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Marines share comic book bond

By Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe | | July 13, 2012

At one point in the his­tory of their lives, peo­ple are faced with a life changing decision on how to best serve their society, whether to use their abili­ties to create a product or provide a service in a pri­vate sector for their liveli­hood or to selflessly serve their country in a direct and potentially dangerous manner; by joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

For many active illus­trated literature fans, the decision to don the Ma­rine uniform and commit their earthly powers to a greater cause is second nature because of the iconic heroes they grew up idolizing.

One such Marine, Cpl. Jeffery Ruff, a Marine Fighter At­tack Squadron 533 avia­tion electrician and De­troit native, uses his comic book influences to reach out to his Marine peers in a positive man­ner.

Growing up in an urban area, Ruff used his favor­ite comic book heroes to avoid gang violence and eventually join the Marine Corps.

“My favorite characters have to be from the X-Men series because they are like a big family that strives against oppression and ter­rorism. Seeing that simi­larity in the Marine Corps really sold me to join,” said Ruff. “Comic charac­ters with outgoing person­alities and who positively influence the characters around them are the most impor­tant in my life as a Ma­rine.”

Ruff says he takes most after the X-Men member Iceman, for his support­ive role as part of a team and his ability to lighten the mood in a stressful environment.

Like superheroes, Ma­rines come from all facets of life from urban street al­leys to the rural American Heartland and unite for the common good of the free people of the U.S.

Cpl. Joshua Caldwell, a Headquarters and Head­quarters Squadron legal advisor, is one such Ma­rine who is driven to per­form to the best of his abilities by emulating his early child­hood hero, Su­perman.

“Growing up on a farm my father had a collection of Superman comics he kept un­der lock and key, until I was older and under­stood their value,” said Caldwell. “Later on I came to realize that the values Superman holds dear - truth, justice and the American way - was in the same standing as the Marine Corps con­cept of honor, courage and commitment.”

Caldwell says that growing up on a farm he was able to relate his up bringing to that of the fa­mous Man of Steel.

“I want to be the best at any endeavor I put effort into,” said Caldwell. “It’s just what my culture has brought me up to do.”

Although there is no one using abnormal abili­ties to fight crime, uni­formed in tight fitting, multi-colored spandex, heroes walk about in plain daylight - they are called U.S. Marines.