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Island resident’s grandson commissioned lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps

June 9, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

James Ward, grandson of Pine Island resident Ron Ward, graduated from Columbia University on May 17 and was commissioned a U.S. Marine lieutenant the following day.

His sister, Cassandra Ward; grandfather Ron Ward and James' father, Michael Ward, were present.

James Ward was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, in August 1988 and moved to Pine Island in 1990. He attended Pine Island Elementary School and Pine Island Middle School before graduating from Mariner High School in 2006.

Article Photos

Photo provided

From left, Cassandra Ward, Ron Ward, Lt. James Ward and Michael Ward. Also present was Dr. Mark Ward, James’ uncle, who took the picture.

After graduating from high school, James attended Florida Gulf Coast University for a year before he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.

"When James enlisted in the Marines he didn't tell anybody," Ron Ward said. "James was working 60 hours a week at a pizza restaurant and just decided he wanted something more. That's what motivated him to enlist in the Marine Corps."

James attended Basic Training at Parris Island, S.C., and then reported to the School of Infantry, Camp Geiger, N.C., for Marine Combat Training.

In August 2007, James graduated from the Marines Basic Logistics Embarkation Specialist Course and was assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan. While assigned in Japan and then Korea, James was promoted to corporal and learned to speak both languages.

Following deployment in Korea, James was de-ployed to Camp Al Taqaddum in Al Anbar Province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"James was promoted to Marine 'Gunny E-7' sergeant in January 2017 and is a highly decorated Marine," his grandfather said. "He was named the youngest ever Marine of the year 2011 and was presented with the award in Washington, D.C."

In a letter to his fellow classmates James wrote, "To think back to my days of washing dishes at the age of 13 in Mugs 'n Jugs and then place myself here 15 years later (as a graduate of Columbia University) is incomprehensible ... Being commissioned as an officer is a privilege being granted to me with high expectations and responsibility that should be taken with seriousness ... I take this with great solemnity and will fulfill the role to the best of my ability."

"I am so proud of him," Ron said of his grandson. "Little did I realize James would do all this since the days when he came aboard my school bus all those years ago."



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