14-year-old Dalton, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, wished to be a marine for a day and the personnel at Camp Pendleton helped make that wish come true!
When Dalton and his family first arrived at Camp Pendleton, they were met by Edson Range Battalion Headquarters and were met by Staff Sergeant Becker. Dalton was presented with his official Marine’s uniform and greeted by the command staff. He was then off to learn some martial arts training at the dojo, where he learned self-defense techniques and had all his questions about his future with the Marine Corps answered. After martial arts came the obstacle course. Dalton was first given a demo by the Marine Instructors, then they helped him to complete the course on his own, motivating him along the way! Due to his illness, Dalton had not had much physical activity since starting his remission, so completing the obstacle course was a huge accomplishment. He also enjoyed the teamwork with the Marines who helped him through it.
After all of that intense activity, it was time to refuel with lunch at Camp Pendleton’s new Chow Hall with Staff Sergeant Leurs who was great with Dalton and his siblings. Dalton was then escorted to the indoor electronic rifle range. The Battalion Gunner Kyzer presented Dalton with a coveted green shooting jacket embroidered with Dalton's name, a jacket which normally only the marksmanship instructors are allowed to wear. Dalton, his dad and two brothers each had a marksmanship instructor assigned to them as they learned how to manipulate a M4 rifle.
Once he finished at the range, Dalton was invited to the beach to see the displays of the amphibious assault vehicles. Dalton was given a tour by Master Gunnery Sergeant Trammell who showed Dalton all the vehicles and weapons they use. He then surprised Dalton with a chance to ride in one of the vehicles on the training grounds at the beach. Dalton was suited up and driven around the sand dunes in the large amphibious assault vehicle. When asked what his favorite part of his wish was, Dalton, admitted that riding in the amphibious assault vehicle was his favorite part of the day!
The Camp Pendleton Marines did a wonderful job making Dalton and his family feel welcome and treated Dalton like one of their own. We are almost positive that when Dalton is old enough, he may visit Camp Pendleton again for the real thing.