MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. --
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.