survived one of the most ferocious battles of World War II.

Mr. Whitworth received various commendations for his bravery in Okinawa, including the Purple Heart. And he lived with shrapnel pieces in his chest the rest of his life. He was barely 21 years old when he was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1946. When he returned Boerne, Texas (where he lived until his death in 2015), he received a hero’s welcome. Mr. Lloyd Whitworth Sr. still managed to serve our country as a civil servant at Camp Stanley for over 30 years, retiring in 1985. Until his death in 2015, Mr. Whitworth helped the local Boy Scouts place flowers on veterans’ tombstones every Memorial Day. He was a war hero and a true patriot who understood the value of freedom and sacrifices made by other veterans like him.

Lloyd Whitworth Jr. followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Marine Corps in 1975 after finishing his second year at Texas Tech University. He had volunteered to serve, even though national military draft had ended just two years earlier. After serving honorably for four years, he was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1979 as a Sergeant (after several rapid promotions). Upon his father’s advice, Mr. Whitworth Jr. went back to college at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1979, where he earned a degree in Business Administration. He then re-entered the Marines, but as a commissioned officer in 1981.

Mr. Lloyd Whitworth Jr. served with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and was in the first Gulf War. He was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 during the Gulf War, providing support for Harrier fighters and OV-10 aircraft. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after 22 years of service as a Major, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal, as well as the Southwest Asia Service Medal and Kuwait Liberation Medal for his wartime service. Then Mr. Whitworth Jr. joined Professional Performance Development Group in 2000 as the Corporate Initiatives Coordinator. He continues to help veterans and other Marines transitioning into healthcare contract jobs with the U.S. Government. He now lives in San Antonio and is married with a daughter, step-son, and seven grandchildren.

While the Marine Corps’ birthday is the moment of celebration for many, this day holds a very special meaning for families like the Whitworth’s. Their legacy is the very idea of the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis (always faithful). Faithful to our nation, faithful to the Corps, and faithful to duty. This family, like many others, have given their faith to defend our great nation so that the rest of us can enjoy and cherish our freedom.

We would like to thank all Marines who have served and currently serving our great nation. Words simply cannot describe our appreciation for the sacrifices that you’ve made defending our nation.

Happy Birthday, Marines.

 

The photo on left: Lloyd Whitworth Sr. (far left) with his Navy/Marine buddies in World War II.

The photo on right: Lloyd Whitworth Jr. In his Marine Corps Blues while serving at

Naval Post Graduate School, Monterrey, CA in 1995.

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