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Santa Clarita Valley Young Marines bid farewell to three graduates

Posted: June 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Commanding officer of the SCV Young Marines and retired Marine Master Sgt. Tim Stratton places a promotional pin on his son, graduating Master Sgt. David Stratton. Photo by Mallory Fencil.

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Standing at attention, Master Sgt. David Stratton of the Young Marines fought a smile of pride and shook his father’s hand as he graduated from the Santa Clarita Valley unit of the national coed organization.

Three recent high school graduates from the valley also graduated from the National Young Marines program recently. Led by retired Master Sgt. Tim Stratton, the unit has graduated more than 12 young men and women since its inception in 2006.

In addition to David Stratton, Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Ossa and Private First Class Frank Cruz graduated from the unit.
David Stratton and Ossa are the last members of the unit to be among its founding group of 2006.

“I love it because it was just a big family,” said Ossa, who will be attending California State University, Northridge, for electrical engineering.

“I loved that we got to give back and help people to be the best they can be.”

The Young Marines are a group of female and male children from ages 8 through high school who participate in community service and are led through a promotion system of ranking based on that of the United States Marines.

Unlike the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, the Young Marines promote physical fitness with an annual boot camp. The national organization also focuses on drug education and promotes healthy lifestyles, sporting the motto, “strengthening the lives of America’s youth.”

Cruz plans to attend Los Angeles Valley College before possibly transferring or joining the Marines, and Stratton will be participating in a special school-Marine hybrid program at the University of North Dakota, studying at Quantico between some of his semesters at college.

The graduation included the awarding of certificates from Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

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