Photo Information

Cpl. Joshua Caldwell, a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron legal advisor and Cpl. Jeffery Ruff, a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 533 aviation electrician, are both influenced by his favorite illustrated literary hero in their daily interactions. Both are prime examples of how Marines are not just created but born into the title.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe

Marines share comic book bond

13 Jul 2012 | Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe

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.