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As I was checking into my first duty station as a PFC Combat Cameraman at Camp Lejeune N.C., I met SSgt. Rakes. He was a mountain of man and was exactly who I wanted to emulate as a Marine.
He became my mentor and taught me 99.9% of what I now know about what it takes to be a Marine. He walked with confidence that was uncanny, even for a Marine. His uniform was always perfect and if yours was not he made sure to “fix you”. At 35 years old this guy worked out twice a day (heavy lifting) and I was always amazed at how disciplined he was. Here I was 19 years old and this guy was running circles around me.
After a year or so I found out that he was in fact a Body Bearer at 8th & I in Washington D.C. We became what I would like to think are friends – although he would never say that given his rank and mine, but it was understood.
A couple of years later I met Sgt. Issac Gallegos. After hearing his story I had to make a short film about him which you can see here:
It occurred to me during the production process of this film that I should do a 3-part series of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The best thing I could think of to do Honor on would be the body bearers.
I made a promise to SSgt Rakes that I would use him for this film. I do not believe that he thought it would ever get finished but here it is. I was honorably discharged in November of 2014 and Rakes and I still speak at least once a week (He Checks in on me).
These guys carry our fallen brothers, sisters, to their final resting place in the most honorable way imaginable. All of them are infantrymen and volunteered for this duty – they deserve to be recognized for it. The live and breathe the word ‘Honor.’
Check out “Honor” below:
Bryce joined the Marine Corps shortly after his 19th birthday as a Combat Cameraman where he learned graphic illustration, photography and cinematography. Upon achieving the rank of Sergeant he was honorably discharged in Nov. of 2014 and now works as a Video Editor for J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta, GA.