CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Two service members currently serving with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit share more than family ties with some of their relatives.
This common bond is the experience of serving their country on the tip of the spear.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher A. DeJesus, a hospital corpsman with MEU Service Support Group 24 (MSSG-24), shares the connection with his father, Master Chief Petty Officer Antonio P. DeJesus, who is serving aboard one of the ships the 24th MEU will be embarked on.
Lance Corporal Margaret L. Everett, topographic analyst, 24th MEU's Intelligence Section, also shares this bond with her sister, Lance Cpl. Katherine L. Everett, currently serving in the 31st MEU.
Petty Officer 3rd Class DeJesus will be serving aboard the USS Nassau while Master Chief Petty Officer DeJesus will be serving aboard the USS Austin as the Leading Chief Petty Officer (LCPO) of engineering.
When asked how this came to pass, Chris said, "I was told that the Austin would be supporting us and I called my dad and said 'Hey, what ship are you on?' My Dad just went back to the fleet in October 2001 and was stationed on the Austin. It just turned out that the Austin would be in support of the MEU."
Growing up in the Navy, Chris had the opportunity to experience Navy life from the perspective of a family member prior to enlisting. Of the places where he lived before joining the Navy, including Italy, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Hampton Roads, Va., he says his favorite was Guantanamo Bay. "It was fun there as a kid. Mountain biking... Girls my own age..." When asked what it was like having a father in the Navy he replied "You had to make sure that you always kept the house nice and try to stay out of trouble."
For Chris, sea service is a family way of life, and that influenced his decision to join the Navy. "I'm just carrying on a three-generation old family tradition of service in either the Navy or the Marine Corps. I have three uncles and a step grandfather in the Marines, a grandfather and a father in the Navy."
The Everetts, Margaret and Katherine, also have a brother, Cpl. Joseph R. Everett, who recently served in a MEU as well. Joseph served as a computer specialist for two deployments with the 26th MEU, which shares the same homeport as the 24th MEU, Camp Lejeune, NC. Joseph, who is still aboard Camp Lejeune, now serves in 8th Communications Battalion.
Margaret shares her brother's expeditionary mindset. "One of my reasons for joining the Marine Corps was to go out on a MEU. A lot of people think the reason I wanted to come to Camp Lejeune was to be with my brother, but it wasn't. I came here to go on a 'Med Float.'"
Margaret stated that her father was in the Marine Corps for four years and her maternal grandfather served in the Marine Corps in World War II and in the Air Force during the Korean War. Neither of them served in a MEU.
However, her sister now serves as an AV-8B Harrier mechanic in the same squadron that her father once served, Marine Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211). On the issue of whether or not her father influenced her decision to join the Marine Corps, Margaret said, "Father said that whatever we wanted to do with our lives, we could do it. He wasn't going to push us at anything. If anything he tried to deter us from joining the military."
Discussing what caused her to want to serve on a MEU, Margaret said "I heard about the MEU from my dad and recruiters and other Marines that I met. They said that it was the place to go to learn and actually do something." Regarding what it's like having siblings serve with other MEUs, she said, "It's hard keeping in touch. We're all doing our own thing and finding out what we are capable of. We are all hoping that, in the end, this will bring us all closer."