Four brothers march toward the gates of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. At home, they play soldier and act out pretend drills. But today they are joining the ranks of real Marines – Jorge’s wish.
Jorge was diagnosed with retinoblastoma - a rare cancer of the eye. His condition has critically weakened his eyesight. The opportunity to enlist someday as a soldier himself?
But Make-A-Wish® and the personnel at Camp Pendleton will give him the chance to experience life as a Marine. The military is just “in his blood” his mother, Carmen, said. Today is an experience that will help him throughout the hardships of his medical condition.
With his brothers alongside in Marine t-shirts, Jorge stands in a full camouflage uniform and greets Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese - commanding general of Marine Corps Installations -West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Gen. Coglianese swears Jorge in as general for the day and teaches him how to march and salute, like a Marine.
He’s timid at first, but soon takes charge. Both Marines and his family obey his barked orders during simulation activities.
Jorge rides in assault vehicles. He takes a Marine Corps boxing lesson and flies a helicopter simulator.
He’s just a brave little guy, full of life and energy,” said Sgt. Daniel Mullis, a formal marksmanship training course instructor.
With each activity, Jorge stands taller and smiles wider.
Make-A-Wish Orange County and Inland Empire chief executive officer Stephanie McCormick witnessed the uplifting effect Jorge’s wish had on everyone that day from the brigadier general to the Marine who welcomed Jorge to Camp Pendleton.
“Wishes impact every single person that is a part of them,” McCormick said.
Reporting and photography contributed by Camp Pendleton Public Affairs.
— Sgt. Daniel Mullis, Camp Pendleton